Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Where oh where...

oh where, did January go-

My mojo hasn't gone anywhere but there were a whole bunch of procrastinating chores in front of it.

I'm working on my diet and I imagine some of the tired feeling is the withdrawal from those hyper/addictive foods.  I am liking the ginger tea with breakfast and the no computer during the morning.  Lunch is at the 'puter with good food and then COFFEE!  :)

Now the focus this year is fabric so I haven't posted too much mixed media art but...

My gal and I had a visitor for our regular day.  We take what we learn and then share it with the grand kiddies the following day.

 The background technique involved about 4-5 different steps so we just passed the papers to the student on our right after each step.  I got so excited I almost pitched the fabric focus.  I do think this would also work with fabric dyeing though!  ;^)                                           

Then we made little journals and a bookmark.   I felt like the art was well done.  Because I tend to be a technique junkie,  we decided to follow a bit of a plan and to keep with the wet stuff while the skills build and the interest is high.

So we are back to basics- the colour wheel and the first colour yellow.  Adding white and black.  We decided to keep it simple and didn't show the kiddies how the complimentary colour also adds nuances to the colour scheme.  We are learning lots!  :)

Again, not fabric related but I have my new camera.  I haven't even put the new lens on but I've been thumbing through the very thick manual.  eek!   I splurged on a camera case and in the spirit of me- my theme for the year, I have to figure out how to make it mine.   I wasn't feeling to try paint on it and then remembered I want to do handwork so...

I need to just do this so I signed up for a once a month camera challenge.  Tomorrow my gal and I have an art field trip and I shall have my bag packed - ready or not- and I shall click away!  :O  Then I'll have to figure out how to upload and all that. :(

If I want fabric/fibre to be the focus I had to make my main machine, Nina ready for anything and especially machine quilting.  I swear I should get a paying job reorganizing people spaces because...  you guessed it I changed the playroom around.  I had this set up before for Nina and it was great.  I didn't want to change the wet corner but I could restore the other corner.  It works.

 Mostly because I actually have consolidated (ie. thrown out) lots of stuff.  Everything fit but I have to either lift up or move those wall files.  Bonus is a less cluttered look; and if I can get the Rooster to fill in that open space with a lovely piece of melamine, it'll be perfect.  The quilts will be supported on the left and can spread out towards the wall when I move the books.  I stand to quilt and I don't feel cramped.  Here is hoping I can then get to the UFO busting that is sandwiched and due presently!

The winter has been quite lovely and we have actually had rain so the snow has gone down.  Snow and cold is again forecast though.  But the young steer is apparently bored with the whole thing and has left his pasture mates, two sheep, and has gone to look for greener pastures to kick up his heels in!  :(   Where oh where will he wander to next? 

And that should give my dear followers some idea of where I have actually been!  :)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Bunny Hop

I have been hopping along on my old projects.  The monthly wall hanging for June was going to showcase a fat quarter bundle that had some bunny prints.  I fussy cut them and then started framing them.

Another learning experience.  It is too big for a wall quilt.  The frames should have been thinner.  I am also leaning to more of a modern look for the hangings.  To calm it down I went to me default setting which is solids.  I found every pink I could get my hands on.  Rearranging these blocks brings out the OCD  in me.  I moved things around for some time and then got disgusted with the whole thing.  Needless to say this had stalled but I got a hold of a bunny tail or two and just sewed it together.

Now the question is whether or not this qualifies as a finish.  It'll be a baby gift so no rush to finish it.  But the UFO Busting project is all about really finishing.  Because machine quilting figures heavily in many on my to-do list I might as well get started honing my skills again.

I have the backing, batting and binding all figured out.  Now to clear the big table so I can get hopping!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sewing Flurries

I fiddled around a wee bit with some sashing options for these blocks.  Then I had a look at the leftovers.

There are certainly some creative opportunities to be had with them.

