Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Wall-to-Bed: A Progress Report

The past several days have been "iffy" as weather goes.  Sunday was the loveliest -- and it still included clouds rolling in and out and around the place, with threats of thunder storms.  I spent the afternoon weeding the veggie patch at my sister's cottage, dead-heading some of her peonies and ensuring her tomato plants had TLC.

Happiness is a well-tended veggie patch!

Though she's taken care to bring in manure and compost to enrich her patch, she still grows a mean crop of chickweed!  It took me a good two hours and then some to clear it out (and she'd already done around the lettuce and zucchini the weekend before!)

The great thing about the cooler, wetter-than-expected weather (aside from the fact that it meant I didn't have to deplete my rain barrels by watering my own gardens) is that I didn't feel guilty about staying inside and tending to the Wall-to-Bed quilt.

Following on from Saturday's work, I sewed all four rows of the "sky section" together:

Sky Section - original on the left, "logs" on the right!

On Monday I set to and created the "bush" section.  This was a case of 'one step forward, two steps back'.  It was tricky to make the blocks to include both sky and "bush".  Instead of four rows of four blocks each, I was using one row of three larger blocks.  Instead of working right to left, I chose to work left to right...after I realized I'd messed up the centre of the three blocks.  Sigh.

I realized that to get it right, I had to start with the highest bit of "bush" -- the block farthest left.  Using that as an "anchor", I made two more blocks, moving "down hill" as it were.  In the end it looked like this:

SKY...and "bush"

That done, I moved on yesterday to the "earth" (ploughed field) blocks, and finished them today -- two rows of four blocks each.









Comparing the two...can you see where I'm going with this?











By now the log cabin version is approximately 27" wide by 50" long.  Adding the green "grass" section will take it to 70" or so.  Then...Side Two: The Trees!

Again, I'm aiming for a 'top' section that's about 40" x 70"; borders will carry on the theme to complete the work at 72" x 86" (finished).

Yesterday I visited my long-armer to pick up the quilt I've made for my nephew's birthday...the one I made from red, white and black scraps as a Block-of-the-Month using a modified version of Edyta Star's BOM for The Quilt Show in 2018.

TQS BOM 2018 -- before quilting!

Well...considering dear Sylvia (my long-arm quilter) is going to quilt the Wall-to-Bed Project quilt, I took it with me to show her.

Turns out she's a fan of Katie PM (tell me now, who isn't -- once they've seen her multi-faceted wonderful approaches to quilting?!) and she's excited!  She's got one of Katie's earlier books and has now been motivated to look up Artful Log Cabin Quilts...so she can think ahead to when she'll be quilting the one I'm making.

Ya gotta love it, eh?

So...it's Wednesday evening.  Tomorrow I work at The Shop -- a chance to knit a bit and take a break from the sewdio.

Friday = grass on the Wall-to-Bed project.

I leave you with a link to the WIP Wednesday blog...and a wish for a happy and creative rest of this week.

Once again, Happy July 4 to my American readers...with prayers and a hug...just 'cause...well...you know...


Monday, July 01, 2019

For Those Who Ask...

Thanks to all who take time to read my blog posts, and to send comments!  For those of us who send our stories out into cyberspace, not knowing exactly where they'll land, it's lovely to know that people are actually reading, and interested.

Now... a quick word of advice.  If you send a comment that includes a question you'd like me to answer, please provide a way to do that.  Some of you are friends and I have your e-mail addresses, so even if you post as "No Reply at Blogger", I can write you a thank you and/or respond to a query.

However, some of you are not friends or acquaintances of mine from other parts of my life.  If you post as "No Reply" -- and have no contact information associated with your link on Blogger...well, that just makes it darned hard to answer a question!  😕

So...for the reader who asked if I'd recommend Katie PM's book, Artful Log Cabins, the answer would be "maybe", because I can't get hold of you to find out more about the sort of things you like to do with fabric. 

Here's a link to Katie's website...and you might check out the You Tube video she created to introduce her online class on the subject.  Maybe that will help!



Now...back to the sewdio.  It's going to be a quilty Canada Day around these parts!


Saturday, June 29, 2019

This Just Might Work!

