Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 33 of 42

Today I am going to do another little writing exercise. This one is for my friend Josie who has started following my blog and she is a fellow writer. We had a nice dinner together last week and she reminded me of this fun little exercise. You take some random words and use them in a poem or write some quick flash fiction. It's very fun.
If I close my eyes my dreams come true. I can see the last thread pulling through the fabric or the glory of a new found color scheme. I can feel my face cheek to cheek with a true friend at my solo art show. I can touch the pages of my manuscript in a rush of negotiation with a brilliant editor. Simply put, eyes closed, I can see my life in perfect detail. I can even RECALL what life was like before I broke away. I look back and see a thick CRUST of weary people with STUBBORN rules and CLOUDS of misinformation. With my eyes closed, they are gone to me like a nudge of the central vacuum lever and the kitchen dust is sucked away. But for now, eyes open, no matter how COLORFUL I paint the handcuffs, they are still golden handcuffs.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 32 of 42

Wow, it seems like I just started this 42 day writing spree a few days ago and here I am with just over a week left! Today I got the notion that I should review why I started all of this. Once I got accepted into the poetry course I decided that I should write every day up until the course starts because a writer should write every day. Whether its 20 words or 200, I wanted to write about something that inspires me. I also wanted to do one fibre art technique or project each week and I've overdone that because of the quilt show and the little challenges I've been doing. So I am feeling quite accomplished at the moment. But there is a little something missing. Rather than just blogging today I think I'll write a little poem because, after all, the course is a poetry course. The poem will be inspired by the book club book I chose for today because I was the host. (the last straggler just left) The book is called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon. The book was fantastic. Everyone should read it.

There's no rhetoric, no sarcasm, no joking
in my life
except for those around me.
I see you laughing.
The dead air squeezes my throat
and I moan loudly,
so you stop.
I don't understand.
I don't give you what you need.
You have blinked 7 times in 2 seconds.

Everyone really should read this book. It is a light, refreshing, easy read and it gives you a perspective on life that makes you appreciate your own existence right down to the core.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 31 of 42

Yikes, my attempts at beading have been a disaster. I keep pulling them all out because it just looks like I've spilled beads all over the art piece. I thought a sporadic pattern might be funky but there's no rhyme or reason. Who knew that just buying an immense amount of beads and building up an awesome collection didn't automatically make you an expert beader? Helen Keller said "We can do anything we want to if we stick to it long enough," so I'm going to try, try again and also get some help from some friends who are brilliant beaders. My first lesson will be on Monday. Here are a few of the latest beads that have been inspiring me.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 30 of 42

This piece was a very liberating experience. You just play with the colors and design and then fuse fuse fuse, which I love to do. It was so fun. My friend Anne Marie taught this technique on how to use Lutrador to make a forest landscape quilt. The Lutrador is kind of a thick stabilizer that you can fuse and sew the fabric onto. But you can also paint it, stitch it, and cut it into applique pieces. It's very slick and easy. I had so much fun crazy stitching all over this thing. I think it turned out to be very proportional and it was nice to try the organza for the path because I often avoid that fabric. It adds a great visual texture to the piece. I'm still planning to fill in all of the lower brush, ground cover and flowers.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 29 of 42

I just heard about a wonderful Mom named Kathy who received a quilt in the hospital for her tiny preemie son 9 months ago and was inspired to make quilts for other children in the same situation. As the coordinator of the ABC Quilts program for my local quilt guild, I find these stories so heartwarming. There is nothing so rewarding in life as to provide comfort to a child. If you would like to help out Kathy in her project, you can email her at She is hoping to accumulate enough fabric and batting to make 12 quilts.
If you love how it feels to donate a quilt and you want to continue to make donations in the future, you can send an email to The ABC Quilt program in Manitoba aims to provide a sense of comfort and community to adults, babies and children in hospitals, shelters, and other social service agencies. Our program provides a rewarding volunteer opportunity for quilters which clearly benefits those in need. ABC quilts represent the caring, generous spirit of the members of the Manitoba Prairie Quilters. We donate up to 800 quilts per year to those in need and we welcome support from generous quilters worldwide. If you need support on opening a Quilt donation program in your local area, send me an email. I'd love to chat. I applaud the generosity of quilters like Kathy who are so busy with young children at home and still take the time to give back to the community.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day 28 of 42

