Monday, March 30, 2015

to tell a story

Once upon a time there was a girl whose favourite Christmas gift was a doll  house with a real stairway and a working light.  My, the stories that happened in that house.  Stories were also acted out during the long summers as we all scampered over miles of rocky shore line.  Evenings were walks with Dad to the library and all the wonder of books.  Saturday afternoon movie matinees were stories big as life.  It was an idyllic childhood.

The child in me still wishes to tell stories.  The grown woman in me wants to do it masterfully with cloth and canvas,  fibre and paper,  and thread and brush.  Of course, the written word is essential.  But fact without a warm touch is as odious as fiction without an experience.  I shall be blogging with a "once upon a time'" mindset, rooted in the reality of what is and hopefully with a warm uplifting touch.  A fellow traveler on this journey once said, "Evangelize always and sometimes with words!".  I think he was a wise man.

I have been following The Textile Blog and John Hopper looks deep into the story.  I've learned a lot from him and I began to think about 'the why' of what I do.

I'm thankful that light goes well with story telling because I think I'm finally, really seeing the light!

I've been sorting out my story, identifying common threads and everlasting dreams.  I've been really thinking hard about the story teller.  I think my story is a travelogue.  :O

Once upon a time I made a double wedding quilt for my dd#2, a single size.  I think it must have worked. lol But that is her story.  Surprisingly I enjoyed the process and determined to do more.  I even bought the Plexiglas templates and cut out the backgrounds.  It would be a plain old fashioned story.  But time and wind blew the pages all about.  I grew as a creative person.  Then I crossed paths with Victoria Findlay Wolfe.  She does things different.  I was intrigued and when she published her DWR book I got it.  wow- She tells stories! Go see her blog as she's giving away a birthday present!   She has revolutionized how I am thinking about MY quilts.  I have done what was expected and old stacks of quilts show that.  They are somewhat boring, at least to me.  I DO have a story to tell as well.  A great story and it is different than printed patterns, fabric kits with only one or two of my own tweaks. :(  It is unique to me.  I have a great life!  Now,  how can I make that story ring!!!

Friday, March 27, 2015

March or Bust

We are stamping our feet over here at elle's place.

Bunnies stamp for danger but the danger is over and the baby quilt is done.  :)

The cushion turned out wonderful and then I had to march right out and buy some more fabric so I could make a coordinating lap quilt!  LOL  So now I will be adding one to the new and ongoing list.  :/

Next up are the two bunk bed quilts that need binding.  And for those who think I am organized I must confess that I have no idea where I put the binding I'd cut and had ready.  vbsigh!  :[  In the interest of staving off my procrastination devil I cut new strips and just got to it.  I didn't even compare or looking for best match.  :O  oops, the first chunk didn't go so...  Best of three!

And I think I'm going to give up on totally machined binding.  Way too stressful! :b


36 open projects
  3 finished
  & gathering fabric for a new one

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

To spiff or not to spiff

That is THE question!

The latest Spiffing challenge was the thread drawers and mine is at least jumbled by colour.  So I was thinking I was okay.  Not!

It is now.  And I even did the overflow containers. :)  Note to self- Thou hast no need for more thread!


I needed to find the embroidery threads, silk ribbons, lace and trims for my crazy quilt block class.  oye!   No pretty picture- just zip lock baggies!  :(

That took more than the allotted 15 minutes.  :(

Have I mentioned beads and charms???  Shh!  Don't tell Bonnie!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Big Dreams

I am pushing hard on the dreams!

The Big dream-
Unfortunately I have not had time to do much more than study some crazy patch blocks and decide on the size.  I've been feeling like my technical skills need upping for the crazy quilt and just this past week  I discovered an online class that teaches crazy quilting so I've signed up and I'm gathering my supplies for the sample block.     Stay tuned for class samples.

The Bigger dream-
I have the whole house plan in forward motion.  My favourite colours, robin's egg blue, butter yellow and cranberry have been confirmed.  Cranberry is becoming a minor player and the aqua blue is moving ahead.  ;^)  There will be lots of white and I need to settle on some neutral paint colours that are from the griege, a neutral grey, colour group. 

Because colour is always influenced by colour,  I need actual fabrics to match the wall colours to.  I  have gathered all my possibles into one section of my stash cupboard.  I will just grab the four seasonal groupings for the required room and lay them along side of a large paint sample.  I'm ready!  The spring look has spread around the ground floor and I'm revamping the upstairs currently.