Since my last post, I've been working pretty steadily on my latest commission -- interpreting an art quilt as a bed quilt.  (I'm calling the project "wall-to-bed" as an easy way to summarize it!)

The art piece looks like this:



I spent the first few hours of the project working out grids and measurements, trying to figure out how to convert a "random" grid (one of the types suggested in Katie PM's Artful Log Cabin Quilts) into something 700% larger than the original printed on 8.5 x 11 paper.

Katie talks about enlargements as great as 400%, which could be done at a copy shop.  I checked out options online (my nearest shop is at Staples in Red Deer, an hour's drive from here) -- and decided to go with her "enlarge one block at a time" option.  Here's a glimpse at my sketchbook -- just a couple of the pages of drawings and calculations, with the grid and what I'm using now to make the piece "work":


The page with the bright yellow sticky notes indicates for each section, how many actual blocks I have to make, and what size.  The "sky" piece takes 4 rows of 4 blocks, 7" square (unfinished).  The next row (a bit of sky with bush) will take 1 row of 3 blocks, 9.25" square, also unfinished. 

Just above that sheet, you'll see a separate sheet with lines and text.  That's my time tracking sheet, saved years ago from artist Jean Judd, whom I met at my first SAQA conference in Denver, CO, in 2011.  (I've not heard of or from her in some time...but I think of her often and hope all is well with her.  If any of you Gentle Readers have news, please share!)  This is the first time I've actually used her worksheet to track my process; we'll see how that turns out in the end!

I thought I was on the right track...till I got into the first set of blocks -- for that large chunk of sky in the upper right of the above photo.  Researching types of log cabin blocks, I knew that making them rectangular could be done...but I just couldn't get my head around it.  I knew, though, that I could  'square up' wonky blocks -- so that's the route I've chosen.

As of this afternoon -- after a delightful sew day, wherein my friend and newbie quilter, Gwendy, joined me for stitching, lunch out and conversation -- I've finished the blocks for that sky section:



Next step: sew them together, and then move on to sky/bush, then soil, then grass -- all along the same part of the original piece.  I am leaving the trees/sky bit till later!

I know the lights and darks aren't an exact interpretation, but remember, this is an "artful log cabin bed quilt" being made by interpreting an art quilt that was created based on a photo...

Yes; I think this is going to work.

Whatever happens, I am sure to learn a great deal along the way -- and I owe a debt of gratitued to Katie Pasquini Masopust and her amazing technique.

Tomorrow?  A bit of a rest as I attend our Parish's outdoor service at a local ranch -- celebrating 100 years of that ranch's existence -- and follow up with a spate of gardening at my sister's cottage.

As Nina Marie opines in her latest Off the Wall Friday (to which I'm linking)..sometimes a rest is required!

Monday is CANADA DAY here...A national holiday, this year celebrating 152 years since Confederation.  Our nation is growing and maturing, recognizing flaws from its past and working to make them right.  And yet again, we've been voted #1 as a place/country in which to live.  See?  Weather isn't everything!  Winter can be bearable if the folks around you are terrific!  😉

So... Happy Canada Day to my Canadian readers, and Happy July 4 to our friends to the south.  Our hearts are with you...for so very many reasons, these days!  😉

Have a great rest of the weekend -- have a great rest of the week!

And thanks for stopping by.  More on the Wall-to-Bed Project as time permits....



Monday, June 24, 2019

Enough is as Good as a Feast...and a Commission

I've been home from Quebec almost a week now, and am still trying to get back into my usual routines! 

The trip was five days of jam-packed visiting sandwiched between two full days of travel, so it was very full indeed.  I stayed with my friend since university days, Peg, and coerced convinced her to travel with me from the city to my hometown, to do cemetery visits, family visiting and to sit through a long graduation ceremony at my former high school.  She bore all of this with good grace, even going so far as to say that she didn't mind doing the driving as she needed the practice!  This was true, at least in part, as she doesn't need to use her car to get around the area in which she lives -- Westmount and central Montreal.  She's located so centrally, in fact, that she shops for groceries in the European fashion -- almost daily -- and has at her finger tips shops that purvey wide varieties of fruit, veggies, meats, fish, seafood, coffees, spices, cheeses, wines...Quite indulgent for a gal who now dwells in a tiny rural hamlet with a limited-selection central store, a beer-focused liquor store and 43 km. to the closest urban population!