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Isn't there a song called Dreee ee ee ee eam?  ahem, anyway, FYI,  I am a great dreamer.  Literally.  Its a wonder I get any sleep.  And then I can do it in the day too.  Actually I need to do serious reality checks on 'where that last hour went' during the day.  :O

Sew-  time for a reality check and my friend Vicki is offering a dream based on reality.  woo hoo!

Even her blog, Field Trips in Fibre sends all kinds of mental images floating nicely along.  :)

But my dream, or at least the one for 2015!  Ta dah!

Many, many years ago I was doing a yearly challenge kit for small wall hangings.  This was in the heart of hand quilting country and the hand quilting was doing me in!  :O  So I thought a crazy quilt would solve my problem.  Except for the trim it is all cottons in a selection of greens and the one fabric I could add was a Nancy Crow fabric with some solid coloured chunks. I had no idea the labour involved and about half way through I was thinking hand quilting wasn't so bad. lol  But I had fancy stitches on my sewing machine and I was off.  I was incredibly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  I bought embroidery books and I added silk ribbon. Then I added beads and charms!   I am such a plain Jane that even my family questioned that I had actually done it.  yup! It is a very early quilting project and kinda 'rough' as far as technique goes.  Some make me wince!  lol   BUT...

My dream is to make another, a winter lap quilt for the foot of my bed using velvets, satins, brocades etc. and ribbons and beads of course. 

Vicki asks questions!   What is stopping me????
I don't have the right space to do the project?
I'm afraid I don't have the skills.
I don't have the tools or materials I need.
I have the skill but I need the perfect design before I jump in.
I'm afraid I'll fail.
In my case it is mostly the last.  I leap in, trust to good luck and then think it was likely a fluke and I can't do it again!  :{  Mind you, the skills I would need to perfect  and the supplies are possibly not in my stash. 

The first step is to talk/blog about it.  Fess up to the problems and perhaps make a small beginning.

My word/theme for the year is mMe- maybe Mostly elle.  This is my idea and although the whole crazy quilt theme is an old technique,  this will be my plan.  It also fills the bill for finishing up the decorating of my home with my ideas and my own projects.

I have books!

I have various supplies!

I have some fabrics.
 I have lots of options.  The Master bedroom is slated for painting and I'm thinking a creamy light colour.
The bed quilt is a purchased whole cloth, cranberry  satin on one side and plush on the other with an all over quilted paisley design.
I am particularly attracted to Jacobean designs and I am just remembering I have a small Jacobean embroidery book somewhere as well.   I need to decide whether to continue the rich dark look or revive a long standing dream of a white and cream crazy patch. 

Or maybe a soft creamy pink and gold.  Options??? I  just might need to spend a bit more time for this first month dreaming as I want it to be dreamy to sleep under!  :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Its a party!

It is Eliana's fifth birthday.  It was a domestic kind of celebration with the birthday girl making her own cake!  lol

 I brought her home with me and we were checking out sewing projects.

I think I will split these between Eliana and her sister as they will share a room. These are much softer in real life.  I hope to be posting with the new camera before long.  :O

I am not set up for her to try my sewing machines sew...

She already has found out she needs to tie back her hair.  A thump on her thumb, a few tears,  indicates more caution!  Oh yes, you may have noticed that the free tee shirt with the bake oven has been a hit!  lol  She wants to make a sweater (?) for her mum!  And, she has told me she loves me at least eight times!  ;^)

I have a feeling this particular party will last a while!  :)

She is VERY independent except when it snarls.  Ooh, my poor back!  lol

True fabriholic.  Lets use your fabric, Gram'elle!   :O  Actually the white in the kit was awful.  Now the aqua flowers...  Maybe we can do a swap!   lol   I think my Coop and Saucer Playroom will never be the same!!!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Busting Up UFO thinking

My first evaluation of the UFO Busting project was posted on Monday.  Now that Vicki has resolved her technical difficulties I have had a chance to peruse her tips and act on a few of the issues she addresses.

First my oldest UFO:

Year unknown but the Mystery Quilt was featured in issue #108 of the Canada Quilts Magazine.  Long time ago. 1990???

This block, Turkey Tracks looks very nice with a diagonal set but maybe I could set it on the straight. 

