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!!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Client’s Beautiful Batik Floating Star Quilt

I love being given free reign on the quilting on a client’s quilt. I absolutely love free styling a quilt top!
This lovely floating star was a blissfully beautiful quilt to work on.
Each wonderful block was made with a different batik fabric and I just so enjoyed admiring each one as I quilted the top.

Claudette did a great job piecing this large top (96 x 106) but unfortunately I really couldn’t get a photo of it in its entirety. Weather and my circumstances made it necessary to keep it inside to photograph.

If summer ever does arrive here in the east, there will be many shouts of graitude. For now we try to make ourselves feel that a high of 17 degrees really is warm and that the rain is refreshing. Meanwhile I wrap myself in three layers and dream as I quilt as to where we can go this winter that is hot and dry. And that is hosting a quilt show, of course!

For those who might be interested, I quilted this with Omni thread on the top, a polyester thread from Connecting Threads in the bobbin, and Claudette provided me with a Quilters Dream Cotton Batting. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Painting Fabric and More

When you consider my many years of working with fibre, my two years of longarming is not a big number and my textile interests are wide and varied. So, when we chose classes at Road to California with our focus on quilting, I still was most certainly not passing up the opportunity to take a class that involved paint and brush! I have been a fan of Mickey Lawler and her fabric painting technique for a very long time, so the chance to spend a day with her was the icing on the cake, so to speak, for me.
Mickey demonstrates one of her techniques
Even though she suffered a painful injury on the first day at Road, Mickey was delightful! She was very organized and informative, the class was fast paced, and best of all, Mickey is funny! She had us laughing over and over as she recounted personal anecdotes, all the while showing us new and creative ways to paint our fabric.
Mickey’s beautiful work

Mickey’s color chart

Mickey's class was on the last day of Road and after a full week, Lorette and I had new places to go and familiar to us people to meet, so we packed up quickly and set off as soon as the class was done. My hubby had just flown into the busy LAX and while I painted, was picking up this fun Escapevan for our next weeks journey.
We were amazed by how many thumbs up we got as we travelled in our van!
We hit the road and headed out, and the next day my freshly painted, damp fabric got to dry at the Joshua Tree National Park.

The days were wonderfully hot, the nights surprisingly cold and the area incredibly interesting!
This man always keeps me laughing!

Cholla Cactus

After what was already feeling like a long winter back home, the heat of the desert was so inviting and welcome to us. 


We basked in our surroundings and marvelled at the views, especially enjoying the sunsets. 
Sun setting over Joshua Tree National Park

We often meet interesting people when we travel. After a night in the Anza-Borrego Desert and while hiking one of the trails, we crossed paths with a lovely couple from Washington, DC who are sheep farmers. She is a spinner and weaver and we ended up having a lovely chat about fibres as we stood in the middle of the path under the hot desert sun. I love that my travels randomly put me in contact with so many people with common interests. I think the key is to be open to the possibility and to wear a welcoming smile.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Time well spent!

The south western shores of Nova Scotia are breathtakingly beautiful, especially at this time of year.
I recently had the pleasure of taking in a few sights along the shore with my daughter as I begin to learn the ways and habits of not working every day. Mind you, I did have my chores that kept me busy enough while visiting! I had a quilt to bind, and blocks to make, and some piecing to plan. And on what would have been my Mom’s 79th birthday, I tried 4 new recipes and each one was a success! 

One of my daughter’s co-workers gifted us with a huge bag full of fresh rhubarb, all in exchange for tips on picking and caring for his patch. Then came the big decision as to what to make! Rhubarb muffins, rhubarb crisp, cobbler, stewed rhubarb, strawberry rhubarb pie, oh my! A chance trip to the grocery store where ceramic loaf pans were on sale for what we felt was a dirt cheap price, made us decide loaves would be a good idea. I started flipping through recipes online and having faith in Canadian Living Magazine recipes, chose Rhubarb Loaf which conveniently makes two loaves, so one for us and one for the kind owner of the rhubarb patch. Be aware though, this recipe has soooo much sugar in it, it is not the healthiest choice, though most definitely a very tasty treat!

With still more rhubarb chopped, it was on to another Canadian Living recipe, Rhubarb Almond Crumble Squares...oh dear. If you like date squares, this is a must try! Again, lots of sugar, but all we rhubarb lovers know that is the price you pay for cooking with this fruit. This recipe is actually a bit more labour intensive than I am used to making in the past while, but again, I was trying to embrace the idea of being on my own schedule. When Simone walked in the door after work, the look on her face as she smelled the sweet aroma was well worth all my efforts. 

We also had an idea that a strawberry rhubarb combination needed to be included, so I made Rhubarb Strawberry Scones, but I used milk instead of heavy cream. Another delicious choice!

The fourth recipe tried that day was Kale and Quinoa Patties. We fell in love with these yummy burgers! So delicious and so worth making again and again! We did discover later that they are best reheated in the frying pan and not the oven, as they tend to dry out and become too crispy in the oven.