Our drive out of the city was surprisingly easy, considering it's the height of Construction Season in Canada -- and Montreal is no exception!

We landed in my hometown of Huntingdon just in time for lunch.  We found a new venue in a building that had housed a general store as I was growing up.  It's now a restaurant run as a Co-operative that (as I understand it) provides work and skills for folks (mainly young) who've been down and out and are now coming into new life with purpose.  The chicken burger was recommended, so both Peg and I indulged!

Bon appetit, bien sur!

After lunch Peg and I lost  found our way out to the country.  Misdirected slightly by one of the good folk at the restaurant, we ended up at our last-planned destination first: Hillside Cemetery and the Rennie Church (yes, named after my ancestors, who gave the land for both):

Note their dates.  He was 14 years older than his wife;
she died the same year as their infant son -- perhaps
in child birth.  Tough times.



Rennie United Church, Hinchinbrooke, QC

Most of my family is buried at Hillside, including my father, his siblings, my grandparents, great-grandparents, my great-great grandparents -- and my husband.

Somebody's recently had the GGG's marker cleaned because it -- a tall, white obelisk -- was pristine:

G-g-gran Margaret Gillies, wife of
Alexander Rennie...
"A native of Kilsyth, Scotland"

I can't say as much for my father and Howard (DH)...who've both collected  patches of lichen since my last visit (2013).  This is due in large part to a) the fact that both are next to each other in the shade of a beautiful red maple, and b) their inscriptions face the prevailing elements: wind, rain, snow...as do most of the markers in that cemetery!

Lichen growing on the top and base,
and around some of the lettering!

I'll have to attend to that soon!

From there we went to Les Jardins de Glenelm, the enterprise in organic market gardening founded by my young cousin Sarah and her DH, Ian.  Sarah was off at a meeting -- with their little ones in tow! -- but Ian showed us around and we spent a happy couple of hours in the poly-tunnels and environs, inspecting their radishes, kohlrabi, carrots, lettuces and tomatoes.  They've opted to specialize in particular varieties of these for salad fixings, but also have strawberries, zucchini and have plans for Saskatoons (Ian grew up in Saskatoon).

I found art inspirations in the grasses, leaves and flowering plants all around the place:



Peg was particularly interested because she is a "foodie", collecting cook books the way I collect books on fabric, fibre and floss.  She's also an avid gardener, and knows much more about plants (including their various names) than do I.  Here's what she's created in the gravelly patches of land around the apartment building's back alley where she lives in the city -- with the blessing of her landlord, by the way:




She's not daunted by the squirrel that's gone after her attempts at Brussels sprouts, and nipped off cone flowers and other plants down to the nub.  She persists -- and has created a colourful green space out of the most unwelcoming soil!

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

The main purpose of my visit was to present bursaries (in memory of my father and his sister, both teachers) to two students at the 2019 Graduation Ceremonies at my former high school.  I go back every few years to do this in person, and have done so since the bursaries were endowed in 2003.  This year was special because it was 50 years ago that I graduated, valedictorian of my class.  I really enjoyed meeting the two recipients of the bursaries and talking with them about their post-secondary education plans and dreams -- and briefly chatting with the 2019 valedictorian about the same.  All are exceptional young people, and I only hope and pray their lives will be filled with blessings, contentment, and good health as they go forward.

Me, flanked by Graeme and Julia, this year's
recipients of Rennie Memorial Bursaries

***   ***   ***   ***


The Commission came the day after I arrived, when Peg and I went to lunch with an old friend of mine, now living in an assisted-living apartment very close to Peg.  My friend Jane had written me in May, saying she wanted me to make her a 'bed cover' of one of my art pieces.  "This is business", she wrote, and she was prepared to pay me.

Sigh.

I wrote back to explain that I'd be happy to make her a bed quilt, but that I don't design those -- I use either traditional patterns or patterns created more recently by someone else.  I sent her some photos of examples of my work in various formats (soft or on canvas and framed), sizes and at a variety of prices.

Jane was adamant.  She replied that she liked two of the examples in particular, and she wanted a bed cover, not a quilt.