The Biggest dream:
The Rooster said it was time to begin the kitchen.  We were off to Ikea and the new pantry!  It turns out my preferred cabinet style has been discontinued but I found an even better one. I absolutely luv bead board!   :)  They have redone the base units and changed some of the door/drawer options. :)  It was a two day affair to get this unit together and we still need a couple of things to finish.  :)  I'm beginning to 'see' how it'll all look!  :)  The wall colour will be upped to a medium neutral.

So far- no nightmares!!!  lol

Friday, March 20, 2015


Focus for the year is mMe-  make it mostly elle.  I am looking at the spring season that lies ahead.

Health-  making improvement and feeling like I can leap, spring up and over tall buildings, well, maybe make that jump over stacks of stuff, in a single bound.  lol

Wealth- I am rich in supplies, ideas, time, and techniques.  Now is not the season to squander or hoard.  Spend it!

Wisdom.-  Learning never stops but understanding what to do with what you know...  ah, I'm starting to 'get it'!  And one of the benefits of being a slow learning and doing and redoing over and over is that I am finally getting the why of what wasn't just right. 

The whole house colour theme is a triad.  Red, yellow, blue but not in the primary hues. 

The whole house spring palette helps keep me focused.  The focus is on the aqua blue which tends towards green.  I am ready for the whites to be clean and not slushy, dirty.  I am anticipating the bits of yellow green that first emerge.  The sun has been clear and cold so I'm wanting some golden sunshine!

In an attempt to make it me,  I am inspired by The Altered Page's Living With Art.  So I'm shopping my art and realizing most of my stuff is too small.  I need to go bigger, bolder.  eek!   If I do groups then I could go smaller, I guess.  But I'm learning.  If I sit in a particular chair, what do I want to see, experience?  Now really look, does it fill the space?  not usually! But I'm working on it.

This whole pre spring week has been quite busy.  I have decided the cranberry in my colour scheme is going to be a minor player so I painted the red hutch.  I ran out of paint but I am liking the slightly distressed look.  I am thinking the final kitchen wall colour will be a medium taupe.  I'm losing the beiges.

Then the cream jelly cupboard was just so blah so I used up all my robin's egg blue on it and I'm thrilled.  The Rooster insists on piling his stuff on this cupboard so I was forced to give him a bigger basket so everything stays IN the basket.  This created a design problem but if I centre the cupboard a bit better I think the bird cage works.

I painted up the old coffee bar.  A peak into the sitting room shows I also swapped out yellow curtains for white ones.  I may put them back for fall and winter to add coziness.  (As I'm checking before I push publish I realized I found the teacup wall hanging from last spring and as soon as I figure out how to fix it better to the fridge it'll be back up.  A bit beige but it works. 

I propped the pantry door up as we haven't finished it all yet.  The back wall will be a white subway tile.  I found the perfect wooden shelf/plate rack in the Ikea catalogue that I  can't wait to get for that picture area. Two glass doored uppers will flank it.  :)  We have a big white farm sink for the bottom.
I feel like I'm on the right track with the white as the beige valance did nothing but trying out this white impresses me!  :)

The bathroom shower curtain quilt still works and who cares if there are a few bleached spots from cleaning!  ;^)

I try to have a mix of mirrors, pictures, wall art, and my own art.  I want one quilted thing in each room.  I have my new pillow and while the old lap quilt works I'm looking forward to making another with some of the pillow fabrics.

I'm feeling like this canvas that I did is a bit small and a bit bright.  I'll be thinking about a better substitute.

The front room wall hangings that I've done are too small.  I think I'll do four, one for each season and make them worthwhile.  There are always place mats or table runners.  I'll be doing more pillows as well.   Those are fun!

The hall needs major work.  I pulled nails, decluttered and my favourite 'small' wall hanging works!  :)  This very old wall paper has seen its day so next time I get the urge to paint, I think this will be the room!

The rest of the spring rejuvenation will have to wait a bit while I check for dandelions.  Sh!  I don't believe they have 'sprung up' just yet!  Happy spring.  :)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Monday, March 16, 2015

Setting up for spring

Friday is the first day of spring and we have had a wonderful taste of what is to come as the weather was one degree short of record breaking on Sunday.  Chilly again but whatever comes next will only be a brief delay as the snow is just about gone.

So my thoughts have turned to spring cleaning and decorating.  I have finally embraced the idea that it isn't just the end of a long winter that gets me all excited.  I just really like the fresh and simple look that comes to mind when I think of spring.  I'm a thinking I'll be dragging that look through all my seasonal decorating in some way, shape or form.

