Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fortunately I Can Still Shop...

Sadly, I have overestimated my ability to hand stitch.  As you can see, my ring finger is still very swollen, and tethered to it's sore but less injured neighbour.  But, the good news is that I can still shop for fun new supplies!
On Sunday my friend and I went to the Silmaril Farm Fleece and Fibrefest.  It sounds like a big event, but really it's a small 'open house' sort of event where you can watch sheep and alpaca being sheared, Pat some adorable little goats and enjoy newly hatched chicks and ducklings. 
There are also a few vendors selling yarns and fleece, etc.  As you can see, I found some wonderful fibres that I'm looking forward to using in some upcoming art pieces.

Here are a few of the alpacas, some before and one after being shorn. I love the funky haircut they keep after the sheering!  The little one was especially cute.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Wisteria Lane...

Yesterday, my friend Heather and I took a road trip down to the Niagara wine region.  Among other things, we visited a fabulous shop in Jordan Village called Stitch. To quote them, they are "a sanctuary for knitters, quilters and needle artists".  We found some wonderful treasures to use in our fibre art!

Just a few doors down, there is a lovely bed and breakfast with the most beautiful side arbour, covered in wisteria!  As you can see from these images, there is the most glorious covering of purple blossoms.

After spending more than we should have at Stitch, we enjoyed a delicious lunch outside on the patio of Zooma Zooma, a great little restaurant in the village.

It was a perfect day, spent with a wonderful friend.

Both images have a layer of Kim Klassen's 'teatime' texture (from her mini May set) added at a soft light blend mode of 50%.

Linking up with Our World TuesdayTexture Tuesday, and Sweet Shot Tuesday.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

An Original...this could start a trend!

As you know if you've been following my blog, I had a cycling accident recently that has left me in a cast (details here).  The plaster cast was replaced by a fibreglass one at the fracture clinic on Thursday, and while talking to some of my art friends later that day, a crazy, silly idea came to me.  
Karen Ellis at The Art House Studio does a live Ustream every Friday evening in which she does some sort of wonderful painting or mixed-media piece of art while chatting live with her viewers, so I thought it would be fun to challenge her with an unusual 'canvas'.

The result is fabulous!  We joked about putting her business card in all the area fracture clinics to drum up business!  
I have a wedding to attend on June 6th, so we also joked about needed it to be 'elegant' and I worried about what I could wear with it.  That's when Linda/Rappy suggested that I could dress it up with pearls.  Well, I don't have any pearls, but I did audition a few alternatives. LOL What do you think Linda?

Because of the cycling accident, Karen thought it needed a bicycle on it!  What you can't see is all the collage bits from a cycling map, that ironically even includes bits of the actual rural roads on which I was cycling that fateful day.  There's also dictionary text including 'bicycle' and 'crash' as well as some safety tips and cycling etiquette.  My favourite is the bit that says "Don't litter" (especially Gatorade bottles!!!).

You can watch the recording of the Ustream video here.

Karen, thank you so much for being such a great sport!  What a fun art experience!

Friday, May 24, 2013


The rust piece is finally finished!  I learned while finishing it that apparently I would prefer to thread my machine left handed, but the cast wouldn't let me get close enough.  As I tried it just went 'clunk' against the machine, so I was forced to use my right hand.  LOL  Thankfully the actual machine sewing process isn't hampered too much by the cast! In spite of the challenges I encountered working with the rust dyed fabric (you can read about it here, and more about how the piece began here), I think I'll work with it again because I'm really pleased with the finished piece.

Here are a few close up images of the piece:

Linking up with Off The Wall Friday.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sneak Peek...

On the weekend I was up at the cottage, so I took along some hand stitching to do while I hid inside, away from the blackflies. Yes, I'm a wimp when it comes to those nasty little things...although I did recently hear that we need them to pollinate blueberries (a fact that I have yet to confirm since there is mixed information about this online). Never the less, hide I did. Here's a sneak peek at what I was working on.  You may recognize this from a previous post of a photo I took and then edited in Photoshop elements. I am stitching all of the text  for starters and then I'll figure out what I want to do next.

Unfortunately, due to the complications mentioned in yesterday's post, hand stitching is proceeding much slower than usual...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Due to a cycling accident, I have been slowed down considerably in my art work.  Since I write with my left hand, art journalling is sidelined for a while.  Fortunately I do most other things right handed, so I'm still plugging away at some machine and hand stitching, although at a slower pace.