I phoned her.  I explained that the only "bed cover" I could make would be a quilt because it had to have both a front and a back -- even if I left out any batting.  I agreed to have lunch when I got to Montreal, and promised to bring one of the examples she liked -- one I thought would best translate to the bed -- so we could talk more about it.

And that's what transpired.  In the end, Jane agreed to a bed quilt -- batting and all -- and to my price, which would include the cost of my long-arm quilter as I don't quilt pieces that are that large (72" x 86" desired size).  I showed her this piece, and explained how I thought it could be redesigned to suit a bed, assuring her that the bed quilt wouldn't be any thicker than the art piece:

Trio (C) 2012
17" W x 25" L
Hand-dyed fabric, commercial fabric,
recycled fabric, distressed painted paper;
hand-stitching, machine quilting.

Yep.  I've been challenged to convert this piece into a bed quilt.  How the heck -- ??!

I have a plan.  😊  I shared it with Jane, and she has approved -- because while the construction should be sturdy enough to serve on the bed, the composition needs to be artful.  (Did I mention that Jane studied Art at Hunter College in NYC and became an art teacher?  And that she still practices her water colour -- portraiture and still life?)

Hmmm...yes!  I have the very thing.  My daughter gave me this book for Christmas 2018:



Katie PM's approach is just the ticket -- though I'm pretty sure she never planned the technique to be used for a large utilitarian piece!

One of the examples shown in the book was created from a photo of a landscape.  My "Trio" piece was similarly inspired, but I'm going to use the piece itself as the basis for this project.

I've begun by re-reading Katie's book, watching her segment on the technique on The Quilt Show, and selecting the 'random grid' option to use to create the blocks.  I've made a grid on an 8" x 10" print out of the photo of the piece, as well as on a clear plastic sheet (made from laminate off-cuts recycled from my daughter's office laminating machine) the size of the art piece.

Next up: enlarge each section of the grid, one block at a time -- because there's no way a copy shop is going to up-size the grid from 8" x 10" (or even 17" x 25") to 72" x 86"!  That's what's on tap for today...plus sorting through my existing landscape fabric for blues, greys, browns and greens.

I feel compelled to mention that this commission has scuttled any plans I had for dabbling with painting cheese cloth or mucking about with burning sheers this summer.

I'm definitely under a deadline!

  • First, I want Jane to be able to enjoy the quilt when the days turn cold in the fall;
  • Second, her birthday is in late October.  Even though she's paying me to do this, it would be nice for her to have it on time for her birthday.
  • Third, she told me at our visit that this next birthday would be a Big Birthday.  I mentioned she was an "old" friend.  Yes; she is elderly.  I knew she was in her nineties, and figured she meant "95".  No.  99!  Big indeed!!
So...enough for the moment!  I've got to get back to the sewdio!

I'll leave you with a link to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday.  This week she's celebrated a Big Birthday on her Blog. Do drop by to check out her celebration!








Sunday, June 09, 2019

Gifts

What do you include as gifts in your life?  I have many!

  • My children;
  • My sister;
  • My friends;
  • My quiet, pretty rural hamlet;
  • My cozy little house;
  • My memories of special people, special times;
  • My present-day internet connections;
  • My stashes...and TIME in which to use them...

I've been thinking about gifts this past week as I've been making a couple to take to family and friends on my up-coming visit to Montreal et environs.  I am so blessed at this stage in my life to have full use of my hands, and the ability to make art!  

In my last post I gave you a peek at a small piece I was making for one of my cousins.  Yesterday I picked it up from the framer's...

Glenelm, QC  (c) 2019
6" W x 6" L
Hand-dyed poly-cotton and silk, commercial cotton;
fused applique, machine quilting, thread painting


I also managed to get off my duff and finish the "twin" -- matted, this time.  Said cousin and her parents will have to discuss which version they want!  😉

Glenelm, QC (c) 2019
7" W x 5" L, matted to 10" x 8"


They're wrapped and ready to pack, along with this throw I knit over the winter, for the friend with whom I'm staying -- and who's graciously driving me around while I'm there!

