Saturday, November 02, 2019


I begin with thanks to the Gentle Readers who thought my sample for "Colour With a 'U'" was...well, much better than I think it is!  As I mentioned in my last post, it looks better in the photo than it does in person.  The composition just isn't right, and so, despite your kind words, this piece won't be going anywhere soon!

That said, I learned several things from the exercise, and still have ideas about how I might want to express the theme -- just not that way!  Instead, I've selected a piece I made a bit less than a year ago now, that I think will fill the bill.  My Daughter the Photographer is coming for a short visit in a few weeks, and I'll have it ready for her to photograph then. 

She's coming because she's putting some of her work in the Under $100 Art Market, sponsored by the City of Lacombe to raise art awareness and some more funds for the Arts Endowment Fund.  This event runs the evening of November 21 and all the next day, in concert with the Light Up the Night Festival.  It's the first time the arts community has done such a sale, and we're hoping it works out well for all concerned.  I too am participating -- I'll have 10 minis in the sale, and will be working the cash register the evening of the 21st.  It's a delight to be showing my work in the same place as my daughter -- something we've not done for several years.  And I hope our pieces sell well and make lovely Christmas gifts!

While I'm allowing new ideas to percolate (I continue to take photos of the almost-winter countryside, with new work in mind), I'm steadily working on those quilts I mentioned for the family of Syrian refugees our church is co-sponsoring.  This -- as I know I've mentioned -- is a trio: mother, teen-aged son and ten-year-old daughter -- who are coming to join the family that's already here.  I've finished a 60" square string quilt-as-you-go throw for the boy:

Peeking out from under that one, you'll catch a glimpse of the top I've put together for the mother of the group.  It finished at 63" x 72" and so has gone to my favourite long-arm quilter to be quilted:

The pattern is straight out of my imagination -- born of the fact that I failed miserably at following the pattern I was going to use.  I blew it on not just one but two counts: I didn't check fabric amounts before assigning the colours to "A", "B" and "C"; and when I decided to "just do it", I then mis-read the pattern and sewed 16 strip pairs, 1 1/2" wide, Width Of Fabric (WOF) -- using the wrong colour combination!  Aaaaargh!  I hate it when that happens!  😕

What's a quilter to do?!  I took the lemons I had and made lemonade!

Now I'm working on the last of the trio -- another string QAYG -- using 8" blocks this time, to finish at 48" x 64" for a throw for the little girl.  As of this writing I have 2 rows finished.  Here they are on my design wall.  (Once I've finished 3 rows, they'll move to my "design bed" in the guest room! 😉)

In addition, of course, I am mindful that the Holiday Season is fast approaching.  I've got a pair of finger-less mittens started -- this is what I'm making J & E, my neighbours, this year, for all they do for me year 'round -- and a pair of socks started for my son.  Yes, it's Christmas Socks for each of my kids this year.

As I write, my church's Annual Bake Sale, Tea & Bazaar has wound up.  I made 4 dozen oatmeal-raisin cookies for the Giant Cookie Sale section, plus a few knitted items which I do hope managed to sell.  One of my favourites was this lovely cowl which, if it didn't sell, I just might keep...

It's made from Debbie Bliss' "Alpaca Silk Aran" yarn (alas, now discontinued)...mmmmm.....soft and drapey!  It's very deep, but can unbutton to allow one part to lie flat -- per the pattern (Gothic Lace Cowl from Tin Can Knits).

And so it goes.

Economically, things in These Parts are tough these days.  I've had my part-time hours cut back in what should be The Shop's busiest time of year (it's a yarn shop, after all!).  One of the galleries in which I was showing has closed, and I picked up my art work yesterday.  Another -- several hours' drive north -- has had my work for 16 months without a sale.  The owner decided she had to surrender all artwork done "by out of town artists".  "No one is buying art right now," she explained to me on the 'phone earlier this week.  The four pieces came home yesterday.

I continue to live in hope; continue to share what I can with those in need...and with those who might buy; continue to make 'pretty' things that bring me joy and soul-satisfaction.  And maybe, just maybe can be shared with you, Gentle Readers.

Linking up (on time!!) with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday...and wishing you a weekend of hope, joy and creativity -- wherever you are.

