Peach on earth. Good will toward men.

Tomorrow is Christmas, 2014 and I wish you all the joys of the season and the very best of everything for the New Year. Let us all pray, regardless of the faith that each of us espouses, for peace and love and kindness to all.

This little Santa has been on my Christmas tree since I was first aware of Christmas. It was on my Dad's tree when he was an infant. As the eldest of four siblings, I was given this little batting ornament and I treasure him even though he is faded and tatty and missing one arm! Some day, when he is old enough to appreciate him, I will give my Santa to Oliver.
Here is my treasured little amputee Santa.

                   And I wish you this much joy and wonder this Christmas. God bless you all!

                                           Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!

                               I will post this to the

Clock stopped- for now

We are having dear friends to dinner tomorrow and Christmas dinner for family next week so, for the moment at least, work on the clockworks has ceased. Here is my workspace as of midnight last night. I hope to make it pretty in there for our visit tomorrow!
That is pattern, lightbox, water bottle and FAABBBRICCC!
Yukkk, eh! Wanna make a bet that it SHALL be tidy by tomorrow afternoon ;-)

And the progress on the Clockworks??? Well,
This is where I started yesterday .
I had a little dyeing session because I needed a bluer purple to do the bit under the big wheel and lots of other areas.

And this is where I finished off last night.
Can you see the spot I am nattering about??

This morning, I removed and plan to revise the little space on the right side that looks too bright. It is the "hole" in the wheel on the right side. I don't like it as big or as "lively" as I have made it.

Later the same day. I have cleaned the house top to bottom and have made dinner for tonight AND tomorrow night. Have I worked on the clockworks? NO. Not today. In fact, a day off would be good. TWO days in fact. I am just looking at the colours in the photos I took and they are a bit too high! The colours are subtler than they appear here. There is a LOT of detail to be added. I would love to have all of the substrate covered by Christmas but that may not happen. Not to worry. It WILL get done . I am enjoying doing it anyway.

I used the new Steam a Seam II and was a little disappointed by the fact that it DOES sticky up your machine needles :-( Ah, well, I just keep an alcohol wipe handy and keep the needle clean that way.

The microwave is beeping at me so I am off to deal with that . I plan to send this off to the This could be my last post before Christmas. It is, however, my plan to write a little Christmas message to you all next week so watch for it!

Ticking along

Progress IS being made . This is a VERY complex piece but IF it works, it should be very interesting. I have put all of the deepest shadows in (black) and am now at stage two- the deep rusty brown shadows.
The second layer of shadows
Perhaps you begin to get the idea. It's Mummy knows what is happening :-) There is still a lot of this rusty brown to do, mainly small spots and dots that will go on TOP of the top layer but there are some larger areas to do too. I am really enjoying this one but I can only do so much before having to stop and rest my brain for a bit! ( poor old thing I am!) It is good to be working again.

I would NOT like you to think I have been sitting on my duff! I am working VERY hard on my photography - and REALLY enjoying it! It was ccolddd today . I HAVE to find some warmer gloves but I did go back out this afternoon late to take a few shots at a now favourite little pool I have discovered on the Grindstone Creek behind our house. I NEED warmer gloves! Did I mention that??

My favourite little pool

I LOVE the redness of the late day light. No editing on these pics. The colour is all natural!

Yesterday morning  when I went down there,  I arrived on the edge of the creek bank JUST as four Mallards swam away at GREAT speed :-( Two pair- and I missed them!  
I am LOVING this spot! Being outside shooting photos is very liberating to me . I forget everything else and just concentrate on what I want to do. VERY therapeutic! Hoping you are enjoying this little diversion on my blog posts. I am enjoying doing them!

