Posted in baraka, books, creativity, Fiction, journaling

More Book Sharing

IMG_0505I found two welcome surprises when out walking yesterday:

  1. The neighborhood sharing bin has ebbed and flowed with assorted items but has never contained many books.  But things are changing!  A good selection of literature, and non fiction. interestingly the mysteries I had left are gone after sitting there for a while.  Definitely a step in the right direction and more genre fiction will be added as I read through my shelf.
  2. Dollarama finally has sketchbooks in again. These were in stock in the summer and then when I went back for more they were out of stock.  But right now there is a good supply in.  When I can pay $3 for a sketchbook with 80 sheets of 60-pound paper in the preferred 9 by 12 size, I’m SOOOO there.

I figure this means I can spend more money on other supplies from specialty stores.

What’s YOUR take on this debate about shopping from local stores versus discount places?  Are you firmly in one camp or the other, or like me split between the two?  I’d love to hear!

Posted in Art, creativity, journaling, quilting

The Challenge Piece – 5 : Quick & Painless Piecing


Does this scream RIVER!!!!

Having found better fabric for the river at the Fabricland in Duncan I decided to make a paper mockup and note my steps, so I don’t paint myself into another corner.  I now have less than a week to do this and other responsibilities still have to be taken care of …

The new fabric is a poly/rayon blend so won’t absorb much dye.  In fact I could try piecing all the strata, piecing in the river and then ice dyeing.  But I want to be happy with the results so I probably will piece the river in afterwards and perhaps try ice dyeing a small offcut of the river fabric just to see what happens.  I bought half a metre and it’s 54″ wide so will go far.  I can see this may be one of those fabrics that I will later wish I had more of.  Oh well.

In this photo the green is the stand in for blue river and blue sky, as I had no blue paper to hand and wanted to get on with this project.

Of course the piece will be trimmed and the fabric I’ve earmarked for sky is not the same as the river made the strata by making striped paper using E-Z Tints scrapbooking daubers.  They’re not pens, they look like bingo daubers, and I’ve only seen them in scrapbooking stores.  I think mine are actually discontinued.  Then then cut the paper into vertical strips and pasted them slightly offset onto another sheet of sketchbook paper (65 pound).  Then I cut that apart to insert the river.  The bend in the river is important to me.

Posted in Art, creativity, productivity

The one that got away

Well, it REALLY got away!

I was going to post a scan of a coloured sketch done as part of Elizabeth Barton’s Inspired to Design class which I’m currently taking through Quilt University.  But for some reason my scanner decided to make it a TIF file and I can neither post it to the class gallery nor here.

Oh well, too bad.  Here’s another sketch, based on one of the National Geographic photos of bees’ nests I blogged about earlier.

Now all I have to do is try and figure out why my scanner has suddenly decided this week to save everything as a .TIF instead of .JPG!

Am certainly learning a lot in this class.  She challenges us to cover our design wall with sketches each week.  My wall is four bifold closet doors each about 24 inches wide and 80 inches tall, so I haven’t yet covered the entire space in either lesson.  I left a lot of last week’s sketches up until yesterday when I realized I needed to be able to contemplate the work I’m engaged in now, so I removed them into a folder.  I was very good and didn’t throw anything into recycling!  Although some sketches were just horrible and never made it to the wall in the first place.

My inner critic works overtime. Maybe I should visualize packing his bags and sending him off to the French Riviera for a long, decadent holiday!  Then I could just say “Get back there and work on your tan!” whenever I hear “That’s rubbish, you can’t draw, just give it to the animal shelter now and be done with it.”

How do YOU turn off your inner critic?

PS:  got it back by playing around with the scanner settings.  This never happened before although I suspect that using grayscale may have something to do with this! The colours are placeholders, not a final decision, just a step along the way, or perhaps a step off the beaten track, who knows?


Posted in Art

Nature study

One theme emerging from my drawings is a preference for manufactured objects with natural things such as plants or landscapes.  Today I was at the cafe and decided on a planter about ten feet away, the only hiccup was as people came to the door they would obscure the view!  I struggled to draw front to back and not have the back of the planter showing through the plants.

Posted in Art, journaling

The Sniffles

Since it was not practical to go to a cafe today I stuck with Pigma pen on paper and tried to draw a tissue popping out of a box.  At some time I will try again in pencil, which is outside of the scope of this challenge, but I want to improve my shading.  This turned out to be much more of a challenge to draw from life than I anticipated, and I deliberately ignored the artwork on the box, largely because with pen I would have no way to draw the artwork and show the long side of the box as being in shade.