(Praying for safety for those affected by the fires in California and the flooding in SW Quebec and Ontario.)

Monday, October 28, 2019


Be patient
toward all that is unsolved 
in your heart.
- Rainer Maria Rilke
Quoted by Sue Bender
Stretching Lessons 

I see by the calendar that I've been absent from this page for the better part of this month.  Some of that was due to work, travel, and other Aspects of Daily Living...

and some was procrastination,
plain and simple.

In my last post I mentioned I was starting work on a new piece -- a sample (or maybe the Real Thing) -- for a Call for Entry to an all-Canadian exhibit entitled "Colour with a 'U'".  A great deal of my procrastinating and just not blogging has to do with that work, which absorbed a great deal of my time for at least two weeks.

 My vision for the piece was BIG -- inspired by the lyrics from Gordon Lightfoot's Canadian Railroad Trilogy.  In particular, these:

"There was a time in this great land when the railroad did not run,
when the wild, majestic mountains stood alone against the sun.
Long before the white man and long before the wheel,
when the green, dark forest was too silent to be real."

I figured out very early on that painting the scene on fabric was several stories higher than my abilities in that department.  After sulking about that for a bit, I rethought the idea.  What do I do well?  "You can paint skies", came the answer (from my muse).  So...I thought about that.  I found a long stretched canvas (36" x 12") and gave it a go.

I was trying to paint skies that changed in character from West (on the left) to East (on the right).  My first attempt was a bust, but thankfully, with acrylic paint, you can paint over it.

Then I began to work out the foreground.  I wanted to put in the landscape from those "wild majestic mountains" and the "green dark forests", across the western plains to the rocks, lakes and rivers of central Canada...with a nod to more cliffs in the Maritimes.  Just a nod?  Well, my vision seemed to exceed the space available on the canvas.  😟

I was taking inspiration from these iconic Canadian views:

Emily Carr's painting, Mountain Forest

An eagle totem pole from B.C.'s Haida Gwaii

Photo from Neys Provincial Park, Lake Superior, ON

Maples in Autumn - photo from Mont Tremblant, QC

Cliffs on the East Coast Trail, Newfoundland

Still, I persisted.  I created those mountains and forests, including snow, from the West Coast:

I added prairie grasslands, water and more rock, an impression of colourful maples in autumn, and more rock -- and over these I stitched in impressions of native habitat, from totems on the West coast to tipi on the plains, a native longhouse from central Canada and more tipi -- shorter and squatter -- from the Maritimes.

Mountains and forests with totems.

Plains with tipi.

Longhouse in Central Canada

And below, you see the entire piece, hanging on my guest room wall:

I'm just not sure about it -- though it seems to look better to me in the photo than it does on the wall in my home!

First I wonder about its perspective.  There's that changing sky which moves from the cloudy "wet coast" to the clearer sky -- with clouds building and a storm coming -- over the prairies...and then a mix of autumnal sky and cloud over the Lakes and moving east.

I worry that there's too much of the west and not enough 'centre and east' landscape, and that the chunk of grasslands in the centre is too central, when perhaps it should be smaller and more to the left, more off-set.

Second, I'm troubled by my attempt to show the ghosts of what the land used to be when it was "long before the white man and long before the wheel".  Is it presumptuous for a Caucasian Canadian woman to try to replicate these symbols?

I don''t know.  I just don't know.  Thus it remains on the wall, and I carry on...albeit in a bit of a stale place creatively.  

Blessedly there remain Other Things to Do -- such as baking two bumbleberry pies for last week's Fall Supper at the church.  And making four dozen oatmeal raisin cookies for sale at the church's next event -- the Annual Bazaar & Bake Sale -- coming up this weekend.  Like joining my friend G. -- the knitter and relatively new quilter -- at the Joint Quilt Show put on by the Black Gold Quilt Guild of Leduc, AB, and the Edmonton Modern Quilt Guild -- where I was inspired by this wee gem:

Catch Me If You Can!
Mariel Enders
Thread sketching, coloured - likely water-colour pencils.
Outlined by hand-quilting. Appears mounted on board.
 Apologies for the angle, but it was a small piece hanging high up in a narrow booth!