Shown here being blocked...
Star Afghan - Knitter's Magazine, Summer 2008
Designer: Sandra Daignault, Calgary, AB
Yarn: James Brett Marble DK, colour # MT 12

I was given a few more gifts this week, too.  My son celebrated 34 years on the planet.  My daughter visited with a Mother's Day package of rich Columbian coffee beans, roasted by a Columbian roaster resident in Edmonton, and a gift card to my favourite bookstore.  And not one but TWO (!) skeins of fabulous Manos del Uruguay yarn, brought back for me by her friend L, who bought them in Uruguay on a business trip a few months ago!

Weight: fingering
75% Merino wool
25% Nylon
Colour-way: "Manglar"
Created by Fatima at Dragon, Uruguay

I envision a good-sized shawl...or maybe two shawlettes... or a shawl and some mittens and a hat...

A bell is not a bell till you ring it.
A song is not a song till you sing it.
Love in your heart wasn't put there to stay;
love isn't love till you give it away.
-- Oscar Hammerstein II

Mr. H. was right.  That's why there are gifts -- to be given, and to be received, used, appreciated, shared.  And love is the greatest gift of all.

Thank you, Gentle Readers, for the gift of your reading, your thoughts and comments.  I leave you now with a link to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Friday", where this week she writes of the gifts of a wonderful holiday, new scenery, new acquaintances and new learning opportunities.

Have a great week!

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Do You Take Time Off?

C'mon.  I'm pretty sure you do!  Alright: I know you do!  Even if you're thinking about your art work 24/7, sometimes it's time to step away and attend to Other Things.  This can be particularly true if you're the only one in your household, so you have to pause from time to time to Take Care of Business.

And that's pretty much what I've been doing since my last post. My "break" began, really, at the end of April, right after the Lacombe Art Show & Sale.  It's not uncommon for folks to "crash" (or at least, slump a little) after a big event, and I did.  My hands, especially, didn't want to have anything to do with using my sewing machine or cutting fabric.  My hands wanted to knit and embroider and garden and hold good books.  Believe it or not, they even wanted to peel recalcitrant wall paper and wield a paint brush and roller.

And so they did.

The need to paint a wall in my bedroom began a good three years ago (or longer), when Miss Pookie Cat (seen here supervising the tulips' growth) found a loose edge of wall paper -- an edge that had been pried loose a few more years before that, by my grand-cat, Princess, on a visit to my home.  Said edge had been hidden safely from prying paws for years, because that side of my bed was along the wall and my own cat at the time -- Diesel -- was too large to get between the wall and the bed to play with it.

Enter Pookie, the kitten, in 2012.  Some time in her first year or so with me, she discovered what fun it was to dive down beside the bed.  What treasures lay in the drawers that she could access from behind?  And wait!  What's this?!  Loose wall paper!  What fun!!

And so...bit by bit, she attacked it -- when I wasn't around or paying attention -- until there was nothing for me to do but peel it off in a swath, rendering the wall decidedly ugly.

That's when I decided to move my bed so that it was at 90 degrees to the wall -- hoping that this would motivate me to finish the job and paint the wall.

It took me a good three years (or more; I lost track) for that ploy to work -- but work it did, last month.  Here's a shot of the Peel in Progress.


For a brief moment, I entertained the thought of not peeling the last two sheets of wall paper -- hitherto unscathed -- and just painting 2/3 of the wall...but I knew that would likely look too weird.  Sigh.

So I proceeded to finish the job.

In the process, though, I had to prepare the rest of the room, and that included Getting Rid of Stuff.  Said "stuff" referred mainly to books I'd either read and wouldn't likely read again, or books I no longer even cared about reading, and to yarn I'd been given or rescued that in reality, I'd never want to knit with.  Knitting friends, the local lending library and the church's annual Yard Sale were the beneficiaries.

And I ended up with a room that -- with the bed back along the wall -- feels much more spacious and open.  Lighter, even.  With room for some new artwork (even my own pieces!) on the wall...

