Sunday, April 11, 2021

A Little Brown Pot and Other Things...


Do you talk to yourself?  If so, do you find yourself doing so more often during these pandemic times?

I do!  It's part of my "stay well, stay safe, stay sane" practice these days.  I find that when I talk to myself, I'm prodding myself into activity, reminding myself of what needs to be done, what I want to do, what day of the week it is and where my happy places are.  

To respond appropriately to myself, I have to make choices -- and this keeps me from procrastinating (too much) about both chores around the house/yard and creating in the studio.  

The added benefit of this practice is that I get involved in something healthy or routine or creative (or all three), and stop worrying about the pandemic, ruminating on the stupidity of the "I have my rights!!!" folks who live in town, challenging the health and safety of the rest of us, and/or taking on the challenges and tough times family and friends are facing and have shared with me.

It's paid off -- most of the time -- in the past couple of weeks.  It's helped me get past the tricky questions I'd posed in my last post, and has moved me forward in both practical and creative ways.

I got through Easter -- and the one-year anniversary of the death of my BFF from high school, which was April 2 -- and enjoyed the company of each of my two "designated close contacts" -- or as I call them, "my designated single people".  Good food and conversation is always a boon to one's spirit!

I got my car's spring maintenance service done (including swapping out my winter tires just in time for it to snow again)... and in the process managed to visit my nearest Chapter's store, where I found the Spring 2021 issue of Art Quilt Studio -- including articles by Wen Redmond and Jaynie Himsl, SAQA colleagues of mine whose work I admire.  And I treated myself to 'grab and go' lunch and coffee at the Starbuck's outlet nextdoor.  From there I visited a dear friend -- appropriately distanced, and with my own coffee in hand.  All in all it was a lovely day.

Back left: 2 zucchini.
Front left: over-wintered basil.
Centre/right: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cherry tomatoes.
Right: a pot of lobelia and one of oregano.
In between snow squalls, I cleaned up the oldest of my two raised beds, adding sheep manure and topsoil, and then added topsoil and compost to the newest of the two beds.  My seedlings are chomping at the bit to be allowed larger pots -- or even direct transplant -- but it's not quite time yet!  

And remember the plant I'd given up on for dead when it made a surprise appearance in early March?

Just look at it now!

I still don't know what it's called, having thrown out the tag, but next to that tall sprout (circled) there's yet another coming up!

My sister gave me a Lowe's gift card last year for Xmas.  I really was at a loss as to what to do with it, as I'd never shopped there...but on another recent trip into Red Deer, I went in and bought a new bench for the "East Lot" (that plot of land next door to my house that I bought in the fall of 2018).  When I told her about it, she asked, "Did you get a cushion for it?"  

Duh!  No.  I'd seen them...but set that aside as something for another day.  

After I got home I thought more about this...and remembered three aged bed pillows I'd been hanging onto -- for "back-up", I suppose!  😄  Anyway, I dug them out: two "standard" sized, and one "large" one.  Then I routed about for something with which to make a pillow case...and came across two 'samples' I'd made for an online class with Elizabeth Barton -- "Mod Meets Improv" -- back in February 2017!  Lo and behold, each piece was just the right size for the "standard" pillows.  Routing about in the bin of fabrics from my "inheritance", I found a good-sized piece of light-weight, brushed denim -- perfect for the back-side of the pillow cases.  One afternoon's sewing et voila!

Cushion #1 on the storage bench.

Cushion #2 on the storage bench.

Both cushions in their intended home 
on the new garden bench

You'll note, of course, that the cushions aren't entirely matching; one is flatter than the other.  It doesn't matter to me.  They'll serve the purpose just fine.  The third -- and larger -- pillow has yet to be covered, but I have a sample piece for the top side of it too; all that's needed is to find suitable backing (another dive into the "inheritance") and to put it all together.

Still in the studio, I finally created another of my "Pot" series -- this one inspired by the stout little strawberry pot that I use for plantings of baccopa and impatiens every summer:

The above photo is a few  years old -- I can't seem to find the version I printed out for my piece!!  The difference?  The bacopa (the garden variety, not for use as a medication!) in the photo I used is white (not pink) and the impatiens are red, not pink.  

The piece finishes at 9" x 12", mounted on stretched canvas, but started out like this:

Auditioning lay out on my ironing surface

From there... I added some quilting and some paint.  Having pressed the piece, the pot is showing the quilted lines underneath, but that will disappear as I work on the piece.

Quilted white stones with grass peaking through,
and a bit of old lichen painted on the pot's surface.

Next I added flowers and leaves:

Almost there...

But it needed more quilting and some thread-painted stems to make it "done".  I faced it and affixed it to a shallow stretched canvas using fusible web.  Ultimately it will be put in one of my favourite black 'floater' frames and -- God willing!! -- shown (and sold!) at the 2021 Lacombe Art Show & Sale, scheduled for May 28 and 29.... 

Brown Pot (c) 2021
Commercial cottons, cotton thread,
paint, water-colour pencil.
Fused applique, painted accents,
thread painting, machine quilting.

Somewhere in all this, And It Was Good got finished -- thread painted, quilted and faced.  All it needs is it's hanging sleeve and it will be ready for the Art Show too.

And It Was Good (c) 2021
14" W x 22" L, faced.
Self-dyed and commercial cottons.
Fusible applique, thread painting, 
machine quilting.

And It Was Good - detail

Another finish (but for the sleeve) was Accidental Cityscape, which I'd tried on in February and then set aside for a bit.  Like On the Straight and Narrow, it's a "quilt on a quilt" in that the small focus piece is quilted and then attached to a quilted background.

Accidental Cityscape (C) 2021
18" W x 14.5" L
Commercial cotton and synthetic fabric,
Machine quilted, faced.

Accidental Cityscape - Detail

On the Straight and Narrow (c) 2020

Of course, there's always a bit of knitting to focus the mind; this week I finished a pair of socks for a little guy in Ontario who turns 5 in September and is eager to get into his hockey gear.  His entire family's a fan of the Edmonton Oilers and, having some Hat Trick Yarn in that team's colours left from earlier projects, I've made him a pair of socks.  Once they're washed, they'll be off in the mail...

"The Thing with Wings II" is out for framing, as is the Lizzie Kate, "I Am Only One"...and I've started a new piece by that designer.  Entitled "My To Do List", it's another project guaranteed to remind me of what's essential every day.   Beginning in the centre, I've just finished this little bit of it...

And on that note, Gentle Readers, I'm linking this to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday and leaving you with wishes for a lovely rest of the weekend.  'Til we meet again...'stay well, stay safe, stay sane' blessed.  😊


Anne said...

That is quite a list of achievements 👍🏼 Love the new pieces

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

Sounds like you made good use of your Lowe's gift card, and fun patchwork cushions to go with it! It's interesting to see your plants and all your art wall pieces.