On Saturday of this past weekend, G. and I travelled again -- this time to Camrose to see the most wonderful production: Jake's Gift -- a touching, heart-warming, funny, poignant one-person, one-hour performance about an aged WW II veteran who travels to Juno Beach for the 60th Anniversary of D-Day.  It's a touring show, and the link I've shared has a section for tour details. If you live anywhere near any of the venues and can find your way to see it, please do.  It will capture your imagination and hold your heart close in its message.

Now to link this -- late as usual! -- to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday, and head back into the sewdio to work on a second quilt for the Syrian family we're expecting soon.  Yesterday at church we found out they have a flight date at last -- November 19!! -- so I'd best get on it, eh?!  

If you've been stretched like I have lately -- especially creatively -- may the week ahead bring you blessed rest, refreshment and restoration of perspective.  Let's together learn patience "...toward all that's unresolved in [our] heart[s]".

"There was a time in this great land when the railroad did not run..."
-- Gordon Lightfoot

Friday, October 11, 2019

October -- Already?!

Yes, and we're well along.  We've had snow -- thankfully now gone -- but even though now the days are mainly clear and sunny, there's an edge, a sharpness, to the air.

I've put much of the garden to bed -- bringing in my geraniums (pellargonia) to over-winter, and transplanting my basil to a pot in my kitchen window, where it is growing new leaves and seems very happy.  I've cleared out the lettuce, cut back the mock orange and the rhubarb, put away the 'burner' and plan to put away the faux wicker bench this weekend, as it's far too cool to enjoy at any time.

On Wednesday, with my "every 8,000 km" maintenance service, I had the winter tires put on my car.  I've cleaned the car's interior and swapped the "spring/summer" mats for the "fall/winter" mats.  And I bought a small cordless electric snow blower because...well...I will have more sidewalk to clear once I get title to the lots next door.  A few days ago the lots looked like this (that's the east wall of my house in the centre-right of the photo):

I'm gratified by that sign every time I look at that sign!  

This morning, the young man charged with mowing etc. showed up for one last cut-and-mulch (paid for by the vendors), and we talked about what I might do with the trees -- especially the willow.  I am going to start to clear out 'sucker' branches in a couple of weeks (I take possession October 24) and will finish up in March before the sap starts to run again if I have to.

Meanwhile...I've been working on a variety of things.

  • I'm finishing up a batch of small knitted items -- cowls, hats, phone and tablet cases -- for my church's annual Bazaar & Bake Sale on Saturday, Nov. 2;
  • I've only 7 pattern sets to go before I finish the lace edging on the Shetland shawl I've been working on for several months. Each set is 28 rows -- over 13 stitches...;
  • I've assembled all 36 blocks of the string quilts into 3 panels, and now that my year-old Pfaff Performance 5.2 has returned from her "spa treatment" (she's had a busy year!) I will get them all together and bind them up for the first of 3 quilts for that Syrian family we continue to expect any week now.  Here's what the blocks looked like over time:
First few blocks completed

Rows sashed together, prepped for assembly!

In addition to the lovely phone message I received from my client about the Wall-to-Bed quilt (aka Prairie Quintet), I got this photo from her nephew:

Yes -- just as she wanted -- the 3 "main" trees and sky etc. are the focal point on the top of the bed; everything else hangs below.  I'm just happy that it fits and it was exactly what she wanted!

That said, the most gratifying thing I've done lately is something that completely came out of serendipity -- and out of history.

Here's the story:

This man was my father, John Gillies Rennie (November 14, 1904 - February 13, 1952 -- seven months before I was born):

Portrait by Wadim Dobrolige,
Heidenau, Germany, 1946.

Dad met the painter -- Wadim (or Vadim) Dobrolige, a Ukrainian -- in one of the three camps over which my father was employed by the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) to manage.  I believe that when they met, Dad was still a Captain -- a member of the Black Watch of Canada, Royal Highland Regiment, seconded to the British military government for most of his WW II service (1944 - 1946).  

Book on Dobrolige...
Anyhow, my father became a fan -- a patron, if you will -- of Mr. Dobrolige, who was then in his very early thirties.  Dad bought several of his paintings, and brought them home after his war service ended abruptly (through illness -- a reported heart attack -- in 1946).  I grew up with these paintings in our family home and in the home of my godmother, Georgina A. Davison (aka 'Nina').