 The block has many pieces which I did enjoy piecing as they all had a variety of fabrics.  There is sashing and a pieced setting triangle that is part of the border.  The blocks are done and the pieces are cut for the setting triangles and enough were done to make me quit as I was seeing dozens of the same quilt and my interest waned the more I saw. This style of quilt is so NOT me.  I really dislike the traditional 3 band borders.

I pulled some dark fabrics to see if that could work into something I'd like.

Then I pulled some light fabrics.  There is also the question of how much fabric I'd need.

So- how to set these blocks is my challenge. Straight set? Tea dye the white? The palette was a controlled scrap.  Except for the square in the 'heel' and the 'toes' in the foot which was the focus fabric, I used red scraps, taupe scraps, and white scraps.  Drat!  I should use Something from the stash!!!  Especially since I've pulled apart the stash looking for ideas!  :O  And then there are all the cut bits??? Depending how I set it I may be able to use the bits for a runner.  Great!  Two projects!  :(

Which brings me the questions.  How many of those old UFO's do I 'really' want to finish?  I found a couple more so what is the final tally?  I do think that if I want to do fresh new work I need to jettison some of these.  :O

The Tally:

open projects : th, th thirty-seven  :O

I do think most of these are viable.  The only maybe is the two trip around the world which may become one baby quilt.  I'll also see how the applique projects progress.  I do hope this teaches me to finish projects before I leap off into fantasy land where I totally lose my head over the newest flirty fashions.  ;^) 

Now it is onward or I'll bust!!!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Canoe do it?

This is DD#1's sense of humour!  A past Christmas present.  No open water anywhere round this 40 below neighbourhood!  :{


First Monday of the month is the day to show 'the dirty laundry' over at Vicki's link up! She is currently experiencing Internet glitches so I shall link up as soon as the techies get it rectified.  Ha!  They have their own to-do lists!  :)

Up on my home bar is Projects 2015 which is where I have spent far too much time documenting my past digressions and have documented all my UFO's.  Once upon a time I edited my ufo's and here they are multiplying again.  Some of these will be done or 'edited' again by the end of the year.  :(   I can't quite get past the thirrrrty word!

 The bunny quilt needs to come off the design wall and make room for another.  It'll be an easy start.

I can get the binding ready and add it so I can limber up my fingers with some slip stitching  so I can hit the applique blocks.  Pansies I think are up next. 

I better get sledding 'cause it'll be open water and canoedelling before I know it! 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Past Present Future

There is something about Vicki's Field Trips that get me looking for my bottle of water and my back pack.

Vicki  is gonna be UFO Busting for 2015
The fact that some of these ufo's are from her last year's quilt along makes me doubt my sanity in signing up again. LOL  But as the four feathered friends sang to Mowgli, "That's what friends are for!"  ;^)  Should I...
These older projects would be a good place to start as I can hone the skills that messing/playing with paper and paint kinda set aside.  This particularly applies to my machine quilting skills.  I'm working on my page for Monday's airing of my dirty laundry which has spent the past piled up in some obscure corner!  

While I was considering the UFO issue I saw the next button.
Vicki has decided it is time to tackle a technique she's been wanting to learn.
I have always wanted to work in a series.  I see its value having dabbled a bit with the concept.  But this year, yup, THIS year, I had already planned to do a series that I set up, control and execute.  I want to explore a particular theme, find helpful techniques and then discover my style as I try various combinations.  This was meant to be!!!  It also has me quite excited.  I'm really looking forward to it. :)

I have two different ideas.

I luv house blocks.  Elizabeth Barton has excellent design and working in a series books which are very in depth.  There is a lot to learn from her but I'm worried I might rush too much in my pursuit of getting to the series part.

I have long been a follower of Katie Pasquini Masopust and this book has a great way of breaking down the steps as you try various kinds of still life styles. But I'm not luving the still life.

