Monday, 31 December 2012

Betcha thought I'd NEVER make it!

Here it is, 8:23 PM on New Year's Eve and I am FINALLY posting some pretty poor excuses for Inchies that I have missed over the past SIX weeks! I will not bore you with all of the reasons but to say- been really busy! Nuff said. I hope you ALL have a very happy, healthy and peaceful New Year whoever and wherever you all are. It has been such a great pleasure getting to know some of you online. I truly value our friendship.

No more nattering- here they are ---
Night

Air

Guess???

More night- they are long nights at this time of the year!

Why are there so many songs about rainbows?

Music

Magic
And , to all - a GOOD NIGHT!

I intend to post this to everyinchiemonday2012.blogspot.com   I am awed at the fabulous things everyone has done and urge you all to continue next year.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Bit of snow at last

Well, at long last, we FINALLY got a bit f snow. This post is especially for Monika K-W. Just to show you that we DO still get a bit of snow here on the shores of beautiful Lake Ontario. This week's WIP- for DH , at least, will be to clear the driveway so we can get out into the world.
Three minutes after I took this little picture out our front door- with the snow freezing my slippered toes- the plow came by and plowed a lovely fat roll of icy snow and stray gravel onto our driveway! At least our road was paved last summer so the amount of gravel will be minimal. Poor DH!!

The best thing about the snow is that we have many cardinals- both male and female, finches of all sorts, , sparrows (naturally) and- of course- the SQUIRRELS- black, grey and red.They are a ravenous horde at the back door feeders. Soon the deck will be patterned with all kinds of little prints from different hungry hordes. At the moment, it is still pristine- gorgeous!

So, yes, Monika- we DO get snow. This fell in a very few hours and it started out on a bright green canvas of bare grass so not bad for one short storm. Enjoy the weather and be careful shovelling! Too cold to make snowmen :-( Maybe next time !

I am posting this to needleandthreadnetwork.blogspot.com   I have just checked the site and there are no posts for this week. We shall see when this does finally get posted. Meanwhile , hope the regular bloggers enjoy it !

AND NOW, HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL AS WELL!

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS

HAPPY CHRISTMAS ONE AND ALL. ENJOY A LOVELY DAY WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS- and go easy on the turkey and treats!

Here he is again wishing everyone a VERY Happy Christmas 2012

Friday, 21 December 2012

Winter Solstice 2012, thanks to DH!

Maeshowe, Orkney
Today's date date is 21 December, 2012. This is the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere- the day of the shortest daylight of the year. From now until the Summer Solstice of 2013, our daylight will increase until the Summer Solstice of 2013 when the cycle will begin again. The photos are of Maeshowe, Neolithic tomb in Orkney,above, and Stonehenge in Wiltshire,England, below - both courtesy of DH as at the time these were taken, I did not have my own camera. As parents of a burgeoning archaeologist ( at THAT time , now fully burgeoned!) we tried to get her to as many places of archaeological interest in Britain as possible.

In ancient times, the Winter Solstice was a time for celebration and reflection . At sunset on the shortest day , the setting sun shone straight in through the passageway of Maeshowe and lit up the wall opposite. Apart from the huge, famous chambered tomb of Newgrange , Ireland - also Neolithic- Maeshowe is unique in its alignment. There are many many theories as to the significance of this particular arrangement , but one that I like is that of the winter solstice marking the end or death of the sun and then its rebirth in the new year- i.e., death leads to rebirth. That makes sense to me . Although the Solstice was NOT the new year for the Neolithic peoples, it is a good time for us to look to the coming year, the rebirth of the sun cycle and the chance to make amends and start afresh.

Stonehenge , Wiltshire, England
 We will all recognize Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. In 1966 , on our honeymoon , we had the privilege of getting up close and personal with these ancient stones- a VERY moving experience! Stonehenge is also Neolithic with Bronze Age additions and it is also connected with solstice celebrations . Today was predicted by the Mayan calendar to be the end of the world and this morning , at sunrise, a LOT of people massed INSIDE the barriers that now protect this site to mark the sunrise on this supposedly apocalyptic day. Google Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2012 and see the travesty that occurred here this morning!
These pictures make our daughter crazy. She has visited the site but was never allowed this close. One benefit of being old, I guess! This one is from 1966- as witnessed by the trendy garb of those ladies, myself not among them !
It is my wish for everyone, that the world NOT end today, but that instead, the ugliness and pain and cruelty that we have all been experiencing on the TV news lately should die with the midwinter sunset and the light of love, kindness and caring should pour into our hearts be born in its place. Sounds schmaltzy, but I assure you, it is meant most sincerely. Love, Joy and Peace is my wish for all .

