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, December 29, 2014

Moving Forward

A new year generally feels like it offers a person a fresh start. Time to get your ducks in a row, begin new projects, focus on moving forward. 

I live in organized clutter. I try to maintain a feeling of everything being where it should, but a creative lifestyle doesn't always allow for "a place for everything and everything in its' place". And being involved in a variety of activities means that sometimes things that should go one place end up being placed elsewhere. 

The room I store my materials and supplies in has been a dumping ground for too long this fall. There is now only a very narrow path that leads to our freezer and I get anxious every time I go in the room. If I can't put my hand on what I am looking for, then there is a problem. As well, there is also a cubby hole under our eaves that has been a storage area for a number of years and it really needs to be addressed. That means cleared, cleaned and purged..

I don't know about you, but once something really gets my attention, then I have to address it. Moving forward creatively just isn't going to happen until I deal with these areas. In order for me to work most effectively, I have to get things organized. My ducks don't need to be labelled, but they do need to be in a reasonably straight line.

I think I have my work cut out for me next week.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Superwoman in Training

I redeemed myself the next day. I started early, stayed focused and didn’t give up until the quilt was done. I was tired at the end of the day as I finished sewed the binding on by hand, but I was pleased with my results and felt back on track. Well, not completely on track, that might be asking too much, but it was another project checked off my list.

We were hit with freezing rain on Wednesday and our road was not passable until after 2 pm, so my plans for the day were put on hold. Ah well, staying home gave me the incentive, as well as the time, to piece and quilt and sew.

At the end of the day I had this..
It really doesn’t ripple on the edges - it’s just the way I draped it over the edge of the bed for photos.

A quilt my daughter asked me to make.

It has been carried by friends to Halifax and tomorrow it will travel a little further to be delivered to its new owner.

The true color is more like in the photo below on the bottom left corner. 
It’s a surprise gift for someone who has been generous and loving and treated my daughter like one of her own.

Like most of my projects, I seem to think I am going to be able to make exactly what I want with limited amounts of fabric. (Do I really have to wait until Christmas Day to open that 3D printer, Santa??) As it turned out, I had to get creative with what I had and the result was a bit smaller quilt than I originally planned. But, at 48 x 68 it is still a lovely size for keeping cosy and the minky (from Marden’s!) will add to that warmth factor.

Interestingly, in this rather small project, I used fabrics from Sew Sisters, Hamels, Mardens, Avonport Discount and thread from Barbados and New Maryland! Cotton top, poly batt, minky back, Glide Thread and my free wheeling on the needle.

It’s bright and cheery and I hope it is well received.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I am not superwoman.....damn

The problem usually begins when I forget that I do not have super powers. And no matter if I am reminded of that by the end of the day, by the time I wake up the next morning and my feet hit the floor, I have forgotten that lesson learned. It is like there is a reset button in my head. Even if I start to hear little whisperings of self doubts, I brush them aside and carry on as if I will finish every project within the unrealistic time frame I have established for myself. 

I also often forget that I am not the most zealous traditional quilter. Or, rather, piecer. After I put together one block, I am looking over my shoulder for that 3D printer so I can whip out the rest of the blocks I need and get that top pieced! Note to self - write impassioned letter to Santa asking for 3D printer. I can print off extra arms for myself, too, right?? And fabric? I have lots of uses for one of those babies!

I was so, so optimistic this morning..I was sure the top would be pieced, I would be quilting by mid afternoon and then tomorrow I would sew the binding on.

Yes. I really think this way.

The reality? Well, my husband called at 3:50 pm. It went something like this:
Rej: How’s your day? 
Me: What! What time is it?? I thought it wasn’t even 3 o’clock yet!
Rej: Yeah, well it’s almost 4. Did you run today?
Me: Run!! I am still in my pyjamas! Did I eat lunch?? What time did you say it is??
Rej: (who is used to my rants and talking to myself) Ok, I will be home by 4:30. It’s cold out so dress warm..(Our deal is, if neither of us has run or biked that day, we walk. So, walk it was.)


You might be surprised to learn I even thought I would work on a second project today, “in my spare minutes”..Unbelievable.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Apparently I have never officially “claimed" my blog on Bloglovin so without further adieu, I am now!

Tonight I am apparently strapped for technical abilities, so hopefully I have meet the requirements and finally got this correct.

My apologies if I haven’t...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sew Sister Blogathon Canada 2014 hits the Atlantic!

Welcome Blogathon readers!! This week Sew Sisters is celebrating Canadian quilters!

