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!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Rainbow is the Pot of Gold!!

For a number of years my Mom, sister and I have exchanged “12 Days of Christmas” gifts. I think it kind of evolved from filling stockings of each other, but this way we extended the holiday just a little longer. Each year it does get a little more challenging to find unique gifts or ones we haven’t already gifted to each other. Generally we try not to give repeats although some repeats are just fine with us, like our Mom’s creamy blonde fudge!!

We all have a difficult time keeping secrets and in holding back gifts we purchase early in the year. Plus we held Christmas in June this year so we are somewhat seasonally challenged.....

Today at my parents house we were looking for an envelope that had gone missing when I found another envelope with my sister’s name on it. Thinking she had misplaced it, I handed it over to her. She looked it, set it down and then picked it up and handed it back to me. An early 12 Days gift she said.

I believe I have mentioned how crazy creative my sister Joanne is....she has more ideas in one day than most people have in a lifetime. Well, here she goes again.....She had used approximately 400 photographs I had taken on recent trips and used them to design this fabric. Then she had it printed at Spoonflower!

I have 4 of these panels plus the smaller color samples along the right hand side!

I have a full yard of this great design to utilize!

Joanne used approximately 400 photos I had taken to create this design!! It is fun trying to identify what the photos are and where they were taken!
I have these pieces of fabric draped about so that I can enjoy them and dream about how I will use them. I know I am going to have a hard time making the first cut, just because I want to be sure I have decided on the perfect project first.

Thanks, Jo! Once again, you have outdone yourself! Lucky me!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Feature Friday on The Needle and Thread Network

Today I am the Feature Friday blogger The Needle and Thread Network! I really appreciate having this Canadian based network available and it is a pleasure to have been asked to introduce myself via this platform. 

These days seem to be a time for reflection as life moves far too quickly for my liking so I focused my choice of photos on pieces I have created using my children’s artwork as my source of design. I thought I would include a few more photos of our collaborations here. 

My daughter’s version of a moose nibbling a tree. 

The finished designs are always true to the original drawings, but I do take liberties with the fabric choices. These creatures are fused to some hand dyed fabric, then satin stitched, and I have added embellishments with sculpty clay and dimensional paint.
The outer rows are all drawings by my children. My favorites are my daughter’s witch and cat on broomsticks and my son’s skeleton, although the “Willing to Boo” is very clever and how can you not like an invisible man?

I have an incredible morgue of Gabe and Simone’s drawings and I doubt if I will ever tire of using them as inspiration. I so enjoy the freedom of thought behind their artwork. It always amazed me how relaxed they were about drawing and how they could sit and transfer their ideas to paper so quickly. I don’t recall erasers ever being used. That kind of confidence is what I aspire to.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Longarm Latitude

I had some false starts on my first single bed quilt but I am finally humming along nicely! There have been a few odd issues with my new longarm and it took far too long to figure out the latest problem. As an indication of how these machines are attune to every nuance, I discovered through trial and error and many hours of going back and forth and under the table, that there were 3 very, very small nicks in the aluminum carriage rail. So, every time the wheel rolled over them, my line of stitching went haywire. After getting my hubby to consult with me over this, I used some very fine grade black sandpaper to rub the nicks down. And now my machine glides just as I dreamed it was supposed to! Wonderful! And a relief.

The first idea I started stitching just wasn’t working for me and I am so glad I took the time to pull out what I had done and start again. I am quite happy with the direction I am going with this piece. I am about half way through the quilting. Now, as long as I don’t run out of thread....Today I am joining up with    The Needle and Thread Network.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Quilt Shop ala Iceland

There was one very large quilt shop in all of Iceland. Patchwork is very new to this country with quilting groups being organized only over the last several decades. Apparently there are now over 450 active guild members on the island. 

Other interesting statistics: there are 320,000 people living in Iceland and 37% of all residents live in Rekyjavik, the largest city on the island; there are over 500,000 sheep (so many that they only shear them once a year!) although after the recent freak snowstorm, that number has dropped by 100, possibly more(!); there are 32 letters in the Icelandic alphabet; there are 100 different colors of Icelandic horses, each with their own name. 

But, back to the quilt shop! The store is called Virka and what a beautiful store it is! They sell furniture, home decor and home sewing as well as anything and everything you could possibly need to quilt! The large bottom floor is entirely devoted to quilting materials and supplies. 

This was just one row of flannels between rooms....

This was the beige to brown section - I can’t begin to guess how many bolts this store has but you would be hard pressed to not find something in your color range!
Virka has an extensive selection of Bali batiks that would rival any American quilt shop - grounded or online! Unfortunately, I found the prices were on the high end as well, but if you were looking for a specific colorway, this was where you would find it.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Visual Art in Akureyri

Akureyri, with 17,000 residents, is the second largest “city" in Iceland and along with being a very cosmopolitan area in its own right, has numerous places of interest within its radius - can you say geothermal hot springs?! We had booked ahead for two nights accommodation and found ourselves staying in what we laughing called our "Ikea showroom”! It was a lovely 3 bedroom flat with every last item (except for one very unusual and relatively unattractive lamp shade) being from Ikea!

The city is located on a busy harbour and is surrounded by snow covered mountain peaks with its placement on the globe making it very close to the Arctic Circle. It is home to the only Art Museum in Iceland located outside Reykjavik. The Museum is associated with a Centre for Visual Arts with an extensive art program for all ages. Icelanders are a very, very creative bunch and they support the arts in their communities with every town having one, if not two statues along with craft cooperatives, many individual craft shops and just about everyone wears a handknit lopi sweater!! The corrugate metal and concrete houses are often painted beautiful shades of red, blue or gold and they stand out like bright flowers against the incredible land and seascapes.

The current exhibit at the Art Museum, in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of Akureyri, was called: Arsborealis - People and Culture of the Arctic. There were pieces from many artists of Northern communities including Iceland, Greenland, Norway and even Canada! There was also a photography exhibit on display with some huge photos printed and hung on the outsides of the buildings they were exhibited in.

The Museum advertised in this very unique way of using street art including a piece of sidewalk art which was secured to the pavement walkway. The dresses which hung over the road, flapping very aggressively in the strong Icelandic winds were approximately 12 - 16 feet in length! There were also rows of aprons, and various banners flying across the street.

Their means of drawing attention to their shows was definitely effective because we spotted them from afar and just had to get a closer look at these colorful banners. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Agony and the Ecstasy

"Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen." Leonardo Da Vinci

Hmmm....easy for you to say, Lennie....although, perhaps you are right. 

I am currently removing a section of longarm stitching that just didn’t work. And maybe I wouldn’t have realized this if I hadn’t been away where I could only ponder the project from afar. And realizing it now, before I get into the meat of the stitching, is no doubt best.

So, maybe Mr. Da Vinci did know of what he spoke. He does have a number of successes in his resume.....

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I have been gallivanting....but, I am back and ready to dive in!

Sometimes creativity is best served by a break in routine with an opportunity to draw inspiration from a new setting. And what a gloriously inspirational backdrop we had these past 3 weeks! Every turn, every corner, every way we looked, there was a new amazing and incredible view to admire. The accumulated number of photos taken by we five will take a bit to organize and edit, but I will definitely be sharing some of the beauty we were witness to while in the majestic country of Iceland. 

What a ride it was!!