Bucketing down

It is WET! I am not really complaining as it is so good for the trees and shrubs just before winter. I am whining just a little though as it is soooo gloomy . Makes my head hurt! I like light, especially when I am working. I am working today on the background for one of the little Plane Tree Bark pictures I took a few weeks ago. The substrate is a piece of pale sort of celery green Dupioni upholstery silk. Great coour and I am over stitching it with a variegated green , some very pale grey green and some interesting jadey teal thread made by Molnlycke. Can't get Molnlycke any more , not here anyway. I always liked it and my new machine likes it too. It is a lovely colour and very even thread.

Now I am at the stage of choosing from TONNES of fabric, the very right colours to make the various layers of this peeling bark. I am not really hung up on exactness here but would like to convey the feeling of thin , peeling layers and that fabulous top layer of biggish  scales of deep purply blue more mature bark. I posted the picture earlier, but in case you missed it, here it is again. Is this not wonderful??
  The colours look a bit faded here where I am typing. Maybe they will be better on the post. well, wish me luck! I am using a LOT of thread : )

Every Inchie Monday

Well, here is a very feeble first attempt at making an Inchie! I am too old and feeble to work this small. Could we maybe consider Every Yardie Tuesday?? Anyway, I appreciate the sentiment. We all need to maintain our sense of humour and to try to see something funny in as many situations as possible. Keep grinning folks! It keeps the opposition on their toes : )


...it is finished, except for the binding and the hanger. I THINK I am happy- mostly, at least. I had to crop so you would not see the mess in the background but it IS properly square.  I may end up narrowing the border a bit and will bind it with the same fabric as the border - or maybe do a pillowcase turn. I'll see , but it IS done to all intents and purposes.

Links to Paula Burch

Type in the following


The home page will come up on your screen. In the top line, there is a wee search box. Type in the word " benzene" and ask it to search. It is the wrong chemical but it gets you to the right place. The very first entry is entitled" What do you have to say about the presence of benzene in fibre..." That is the question I sent Dr Burch and her reply follows.

I am rather comforted by her reply and I feel it is important for fabric dyers to read and to understand. Dr. Burch's website is very very interesting! Enjoy.

Workplace safety

I am going to attach either a link or the actual message which was kindly sent to me earlier this week from Dr Paula Burch whose area of expertise is the chemical composition of dyestuffs. I have been VERY concerned for a LONG time about the inclusion of a chemical called benzedine in dyes we use so I emailed her with a question about it. She kindly replied with a long note to answer my question . I would urge you ALL to read the email she sent me and to be very careful using dyes in your work. Apparently they are much safer now than they were years ago when I did a lot of batik, but you still need to be very careful when using them. As soon as I figure out how to connect you to the link, I shall do so. Watch this space and read what Dr Burch wrote to me. I thank her profusely for getting back to me on this very important issue.

Happy, and SAFE dyeing!

Spot(s) On!

Sorry about the keystoning but I was more interested in the effect of the little gold spots. I THINK I like them but have not fastened them down yet. There are more to go too so I will make them and set them in place and see what I think over all.

Back to the Smoke tree leaves

Well, I have the little piece trimmed and bordered- double bordered, actually. I put a very narrow bright turquoise border strip around and then a piece of batik in colours similar to the background. I like the colours but feel that the outer border is a bit wide so it shall get narrowed down a little bit.

I want to quilt this piece lightly as the decorative stitching is intense and I want that colour and texture to show nicely. I will use the border so I can continue the lines of the leaves as if they were complete into the border instead of leaving them chopped off as they are now. Does this make sense? It does to me , but I am its Mummy! I have a delicious variegated Superior thread for the quilting: )

Amaryllis time again

This bulb was given to me last Christmas by my sister in law. It was gorgeous , sitting in our sunny front window. I do need to get a better photo of it as the angle was poor and the furniture behind it shows in the picture . I shall do better in future. It is time to buy some Amaryllis bulbs for people again now as they will hope to have them in bloom for Christmas.

This little piece was almost all turned applique with a wee bit of fusible work for small details- stamens and pistil for example. I LOVE flowers and I LOVE applique. It takes very little to keep me happy : )

Partly stitched

My back is tired now! I  have been sewing all day - well, almost! So far ,so good.

I am very brave to show the closeup of this stuff. My sewing area is so small that my style is well and truly cramped so I wiggle and get caught on things sometimes. You can see evidence in spots. Sorry!

I do like the effect of the metallic thread . I am using Superior Metallic and LOVE it. Never had a metallic as easy to work with : )

Possible solution

Well, I MAY have found a solution to my spotty dilemma! I have painted Evolon with Setacolor ultramarine blue and am now using Lumiere gold on top and I THINK I may have a winner. The blue is rich and deep enough and the gold, subtle enough so that it appears it will not be too garish. I need to do more thread painting on my big leaf before I put the spots on so I shall keep cutting and painting and sewing and a picture or two shall follow .