I did a lot of work on my bead challenge today, although there is not a single bead on it yet. I am posting that instead of my forest landscape because the base quilted piece is finished and ready for beaded embellishments and I wanted to show you the before and after. So this is the before of the bead challenge. I'll post the forest landscape after I stitch it a bit more and finish the edges. I basically sketched the design, picked a fabulous batik fabric and then stitched away. I thought it was a bit thin after the first line of design was stitched so I stitched the entire thing again and with the circles I stitched a few layers to make it look thicker and the effect was great.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day 27 of 42

I am blogging for the first time from my iPhone so this will be short and sweet. I took a fantastic class this morning on how to use lutrador to make a forest landscape. It turned out quite nicely. I'll post a picture tomorrow. Sometimes life is sew nice!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 26 of 42

Ha ha ha, this picture is so funny! I was totally caught sluffing off! My father in law snapped this shot at the MPQ Quilt Reflections show during the Thursday night set up. We were all working our buns off and there was a small break while the ladies in charge sorted out where the last few quilts were going to hang. He laughed so hard when he came around the corner and saw me resting my duff on step ladder. He pulled out his camera but I was too lazy to move, plus my butt was wedged in the ladder. So I knew this picture was coming, and here it is! The next day I could barely move my fingers from pinning quilts. Thanks Geoffrey!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day 25 of 42

Near the beginning of these 42 days I said I wanted to do one little art quilt or technique each week. I have been doing tons of sewing, but not necessarily posting one challenge per week. It's mostly been for the quilt show and private commissions. I have done all of the little art challenges for the May show except for texture and beads. I made a little quilt last October called "Berry Bliss." I'll submit that one for the texture quilt to save a bit of time and hunker down to make a nice little bead challenge quilt for the last one. Here's a reminder of Berry Bliss. also, this weekend I'll be taking a forest landscape art class which should be very fun. It includes a lot of organza which I haven't worked with much.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 24 of 42

As a member of my local quilting guild, I am now the Coordinator of a program called ABC Quilts. I was so inspired by Vivian who has been running it for over 20 years that I offered to take it over when she was done. I know it will be a lot of work. I view this new challenge as something that is bigger than me but it just suits me perfectly. I have my own line of baby blankets that I sell on my website. They were inspired by my great grandmother who made blankets for me and my brother which I still cherish. I have always wanted to do that in a big enough way that part of the proceeds would go to charity. Now that I am running the ABC Quilts, I am able to be a part of something that I really believe in and that is to provide comfort for those in need. This is a photo of my son about 5 years ago wrapped in the baby blanket that my great grandmother made for me. It's pretty much my favorite picture on earth.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 23 of 42

Today I had no time to sew unfortunately because I had to work so late. But on the bright side, because that is what this blog is about, on my way home I saw the largest Jack Rabbit I have ever seen in my life. He had to be over 2 feet tall with huge back legs and huge ears. I also saw the largest double semi trailer I have ever seen in my life, which is only a thrill if you have a 7 year old boy to report that too. Other than that, today was rather uneventful. I had one interesting conversation about the new chips in credit cards for protection. I think that chip would be better if it was embedded in my arm just above my bicep so that every time I overspend I get the excruciating sensation that someone just gave me a charlie horse. That would work for me.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 22 of 42

Hey, I have crossed the halfway mark of 42 days of blogging. It has been very rewarding because I have been so motivated to complete tasks, and I've ended every single day with a positive thought. Today I'll share a fun idea I've been fooling around with. I call it From Photo to Sketch to Quilt. I have taken so many wonderful photos in our years of deep woods camping ranging from northern lights, to dew dripping spider webs and everything in between. So I've taken some of my favorite shots and figured out some processes to turn them in to art quilts. One such process is turning the photo into a cutout sketch and then cutting it out of fabric. The three photos are the sequence of actual photo, sketch pencil drawing and then quilted piece. Can you believe I found that background fabric!? It is very fun to do and very rewarding as you can see.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day 21 of 42