This week is the third Blogathon Canada sponsored by Sew Sisters, a brick and mortar quilt shop located in Toronto, Ontario. I have ordered fabric online from Sew Sisters and found them to be very prompt and efficient. I really enjoy how they wrap all fabric securely in plastic before they box it up to mail. It is great service because this is how Canada Post handles parcels being delivered to me: if it is raining or snowing, parcels are left it in the middle of my driveway and if the sun is shining, parcels are bent and folded and shoved into the mailbox..Fortunately fabric is forgiving!

There are two Maritime hosts today, and both happen to be Linda's! There is Nova Scotia's Linda at Scrapmaster and New Brunswick's Linda at Stitch Lines. Check both of Linda’s blogs out for lots more East Coast bloggers and be sure to comment on both their posts - Sew Sisters has generously provided some great prizes! Thanks Sew Sisters!!

I refer to myself as a "person of fibre"..I love it in its many forms and love working with it any way I can. I quilt, I paint fabric, I surface dye it, I have sewn lots and lots of clothing and household items over the years, I have built costumes for the stage, I can weave and felt, I knit, I can crochet. Breathing does become an issue around sheep (and horses, too, but that's irrelevant here) so I sold my spinning wheel early on in my weaving/spinning career.

As well, I am a sign painter. Hence the name of my blog, Sister of the brush. Sign painting tended to be a predominately male occupation for many years and when I studied at George Brown College (yes, there are legitimate sign writing courses...), we were told the secret to running a successful business was a supportive wife. A wife. No, they never said, supportive husband, spouse, partner, it was wife..Well, that left me and other females in our class high and dry, so it was there and then that we dubbed ourselves, Sisters of the Brush and swore to be our own support system!

I still love wielding a brush. And I incorporate paint and fabric all the time. Painting fabric is soooo much fun! I especially like low immersion dyeing, discharging, sun printing and soy batik and combinations of all techniques!

I am also a longarm quilter. I use pantographs to quilt edge to edge designs, but especially enjoy quilting my own designs.

Thanks for visiting and welcome as always to my regular audience! I appreciate you taking the time to see what I am up to, what I am currently ranting about or seeing what photos I am sharing. Please continue to comment and if you have any issues doing so, please email me. My address is available via my profile which can be found on my sidebar.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Beadwork Complete!

I finished beading the sheets I received from Laurie Swim and have mailed them back to her. It was a great thing to occupy my hands while watching a few movies.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Marie’s Beautiful Batik Quilt

Marie has a huge collection of batiks, many that I have never seen, and it was so much fun quilting this lovely top for her, all the while admiring the fabric designs!

I know that Marie likes stippling designs and pantographs, so for this quilt of hers, I decided to try a pantograph I had ordered and never used. Actually, I broke down and ordered 5 pantographs last winter and this is the first one to make it out of the wrapper. I decided it was time to give it a try!

A section of the back
The design is called Feather Breeze and is by Lisa Thiessen of Threadsongs. I chose to buy it because it is a lovely, flowing design and I chose it for Marie’s top because it would enhance the simple, striking pattern she had chosen to piece. I used a variegated thread on the top thread and a solid orange hue in the bobbin.

The quilt is for Marie’s sister and her sister chose the backing herself. I think Marie was a bit surprised by her choice of this bright, vibrant fabric, but we agreed it suits the quilt quite well!
I am inspired to start piecing some of the rather large stack of batiks I have on my shelves. The wonderful thing about a pattern such as this is the variety of prints you can use and still have lots left for other projects!

Monday, November 3, 2014

First Snow and My Frozen Tears

I don’t take well to having any kind of a schedule on Mondays. Even when I worked full time, I would prefer to work longer hours the other days of the week so that I would have Mondays for me.

This morning I had to attend a meeting at 10 am and as my husband got ready for work, I lay in bed, bemoaning the fact that I had to get up and that not only did I have to leave the house, but also that I couldn’t attend the meeting in my pyjamas..My whining started before I even had my glasses on and when I caught on that he was ignoring me and my rant, I asked him what kind of day it was out there. When he replied that it was a white world, I sat bolt upright in bed and if I recall correctly, I screamed, “WHAT!” With a flourish he whipped the curtain back so I could see for myself and I know tears pooled in my eyes..

I am not a huge fan of cold weather. Or snow. Or ice. I don’t like driving in it, I don’t like other people travelling in it. I don’t like being cold and I always am. Case in point, I am currently wearing a hoodie (with the hood up) and have a heated magic bag in my lap. My husband says it is obviously the season of gnomes because when I am home I tend to look like one as I transition from summer’s bare legs and feet, to multi layer coverage. He is used to me wearing a toque at mealtime, along with a selection of scarfs round my neck. He is also aware that I own three magic bags that sometimes can be seen peeking from inside one of my layers when I am really chilly. Meanwhile he is in short sleeves and bare feet.....

