I come from a long line of sign writers and am happiest with a brush and some paint! Add
paint to fabric and I get really excited!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Embrace it!

This is what I tell myself to do as I make some big decisions in my little world....

Friday, June 22, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Office

I love this time of year! I spend as much time as I can outdoors, so I often move out to what I call my “summer office”. We have decks on two sides of our home so we can take advantage of the morning and afternoon sun - or hide in the shade when the temps get a bit too warm. Over the last few days I have spent a few hours out there stitching and sketching - always with my handy iTools nearby. I have been making my way through quite a few UFO’s and it feels really great to start taking a bite out of the pile that has accumulated over the past....years....yikes! As I work, I have been watching episodes of The Quilt Show to keep me inspired. And a nice cool beverage is always welcome!! And yes, we use mason jars for glassware in this house....

I have never professed to be a great gardener. My thumb is only green when I am dyeing or painting fabric but, that doesn’t mean I don’t try just a little gardening. My hubby made me three window boxes for one deck and our children gave me two more for the kitchen deck on Mother’s Day years ago. This means I can have a small selection of flowers and herbs to enjoy each summer. I love variety, so every year I chose new-to-me annuals for the flower boxes (although I seem to be drawn to begonias again this year I must admit). And I always, always have at least 2 basil plants and a mixture of mints that can be added to teas. 

Every morning I visit both decks and simply exult in the sheer pleasure of the bright, vibrant colors of the blossoms and the variety of greens. I rub the leaves of each herb and enjoy their distinct scents. That is often when I decide we will have margarita pizza with fresh basil for supper or perhaps a chilled mint tea with whatever berry happens to be the fridge at lunchtime. 

This week I am also connecting to The Needle and Thread Network. Check it out!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Turns out the prefect way to spend a few hours this afternoon was on our deck with my laptop playing quilting DVD’s while I stitched a binding on a long neglected baby quilt! I have that summer sun soaked feeling that only comes with days that have blue skies and white puffy clouds. Ahhh......

Even the clouds look relaxed.....

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dylan’s Quilt

Life is hectic these days, but I work on maintaining a focus and keep plodding along. To help keep me feeling productive, I have been working on several “older” projects lately. I am trying to finish them up and move them along to better homes than the shelf they have been languishing on far...tooo...long....

I am an PEI water babe and use water related themes a lot in my work!

This is a smallish quilt of Margaret Rolfe’s design that I started earlier in my quilting career. Like many of us, I tend to “save” pieces of fabric for special projects. Over time I have also learned that the longer you save these pieces, the harder it seems to be to make that first cut and commit them to a piece. Well, I have been undergoing a transformation of sorts and am now of the mind to use whatever, whenever and however feels right! The backing for this quilt is a piece of my stash of Hoffman sky fabric that I loved so much I bought about 10 meters....and used small bits here and there, but always keeping the biggest hunk for that special quilt I was sure to recognize needed it....and so the fabric sat on my shelf and I bypassed it over and over again.

Well, I needed a backing, I was tired of looking, I spied the Hoffman in a stack, held it up against the top and bingo! It was just what I needed! And I have lots left! So, I basted and hand quilted - a luxury these days! - and am now finishing up the binding. It will feel good to finish and have one more project off the UFO list! And it will feel good to share a favorite fabric with a favorite little guy! And hopefully my little grand-nephew will enjoy having his own dolphins to watch and swim with in his dreams.... 

I missed hooking up this week but you should go to The Needle and Thread Network and see what my fellow Canadian quilt bloggers are up to!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Divine Stitchers

I am a member of a small group of art quilters called the Divine Stitchers of the YoYo Sisterhood, although we generally answer to the Divine Stitchers. Since we have formed our group, we have been asked to present our work for a number of guilds in our province. We hope by showing our work and explaining how we function as a group, that it provides encouragement for others to form their own art quilt "support" groups. 

Our first project was a summer group project with 9 quilters participating. We have gone on to complete 4 such summer projects as well as quite a few smaller, individual projects. We have used themes such as Hallowe’en, Traditions, paper quilts, journal quilts and Envelope Envy. The criteria for Envelope Envy was to create a piece using everything that came in the envelope and also incorporating a quote which was also provided at the same time. 

The group formed for many reasons and I believe it has helped all of us grow as quilters, in both traditional and non-traditional methods. It has certainly been great fun watching as each of us has pushed our quilting boundaries and worked to create pieces and use techniques that were either new to us, or far outside our comfort zone. I have seen this confidence in ourselves grow and the willingness to try new techniques spin over into other aspects of our quilting as well. From a personal point of view, it has been wonderful to see the more traditional quilters in the group enjoy embellishing, painting and trying fused appliques methods! Because I have always been one to push the limits - using a glue gun instead of stitching, fusing, braiding, painting, air brushing - whatever it takes to achieve the effect I want to achieve, it is great to find my fellow quilters starting to understand and accept that rules can be broken, new paths can be laid, and the final product is no less worthy.