Over the head of the bed (L): an embroidery of
a patchwork quilt, stitched by my mother.
Hanging on the rod: Ivy for Faithfulness, a very early attempt
(by me) at turning a traditional pattern into something "arty" (2010).
On the bed: my "Not so Grand Illusion" -- from a Bonnie Hunter
Mystery.  On the wall at the right:(top) a knit sculpture by Julie Mears:
Underwater Mini #1 (2008); bottom: my own work -- Rock Face III, 2014

In the midst of sifting and sorting, I tackled my guest room (aka where I store my art work) and opened my blanket box for the first time in years.  Therein I unearthed quilts I'd made -- one for my daughter and one for my late godmother -- and some I'd been given on my aunt's death, which I'd forgotten I had.  One of those I showed you, now adorning a bench in my Outdoor Studio in good weather.  Several others have now come out to hang on quilt racks -- one in the guest room, and one in my own room:

On the wall (L): two floral cross-stitch pieces
done by my mother; and (R) one "Just Nan" sampler
embroidered by me in 2005.  On the desk: a runner
I made for Canada 150 in 2017 from a free "mystery"
pattern, and a tiny sampler -- Take Time to Cruise --
designed by Jeannette Douglas for her first stitching
cruise, which I took in 2009.


Here's a close up of that cozy corner.  The chair is antique; I believe it belonged first to my maternal grandmother, but it could be even older than that.  I know I've never seen another like it.  My mother refurbished it with the needlepoint decades ago.  To protect the seat, I've pinned (with short  T pins) thereon a small hanging I made in a class in another lifetime -- that I'd forgotten I had.  It seems to have worked (thus far!) to keep Miss Pookie from clawing at the chair's upholstery.

On the quilt rack: at the back, a 9-patch variation created by
my Aunt Alice Rennie sometime in the eighties, containing
fabric I gave her from garments I was sewing at the time. The
red-and-white print was from a dress I made my daughter; and
a Dresden Plate that was made even earlier by my Aunt -- perhaps
with her mother.  Both are hand quilted.

Just this past week, I made it back into the sewdio.  I'm travelling home to Quebec later this month and wanted to make a 'thank you' for my cousins, with whom I'll be staying part of the time.  Their eldest daughter, Sarah is -- like my daughter -- a talented photographer.  She and her husband Ian own an organic market veggie farm -- Les Jardins de Glenelm -- and she took this photo in March, when it had snowed -- yet again!



I fell in love with it and asked permission to recreate it in textiles, which was granted.  So...this week, I did:




It's  a tiny piece -- just 6" square -- which I've wrapped around a stretched canvas and on Friday, took to my framer's for a floater.  I'll pick it up by week's end.  Alas, the lighting doesn't show it, but the background is a piece of recycled, thin, poly-cotton sheeting that I hand-dyed a pale blue.  Once I applied the fabric for the barn, I drew in the trees as guidelines, but there's much more stitching that's been done to finish it off.  I promise a photo of the finished piece before I take it to it's new home!

And so I leave you for the moment...and will link this up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday before I go.  This week she shares "9 Tips to Unleash Your Creativity".  I seem to have been living Tip #4 -- after a fashion -- this past month...and very soon, I'll be following Tip #9.  Let's see where that leads, shall we?

Thanks for stopping by...I hope to 'see' you again soon!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

After the Show Indoors and Out

In my last post, I was about to show my work at the 20th Annual Lacombe Art Show & Sale.  Here's how the booth looked just before the doors opened:

From the 'front' (as seen from the door)

From the 'back' (as seen going toward the door)

It was an interesting time.  I really enjoyed connecting with artists I've met over the years, and from seeing new work by new entrants.  The "Paint-off" Friday evening was fun; I was rooting for an oil painter who was worried about how well he'd do with acrylic paint in the contest -- and he nailed it with a beautiful still life of irises. He wasn't the fastest painter, but I liked his piece the best.  (Sorry; I didn't get photos!)

Can you sense there's a "but" coming?

Abbey Echoes II - SOLD!
to a good friend at the Art Show & Sale
Yes...there's a "but".  There was a great flow of people through the show on both days -- despite a nasty spring snow storm Saturday morning that made travelling to the show a white-knuckle experience.  There was a lot of interest in my work -- and I sold one large piece (to a friend who'd been eyeing it since December at the "Shamrock and Thistle" exhibit) that more than covered my show fee.  There were more men interested in the work than I'd hitherto experienced.

But other than that...I sold only four pieces: two minis, and two small framed pieces -- and one of each of these went to other artists in exchange for pieces of their work.

And I had more "silly" comments about blankets and 'grandma used to do that sort of thing' than I've had since 2016.