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Do you see a difference?

This was my output for Christmas 2004! I USED to bake for WEEKS and weeks once upon a time . Then, old age and diabetes set in and here is my Christmas baking for this year...

That is IT! I MAY make some shortbread or my Gran's Ice Box cookies- but nobody is going to gat fat at MY house on MY watch this Christmas!

GOT IT !!

Well, I may have cracked it! I told you I made a new screen shot after finding the original format of my blog . Well, here are the details! Go to the bottom of the strippy  page and find the spot where it says see WEB VIEW. Click on that. Then, the original view comes up. Make a screen shot of THAT and your problems are over . I still cannot seem to make a post on the iPad. Never mind, that's what computers are for- right? SO, if anyone figures out how to POST on this newfangled system, please let me be one of the first to know. Thanks again. Whine over :-)

Curiouser and curiouser!

I have an iPad and a brand new MacBook Pro. Yesterday, I was whining about my blog coming out on the iPad looking blah and strippy . In my frustration, I tried making a new Home Screen Shot on the iPad . This AM, I opened the blog on the old screen shot- same problem. BUT when I tried the new one- it is in the original format! Wonder what that's all about? I still cannot seem to make a new post on the iPad . I never could get pictures attached when I posted on the iPad but I COULD make a text post. I am very new to the MacBook, having recently joined the Mac fold from PC so I am NOT any sort of expert. Are YOU still getting the new format of my blog? I actually cannot imagine why you would NOT be , but I hope you are not. At least on my iPad , my blog opens for ME now in the old style. Let me know please. Thanks.

Monday, 17 December 2012

View Web Version ?????

Has anyone else found a problem viewing .blogspot.com blogs this morning? At first, I thought there was something wrong with my iPad so I checked on DH's- same thing! The page comes up with only my newest pictures on little strips with the captions underneath and no regular text. On my computer, it comes up normally. At the bottom of the page of strips, there is a little bit that says View Web Version. I clicked on that and , voila! - up came my blog in normal format. I tried to write a new posting on the iPad this morning and got a message that said I could not do it and it gave me an error code
                                                                bx-g90x6h

Has anyone else had this experience today? Any ideas??

Sunday, 16 December 2012

It's beginning to look a BIT like Christmas

The beggars for alms are at the door, pale and thin and obviously undernourished ;-)
Our resident red squirrel. DH calls him Chatterer after Thornton Burgess' Red Squirrel. He is insatiable and VERY pugnacious!

Poor photo as it was taken through the sliding glass door. If I had opened it, he would have been inside in a heartbeat!

Anybody home? Anybody sympathetic? Anybody a REALLY soft touch?

Some Christmas alms have been dispensed . I wonder what we should call these disbursements at OTHER times of the year??

Then
There are the Christmas preparations inside the house.
This fellow was made ( by me ) many many Christmasses ago. He is standing up very well. DH wanted to know how soon he would deteriorate to compost! Not just yet, apparently.

I always find Christmas a time of joy tinged with melancholy. My Dad was the heart and soul of Christmas! He used to get us all wound up by about mid November by bringing the Christmas lights upstairs- the old kind, you know- those big frosted red, green,blue and yellow ones with the fuzzy braided cords. He would open the box and pull the strings out one at a time - maybe there was ONLY one cord- and , with great ceremony, plug it in to see which, if any bulbs needed replacing. He would start making decorations too, some out of clear, coloured cellophane drinking straws tied in a bunch and fanned out like a porcupine. He checked the boxes of balls and if any were broken, all shards were carefully collected . We cut a star shape from cardboard , smeared it with glue then Dad sprinkled his homemade glitter on made from the broken balls that he had carefully crushed down in the cellar. Dad was a fanatic decorator of trees . He placed EVERY SINGLE one of lead icicles on , one at a time! Dad LOVED Christmas. We loved Dad!