Our group has been showcased in two editions of the CQA Newsletter and our first summer project “Slice” was presented at the Quilt Canada 2008 “Show and Share” in St Johns, Nfld. The two “Sistas” (as we refer to ourselves) that presented at the CQA Show and Share later said that they felt like superstars with all the attention and cameras flashing! We had left the individual pieces free hanging from the top rod and unbeknownst to us, this apparently made it more interesting and attractive....who knew??

To create this piece we received permission from an artist to use her original painting which I photocopied in color and then sliced vertically into 9 even pieces. Each quilter took a random slice and was to create a likeness in fabric by the end of the summer. In September we met, saw each others work for the first time and showed it to our local guild - the real reason the pieces were left hanging loose. Not any particular artist thought behind this decision, we just felt we were done and were excited and ready to move onto the next fun project!! We also later learned that the artist, Virginia Houston just may have been more willing to let us use her artwork because she thought we were a different sort of Sister of the Cloth....divine intervention? We think so!!

Our group has not been very active of late and there are many reasons why. Some of the reasons are very individually based, but perhaps suffice to say the value of our group may be seeing an end. Perhaps we have achieved what was needed for the time. I have puzzled over this for a very long time and then decided I needed to accept what was and continue on. We do have one group project still on the board and I am one of the group who has yet to complete her portion. Hmm....sometimes these projects do need to purcolate. Sometimes we need to find the time. Perhaps it is time for me to focus and finish so I can move onto the next great fabric adventure....

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fusion of time

I believe I mentioned the piece showcased in my blog banner is one of my favorites. I enjoy re-creating it in various sizes and using various methods. I have to admit though, my go-to method tends to be fusing with satin stitch. I connect this back to my sign writing background - I am replicating the solid outline I always used in my graphics. In the quilting world, adding “pop” is an oft used phrase, but I like to say that solid line of colored satin stitch adds “punch”.

Wonder Under has been my fusible of choice for the most part over the years though more recently I have added Steam a Seam to my worktable. Both keep the fabric somewhat stiff so I was hoping to score some of the newest Misty Fuse at the Quilt Canada Merchants Mall. I never did track it down because somehow I got distracted by the Inktense pencils and a roll of stencil material....oops.

But that is okay. I am used to searching for the tools I want - it makes me think if I really want them bad enough to keep looking! And more times than enough, I discover things I wasn’t expecting to find and often find something even better than what I first set out for - a regular treasure hunt! 

I try to be consistent in always labelling my quilts. I have taught my label making workshop many times and still enjoy creating memorable labels for my pieces. For this piece I decided to do it quick and printed a photo of my children as they set out one morning to Montessori with Simone carrying her 4th birthday cupcakes to share with their friends. I chuckle every time I see this and wonder just where the years have gone....5 and 4 are now 25 and 24....how did that happen?? 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

More Halifax quilting....

As Simone and I started making our way around the Dal Campus Saturday morning, I realized she really needed to see the Fibre Arts Network Quilt Show. After checking out the Nova Scotia Miniature Challenge and partaking of some fresh baked goodies, we headed over to Risley Hall. It was a great opportunity for me to enjoy this wonderful show again and I was right! My daughter thoroughly enjoyed seeing it as well. Interestingly, the show and its' artists became our center of reference for the rest of the weekend!

After viewing the National Juried Show, the Invitational Quilt Show, the Trend Tex Challenge and a quick visit round the Merchants Mall, we ran out of energy and time. Fortunately the Studio Art Quilt Associates SAQA juried show, “Rooted”, which features regional members of this non-profit organization at the Mary E. Black Gallery continues until June 10th, so we were able to visit it before we left Halifax this morning. After a tasty breakfast at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market we walked the few hundred yards to the gallery. What a great show hi-lighting some incredible Atlantic talent!! Well worth seeing if you happen to be near or in the city. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Quilt Canada 2012

Fortunately it is a beautiful weekend in Halifax! The perfect sort of day to wander the Dal campus and take in some great quilt exhibits that are part of Quilt Canada 2012. Yesterday I took in several shows including FAN at Risley Hall. What a great little show! This group is in their own words, a “ co-operative of self defined art quilters based in Western Canada” and I really enjoyed seeing their innovative work. The show is travelling, so check and see if it is coming to your area! 

I was also able to duck into the Merchants Mall for a few minutes. It is crazy how easy it is to spend money quickly (yikes!), but I really didn’t do the shops justice, so today my lovely daughter has joined me, and we will head back over soon. I still need to have some more quality time with my good friend, Karen from Quilting B and More and there are many shows yet to take in.

I will be sure to see the National Juried Show where my quilting friend, Juanita Allain has won a 2nd place for Excellence in Originally Interpreted Traditional Wallquilt for her piece, 25th Anniversary Stars. This was a piece Juanita designed and executed as part of the 25th Anniversary Challenge for the Greater Moncton Quilt Guild - a challenge my friend, Nancy and I organized - so I am happy to have helped provide inspiration for the beginnings of this beautiful quilt! Congratulations, Juanita!

If you have never been to Halifax, put it on your bucket list! It is a beautiful little city surrounded by rugged, yet peaceful shores. Over the years I have lived in various parts of this province of Nova Scotia and even though I “come from away”, it always feels like coming home.