My husband likes to joke and tell people that it's dangerous to 'hit the bottle' while cycling, but the fact is that I did hit a discarded plastic bottle that was blowing across the road.  And, because I saw a car approaching in my rear-view mirror I didn't dare swerve around the bottle.  Obviously I didn't hit it at the right angle or whatever, and when I fell I landed on my outstretched hand.  The result is a scaphoid fracture and traumatic boutonniere deformities to the two middle fingers.

So, to further what Bill says...beware:  "If you hit the bottle while cycling, you just might get plastered!"  And, once I can get back to my art journalling, you can expect to see that quote on a journal spread!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ontario's Beautiful Flower

We are very fortunate to have a beautiful trail through the woods right near our home.  It was once a railway line, and the township has removed the rails and groomed it into lovely walking trails.  I especially love it this time of year because there are huge patches of trilliums growing along the trail.  This beautiful flower is the provincial foral emblem of Ontario, Canada.

I have edited both images using the same texture (Kim Klassen's kk_stampedright2) and blend modes, etc. Please see the screen shot below for the details of my editing.

Linking up with Our World TuesdayTexture Tuesday, and Sweet Shot Tuesday.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Denim Series Finishes...At Least For Now

The final piece in the series, goes back to using some rust dyed fabric along with a piece of hand dyed coral 'waffle' fabric.  The French knots found their way onto this piece as well.  I seem to be in a bit of a French knot kick these days.  The coral fabric seemed to invite simple cross stitch in those wonderful little square depressions and I decided to use a simple running stitch to provide some movement in the rust dyed area.  The mono printed denim was machine quilted using a repeating squared spiral pattern.  Since I wanted to leave on the two buttons from the original denim shirt, I've called this piece "Two Random Buttons".

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Denim Series Continues...

I've deviated slightly in my denim series, bringing in some other commercial fabrics for this latest piece.  I especially like the combination of the mono printing done using my Gelli Plate and bubble wrap, combined with the hand embroidery on the shirt tail.  I pulled the colours from the beautiful piece of commercial fabric with it's loose and easy floral pattern.  I did some random French knots on the lighter green band on the left to add some more texture to the piece.  For lack of a more creative name, this piece has been called "Blue and Green".

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Shirt Off His Back...

For this piece, I've gone back to that denim shirt I told you about in a post a couple of weeks ago.  Since that last post, I've added a lot of free-motion quilting, hand stitching and some flat, wooden 'button like' discs.  I am amazed at how tough it was to do all the seed stitching into the rust dyed fabric.  Even the areas that are lightly rusted are tough, but stitching through the darker areas has left me with several punctures in my hand from the back of the needle.  I guess I should have pulled out a thimble, but I'm just not used to using one so I find them a bit annoying to work with.  Having said that, puncturing your hands is a tad annoying too...

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother Nature's Not Happy!

Last week I was cycling in shorts, and yesterday I drove through blizzard conditions to visit my Mom for Mother's Day.  Ironically, I took her to Rockway Gardens in Kitchener to see all the beautiful tulips.

It's a good thing I've got a tough little Momma!  We enjoyed our stroll through the gardens in spite of the awful, cold weather.

While there, someone asked if we knew the name of this beautiful flower.  Mom only knew the name in German, but as it turns out the direct translation, "King's Crown" turns out to be pretty accurate! "Fritillaria imperialis (Crown imperial or Kaiser's crown) is a species of flowering plant..."  Beautiful and smart...that's my Mom!

Linking up with Our World TuesdayTexture TuesdaySweet Shot Tuesday and Orange You Glad It's Friday.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

They Just Move Somewhere Else...

I recently saw this quote and I couldn't help thinking how true it is.  Oh, to go back to the simplicity of childhood when a hug and some reassuring words from Mom would get those monsters under control so that we could have a good night's sleep!
I guess as we get older, it takes a lot more 'self talk' to control the monsters, but they can still be tamed!
This spread isn't a favourite in terms of it's over all look...I'm not very happy with the composition or colours, but there's a lot of good 'talk' going on in that blue journalling, so I guess it has served a purpose!

And now I'm off to visit my Mom to wish her a Happy Mother's Day (and to get one of those great hugs...'cause they never get old!)

Wishing all you Mom's out there a Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Block Party and a Ball Toss...

After creating the Pick-Up Sticks art quilts, I decided to continue the mini series by using only some of the pieced stripes along with some other bright fabrics.  The first piece is called "Block Party".