The sun was shining and though we had plans for a bike ride, the wind was just too wild for us that day. So, off we went to find a beach for a walk, with a pan of hot crumble and two forks, knowing that Mom would find this a perfectly suitable way to celebrate her birthday.

As is the norm in this area, the fog started to roll and when it rolls, it comes quickly, but we still managed a walk before we had to give in and get out of the damp wind. Besides, we did have that hot crumble in the car!

On Saturday we headed to the local Farmer’s Market where we tried even more scones - can you tell there is weakness here? And then we found me some more of this delicious coffee at the Natural Food Market.

Another great pastime is “antiquing” and I am one who loves to put all good things to use over and over! We visited four stories of antiques, 90% of which I could identify, own, or have seen in my family’s homes. Simone also tends to love the workmanship and intrigue of antiques and uses her Great Aunt’s dishes and her Grandmother’s silver daily, has her Great Grandmother’s table and chairs as her kitchen set and regularly collects new to her items for her home (Especially hats! Grandma June's granddaughter for sure!). One lovely purchase Simone made recently was with me in mind and I was the lucky one who came home with these beauties to use in my kitchen!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Freehand Quilting

I find myself in the very fortunate position of having a number of comfort or charity quilts to stitch. These lovely quilt tops give me the opportunity to learn as I go and to practice my own longarming designs. When I am faced with a client’s top and I am still not completely sure what approach I will take, I load one of these tops on my machine and stitch away. It is always interesting because I often have an idea of what I will be quilting and then when I start, well, what I stitch is usually nothing like what I have been sketching out and practicing in my cool and handy Wipebook my sweet daughter gifted to me.
This time I did stick to my plan and I am especially pleased with this design. I love being in front of the needle on my longarm. In some ways it reminds me of my days wielding a brush and letting the paint flow!

This design is one I randomly stitched on a sampler with while at Road to California and I was itching to take it a step further and develop it into a full edge to edge freehand design.
I always tend to try to fill every space and I working to learn the fine art of less is more - for some quilts! I think it has a lovely, casual feel and yet maybe is a bit folksy as well.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Prayers for Moncton

Today we all sigh a collective sigh of relief as the events of the last few days finally come to a close. I admit it has been very difficult to focus on anything except the tragic events as they unfolded and sleep has been difficult. I found myself glued to the news broadcasts and to Facebook, trying to learn what I could about any new developments in my adopted town.

My nature is such that I constantly ask myself, what if? what could have been done? why did no one recognize the forerunners in this person’s personality and habits? I have to wonder what the triggers were for this young man and what made him feel what he did was necessary. I wonder how his life’s path might have been altered to avoid his actions, the terror he evoked, the lives he took. I wonder what his life will be now. And why he lives when three others died at his hands..

I also have to admit that although he was finally apprehended in a non-violent manner, I was initially discontented. The fact that he lives will be a constant reminder that others do not because of his violent and senseless actions.

My heart goes out to the families, friends and colleagues of the three fallen officers. Their lives have been forever altered, their grief is immense, their loss is immeasurable. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Colors of Cozumel

Spring is slowly making its way back into our lives, although as I drove through the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia this week, I saw evidence that New Brunswick is still slightly behind on the calendar. Even though I attended Acadia University way back when, I had never witnessed the apple blossoms in all their glory! So, I was actually momentarily puzzled when I saw the rows of trees laden with their ethereal whitish pink flowers. I remember the thought crossing my mind that it seemed like an awful lot of ornamental cherry trees off the highway with no houses in sight. Yes, I have days like that where the obvious is just not obvious...

Had I not been so focused on making my way to my destination, I might have stopped and taken a photo or two to share. But, I also remembered one night, those many years ago, when a group of fellow students and I made our way into the apple orchard, bags in hand, with plans to help ourselves to some deliciously juicy pickings. The details are now vague, but I do recall a couple of twisted ankles and scraped knees as we breathlessly raced out of the field when we were spotted and told on no uncertain terms to beat it!! Still embarrassed by this escapade all these years later and not willing to twist my aging bones and joints, I simply stayed out of the field and enjoyed the view from afar. You will have to trust me that it was a glorious sight with a very festive feel as the laden branches delicately danced in the breeze.

After that long winter we all persevered, I am visually hungry for new growth this spring and am anxiously waiting for my magnolia tree to bloom, for flowers to begin popping up, and for the greens of summer to grow strong and true. Nova Scotia is weeks ahead with magnolias beginning to drop their blossoms, ornamental cherries and dogwoods in full bloom, wild flowers and tulips in abundance and trees full and green. 

So, to appease my senses, I have been looking at some photos I took while in Cozumel. Until I get some more local color photographed, I am sharing these..

Monday, June 2, 2014


I have been gradually transitioning away from a job that has kept me very busy and pre-occupied for the last 14 years. There was very little, if any, creativity in my work and at the end of the day, I was exhausted. Finally the time came for me to say goodbye to this part of my life and to move on to something that makes me happier. 

And, you know what, I am really okay with my decision..