My mother told me that I wasn’t always cold. When I was 13 and a Girl Guide, I was part of a group of three Guides who chose to work on receiving Outdoor Winter Camping Badges, a spanking brand new badge offered. Well. The night we built our lean to (back in the days when you could actually cut tree branches and build outdoor fires), dug our outdoor latrine and cooked our supper in a snow bank just happened to be the coldest night recorded that winter. It was -54 degrees with the wind chill. I have a very vivid memory of lying in my sleeping bag with its frozen zipper on top of a layer of spruce boughs and an icy tarp and staring longingly through the trees to the brightly lit windows of the farmhouse where our leaders were nice and cosy.

But, we all hung in there, had lots of fun, made some crazy wild memories and were the first three Guides in Canada to receive our badges. I came home with my waist length hair full of huge hunks of ice that mom spent hours on melting and combing out. And I came home with a chill that I have never been able to shake. Well, except for when I was pregnant with my son. But, that is another story for another time..

Totally unrelated to my winding tale, but because every post deserves a photo, here are two baby quilts that I quilted for Florine. These sweet little quilts have found they way to brand new babies in Edmonton. Hopefully these new little folk will be kept nice and warm in these adorable and colorful quilts.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Client’s Appliqued Quilt with Scallop Border

Freda has been a quilter for many years and at age 84, continues to piece any number of tops. She enters shows, is a member of the Chocolate River Guild in our area and always has a quilt for sale.

This is a quilt I recently quilted for her and it is now being bound in a lovely scallop edging by another quilting friend, Patty. 

I decided to take Freda's applique design and use it as a guide for creating my quilting designs. I stitched a flower in each of the scallops and then, quilting leaves in combination with the flowers, created some vines around the centre block, in the four triangle spaces surrounding this border and in the outer corners. I also stitched 4 partial false blocks to break up the white space and quilted half flowers in each. 

I choose to outline the appliques only and stitch in the ditch around each block and sashing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Log Cabin for a Graduation

I am very grateful to the members of my local quilt guilds who trust me to quilt their tops and help finish their projects. Almost every client tells me to quilt as I see fit, use the thread colors I think best and have fun! And although I realize full well the responsibility that comes with that, well, what a lot of fun that is for me! 

Sharon has trusted me with a number of quilts and this log cabin made of Moda prints is a recent project of hers. She provided me with an 80/20 cotton batting and I used my favorite Glide thread for both top and bobbin. I quilted a free style scallop shell in the center, added some loops in the middle border and the quilted bead board on the outer border. I think the quilt turned out very nice and I bet the lucky recipient is very happy with her new quilt, a graduation present.

Today I am linking to The Needle and Thread Network

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Walking the Trails in Moncton, NB

Rejean and I have tramped or biked pretty much every trail in the Moncton and immediate area. We always try to find something appealing or attractive about each one we go on, though to be honest, some of these trails are more utilitarian than beautiful. It really does depend on the time of year you visit them, I find. Some just don’t shine in the heat of summer and some do. Some are more attractive in fall when the leaves and grasses change color and the contrast of the blue sky enhances the golds, oranges and reds.

Such is the Humphrey Brook Trail, a 5 km walking, biking path that crosses a small section of the east end of Moncton. We have travelled it several times and yesterday, we walked to the end and back, an approximate 10 km trip. We actually didn’t see many people out on it, which surprised us since it was such a beautiful 19 degree day. The trail crosses behind several sub-divisions, and the city has added benches placed in several strategic spots as well as a much welcomed bathroom facility since we were last there. It does follow a lovely little brook and the area is in Phase Two of an environmental enhancement program as the city commits to providing green space and negotiable trails within city limits.

The wind blew just as I took this photo with my iPhone, but I like it even with the blurs

Saturday, October 11, 2014

More Monday Marvels Quilts

This summer I was able to quilt a few quilts for the Monday Marvels, a local quilting bee. These quilters donate their time to create quilts for several Moncton organizations and are often called upon to provide a comfort quilt when a need arises. They had a number of tops needing completion so since I purchased my longarm, I have tried to help them out by quilting some of these.

I received two very similar tops and quilted them in the same motif, in case they found a home when matching tops would be fitting.
The before shot
I had a lot of fun working on these because they are quilted in my own overall motifs. I really enjoy being on the needle side of the machine and hand guiding it to create my designs.
The after shot of the second quilt
I am hoping these two quilts find loving homes, and the new owners enjoy the softness and cuddly feel the extra loft poly batting helps create.