Posted in creativity, quilting, surface design


My local fibre arts group FAD (Fibre Art and Design) has decided that our next meeting is to share our favourite websites and other sources of inspiration.  This post is so everyone will have a permanent record of mine, and perhaps we can all somehow link or find a way to share each others’ sources (not everyone blogs).


Transitions: Unlocking the Creative Quilter Within, by Andrea Balosky, That Patchwork Place, 1996

Contains a lot of info about creativity and has a good approach (working in series and using easy blocks).  Another thing I like about this book is that her examples are made with mostly commercial fabrics, to show that you can make an art quilt without throwing out your existing stash

Silk Unraveled: experiments in tearing, fusing, layering & stitching, by Lorna Moffat, Dragon Threads, 2008

Inspiring projects using silk in a variety of ways.  The author has lived overseas in Turkey and Malaysia.   The techniques in the book are simple and have many possibilities.


I have sketchbooks in various sizes going back years with quilt designs, websites, paint chips, postcards, quotes, notes from presentations at guild meetings and workshops, etc.  It’s interesting to look back and see how long some concepts have been percolating and how they’ve developed.

Also interesting is how the page size keeps increasing, although after the Gail Harker workshop I dialed it down a notch with one purse size one and one 9″ square sketchbook with heavy paper that will take acrylic paint.


Vivika Denegre, a Connecticut art quilter:

Professional quilter, very cool hip designs and big on challenging the rest of us:

Plus the rest of the blogroll too!

Posted in creativity, productivity, quilting, Writing

Productivity/ Finishing Projects

crack inspiration0001all my life I’ve struggled with finishing things — be it missing the last day I was going to a particular school, attending graduation at University (but at the time it was NOT a cool thing to go to grad, my mother was in the hospital and I was leaving the UK for a job).  Finishing off quilts and other projects is all part of that pattern, hence my collection of UFOs.  But I’ve joined the Joy in the New Year challenge and with Jacquie and 200 other crafters cheering me on I’ll get there.

The Star is Born baby quilt challenge is due absolutely no later than the Guild meeting in early December (the original deadline was last Tuesday, didn’t happen).  I can’t show photos because I’m under a gag order, that’s part of the challenge.  However just before I turn it in I might post some of the What was I thinking? blocks

Next up will be Geode, because it’s been untouched for years and when I took it out the other night I can see just a little more design is needed and a lot of the parts are in fact already constructed.  I will need to tape it up on the living room wall, step back, take pix and perhaps even print them to audition what the best design is.  I’ve already decided this will be quilted by someone with a long arm, since it’s easily queen size.

The wordle above is a new wrinkle.  I already posted about wordle here, but while surfing yesterday I found this cool tutorial about a feature enhancement.  Yay, Cool Cotton Cocktails!  This automatically creates a wordle from recent posts on any blog or website.  So you could do your own or you could wordle somebody else’s.  Interesting that the only colour names I can find (but I could be mistaken, it’s been known to happen!)  are green, white, and burgundy.

Cotton Cocktails explains how to grab a wordle in a screenprint but this computer is getting to the stage in its lifecycle where I don’t want to download much more in the way of programming, so I simply scanned and uploaded a print of my wordle.

I’m going to paste the original print out into my sketchbook.  That’s a whole other post in itself.  More art/creativity/fibre things happen in my life than I can keep up with in the blogosphere.  Anyone else have that problem?  I have a folder full of blog fodder pix on my pc and paper notes as well and yet work and life and the need to complete things get in the way.

What do YOU think?  Is the unblogged life not worth living, to twist a quotation?

Posted in Uncategorized

More on baraka

which is luck or blessings, things that happen at opportune times.

I found Kay Greenlees’ book Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists left in our apartment laundry room. What are the odds! Here’s a link to the page:;=114&id;=453#

Batsford Books have been going since 1843 and I remember them from my childhood. A lot of the textile books are tied into the City and Guilds courses, and this book is written somewhat from that perspective.

Other recent blessings:

  • a perfectly good set of everyday dishes, saving not just money but lugging them home from the store on the bus
  • a t-shirt with a slogan on that can be collaged into an art quilt
  • dining room chairs that would otherwise have gone to the landfill
  • store credit for the Beacon thrift store @ Quadra and Hillside – this gives me permission to pop in from time to time and indulge in collecting textiles. I found a sheer printed scarf (see the photo!) that will make a great layer in a quilt and a home-made brocade skirt which I’ve deconstructed for a wall hanging.

Progress with work/creation

My total hours for last week was 27 hours and 10 minutes.