Like clockwork

HaHa! I have started work on the clock workings. I HOPE to get enough done this week so I feel comfortable putting it aside so I can get ready for Christmas. Christmas is just not the same with no children around the house. However, we shall try to make it merry for family here. Thank goodness for iMessage and Face Time :-)

I have started here with the deepest shadows. I want this piece VERY punchy so I am using BLACK for the deepest shadows- not my usual style. I cannot tell you the last time I used a piece of black commercially dyed fabric. This time, however, I BELIEVE it is what I and this piece need. "Time" will tell!

To date, I have drawn my pattern and had it enlarged at the print shop. I have cut a piece of plain cotton muslin big enough to act as a substrate for the appliqu├ęd bits and I have pinned one pattern under that muslin to help with placement of tiny pattern pieces. Now, with the aid of the second pattern copy and the light box, I am numbering and tracing my pattern bits onto freezer paper, ironing fusible onto the back side of my black fabric( either Wonder Under or Steam a Seam II), cutting them out and fusing them in place.

To date- here is my "progress" - if I dare call it that just yet!
I admit it is NOT a stellar photo . However, I believe you CAN see the beginnings of the gears and levers.
Obviously there is a LONG way to go. I am auditioning some fabrics today that I have already dyed. I keep wondering if I have enough so that I do not have to dye before Christmas. I may have . Stay tuned.  I will be after the deep brown and deep purple shadows next. I HOPE to make a second post later this week. Wish me luck!

As it is Tuesday, I will post this offering to the I have not looked at TNTN yet this week but there is always SOMETHING interesting going on there! Check it out.

Back in the saddle ?

I MAY be ready to start a new piece of work- based this time - VERY uncharacteristically- on a manmade object!!! I have been photographing anything and everything and took a bunch of shots of the inner workings of one of our many antique clocks.

Here is my original photo. Not wonderful as a photo but great to work from, especially after...
...I played about with it in Photoshop Elements!
I will need to dye some fabric for sure but before that, I must decide on the size and have my pattern printed. I am doing the cartoon this afternoon and will take it to the printer- hopefully tomorrow. I am kind of excited about this one. Hope it turns out nicely. I hope to use some interesting fabrics and some heat transfer foil too- copper, silver and brass. We shall see but I am looking forward to trying it.

As DH was out almost all day today, leaving me carless, I spent the day (suffering with a very sore back) playing cameras in the front window . I was still fooling around with the lily and WB settings and my reflectors...

I used the gold reflector to see if I could "warm up the light on the lily ! Seemed to work.

The Love of One Orange is at the bottom of the page here . It was really fun to do. I LOVE the light shining through fruits. I am just kind of crazy that way!
The Love of One Orange. Nice light 

I am having a hassle with the layout of this post but am going to post to the  I hope others have not had the kind of trouble I have had here  tonight. Enjoy the posts this week and send one in yourself :-) Happy creating!
Pretty happy with this one. I used a gold reflector to really "warm " the light up!

As well, I ended up taking MANY photos of one of our little clementines - VERY delicious and delicious to photograph too. I keep looking at these trying to decide if I could quilt one of these photos of the orange??? Hmmm!

The Love of One Orange- same orange, different view 

Lost :-(

I have been messing about and have now lost my last post- A Little Sojourn! NO idea where it has gone. I tried to make a new page but it messed me up so I will stay with this format. I WAS going to do a separate page for things photographic but not now. Here is something pretty to look at though so this page is not a total dud.

I treated myself to a bunch of Stargazers to photograph. Love them!

I have spent a LOT of time working on my photos while I am still taking this course. We have had very little sun lately though which is kind of frustrating for photos . Even MORE frustrating is the fact that a week ago yesterday (Friday), I discovered a leak in the laundry tubs so we have spent the whole week repairing and finally replacing the tub and poor DH spent a LOT of time on his back on the floor plumbing. Now he is suffering the aftermath of that undertaking. If I had not mentioned it before , DH has serious back problems and so has to be VERY careful with what he decides to do. He did a great job as always but he really should NOT have done it himself.

Here is the old tub. It was cracked and deteriorating badly.

And here is what we replaced it with. I decided on black because of the dyeing . It is all installed now and works very well.