It is a stunning day. I am feeling better and I am off shortly to Dundas to see Anita Zobens for a lot of new, glorious colours of 30 wt Superior thread to continue my Smoke Tree Leaves. Did I ever mention what a colour junkie I am ? This is shaping up to be a good day. Lucky me!!

Smoke Tree Leaves so far

Well, I am beginning to see this come together. There have been bits added since this and there will be more before I do the stitching but here is a start. I love the colours! Fun to do but fiddly!

Wow! I ordered a little starter kit of procion MX dyes YESTERDAY from a Markham company, G&S Dyes and UPS delivered it today to our front door. Not an inexpensive service, but very speedy. I used to use Procion dyes years ago doing batik but when I learned how dangerous they are , I stopped. I shall be mixing them OUTDOORS , covered up and wearing a mask. Should be quite a sight. Anyone for tickets??


Here's the problem . I have these glorious Smoke Tree Leaves to quilt and I am still wondering what to do with the fabulous spots in the centres of some of the leaves. There is nothing wrong with the tree. It just makes these lovely little golden, blue edged spots on some of the leaves as the colour changes in the fall. I love them and want to put them into this little quilt...but what to do? WHAT to do - and HOW?

This is blown up a lot so it may look odd but I posted the whole picture a few days ago. I have the majority of the quilt pieced now and am wondering where to go from here. I have lots of scraps left over so maybe I will experiment with paint. My Lumiere paint dry brushes pretty well so maybe a few spots can get dry brushed with a little metallic haze- and then... the spots! I have used some metallic tissue organza already so I wonder if some even more metallic stuff might be in order- two layers, blue underneath, gold on top? It is not realistic at the moment so a bit more stretching of the truth will not hurt I think.

I am still sick and now I seem to be rambling. I guess we shall all stay tuned and watch this space to see where the crazy lady takes this from here. Wish me luck!

First snow

It snowed yesterday for the first time this year. It was just those little hard pellets we sometimes get and it did not stay on the ground. It sounds like they have some north of here though.

I am sick today with a horrid cold. We are NOT amused! I have been trying to concentrate on sewing but to little avail.It seems the thing I am most fixed on is my kleenex box: ( Boo!

The back garden is pretty bare now. We can see right through to the escarpment in some spots.Some oak leaves persist and there are a couple of Maples still burning gold but with polka dots of black Tar Spot fungus. Does anyone else feel like this pestilence has only appeared in recent years? I want to talk to some REALLY old people, even older than I , and ask if this is a new phenomenon.

Has anyone else noticed how prolific the wild grape is this year? Does that mean we are in for a wild winter? I guess we will have to wait and see. There are places in the countryside round here where wild grape hangs in huge blue-black curtains. I need to get some pictures.It is also time to start collecting more pictures of the skeletal remains of the summer of 2011. This is all that is left now of my hydrangea, Endless Summer. Too bad.

Time these people saw the light of day!

Can you tell that I am an Alice in Wonderland fan? This is obviously Absolem, The Blue Caterpillar. I LOVED Alan Rickman's portrayal!
 The Dormouse - with his little book of bedtime Tales. I suspect he rarely requires a bedtime story, knowing Dormice.
 This fellow has been painting the roses red. Anyone for croquet?

Themselves- the Queen and Knave of Hearts . I THINK there is something going on with these two. They seem to have eyes for each other.
 He's VERY late! He now has fuzzy slippers but I had not finished them when I took this picture.
Nothing to do with Alice and Co, but the Fisher Bros here have made quite a catch. They should have done with a Whole New can of Worms. These two are my Mum's VERY favourite .

She is gone but not forgotten

Isn't she gorgeous!! She is called Patty's Plum but it seems her true colours do not want to show here. Imagine her with a sort of dull blueish plum bloom over the bright pink and you may be closer . I am sad that Patty has all but disappeared from our garden but hope to see her again next spring. In the meantime , I pulled this photo out to make a sample of how to make a pattern for a quilt from your own photo( or someone else's - WITH permission!) . We did this in my class last week but I took the drawings to my lovely printer. This week, I want to show people what to do if you live too far from a real print shop. Meantime , we can all enjoy Patty's Plum.Think spring.Mind you, today is exhilarating , cool, clear and brilliant sun. My walk was really invigorating today.

Interesting thought!

I spoke with our Darling Daughter the other day and told her that her old parents had met fifty years ago. Her reply..... Being that the relationship was now over fifty years old, it was now considered " archaeologically significant" .Archaeologists, it seems, are not interested in things newer than fifty years of age. Nice to be archaeologically significant: )


We cut the Smoke Bush back yesterday . As I was dumping more trimmings into the tin for collection at the curb, I found these samples of my favourite part of our Smoke Bush. It sometimes makes these stunning little patches of brocade. These two pictures, or at least one of them, will definitely be a little wall quilt some time !
I have started collecting sead head pictures now and look what I found right at our front door !
How stunning is That???

It is plain old Saucer Magnolia . The seed head, which starts off looking like the head of a goose, pale green and fuzzy, has turned into this magnificent structure. This will be a complicated bit of work but REALLY screams to be slightly abstracted and then embellished heavily . I am still lost in the variety of textures!