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, August 26, 2013

New Brunswick Mini Vacation

Ah, the fleeting days of summer. I feel the chill in the air, especially in the evening and in the early morning hours. Without fail, after the kettle is put to boil, I open doors and wander onto my decks. This morning I sat, coffee in hand and contemplated how I should have planted earlier and tried to figure out how many more warm nights I needed to harvest healthy, ripe tomatoes. I only lasted bare armed and legged for about 10 minutes before I had to get up and move, get the blood flowing and find a little sweater to cover my arms. Hours later my legs are still chilly to the touch, but I refuse to add more layers. It is still August. It is still my summer.

I know there will be more warm days before winter arrives. I have lived this same transition from one season to the next for over 5 decades. And somehow I am always shocked when summer starts to fade away as the leaves turn, the sun is less strong, the days are noticeably shorter. My husband always chuckles at my naivety, though he too seems to feel the season changes happen more quickly as we age. Me? I am too busy getting comfortable with the heat and the pace of life to notice that summer is gradually packing it up for another year. 

We have interesting work schedules in this house. Rejean works infield for weeks at a time and has only been learning in these past several years to grasp the days he can for himself. This summer he managed to take some vacation days here and there for fishing, biking, river swimming and snorkelling, with a few beach days with me added to the mix. My summer has been hectic for the most part; June and July disappeared in a haze of days spent indoors working. I guess that is also why I am slightly perturbed that there aren’t many beach days left and I just didn’t get in my quota this year.

However, when we have the chance, we are most apt to toss the gear in the car and head out. Two weekends ago, we did just that. We had ourselves a 36 hour mini vacation and it was well worth the effort of loading all our “stuff” and hitting the road.

This trip took us down the coast to Cap Pele and further along to Murray Beach.
We paid for a site at the Provincial Campground and after setting up, headed out for a bike ride, almost to the PEI-NB bridge.
Since we packed light this time, we biked just past our campground to a little take-out for a super, Maritime summer treat of hand cut fries, a hand sculpted, loaded burger and a fresh club sandwich. Yum!

Sunsets are best enjoyed over water in my experience and tonight was no exception.

Mosquitos be damned, we built a campfire and revelled in the peace and tranquility of our beloved Maritimes.

The next day we wandered the area, visiting the old Cape Tormentine wharf.

Tormentine was once a bustling area filled with rows and rows of cars, trucks and buses waiting to load onto one of the ferries that would transport them to PEI. The opening of the Confederation Bridge in 1997 put an abrupt end to this community’s prosperity and since then, the wharf area has seen changes. I was shocked to see that CN had literally walked away from giant pieces of equipment and left them on the pier to rot.

Of course, my second thought involved fabric and the rusting process! Oh my!!
The massive tires fascinated me.
We rode our bikes out to the end of the weed invested pier, avoiding some giant holes and pits in the pavement, ducking under an opening in the wire fencing to gain access. People were flocking down this same path with fishing gear in hand. We stopped and chatted for a bit, meeting locals as well as people from Nova Scotia and Ontario, all throwing in their lines. One engaging young boy was visibly thrilled to be pulling the fish in, snapping their backbones to end their suffering and then sharing his extensive knowledge and his minnow bait with an older couple from “away” who were new to the mackerel that were running. Another man shared his bucket to store their catch once pictures had been taken. 

We also wandered up and down some new to us backroads, marvelling in the number of properties for sale. Once such lane brought us to this amazing view of the Confederation Bridge.....
We found ourselves back in Cap Pele and donning shorties, had a quick dip though the strong wind created murky waters that made snorkelling less than interesting.
Eventually we headed to Shediac to ride our bikes along their well designed paths that connect the town to the marina and beaches. Shediac is a tourist mecca here in New Brunswick and the area was full of tourists and locals alike, enjoying the beauty of the summer day. The popular pier at nearby Pointe-du-Chene was packed with cars, bikes and people and we were amused to see this new sign posted, obviously in an attempt to keep everyone happy!
It is surprising what a short vacation can do for the spirit when you are open to opportunities close at hand. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Lovely Fabric for Madaboutcolour!

Projects do not get on and off my long arm quickly these days....so many excuses.....summer...work...little side trips...chores...volunteer activities...an ailing computer that needs some TLC...BUT, when I am not basking in the green glory of my thriving tomato plants and simple flower planters, I am working on this.....