Certainly not very House and Garden but VERY efficient and working very well. Thanks so much to DH :-)

And just for pretty... Japanese maple in Tennessee-

-and dogwood fruit- also in Tennessee
One of these days- soon, I hope , I will be downstairs dyeing up a storm so I can get back to my work. I hope you are all well and happy. Cheerio for the moment .

If Monet Grew Hydrangeas- finally finished

It is finished at last!I have had many many interruptions but I DID finally get this piece done. It was fun to quilt. It still needs a label but for that, it needs its official portrait done and we have a lot on our respective plates just at the moment. Anyway, here it is at last!

The completed piece 
We LOVED visiting Giverny in the summer of 1995 when our daughter performed at the Festival Interceltique in L'Orient in Britanny . While she was dancing, we visited Giverny and the Normandy beaches . Then we joined her for the end of the festival. The memories of that trip are still VERY fresh in all of our minds. Wish I had had longer to soak in the beauty of Giverny. I would LOVE to visit in iris time :-)Anyway, IF Monet had grown Hydrangeas- this is how I imagine they might look allowed to grow"wild", which , in the case of Claude Monet, would LOOK wild but would be VERY controlled. As I said in earlier posts on this piece, this was based on one piece of my hand dyed cotton fabric. What a happy accident!
The left side closeup
The right side closeup

It is no accident that I am posting today. This is WIP Wednesday and although this is now a FINISHED piece, I will share it on the There are lots of interesting posts this week. Be sure to drop by and enjoy.

All done! Santa get ready:-)

The Christmas stocking is done- well, all but a hanging loop . I hope Oliver likes it. Santa may VERY well require paying work to fill this one! I hope Santa does NOT go crazy. I just need to make and install a little hanging loop and it is ready for Christmas.
It is time again to make our posts to the  . I hope you will all go over there and have a look at this week's posts. Remember, you can post till Thursday :-) Enjoy!!

Exciting news!

Right out of the blue, just about this time last year, I was invited to submit work to this upcoming publication. At first I was only asked  to submit a couple of pieces and later, I was asked to send more work. Then.... NOTHING! I figured the whole thing had been called off but tonight I got an email saying the book IS in publication and some of my work IS included! Kind of exciting :-)

This is a "buy link" sent by the publishers of the book for your interest. I certainly WILL order a couple of copies. Hope it is as interesting as it looks. BTW, on the left hand side of the book cover, you will see "Rainy Day People" by Terry Aske! Congratulations, Terry.
Well, here is a nice surprise! I have just learned that this book is now in publication - and some of my work has been included!

Full on Granny Mode!!!! (tee hee)

I guess today's post finally indicates that I am well and truly a Granny- albeit one who does not plan very carefully. I decided Oliver needs a Christmas stocking so I am making him one. It will be fine eventually but it needs a lot of work. I did buy some new fabric but didn't end up using most of it. Instead I pieced a background for the stocking front from old Christmas coloured batiks I had in my stash. As you will see, I ended up with some patches of colours that are too close to each other- e.g. the strip of greens at the toe end :-(

There really is not enough contrast in values between the Tin Soldier figure and the pieced background but by the time I quilt the background and satin stitch around the soldier and sew on all the little details- eyes, for example, AND put the cuff on, I believe it WILL work! Here is the story so far....
Here is the soldier, unadulterated

And the stocking so far.

There is still lots to do before it is finished. Hopefully, Santa Claus will be a bit slow off the mark this year and I will be done in time for Christmas Eve's Hanging Up. I MAY put a toe cap on the stocking. We shall see .

I have to copy out my notes from last night. It was the second Digital Photography 101 class - the topic was exposure- VERY interesting. No classes now for two weeks:-( We have a provincial election next Monday PM and the library , where we meet, has a staff professional development session the Monday following.) SOOO... LOTS of practice time :-) I am VERY excited about trying some more shots.