So, this Christmas, I feel like a failure. My Daddy would be appalled! I LOVE Christmas too but I am clearly getting old. When I brought our little tree upstairs to decorate, I wisely plugged it in before decorating, and found that half of the tree was not lit up! Frustrated, I yanked the lights off and tried to replace them with another string. NO GO! I went crazy trying to do that. The wires kept separating , bulbs kept going out and my temper just got the better of me - so... This year, we have a little tree with NO LIGHTS ON! I DID run a string of lights around underneath the tree on the skirt and it looks ok. However, now that it is all beautifully decorated, I DO miss the little lights on the tree:-(

I had my annual droop too. My Dad was born in November, 1919 and for his first Christmas , his Mum and Aunty( long, fascinating story) bought him a little cotton batten Santa for his first tree. After Mum moved from her own house and no longer had her own tree, she gave ME Daddy's little Santa for our tree. He is a sad little faded amputee, but I ADORE him and he hangs on our tree every year. And- every year, as soon as I see him and hang him up, I have a little weep . I miss my Dad! He died in 1965 so you would think maybe I would be past that but apparently not.

In closing, a couple of pictures of Christmas 2012 at our house and a wish that you all enjoy your own special preparations and memories. Happy Nine days before Christmas!
Daddy's Santa

This year's lightless tree
Happy preparation to all , and to all a good night! I am going to post this on needleandthreadnetwork.blogspot.com I KNOW it is not fibre art but... Please look at the rest of the posts at the top of the page. There is important info there for anyone using an iPad.

SORRY! I DID NOT GET THE LINK RIGHT SO PLEASE FORGIVE. SEE ABOVE RE: OLD AGE :-)

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Ready for Christmas

I have finished as much quilting as I am going to do today. I will likely not be posting any more actual sewing over Christmas but I shall not be silent or invisible. We are  HOPING for a visit from our daughter and son in law after Christmas so I was desperate to empty her room of the quilting stuff. I quilted all day and then started to clear up in that room. I hope to bake, decorate for Christmas and to do some more work on iPhoto and Photoshop so with any luck at all, I will post some of that stuff to show you.





I have been learning to make books, calendars and cards on iPhoto. Those cannot be posted on the internet but I have also been investigating a new App I recently learned of. It is called iBook Author, and I am hoping I will  soon be  making some little books to post online. They are supposed to be touch enabled so those of you with iPads should be able to read them . We shall see. I hope I have time to take one more One to One session on this so I can get started on it. Stay tuned , but do NOT put your Christmas prep on hold in anticipation ;-) 

As I have no new sewing to show, I decided to post some pictures of cards I made for Christmas last year. These were a ball to make and if anyone is interested how they are done, let me know and I will be glad to post directions.

I am going to post this on needleandthreadnetwork.blogspot.com  Enjoy the other posts here too !

I used these and other fibre arts experiments to make one of the two books I have made so far. 

Sunday, 9 December 2012

One step forward, one step back!

The step forward is that I have actually started quilting the Layers project! Yay, me!

Starting at the centre on the base of an iris petal

Two petal bases now
As you see , it is not a LOT but it IS a start! Again, yay me! I have finally got a comfortable setup in the new space in the dining room so expect great progress now.

The step backwards is this. Those of you who have been here with me for a while will know how much I HATE that "Prove you're not a robot" thing and may recall my posting a little badge with that sentiment expressed clearly. Today, you will note that I have removed that thing! The reason, I am inundated by spam from ANONYMOUS! Anyone else hear from him/her/them??? The message is always gibberish but the return addresses smack of smut and WE ARE NOT AMUSED! I have not replied to any of them, naturally but now I wish I had the prove you're not a robot thing in place again. Anybody have any idea how to turn it back on? If you have, do tell  please because I am ready to succumb and ask you to use it. Why is it always the good folks like yourselves who have to suffer for the sake of eejits??? For those few of you who do legitimately use Anonymous as a sign in, please do not worry about signing in with your own name - even just a first name because I am just zapping Anon's "posts" without even paying attention to them any more. If I see the name "Anonymous", it is into the Spam folder , toot sweet!! :-)

Thursday, 6 December 2012

All set to quilt :-)

Well, I am FINALLY ready to quilt this piece. I have commandeered the dining room table as my normal little cubby hole is too cramped for a bigger job like this.The quilt is layered, pinned and ready to go. I am still hoping to find some better colours of thread to use on it but what I have will get me started.
Here is the quilt all layered and pinned ready to go

And now, it is closer to the machine so I am ready to launch
Here is my little empire all nicely established in full view of the street. Mind you, the window badly needs cleaning so maybe no one will be able to see in! Gotta clean that before Christmas!