This is a piece of linen and I have used a cotton batt and a crepe backing. I am stitching it with spooled thread from Fabricville and so far, I am not having any issues. This fabric quilts like a dream and is a joy to work on. SO smooth and pretty to boot! It is for my sister, Joanne and the little dresses she creates for photographers. I can just see this on some sweet little ones as they pose - it will be adorable by the time Jo sews it up with her special touches!!

I am connecting to The Needle and Thread Network this week - some fun summer creating happening all across Canada - check it out!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A little project

In the few minutes I find here and there, I made a cover for the new sketchbook my friend, Nancy picked up for me at Barnes and Noble on our recent trip to Maine.
Since I had all these stamped bits and pieces to chose from, I decided to incorporate one of my stamped raspberries with some of my hand dyed fabrics. I wanted to embellish the cover a bit more, so I used Shiva Paintsticks to rub a leaf design on both back and front.
I made a pocket on each side for the covers to slip over and know they will stay put.
I also painted a one inch wide strip and fused and stitched it to the front for more interest. I used some shiny thread I had and finisheded by adding a charm and a bead.  And there would be no chance I would be sewing those on! I used my handy dandy E-6000 to glue them in place!

There won’t be any awards given out for my design and execution, but I like it and I think it adds some class to my stack of sketchbooks and moleskins.

And in our “Tomato Talk” corner, because I know everyone is simply itching to know how mine are doing, don’t these look yummy!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Some more stamping

I have been doing a bit more stamp carving. I have discovered if you put your phone on mute during work conference calls, and if you turn the volume of the phone up, carving and printing is lovely quiet work that helps ease the boredom of the call.

For ease of execution, I turned the page of my moleskin and used another little painting for inspiration. I love berries, especially raspberries, so this was especially fun. 

I used a couple of colors on this stamp, trying to be sort of vague in my application of paint. My tools of the trade are basic, once you have the carving material and the Speedball lino cutter. I covered an odd tile with some scraps of batt and cotton and taped the sides with duct tape to use as a printing pad. I use inexpensive sponge brushes to apply paint and I keep them in sealed ziplock bags in between uses - that saves washing them out. I use clean foam trays to steady the stamps while I apply paint and to place my brayer on when not in use, just in case it somehow got some paint on it. I keep all this in a sturdy plastic shopping bag. 
I always seem to neglect putting down a drop cloth to cover my table or work area. I always forget my apron, too, it seems. Just dropping or spilling some paint will put an end to both those bad habits. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Basil. How do I love thee.

I was a slow convert to computers. As I began to realize the wealth of information available, I was quick to jump on board the blog bandwagon! As a fabric dyer, surface design person - a person of fibre - there was not a lot of info readily available in my immediate neighbourhood. As I found more blogs written with my fabric needs in mind, I gathered my favorites and either followed along, signed up for email updates, or in a lot of cases, just stalked. In a good way, of course.

Not everyone stays on topic all the time. That is the great thing about these online journals; many are written for a variety of reasons. Some authors are building a business and using all avenues of social media; some are kept so family living everywhere and anywhere can keep up; some simply like documenting their daily/weekly lives. Many turn their blogs into photo books! I would have loved this when my kids were small. Keeping a hand written journal just wasn’t for me I discovered, but the instant gratification of writing an entry and posting a photo or two of my growing kids and their daily antics would have been gold in my books! 

One of the bonuses I have discovered is that a lot of blog writers share their successes. All kinds of successes. Like recipe successes!

A couple of years ago I while reading a blog called Tommy the Material Girl, I was very interested in her yearly pesto making. I was intrigued that anyone who purposely work pesto making (in quantity!) into their summer schedule. So intrigued, in fact, that I never forgot. This year I decided the time had come to follow suit!

I have basil growing on my deck every summer and add it to just about anything and everything. I have eaten some this morning and will have it again in whatever I concoct for supper(...basil with eggs, add it to salad, margarita pizza, basil biscuits.....). This year however, I had a more formulated plan. I bought two plants already started and then started about 30 or 40 plants from seed. 

This morning I made my first pesto!! And it is delicious.....
I am freezing some and have kept a bit out to share with my hubby tonight. Maybe. Depends what time he gets home..

I won’t lie. I cleaned the inside of the blender with some bits of rosemary bread to get the last drops. And think what you will, I licked the blender blades clean. It’s that good.

So, thanks, Tommy! I really appreciate you sharing of your recipe. And I am so glad I gave blogs a chance.