Well , stay tuned for the stocking's progress. I will post this to the hoping that you will drop by and see what everyone had done/is doing this week. Enjoy! 

Busy week!

We have had a busy week! I bought a new camera- a Nikon DSLR, D-5300. It is VERY nice and we are gradually becoming good friends :-) I have been working on If Monet Grew Hydrangeas. I started an eight week digital photography course on Monday night. I am old and frail and need a rest!!!

Here is the new camera. DH also gave me my Christmas present early- a 90mm Tamron macro lens!
I am loving it and learning a LOT! You have been warned... I may be showing you my lame attempts at stunning photography if and when I become more proficient and if and when I get brave!

And here is Monet and his hydrangeas to date. Still lots of stitching to do.
Closeup of some of the stitches. Some floret centres have French knots

Just a different section from a bit farther away

Much, but not quite all of the little piece. The brilliant blue is a bit overzealous. It is much subtler in reality!
I have been torn between loving "Monet" and wondering what I was thinking. I DO like the idea and as I quilt it, I am becoming fonder. We shall see what my students think of it tomorrow. Stay tuned! If nothing else, it is a great exercise in patience and in free motion technique. I have used a million different colours and weights of threads and have changed spools a zillion times! I am working on my 10,000 hours toward becoming proficient at free motion! That is what DH says I need to do ;-)

As for the camera and the class, it is MOST enjoyable. I LOVE digital photography. It is MY thing! I have been flying by the seat of my semi clever pants up till now. Now, I HOPE our esteemed instructor can pound some sound techniques and information into this very old dog's tired old brain. I am certainly motivated and trying VERY hard! This week, I am the WIP! Thought I would share this on the Check it out. There is already some interesting work posted there!

A HUGE surprise !!

I am blown away this afternoon. I have been watching the opening day of SAQA's 2014 Benefit Auction. My little 12"x12" piece is in group one so it is in the first group to be bid on. Last night ( when I ASSUMED bidding was over for that group at $750) , seven pieces had sold. That was pretty good with six days to go. Anyway, at noon today, my iPad bingbonged me so I stopped making lunch to see who was emailing me (DD is ill and I thought it might be she). It was NOT. It was Martha Sielman, the head lady at SAQA, congratulating me on my quilt having fetched $750!! Bidding for the first day finished today at 1:45 EDT ! I am truly BLOWN AWAY! My piece from last year went for $350 and I was excited at that!

Here is the little quilt- called Pink Peony Centre.

It is all cotton, hand dyed, raw edge and heavily machine embroidered. I will post this to the  Have a look there and DO go to the SAQA 2014 Benefit Auction site ( google it) and see what other people are doing. Feel free to support SAQA with a bid on a little quilt. There are bidding instructions on the site! Enjoy

Small problems

Thank goodness for DH! He is a wizard with building stuff and with  electrical things. Here is my problem!

Here is where I sew! Compact, springs to mind.
See how crowded I am ?
Do ya see the heat vent?
Here's what happens when I try to roll my chair!!!

Well, I sweet talked DH into making an extension on my table on the right hand end so I could slide the table away from the vent and roll my chair easier. He agreed and measured it all up. We had the desk pulled out from the wall to measure and I went behind it to mop and dust and found THIS!!!!!
We had had two power bars plugged into the socket behind the table.This had happened to each plug!
The receptacle looked like this when DH dismantled it!

We THINK there must have been a lightning strike or a power surge to do this as nothing plugged into this could/would do that. Good old DH! He has replaced the plug,replaced the sheathing burned off the wires and  replaced the two power bars and tonight, he is ALMOST finished the desktop extension. Photo to follow. In light of all of the postings about renovated sewing studios, I decided to post about this massive undertaking ! I shall post the finished job tomorrow AND the NOW FINISHED Giant Hollyhock!

I have spent all afternoon at the Art Gallery of Burlington(ON) doing a decent job as a docent for Fibre Content, the joint show of fibre arts with SAQA and several other local groups. VERY nice show. It is on till next Tuesday (16 Sept) so DO drop by if you are able! No charge for admission but a $5 charge for the lovely catalogue.