I spent most of yesterday pondering my options and I've decide to use my row of houses as my starting point and work through Katie's exercises.  I want to start with a reasonable facsimile and simplify each succeeding project.  This is a project to keep me intentional and present as I discover my style.  I do feel like squealing as this is gonna be exciting.  :]

Another join up project???  A Big Dream!  I am a procrastinator.  I should capitalize that!  I have a few dreams actually.  But one is to make a crazy quilt throw for the end of the bed for the winter season.  Lap size to keep the tootsies warm.  I made a wall sized crazy quilt for a quilt challenge many years ago and it was a surprise to me that I totally luved it.  I've collected some fashion fabrics, in fact two colourways.  I have also had an urge to do handwork in the evening.  I...  Should I look some more or should I just say what the hey, that's what friends are for and leap into the future...  and it can always go on next year's UFO list!  lol   

That pretty much sets the pace for the year.   I got the past, the present and the future covered!  :)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Setting up for success! word for the year

Who wants to fail?  Not anyone that I'm acquainted with and certainly not me!

So how does one set oneself up for success?   I guess you first have to know yourself and that seems to be an ongoing lifelong process. It may be my great insight but more likely I just get slower at ducking out  from under the microscope!  ;^)

So far I've come to terms with the fact that I am creative and I can develop my creativity.   My blog helps me with my creativity in that it pushes me to try new techniques, make design decisions and ask questions.   It is a huge factor for motivation.  But it also causes me to begin to narrow down my choices.  Because having it all is a tough act to follow  nor can I do it all!  Sometime in 2014 I arrived at the conclusion that fibre is my first luv.

*My priority is going to be fibre.

Part of the creative process is copying the masters.  But there comes a time to make the process ones own;  to edit the dozens of techniques and develop the ones that best move the design process forward and express the vision.

*My vision is to make projects in fibre that incorporate my sensibilities, my fabric, my design and my skills.

Good work habits will facilitate good work.  I doubt great art just happens.  You have to actually do the work, consistently.

*My framework needs to focus on a limited number of options.  Too many choices tends to paralyze me.  I must develop a few good routines and habits.  Within those perimeters I can begin to build a body of work.

Writing down the vision keeps it out where it can be seen, marks the path, and shows the finish line. 

*My ideas always gallop way ahead of my abilities, not to mention my finished projects. Now I have actually learned to value the process.  Sadly I've left behind far too many old luvs in the pursuit of a flirty new one.

Evaluating what resonates and what works should sort out promiscuous luvs.

*My success depends on keeping my own word to myself and that is my character flaw.

 I must resort to tricking myself.  Committing to an external source motives me.  I think I will do some quilt alongs because I do like to please those who have expectations of me.  Since I usually operate in play mode I need to find  reward  that is a reward and not more of what I actually am doing.  One that might work for me could be making pages for journal making. It isn't my focus and I can just stack up delicious paper for those journals.  hmmmm

CHOICES!!!  Will I settle for failure or climb higher and reach success???

To do that I need to trust my own instincts so this year is about Eea.  Essentially elle, almost?  Hmm. makes me think of eeeek!  How about Me!  Mostly elle?  hmm, sounds prideful.  Maybe mostly elle???
 It works for me. lol  I want to quit copying and produce work that is my own.  I don't think there is actually anything new under the sun but it can be new to me and still express my intent.  Sew- this is gonna be all about  mme! Ha, make that mmmmme!    

Word/focus/theme for 2015     mMe

Now to organize some goals and a vision for 2015 with mme in mind!  oh, and the only one that I am racing to the end of 2015 with is me.  It'll likely be a few brief dashes, a couple of sprints and a whole lot of slow jogging.  But with only me, myself and I doing the laps I should get a few rests during the relay.  oops, starting gun went off yesterday.  No time to tie the shoe laces till its myself's turn.  whoo hoo go, Go, GO!!!

And to new year's resolution nay sayers, I say:  If I make it further than I did last year, it'll be a success!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Ready, Setty, GO!

Before I race off half cocked into this brand new year I need to settle a few things.  When the grand kiddies and I start art class we sing, "If you are happy and you know it, clap your hands, (3x) if you're happy and you know it then your ART is gonna show it..."    It is probably a given that we want to be happy and make 'happy' art.