When my mother and step-father retired to the Okanagan from Quebec and down-sized, I acquired some of these paintings -- and a couple more when Nina died in 2004.  When I lived in Calgary, there was one in our dining room one over the stairs to the lower level of our home, and one over our fireplace.  My sister has one in her home too.

When I moved to Mirror, I had far less wall space -- but one of the paintings hangs in my guest room:

And one is now in my living room here -- a small one of trees against the sky, which reminds me of what I see whenever I look up the street from my home.  In Mirror, all the streets seem to end in trees.

A few years ago, I tried to track down the artist.  I found out he'd emmigrated to Edmonton, Alberta in 1948 (aged 35), and had become somewhat celebrated.  Of the Ukrainian Orthodox faith, he'd created several religious paintings and iconostasis for Edmonton and area Orthodox churches.  I inquired of one -- located a mere 10 blocks from my daughter's home -- if I could make an appointment to see the work, but was rebuffed by total silence -- both from the clergy and the elders.  

Time passed.

A couple of months ago I tried again and found a link.

It turns out that in recent years, Drs. Peter and Doris Kule donated funds for the founding of the Kule Folklore Centre at the University of Alberta, Edmonton.  It's a research centre and link to the Ukrainian Canadian community in Alberta.  The current President of the Friends of the Ukrainian Folklore Centre is Natalia Toroshenko (nee Dobrolige).  Yes; she is Wadim Dobrolige -- the painter's -- daughter.

And this year, the Centre is producing a short video featuring three Ukrainian Canadians who have impacted their communities and beyond -- and one of them is Wadim Dobrolige!

I made a connection -- and it excited those who received it.  I met with three associates of the Centre on Monday -- and gave them five of the eight paintings I have, all painted by Mr. Dobrolige.  I agreed to be interviewed and video-taped for the Project, which features those community contributors; the video is due out near the end of November.  I won't be seen much, but mine will be the voice-over for the Dobrolige paintings I've given to the Centre.

Here are the five I am leaving with them at the moment (two of which were wrapped by the restorer/cleaner and were of such a size that I left them that way for the photos):

"Lilacs" -- hung over my cousin/godmother Nina's couch
in Montreal and Ottawa - and later, for a short time, in my
dining room in Calgary, AB

"Peonies" - it hung over the stairs
from our main floor to the basement in our
raised bungalow in Calgary

Hung in my parents' home and later -- as I recall --
in our dining room in Calgary, but was supplanted
by the lilacs and transferred to a spot over our fire place
(or so I recall, but I might be mistaken)

The staff at the Centre affirmed that the brown wooden frames around several of the pieces appeared to be the original European frames.

Once the video is finished, I will be notified.  There are tentative plans for a reception for the release of the film, and with those plans, a hope that Natalia and I might meet.  I also hope I will have my children with me to share this occasion.  (It would be in Edmonton in early December; prayers to Mother Nature to cooperate for travel are appreciated!!)

And going forward? 

Well, Wednesday I bought two new canvases -- of a different shape than I've tried before. I mapped out on paper and on clear plastic (remnants from my daughter's office laminate machine) my sketch for my entry into "Colour with a 'U'" -- the (so-called) 'regional' All-Canadian exhibit destined to open at the March 2020 SAQA Conference in Toronto (first one outside the U.S.)

That subject (i.e. my process etc.) is an entirely different tuned.

Meanwhile I leave you with Happy Thanksgiving wishes -- for all Canadians celebrating here this weekend -- and prayerful thanks for not only my Canadian readers, but all those Gentle Readers in the U.S. and around the globe.  I am thankful for each and every one of you!  

Linking to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Friday"...and praying mightily for the U.S. -- my friends, my family there and the entire populace...

Friday, September 27, 2019

Happy Campers!

It's been another good week -- even if (already!) we're deep into fall in these parts, such that there's a frost warning tonight and a major blizzard building for the part of the province that's 3 or 4 hours' drive south of here. 

I managed to get quite a bit of my garden put to bed, and with the weather predicted to warm up a touch later next week, I'm hoping to finish the rest.  I keep prowling walking around the soon-to-be-mine lots next door with a view to what I want/need to do in the spring.

I am plotting fences (rail), and Saskatoon bushes and assorted other trees to turn it into a grove that invites one to retreat with a good book or some spinning or handwork...