 The idea of the block party got me thinking of games and from that "Ball Toss" was born. I am especially loving the process of the free motion machine quilting on these smaller pieces.  It is such a relaxing feeling to be able to doodle with a needle and thread.

I have more ideas popping into my head than I can keep up...I'm considering a couple of other series that I can't wait to get started on!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pick-Up Sticks...

A while back I posted about some piecing play I was doing by cutting, sewing, cutting again, etc.  The little art quilts that resulted are now finished.  I think all of the free motion lines of stitching really help those colourful stripes to pop.  They are called Pick-Up Sticks I, and Pick-Up Sticks II, respectively.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Henry's Haircut

I had an opportunity last Spring to see some alpaca's being shorn and was given some of the alpaca hair to experiment with in my fibre art.  Using my embellisher, I needle felted the fibre's to create a base using the darker grey hair.  I then incorporated some of my hand dyed cheesecloth over top of the alpaca felt.  I added some circles in a lighter colour of alpaca hair, and intentionally left some of the long dark strands hanging so that I could later add beads to them.

I did a lot of machine stitch/thread sketching over the cheesecloth to bring out more of the copper and turquoise colour before moving to the hand beading.  As for the title Henry's guessed it, the dark gray alpaca's name is Henry.

Monday, May 6, 2013


This week's photo challenge was "Pop" over on the Texture Tuesday site, so I decided to focus on that all important pop of colour that we see this time of year with the arrival of the first Robins of the Spring.  This photo was taken a few weeks ago, before our final snow storm, but it just seemed to provide that hope and promise of things to come. That bright orange breast and belly are a sure sign that winter is finally over!

I did a bit of an adjustment layer before adding Kim's new texture, kk_may, I also had to add a layer of some subtle grey behind the text so it didn't get lost in the cedar.

You can see a screen shot of the processing at the bottom of the post.

When thinking about pops of colour, flowers always 'pop' to mind too, so I've added these other two images, both treated with a layer of kk_may at soft light, with a mask on which the texture was removed from the focal blossom.

Linking up with Our World TuesdayTexture Tuesday, Sweet Shot Tuesday and Orange You Glad It's Friday.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


This paper and fabric art quilt, titled Passage,  is another in the new 12" X 12" series.  This was actually a UFO that was started a few years ago in a workshop with Sandra Meech, in which we painted papers and then used them in collaged art quilts.  I posted about a previous piece I finished back in November in which I mounted the quilted part onto a painted canvas, but this time I wanted to continue the collage of stitched fabric and paper to extend the more dimensional piece in the centre.  

The text in this piece is all about the various kinds of passage, from a doorway that one can pass through, to death...the final passage in this life.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Xs and Os

On Sunday I posted about a new series I've started, using a consistent 12" x 12" format.     I've finished the first one and my mats arrived in the mail yesterday so it is all matted and ready.  Fortunately this image is true to the actual colour (unlike the previous post).  I've called it Xs and Os because of the circles that I had printed on the denim using my Gelli plate, and the Xs that I stitched into the rust dyed fabric.  I echoed the Os using little round discs (actually the ends of those pre-wound cardboard bobbins...'cause I can't seem to throw anything out. LOL)

I've posted it here without the mat so that you can see a larger image, allowing you to see more detail.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Artists in Blogland

Marcia over at Artists in Blogland put out a call this week for a new blog button for the Show & Tell Saturday link up, so I used a piece of my art journalling and played around in Photoshop Elements to create this button.

Click on the link here to pop over to the site and get the code.  It's available in two sizes, depending on the set up of your particular blog.

And be sure to visit again on Saturday to see some of the wonderful things that the 'Artist in Blogland' are doing!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I Can't Believe It's May!

Here it is May 1st, and finally we're seeing some beautiful Spring weather!  In spite of having journalled every day in my art journal calendar, May seems to have snuck up on me.  I guess I must be having fun 'cause the time sure is flying!

I've been enjoying cycling outside again (as compared to using my trainer inside and literally going no where fast) and I even got out in shorts a couple of days ago. I've done several 50 km rides and a few 40 km when I felt like slacking off.  

Yesterday I wore sandals for the first time this season, so now it is truly official...once those socks come off they stay off until the fall.

April was true to the saying and we had lots of rain, but I'm trusting that we're in for beautiful May flowers.  Here's my May art journal calendar, which holds the promise of pretty blossoms to brighten up the gardens!