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, September 30, 2014

Participating in Hope and Survival, the Scroll of Remembrance

Yesterday was a great mail day! I received the envelope Laurie Swim sent me with everything I will need to be a part of her latest project, The Halifax Explosion Memorial Project entitled, "Hope and Survival”.
By sewing the beads on these pre-printed fabric sheets, I will contributing to the completion of the Scroll of Remembrance, a documentation of all those who passed away in the explosion. The beads are the Braille dots which accompany the written names, in itself an intricate part of the design as many were left sightless after the Explosion. I am thrilled to be participating in this wonderful piece of art which will honor and memorialize a very vital part of our Atlantic history.

If you are interested, check out Laurie’s directions here.

I am excited to start and excited to be included! 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Oh, Mr. Rit, I think your “Orange Sunshine” is bleak..

Sometimes efforts seem futile. Or, at the very least, ineffective. Which I suppose is the same thing..I guess I am trying to say that even though I really accomplished a lot today, a few things that did not go well overwhelmed the good parts of my day and led to frustration.

I am preparing for a workshop that I am team teaching with my partner in crime, Louise, also known as Nancy. The workshop is “Surface Design, Not Just another Pretty Face” or something along those lines. Our day will be spent introducing some lovely folk in Sackville to the fun to be had in creating your own fabric by a variety of methods.

Now, I dye and surface design a lot of fabric. I have for a long time. And in that time, as my interest grew and my techniques expanded, I have collected tools and materials from sources far and wide. But, when I am introducing someone to new-to-them techniques, I like to make it easy for them to continue on in their exploration once the class is over and they do not have easy access to these same materials that I have. And, really, dyeing fabric and surface design doesn’t need to be complicated. You can create some fun fabric with objects you find around the house, or find in the hardware and dollar stores. The main thing is to have fabric, dye and paint that will be colorfast. To me that is the key.

So, in the interest of making it simple for the participants to carry on afterwards if they so chose, I thought I would forsake my treasured Procion MX dyes and see how well Rit liquid dyes would work using the same, or a possibly slightly altered method of dyeing. I have used Rit powdered dyes in the past, many time actually, and always had interesting results. Today was a first for me with their liquid.

When I lead a class on dyeing, I always, always incorporate color theory (actually, I incorporate it into just about every conversation..ask my kids about meal time around here growing up! lol). Anyway, I purchased three dyes to get started - a blue, a red and a yellow. It seems they had a run on dyes lately at Michaels so I bought their “Orange Sunshine”, which to me looked like a golden yellow. Perfect I thought for mixing some nice fallish looking greens and rusts. 


For my first batch, I decided to mix up a lovely green using my blue and some of that “Orange Sunshine”. After a good shake, I poured the dyes into my measuring cup and thought the orange looked just a little bit dark. Adding water, I really started to wonder. The solution looked kind of black and it didn’t have any traces of orange or red that I should have been able to see as it was being diluted. I decided to cook up a second batch, but this time I didn't add the blue, I just used the orange dye. In my mind, I saw something like this....
Well, here is what I got, and there is the bottle of Rit. The label shows the color I was supposed to get..

I am really glad I like to prepare beforehand.

So, I know how this poor little flower feels. Sometimes, you just can’t get out of the way fast enough.....

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sun, Sand, and Swimming on a Sunday in September

Here in my area Sunday was beautifully summery, reminiscent of July days. Before my head left the pillow that morning, I was cajoling my husband into a trip to the beach. An early lunch allowed us an early start and we drove to nearby Parlee Beach for some sun and fun.

We weren't surprised to see a few others with the same idea and a low tide encouraged a number of walkers. We counted a total of 7 adults and a handful of children in the water, all seemingly oblivious to the strong winds that whipped stinging sand in the more open areas.

We had barely gotten our knees damp when we struck up conversation with three very polite and chatty young gentlemen visiting the beach while filming a movie in the area. I exchanged shark snorkelling tales and had a short discussion about snakes (?) with one of the two stunt men while Rejean chatted with the other, as well as with the third fellow, an actor. Rejean took a photo for them wading in the waves and they joked about jealous wives and girlfriends back in Montreal working while they enjoyed the east coast. Then they wandered off in search of seafood while we continued along the shore. My daughter always jokes about me and my frequent conversations with young guys, and I really have no idea why this is a fairly constant thing for me, but maybe they find me, a middle aged, chubby woman non-threatening, or maybe they are missing their moms?? Anyway, they were very fun to talk with and I think they might have stayed longer had they not been hungry..lol Always delightful, these conversations!

After we walked the shore and checked out the wharf area, we came back to the beach and had a wonderfully refreshing swim in the ocean. One fall when our children were in middle school, each afternoon I picked them up after school and drove to Parlee with a van load of their friends and we swam until 8 pm every night! That lasted well into the last week of September and I haven’t seen me in the water this late in the season since then. So, this was a great treat! And to be able to lie on the sand in the hot sun (25 degrees!!) afterwards was icing on the cake! 

Last night the rain pounded down, but the temperature stayed high. This morning the sun is pushing its' way back out from behind the clouds and it is going to be hard to stay on task today..sun, sand and the possibility of an ocean swim are the sirens call for me. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Collaborative Quilt

One of our local guilds held their annual retreat this past winter and as part of the Saturday evening events, participants were invited to play a quilters game of dice and strips. Fabric strips, that is. Our retreat theme was, “Quilters Like to Strip” and all activities on the weekend revolved around 2.5 inch strips. Since I was one of the organizers, I like to think that everyone had a great time and that it was a very successful retreat.

The game was a success and my quilting friend, Juanita won the strips. Being a good sport, she announced that she would use the strips to make a charity, or comfort quilt, and I offered to quilt it.

Fast forward to August. The top and back were pieced, I finished the quilting and Juanita added a beautiful binding and label.


Juanita used every bit of every strip and pieced this lovely top and equally fun back.

On August 24th, one of Moncton’s most enthusiastic and positive quilters passed away. Ree always wore a huge smile and her hugs were legendary. Although I didn’t know her really well, she was exceptionally kind and encouraging the last time we spoke and I will always remember how excited she was for me as I move my way into the world of longarming.
Today Juanita delivered the quilt to Crossroads for Women on behalf of the Greater Moncton Quilt Guild in memory of Ree. We think she would approve.
Marie Ree Defina

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ocean swimming on September 9th

A lot has been going these past weeks. I have neglected blogging in exchange perhaps for being more productive. Or, perhaps not. Maybe I have simply been enjoying the last fleeting days of summer....

Today I enjoyed a long leisurely swim in the ocean. Yes, on September 9th. It was wonderful and clear with gentle waves and beach solitude.
Solo synchronized swimming is the best because improvisation is encouraged..