Seth, over at The Altered Page, has been hosting a series of links on Living with Art.  I feel real strongly about having my/our home reflect who we are and how we live. My quilts are fairly evident but not my mixed media projects.

 So why is my 'art' stuck away in closets and far away bookcase shelves. ???  I am thinking it is time to put it out there.  :O

I'm feeling the urge to slap some house paint onto some needy;  well, and some not so needy pieces of furniture.  I've been doing some serious study on colour and thinking about how to get my two rather distinct decorating personalities to play together nicely.  I really appreciate Maria, from Colour Me Happy.  She has helped me understand why I haven't been getting the results I've been wanting.  As she says, white is complicated!!!  I also had a real aha! moment rereading Lynette Jennings No Compromise Decorating and the earlier, Straight Talk on Decorating.  It is all about understanding what needs to showcase the stuff I luv as I move through the seasons of a year.  Hopefully I can have some good stuff to show come March 20th.  ;^)  Ready, setty, SPRING!

Friday, March 13, 2015

ufo yoo hoo!

 How am I doing???

Glad this one is done and much as I don't luv it; I'm sure some baby girl will luv it.  :\  I tried not to over quilt it so it would remain soft.

This will be a spring pillow which I'm just going to try to matchstick quilt.  Pillows are a decorator's secret weapon apparently.  :O

I have been studying the half square triangle wall hanging top.  I don't want to wrinkle it but I need to get it off the design wall.  How to MQ it.  ???  Then I found a floral I was going to donate.  I could mq from the back and use the design as a mqing pattern all over the front.  :)

But as I'm about to pin it I realize I have it wrong way up for that and that would also be a pile of pins in the way.  :(  So I'm thinking. ---   This is such a busy top that maybe I need to do some more straight line stitching.  ???

The design wall is available for this project.  I'm not sure what this block is called.  I made a larger block size for my DS#1's wedding quilt and really enjoyed making it.  So I cut a smaller version.  Its hour has come!

This block will finish at five inches and the wall hanging will be as big as I have pieces for.  I do luv working away and seeing how each block adds to the whole. I'm sure I'll be arranging them in various arrangements until I just have to say enough, be done!  :)

I haven't seen DD#1 around lately and as this one will be for her I expect she should be around to see how its progressing.  ;^)

Yoo hoo?  Come out, come out, wherever you have yourself buried!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

Walk it out, walk it out, that's what everything's about!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


I have been playing catch up with the grand kiddies' smash books.  I decided that rather than work on them when they visit we should make them part of our art days.

So I am printing and adhering an awful lot of photos.  It is a tad confusing getting the chronological order and three different kids memorialized. I'm just doing basic layouts and they can personalize them as desired!

I am about ready to start the current school year so I'm only about five months behind now.  :O  A brief look at the photos facing me has somewhat flagged my energy.  :(   But they'll be clamouring for them and that will help me get the job done.  I am starting to sniff some spring breezes so the push is on!   The rain is smashing snow and grass is starting to appear.  :)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Finding Friday's fly zone!

Not my normal start to the day but I found myself flying along so well that I hated to stop and make a town trip.  But look what flew into my mail box all the way from Beth at sew sew art!  Absolutely lovely.  Thanks, Beth!   Beth is into all kinds of mixed media mischief and is very generous with her sharing!

Yesterday we did a field trip to the Gwen Fox Gallery.  It was a lovely exhibit and there is also a great little antique shop in the basement.  Coffee and dessert made for a very fine day!

I have been flinging paper with gluey fingers at a mad rate in the playroom the last couple of days.  I want to get the three very different smash books up to date with photos so the grand kiddies can take over the embellishing during our art days.  Thank goodness I change the data to the correct month so it isn't too painful to get them into chronological order!  :/

I've been flying kinda low but it has been a fine Friday to do it!!!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Series restart!

I have tried, and tried.  But I just cannot get into these houses.  I like houses.  I wanna do a series on houses.  But THESE aren't turning my crank.  I think they are too traditional and I'm not seeing how to up their value to more modern sensibilities.  They are also not the orientation I'd prefer.  Grouping them fritz's perspective.  One is lonely.  ???

I recently purchased Gwen Marston's Minimal Quiltmaking.  LUV it!  That would be a wonderful series to explore.

Elizabeth Barton's books are wonderful and I'd luv to take a class with her. 

But I can't get Katie's Inspirations in Design out of my mind. I have a few of her books.   I even had a look at grouping the houses!  lol 

I like the portrait orientation for working in.

But this looks good, too.  I'd need to face that bird inwards and maybe raise up the box or get a lower candle.  But I'm just about ready to get serious with lesson one!