Well...God willing there will be next year!  As Featured Artist for 2020, I'll have more booth space, an honourarium, a chance to speak bout my work...and other Good Things.  So...

Onward and upward!

Since the show, I've been busy in the yard and garden, cleaning up after the winter (yes, it eventually stopped snowing last weekend!), and planning out some improvements for this year.
One of those was extending the narrow bed on the east side of my garage, so I could plant lettuce and still find it when the rhubarb goes full tilt!


See that bit at the front of the photo?  The green clump is the burgeoning rhubarb.  The bed used to end just in front of the plant, but has now been extended to the end of the garage.  No more trying to wield the lawn mower into a narrow corner!  And yes...there will be lettuce and mixed greens growing at the very front of the bed.  (Lest you wonder...the land at the right side -- about 18" or so to the right of the bed -- isn't mine.  It's the empty lot next door, which is for sale.  I'd buy it but I can't afford it!)

I've managed this week to open the Outdoor Studio for a bit, and outfitted my not-so-comfy new bench with an old (but unused) quilt wrapped around some old bed pillows.  I tried it out last evening and it's not too bad for sitting...


I found the quilt when, in the course of sorting and sifting after the show, I opened my blanket box for the first time in years.  I'd forgotten I had this one.  It's about a twin size, hand quilted, and made by my late Aunt Alice some time in the eighties -- mostly poly-cotton, I think.  It's in pristine condition, and is stored away in the bench when not in use.  The fun thing about the quilt is the Prairie Point border all around -- except at the top edge.  I recognized many of the miscellaneous fabrics used in that border, because they were scraps I'd given my aunt to use, left over from the garment sewing I was doing in those years when my kids were small:


See the centre triangle?  It's a bit of wool fabric,
that clearly felted a bit in the wash!

This sweet and colourful memory was celebrated by three new faces in the flower bed that's just under the window of my "messy room" on the south side of the house:


 The yard work continues!  Some years ago a wee spruce seedling cropped up in the rock garden in the front of the house.  It had planted itself about a foot from the blue spruce -- my son's Grade IV transplant from Calgary, now almost 25 years old.  And there it stayed until last week, when it moved next door.  My neighbour had removed several old and rotting willows that had grown in a line between our properties, and was replacing them with young evergreen saplings.  My little green one was just right for a spot at the front near the street -- so I let him take it.  I was able to replace it with another sapling that had planted itself (with 2 others) in a large, unused flower pot near my shed.  So here's the new tot in the rock garden, in the shadow if Big Blue Brother Spruce:

He's got some growing to do!
I'll fill in that black patch with a bit more flox or other perennial ground cover, later this week. A trip to the local nursery is in order!  On the list: manure/loam/soil mix (bags), a few annuals for my pots, and the aforementioned ground cover.

In the evenings and early mornings my hands have been busy with MORE knitting finishing.  I finally got the two panels for the Mosaic Wrap done, and am now beavering away on the end borders, of which there are two.  The two panels will be sewn together to make a long wrap, and then finished off with borders on the other two edges.  The challenge of mosaic knitting is that you knit and knit and knit and knit and don't seem to make much progress -- and then, bingo!  Done!

Panel 1

Panel 2


I resurrected the centre of a 'Hap' shawl (Shetland style shawl) begun years ago, which needed its borders.  The first of four sides of a wide border is finished, and the second well underway.  After the wide border, comes a lace edging.  In addition I've finished a small neck shawlette for the church charity tree, and am working on a lovely cowl in a yummy alpaca and silk blend.  Photos will follow eventually!

Today I'm off for an over-night trip to Calgary to see friends -- and my friendly dentist (annual check-up).  Once back -- more gardening!

Linking this to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday...where this week she's finishing her book review posts about Strong Women based on a book by Amy Morin (which I've not read).  One of the things such women do is boldly reinvent themselves.  My son said to me a few months ago, "I've watched you reinvent yourself [since Dad died]..."  I hadn't really thought of my life that way, but it's true.  My life now is Artist, Colour Lover, Grower, Maker, Occasional Volunteer, Friend and Mom.

Happy Mother's Day to all who are mothers or mother-figures in the lives of those around you.  Have a great week!