I will start tomorrow but before I can sew, I have another class at the Apple Store. I have had two sessions already this week on iPhoto and tomorrow is the last one of the series. Then, I will have a basis for deciding what I want to pursue in more depth. iPhoto is a nice little organization App. I use Photoshop for good editing but iPhoto helps me keep everything in order- well, MY sort of order:-)

Tomorrow's class is about using photos to create books, calendars, cards, slide shows etc. I am interested in the books particularly. My darling kids made a beautiful picture book for us several years ago of photos they took on a very cold, very snowy winter visit to us before they were married. Both of them are excellent photographers and the little book is a true treasure. I hope mine turns out as well.

I had meant to post this on WIP Wednesday but missed the time slot today. Too many irons in the fire! I guess it is getting to be time to knuckle down and do some work toward Christmas. Hmmm! That means stopping sewing, drawing, quilting... Well, a change will be as good as a rest- or so "They" say. BTW, I had my newest bed quilt quilted professionally - first ever that I have not done myself. It looks fabulous but I could not get the binding fabric here so have had to order it online from the US. As a result, it will not likely get finished by Christmas . Ah, well, it will be nice for the New Year!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Blue

I have been nearly living at the Apple store here in town , trying to learn how to work my new computer. What a jolly good time I am having. This week, it has been iPhoto week- a class Monday, one tomorrow (Wednesday) and the last, I hope , on Friday. I have also been dumping photos from old hard drives and editing them and saving them out to a Mac formatted drive so that eventually, they can all go back onto OTHER Mac formatted Hard Drives. I have been having FUNN!








Today, I was editing and discarding pictures I took a long time ago, trying to whittle them down to a manageable number and I came across these. I took them last summer . This is a flat disc of blue glass in the form of a little vase. I think maybe there were violets or Lily of the Valley in it and the light pouring through the glass, distorted by it made gorgeous patterns. Thought I'd share them with you. No reason except I love the colour and the shapes.

Enjoy- and don't forget to look at things close up!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

New ideas

As I have been going through photos stored on my external Hard Drives, I have come across some dandies! I found this stunning red Iris that I took at the Royal Botanical Gardens one evening several years ago. I played around with the original picture in Photoshop and came up with a few crops that have now gone into my For Quilting file! It is a VERY full file! I think it could be fabulous- maybe not too huge , say 24 inches - 30 inches square ? Could be very Georgia O'Keefe! Watch out when the Layered one is finished- or nearing finished :-)


The original photo judiciously cropped to get rid of extra background


"Closer to" as my Gran used to say



I like this one a  LOT!
Like I said, keep watching this space. I need to replenish my stores of hand dyes. Reds and purples and yellows would be nice!
Here is Layers so far. Those of you who are trained to observe ( :-) ) will see that some chunks have been removed and replaced and some have been added to. More to do!


Saturday, 24 November 2012

Soldiering on!

I am having a nasty TMJ attack today! I am in a lot of pain and cannot open my mouth very well ( DH is probably happy!- not really. He is VERY sympathetic.)I THINK it may be because of the 85% Lindt Chocolate I eat daily as "medicine"- just 1-2 squares. It is VERY hard and my poor old jaw is protesting - loudly. Gotta be more careful.

I am working away on this big thing and realized that I have not posted a picture for a long time. It is getting heavy and complex now and I may be changing my mind about how to handle it. I WILL finish this layer as planned though. It ain't over till it's over- and it ain't over !

I am not likely in a good enough frame of mind to be doing this but I am determined to finish it asap. Remember, you heard it here first! Enough dawdling, here it is to date... I am about two thirds of the way across the piece from left to right You can see what has not been layered yet- the right hand side and the bottom edge. As I said earlier, soldiering on!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Accessory Inchies

Back from the edge of the abyss. I am here once again on Every Inchie Monday. Sorry for the sporadic participation. It would be a huge yawn for me to relate my reasons for my absence but all that aside, I DID make some Inchies today.