Ahhhh...It's good that I have several months of winter ahead of me to dream and plan and save $$!

Meanwhile, I was on hand at the "Behind the Words" fundraiser for the Lacombe Arts Endowment Fund on Wednesday evening -- to meet the purchaser of my piece, Watch that Sky!  The fabric foreground was a great source of fascination for all who viewed it before she took it home.

And on Monday, I shipped Prairie Quintet (aka the Wall-to-Bed Project) off to its new home.  I managed to take a few photos of it showing the quilting detail, post-laundry.  I just love the texture that washing it created!

Quilt Back

Part of Quilt Front -- Grass/Earth

Part of Quilt Front -- Sky, Trees

Thursday, while I was at work at The Shop, my client left a message on my home phone.  It was so lovely I played it over and over again; I teared up a bit.  And in the end I transcribed it and printed it out to put in my sketchbook for the project:

It's Jane calling.  I'm really sorry you can't speak to me right now.  I'm overflowing with excitement.  Your quilt arrived minutes ago -- long enough for me to check on your telephone number -- and I've just got to let you know how gorgeous it is.  It's just beautiful, and I'll send you a cheque in tonight's mail.  I can't thank you enough; it's gorgeous.  You must have been thrilled to make it, because it just shows love in it.  Such a beautiful thing.  Bye-bye.

That sort of response is worth every minute of the work, and is of greater value than any amount of money paid for it.  I don't know about my artist colleagues, but to move someone like that with a piece of work -- that's why I make art.

Linking up to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday...and wishing you all a great weekend!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

A Very Good Week

There seems to be a great deal going on at the moment (and I'm not speaking of U.S. and Canada's political scenes! 😉)

First, earlier this week I got the call that the Wall-to-Bed quilt was quilted.  I picked it up Wednesday, made the bindings and sewed on the long-side ones that day.  On Thursday, at The Shop, I did the hand-sewing of those bindings.  Thursday night I applied the short side (top and bottom) bindings; Friday I did the hand-sewing -- again at The Shop because I was there on my own, holding down the fort, as the owner and the other clerk were down at Spruce Meadows Equiplex, south of Calgary, at the second of the two "CreativFestival" shows in this province every September.

Here's how the finished quilt looked...before washing:

Prairie Quintet  (C) 2019
Grass and trees on the grass, under the trees... 😉

Quilting Detail 1 (grassy areas)
Thread colour: grey (Brand: Superior Thread)

Quilting Detail 2 (sky)

Quilting Detail 2 (tree trunks)
Pattern: 'Geometric Swirl'
Long-arm quilter: Sylvia Sawyer,
Windwood Long-arm Quilting, Bashaw, AB

The washing and drying are finished now but...sorry -- no photos.  Trust me; it crinkled up in the most lovely way, and NONE OF THE COLOURS RAN! Hurray!! 😄 It will be in the mail to my client tomorrow!!

In addition, I now have a stack of 36 quilted string blocks (10" each before sashing) to assemble into the first of three quilts for the soon-to-arrive Syrian refugee family (no date yet!).   I'm torn between making the sashing so I can assemble these into a quilt, and starting the second of the quilts - another string quilt-as-you-go but with 8" blocks (before sashing).  It will be a quilt for a girl  this time -- around 9 years old.  The backing has red in it and so has been washed in Retayne -- just being cautious, you know! 😉

And then there's that Call to Entry that I've been thinking about.  Still no samples.  Not yet.  Is that a bad thing?

Wednesday evening I get to go to the "Behind the Words" fundraiser for the Lacombe Arts Endowment Fund, and hope that someone buys my piece.

And...tomorrow being September 23, it's not only the First Day of Fall in the Northern Hemisphere, but also the start of the 2019 SAQA Benefit Auction Section #2...and my quilt will be in this group that's on the block throughout the week:

Mac's Garden: A Tribute to Charles Rennie Mackintosh
(C) 2018 

Topping all this off...late Friday afternoon I got word that my second offer to purchase the two vacant lots next to my house had been accepted!!  The deposit to hold them has been made; money transfers are in the works, and I am dreaming about and doing research on how to deal with the trees and shrubs, long neglected, on the land.  Most of the labour will begin in the spring (after the SAQA conference in Toronto, thank goodness!) but there's snow removal (sidewalks) to think about etc. so...onward!