I shall post this to the . Drop by and see what's up. I shall edit this in the morning when the light for taking pics is better.

And here I am back again- like a bad penny! Here is the table now-
If you look carefully, you can see the added bit AND where my chair and knees will go -AND THEY WILL MISS THE HEAT VENT! YAY , DH!

AND- ta, da- the finished Hollyhock-
All done!

OK, NOW go to TNTN! The link is above. Enjoy!

What to do on a hot day... and the next day- and then a somewhat cooler day!!

It is sultry. It is just plain old HOTTT! VERY humid and I am NOT a fan. I NEED a fan! Actually, thank heaven for Air Conditioning. Tomorrow may be cooler- or so "they" say. I shall hold "them" to it!

Anyway, in the steamy heat, I have been gainfully employed. I have begun the quilting of the Hollyhocks. I have the big full one pretty well done except for the centre and a few embellishments which shall wait till the end. Here it is to date. That is a LOT of sewing. I think I will treat myself, the hollyhock and my machine to a fresh needle and I'll clean the machine and oil it. It has worked hard this afternoon.

Centre not done , partial bloom not done but the main flower is pretty near to finished .

I shall see how much I get done before tomorrow. I MAY post this on TNTN. Maybe I will have the energy to go further tonight. Enjoy a pleasant evening one and all.

And here we are again- with the blooms all stitched . We had RAIN this afternoon- GOOD rain with even a bit of thunder :-) Anyway, here are the two blooms all stitched and quilted. All I need to do now is the stem but I shall leave this and HOPE to walk tonight in the cool? We'll see. I AM going to post this to the This IS still a WIP so here it is , so far...

Bloom and a half all stitched. Tomorrow- the stalk and then- the BACKGROUND!

I may not keep that much background but we shall see! Enjoy TNTN!

Here I am back again. You will be sick to death of these hollyhocks but I am taking a little break fro the background quilting now! Exhausting, but I am liking it so far. It is a huge acreage to do and I may not keep it all. I shall, however, DO it all. I DO like the look of the background all nicely flattened down :-)
There we are! Top right hand corner done! I have been all afternoon at that.
OK, once again, check out TNTN! And- ENJOY!

ps.- You DO know that you can click on a photo to enlarge it and then click in the background to go back to the post?

A little post for AJ

A few days ago several of you kind folks offered me some great suggestions as to what to do with these here hollyhocks here:-) One lovely suggestion came from AJ. She wondered about natural dyes- e.g. red onion skins! It was a wonderful idea but there is a hitch- in fact several. Natural dyes are beautiful for sure but they are not nearly as colourfast as the new Procion MX dyes I use. Also, just like trying to mix Kaffe Fassett fabrics with other commercial fabrics- ya just rarely get away with it! The colours just do NOT work together. The hand dyes I  are brilliant, clear colours and my natural dyes , also beautiful, are VERY subtle! Lastly, the natural dyes work splendidly on wool and silk and linen but they are pretty pallid on cottons. So, sadly I had to forget the idea of natural dyes.

That said, I did confess to AJ that I HAD done a LOT of natural dyeing and hand spinning once upon a LONG time ago in another life. I promised I would photo my baskets full of yarns for her. they are. I was REALLY shocked to see that the little tag labels on my skeins are dated 1978!!!!! My babe was born in 1977 so this stuff is OLD ( sorry Katherine!) It was a joy to do . I intended to weave with it but I found my neck and back were not up to weaving so I have baskets full of lovely natural yarns and lovely DYED yarns just languishing in the darkness of our cellar. DD is a knitter. Maybe she'll knit something woolly some day? Anyway, here are some of the yarns I spun and dyed , AJ!
Madder, Onion skins, indigo, Queen Anne's lace, Buckthorn, Logwood, St John's wort, and a natural black fleece