The word for this week was ACCESSORY. We all love them, don't we ladies :-)
Makes me think of my glamourous Mum . She has always done scarves SO well. Still does at the tender age of 92!

Believe it or not, I used to wear hats! I actually used to wear them rather well. The only ones I would be caught dead in now are my silly sun hat in summer and my multi layered fleece one in winter. NO PICTURES!

I still wear earrings though. 

... and I carry a purse- but I carry a REAL purse - filled with everything, camera, iPod, iPad etc etc etc. Now ask me about my sore neck!

I am posting these Inchies on everyinchiemonday2012.blogspot.com
Have a look at the rest of the Accessory Inchies there. Enjoy:-)



Layers craving green

The quilt so far, colour levels reduced in Photoshop to more truly reflect the colours
Here we are to date- as of 4:00PM on Sunday. As you can see, I have begun to add surface detail. LOTS to go and I am almost out of -A- Steam a Seam and , -B- energy!

In my humble opinion, this is doing what I want at this point. I started out with two real photos of real subjects-an open magnolia bloom and a pale blue iris. Those were layered several times in Photoshop and you have seen the resulting picture. Now, I am after an abstracted version of  the photo, HOPEFULLY resulting in a sort of Essence of Spring portrait. At the moment, the quilt top and my heart are crying out for more of the chartreuse green- that most essential of spring colours. It is there in the original but I am going to try to find some spots to emphasize it and to suggest little growing shoots amongst the flurry of flower petals.

I think I have had the biscuit though for today. If I do anything else, it should be the Inchies for this week- Accessory is the word for this week. After dinner, if I am still awake, I will try to make a couple. I have been VERY slack with my Inchies lately as I have been very busy on other things but I will try to get back on the Inchie waggon this week. Enjoy the remains of your weekend.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Not an easy task!

Well, I have bitten off a big mouthful this time. It looks very disorganized at the moment but I am working very slowly and will get it! It WILL be finished to my satisfaction.

I have all of the substrate in place. Sadly, the first few pieces were turned edge, sewn in place and they look wrinkly compared to the fused pieces but when ironed and not moved around, they DO lie flat . It is just frustrating when I am displacing it all the time . Not to worry!


Well, don't be shocked! Here is the quilt top so far. The colours are not exactly true. They are a bit chalkier in real life.
There! That's a bit better. I have just taken a new pic smoothed out and hung up so it makes a tad more sense to the casual viewer.


Here it is with the pattern pieces as I cut them apart for details


Do you find it making ANY sense at all? I do, but then, I am its Mummy!


You  see what I mean about the wrinkles. They DO go away when they are nicely ironed. L O N G way to go yet! Bear with me . OH, and wish me luck- LOTS of luck!


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Photoshop Layers Quilted?

Here is where I am starting on my new project. I LOVE the colours in this photo. It is a Layers project I have been doing on Photoshop and it is a blend of two pictures, a blue iris and a pink saucer magnolia. The pattern is VERY complex and another time , I would layer the pattern too! Anyway, I have made a wee start. Trouble is, it is big and I keep running out of fabrics so I had to dye a bit more this afternoon. Here is the story so far ....
It looks a mess because it IS a mess at the moment. I am just beginning to build up the substrate and will work on the detail once this ground layer is all in place. You can see a few of the pattern pieces and you will appreciate how complicated this will be, but I am up for a challenge :-) The original photo, enlarged to 8"x 10" is lying on the top left of the quilt. I will keep you posted!

I am sorry to have been so scarce lately. I did not do Inchies this week. Just TOO BUSY! Sorry. I am working hard on the new computer , taking classes at Apple, teaching a quilting class  and generally living life in the fast-ish lane. Time seems to be flying somehow.

Had a great long visit with our daughter on Sunday. They had an earthquake on Saturday last at 12:08PM , magnitude 4.3. No damage but it rattled the house for a bit. I had NO idea Tennessee was such an active earthquake zone but it is the second most active in the USA! Those old Appalachians are not settled down  yet!

Well, on that cheery note, I believe it is time to shut down for the evening. I will post this to the needleandthreadnetwork.blogspot.com. There is always lots to see there!

Sorry! Told you I was learning a new computer, Mac instead of the old PC. NOW I see how to do the link for TNTN properly! Sorry Monika :-)