Here's what it looked like this afternoon, taken from the sidewalk to the north of the property. looking south:

That large "bush" in the centre is a willow -- two, really -- cut down about a decade ago by the previous owners, who neglected to remove the stumps.  Hence the "bush". It's home to lots of birds in season, and on occasion provides shelter to mice and/or shrews (to my cat's delight).  I am loathe to get rid of it altogether, but the branches are multi-branched and not (at this point) good for I am undecided how to manage it.  Blessedly, I have a few months to ponder this dilemma!

The small trees off to the left are a Mountain Ash (still green) and a Manitoba maple (now gold); I believe the latter insinuated itself into the area in which the Ash (aka 'Rowan') is growing.  Ditto for the "bushes" at the back -- several lilacs and a honeysuckle, intruded upon by a Manitoba maple. There's a possibility in that patch for a quiet retreat -- a wee vacant spot surrounded by the lilacs...if I can deal with the maple!

And so you see...a week full of blessings of assorted shapes and sizes.

Linking now to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday -- and wishing you the same for your week ahead.  It's the first week of fall in the Northern Hemi, and there may be snow before long...

Stay warm!  Stay creative!  Have a great week!

Sunday, September 08, 2019

New Year, Fresh Start

This is post #1567 since I began this blog in February 2003, and it's only fitting, for today I turn 67. (Thanks for the celebratory gif, Google!)

Many people equate the start of a new school year each September with a "New Year" such as we mark on January 1 -- and having an early September birthday has often under-lined this for me.  This year I've decided there are some things in my life I have to deal with, and today is as good as any for me to do that.

I need to drop some weight -- about 15 pounds.  And aside from moving more (which is harder to do in the winter around here) and watching everything I eat (which I've been doing for years), I have one last strategy left: cut out the drink-or-two in the late afternoon.  Yep.  It's gotta go.  I have to replace it with a new habit, and I've a couple of ideas: switch to soda water with lemon, and just keep busy.  If I'm out at an event, the odd glass of wine won't hurt me, but I've been over-indulging otherwise and it has to stop.

Next up?  Travel!  I'm going to work on my "bucket list" and lay out some strategies for going the places I want to go and things I want to do in the next ten years.  I figure that by 77 I won't want to do as much, so I've "gotta git 'er done" in the nearer term:

  • 2020: I've booked my registration and made my hotel reservation for the SAQA Conference in Toronto and March.  The registration is paid for, but $$ have to be amassed to cover airfare (about $600) and accommodations (almost $1,000 if I don't have a room-mate);
  • 2021: Take Level 1 of the Master Spinner Certificate through Olds College (about $1,000 with fees and accommodation and meals);
  • 2022: I turn 70, my car will be paid off (!) and so...I'm turning my thoughts to attending Shetland Wool Week (fees, travel, and accommodation costs TBD).
These objectives are going to take some doing -- involving discipline and self-control, against which I've been rebelling rather regularly for the past 15 years.

A rebel?  YOU?

Yes, this Goodie-Two-Shoes has been rebelling against some of her former tendencies to be organized, rigid, and obliging to others -- primarily because for over 50 years that's how I was, and at the end of it all, I was exhausted, frustrated and angry.

But I'm coming back around to my former self -- and hoping to practice discipline and self-control more gently, more softly, more lovingly this time around, so that I can get to where I want to go.

The motivation behind these "New Year's Resolutions" is to live my life, rather than having my life live me.  It's to bring me more enjoyment and more opportunities to be inspired, to learn new skills -- to keep creating art!

And in that vein...Here's what I've been working on lately:

Watch That Sky! is hanging in the Lacombe Memorial Centre, awaiting the "Behind the Words" fund-raiser September 25.  It's a very different sort of fund-raiser, and if you're in the area, you might just want to check it out!  

(L) My piece, Watch that Sky!  (R) Fall Has Arrived,
a painting by Barb McCarten

I finished this knitted wrap that's taken almost a year and has (thankfully!) eaten up a good part of my yarn stash.  It's cozy on its own, but will also add warmth over coats this winter:

Pattern: "Rectangular Wrap" from Vogue Knitting - Holiday issue, 2016
Designer: Ann Morgan
Yarns: Schachenmayr Nomotta Bravo Crazy Color - Colour #85 - "Mexico
and Lang Yarns Thema Nuova - Colour #115002 (ecru)

I picked up a pair of socks that I began in 2012 (!), finished the first sock and am now about to turn the heel on the second.