Some dyes with my wool cards, a lovely cherry  drop spindle hand turned by DH, fleeces of all sorts including ratty looking black goat 

 A GORGEOUS Mi'kmaq willow splint basket I purchased years ago in Nova Scotia
So there you have it folks! My spinning, natural dyeing career ( well, obviously not the WHOLE career!) in a couple of baskets. BTW, I believe the pinkish skein beside the cards is sumac. I smelled up the entire house for days making sumac dye- smelled like fruit jam . The First Nations folk make sumac tea as a medicinal drink. I used to know a whole lot of this stuff! I know that sumac tea is fuzzy tasting because of the sumac flowers and not a yummy drink. It is likely efficacious though.

And , a parting shot- here are the hollyhocks to date. I am playing with details at the moment and the blooms are sitting on top of the fabric I bought for the background. I have some transparent fabrics I MAY use for background too. The colours are not too accurate here. Need to reset my White Balance!
In fact , the colours are wretched here but you may be able to see the process?
Cheerio for the moment folks. Happy Labour Day Weekend. Be safe, be careful, wear your seat belts and your life jackets ( hopefully not together).

Fraught with frustration :-(

I am here to whine a little!! I have had this silly hollyhock together, apart, on the white background fabric, off the white background fabric, on several different coloured backgrounds, with and without the stalk, leaves and dead blooms ! My DDDH has had me all over southern Ontario today trying to do the impossible by looking for the nonexistent. The man deserves a medal!

I found a part of a fat quarter of Stonehenge fabric in very pastel greys, soft greens and a light wash here and there of a pinky lavender. It is the watercolour effect I was thinking of but NOBODY seems to carry it any more. I rarely , if ever, buy printed fabric any more but this would have been perfect.

I THINK I have pretty much decided that the stalk etc is not helping the design, so it is set aside. I MAY add another larger leaf near the bottom of the blooms- I say MAY??? I tried the flowers on a piece of my hand dyed fabric - only so-so to me. The blooms are NOT actually finished yet. There are a lot of little detail bits to add and I think that once I do the stitching and quilting, I will feel better- BUT there is NO suitable background for this yet. I believe I COULD dye something and DO intend to try tomorrow. To that end, I am going to mix some fresh dyes tonight and let them stew over night. I have not felt this frustrated for a LONG time! It is likely good for me. I always start out KNOWING I will finish what I start with a modicum of success. This has knocked me down a peg or two and , chastened, I will post a photo with the blooms on that old piece of my own hand dye ( which I do NOT like at all) and will then post the whole shebang to the Feel free to malign or encourage or both. My skin is tough!

May or may not leave the stalk. It was a LOT longer! Horizontal version here.

And square one here. I do NOT like the tie die look! Colour---eh :-/ and the stalk is DEFINITELY outta here!
OK, CAPS TO INDICATE THAT THIS IS A LATE ADDITION! I have discovered a piece of the fabric I was looking for in Cambridge, ON at Sew Little Time! Yay for that!! I emailed Northcott and a woman called Arlene kindly returned my email with a list of the places that had ordered the fabric from them. Fortunately, SLT was on the list and is just an hour from our home :-) later this afternoon, as arranged, off we go to get it. It is wide backing but it will serve as wide fronting, backing, facing and sleeving for this piece. The pics are not great but you MAY get the idea somewhat. This is the remains of a FQ I had bought ages ago - just because I LOVED the colours!!Sadly, Stonehenge has gone out of favour now. Not sure why it never caught on . I REALLY liked it.

Left side of the blooms

Right side of the blooms
MUCH better and I am toying with the idea of some bits of tulle overlay to emphasize some spots but we shall see once I get the piece of fabric. there are little bits of detail to add to the hollies and then the decision will be taken. BTW, for those of you who seem to be "stockers", I have decided that I SHALL use part of the stock. Wish me luck and good luck to All Y'All too! Thanks for your valued input. MUCH happier camper here today :-)