I'm also thinking of the quote that ends ...makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

I'm not sick but I know I can feel better than I do if I would quit eating improperly.  I'm gonna embrace the JERF diet which is simply eating real food and then using food as medicine.  There may be a few cranky posts until I get the 6 week fresh start, which includes no coffee, under my belt. ha!
Another thing that makes me cranky is exercise but healthy involves some kind of exercise. I may start out with grabbing my camera and going for nature walks which are excellent for restoring health and creativity which leads to mental and spiritual health .  :} 

My bank balance is invariably 3 digits.  $1.99  Aw, did ya think I was a chick of means?  But I am wealthy.  I have enough, more than enough.  I have family and friends, natural and virtual.  I have found my tribe!   I have stash supplies that threaten to avalanche whenever I threaten to remove something.  I have books, magazines, DVD's.  I have access to Google and all its knowledge! And I have a song in my heart!   "If you're happy and ya know it..."

Now there is the rub!  Mistakes aren't wrong unless you keep making the same ones over and over.  I am getting wiser.  I hate analyzing myself but if I want to learn from my mistakes I must look them in the- make it bellybutton!  I will work my way up so to speak.

According to some Successful list on my friend Google-

1)Write it all down.  If it lives on paper the brain doesn't expend energy remembering it.  My problem is I scribble down everything- I just never look at it again.  :(  I think blogging helps with the write it down.  It also motivates me because I am a people pleaser.  Oldest child and all that don't cha know!

2) Prioritize or Die! The Rooster has been telling me that I can't Have it all.  I'm getting it.  Now I need to reconcile I can't Do it all.  :O  I have way too many hobby categories and storage logistics certainly helps with prioritizing as I reclaim prime real estate.

3)Forget multitasking.  Switch to single task.  This I have arrived at.  I'm an all in or all out kinda girl.  Monday mixed media, Tuesday techniques, Wednesday wips, Thursday threads and Friday fibres was frustrating the heck out of me.  I'm still thinking on how to best do all this.

4)Make things automatic.  Decisions exhaust/paralyze.  Therefore build routines and habits so you're not not deciding but just doing.  I am catching on to this from The Happiness Project.  It might be age but routine has become my friend.  phew, finally some enlightenment on the path.  ;^)  

5)Work like an athlete.  Sprint-rest-sprint. Plan for work and plan for rest.  ah, I thought it was a marathon and it turns out a dash or even a relay!  :p 

That said:
-I may actually come up with a to-do list.  I got half way through 2014 and then...
-I am prioritizing.  Fibre is my focus much as I luv messing with paint and paper.  Of course fibre can incorporate mixed media.  :)
-Single tasks will lead to a bit more continuity on the blog especially as working in a series really appeals.
-Automatic?  Routine?  Does that mean simplify things?  I'm surely trying.
-Work and Play.  This intrigues me because my bad habit is to play (mixed media)  before work (sewing). I haven't found a reward that motivates but perhaps a paper/paint play day could be a rewarding rest for doing the fibre work.  I just may have found a golden egg! :))

I'm READY because I realize I need to change some of the ways I do things.

I'm SET because I learning my limitations.  I need external accountability,  routines/good habits, single tasks, balance,  and FUN!

I'm GOing because life is better lived on the track than sitting on the sidelines.   They do have a lane for junior senior citizens. ;^)

 I'm still learning to optimize my happiness factor so I am also carrying (rereading)  'The Happiness Project'.
Because it is all about choices and that means mistakes and THAT means that I've been trying different things!  :O

This little race is taking place at the Coop and I'm gonna set up the refreshment stand, lay some fresh straw down on the track, make sure the nest boxes are comfy and then do a few laps inside.  Stay tuned to watch the feathers fly and perhaps I'll even lay that golden egg!

Bring on 2015!!!!

(sorry for the lack of photos but I've been busy cataloguing UFO's for tomorrow's post!!!)