On Labour Day Monday, my friend G and I spent most of the day working on the first of the two string quilts being made for the Syrian refugees our church expects to arrive in the very near future.  We got 14 blocks -- trimmed to 10" square -- out of the 36 that were prepped.  Later today, I'll be tackling a few more:

It was G's first time making string blocks -- and doing "QAYG" (Quilt As You Go), so she now has a couple of new skills.  What delights us both about these blocks, though, is the way they look when all the sewing and trimming is finished.  You don't really 'get' how they're going to look while your working on them but at the end -- wow!  They're colourful and fun and all those odd strips really do go together!  😊

And what of the Wall-to-Bed Project?  God willing, my long-arm quilter made it home safely from her Maritime holiday yesterday, and I'll be able to take the top and backing over tomorrow for her to start the work on it.

In the next couple of weeks I hope to make my sample(s) for the SAQA All-Canadian Call for Entry, "Colour with a 'U'".  

2020 will usher in preparations for the Annual Lacombe Art Show and Sale, and my role as Featured Artist.  New pieces will need to be made.

And so...more of the same in the coming months, but with a bit more shape, and focus, and determined self-care, so that I can meet the next part of my life with better health, greater peace and deeper joy.

Thanks for hangin' in with me for 1567 blog posts...and for joining me on this journey of life with HEart.  💗  I'm linking this to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday, and wishing you all a wonderful week ahead!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Grass and Trees, Trees and Grass

That's almost all that's been before my eyes since my last post -- as I've worked hard to finish the top for the Wall-to-Bed Project.  Today -- it's done!

Here it is in its glory on my back lawn -- the only place large enough to photograph it in its present state.

I'm calling it Prairie Quintet because of the 5 trees.

After I photographed it, I went to great lengths to determine if it was even all around.  To do this, I had to fold it in half, and pin the end and side edges together.  That's when I discovered it was a bit out of whack on one grassy corner (bottom right of photo).  That's been trimmed now.

In addition, because of all the seams and bits and bobs of fabric in this piece, I decided to stay-stitch it at 1/4" all the way around, with the hope of preventing stretching and unravelling of seams.  Done! It now measures the desired 72" W x 86" L  plus a bit for seam allowance when I bind it. (It's not intended to cover the pillows at the head of the bed.)

Now I wait.  My long-arm quilter is away till September I've arranged with her to call on the 9th and take it and the backing over for quilting.  If I get it back within the week, I should be able to have it in the mail to my client by the end of the third week of September -- a good three to four weeks earlier than I initially estimated.

Also since my last post, I did up the final version of the piece for the Lacombe Arts Endowment Fund fund-raiser, "Behind the Words"; I delivered it to the City office on Thursday:

Watch that Sky! (C) 2019
Hand-dyed silk, commercial cottons, machine quilted
and applied to painted stretched canvas.  12" square, unframed.

All of the pieces contributed will be on show in the foyer gallery of the Lacombe Memorial Centre from September 1 through 23.  Then they'll be wrapped in brown paper -- hidden from view! -- and displayed with a poem or bit of verse written by local poets.

On September 25, there'll be an evening event at which people can purchase a piece they've previewed -- based on the poetry attached to the hidden piece.  Aha!  That will test the public's powers of observation and memory...

It's not an auction.  All pieces will be available for $150 each and as the event description says, "It's first come, first served!"  As one of the artists, I get to attend for free, and enjoy the evening, mingling with purchasers and joining in on their sleuthing fun.  😊

What's next?  Well...there's a small family of refugees coming to join their relatives here, and they'll need comfort, so there'll be three quilts under my needles soon -- two quilt-as-you-go string quilts for the kids, and a more formal design for their mom.  All no larger than throw-sized...with the faint hope they'll use up some of my stash, but you all know how that turns out... 😉

Linking belatedly (as usual) to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday...

And linking on time to WIP Wednesday over at The Needle & Thread Network.

Have a great rest of your week, everyone!