This is the first day that Gavin finally gets to sleep with his froggy quilt! He has been waiting so patiently for soooo long. So he's just loving it! He saw it all through the stages of the paper pieced frogs, the blocks, the pieced top, and then finally the quilted frogs. Then he had to wait to use it until after the quilt show. He was cute at the show because he found all of my quilts and all of Babcia's and we had to vote for viewer's choice. We walked through the entire show and he picked an adorable little Halloween quilt. I jokingly asked him "Why didn't you pick your froggy quilt that I made especially for you to go with Boomer?"(that's a gigantic frog that he sleeps with) and he said, "Why would I vote for that quilt? It's already mine." Then of course, I had to go on and explain to him that voting for something doesn't mean you get to keep it. I think he thought it was kind of like an auction. Well, here's a quick snapshot of Gavin with Boomer and the first night sleeping with the Froggy quilt.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day 20 of 42

Well, we pulled it off! I did not breathe a word of my dad's 60th birthday bash on my blog for the last month that we have been planning it! He had no idea! He was invited to golf this beautiful morning as usual and we all came out to set up in the hall near his house. We had a delicious catered meal, games for kids and adults, a silent auction and plenty of friends and family. Around sixty people actually. It was so nice to see his face come around the corner. All of his grandchildren raced over to him and nearly knocked him over. We are so happy to have such a wonderful Dad and he truly looked surprised and immensely touched. The funniest plan of the evening was the silent auction, because he has this silly knack for winning something at every auction he puts tickets in. So we rigged it up so anyone could win the first two prizes, but then Dad wins the next 4 in a row. So he wins the 3rd prize and everyone cheers because the birthday boy won. Then he wins the 4th prize and he is almost embarrassed and says to draw again, but we insist he takes it. Then he wins the 5th prize and he starts to realize that it is rigged. Finally he wins the last prize which was a box for small donations from the guests to go towards golf clubs to keep down south. Everyone was in on it and we really got him good. Thanks to all of our wonderful friends and family who came out in droves to have some fun and wish him a happy 60th. Cheers! I love you Dad!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Day 19 of 42

I just got home from my monthly quilt guild meeting which was a buzz of excitement still left over from our big quilt show this past weekend. They announced who had won the viewer's choice and the vendor's choice etc. which we had all heard at the show. But then they announced a few other awards that hadn't been decided at the show. I was completely surprised and thrilled to receive a rosette for the Quilt Reflections 2010 Quilt Challenge Award. My auction piece won for Best Contemporary Work. I am so honored and flattered. I was speechless. Thank goodness they just invited me up to accept it and smile and I didn't have to speak. It is a wonderful feeling. Maybe I really am pursuing my dream of being a writer and fibre artist...for real.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day 18 of 42

This evening was so fun! My son and I went on a special date night, just the 2 of us. We got all dressed nice and went to a fantastic art opening at the Woodlands Gallery. Gavin even put some product in his hair. He's so adorable. We strolled through the gallery, enjoyed dainties and wine (or juice) and chose our favorites. I absolutely love the style and colour. Although there are many artists represented, the work just seems to flow through the gallery. Gavin loved the shiny glazed parts of Melan's work. I am head over heels for Angela Morgan and I was gushing to Jenny, the gallery owner how, as a quilter, I would just love it if Angela would transform the colors and patterns in her art into a line of fabric. She would rock the quilting world. Gavin also loved the dog in Robert Roy's hockey piece. If you want to check out some of the fantastic artists I just mentioned, check out the gallery's website at

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day 17 of 42

What has inspired me today? Sometimes you just have that slow crummy day. But then I think about anything cute that my son may have done and I'm all good again. Today we played soccer in the backyard from right after supper until his bedtime. He can just play soccer for hours. Sometimes he has a swing and a miss when he's shooting the ball and he just collapses into a pile of giggles. That's my boy! Just enjoying life. After one such fit of giggles, we were lying there on the grass looking at the sky and we could not believe how fast the clouds were moving. It was a hot sunny day today, but later in the evening the storm clouds were rolling in. In my son's words, "Whoa, that was wicked!"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 16 of 42

Hooray, I worked my butt off and finished a private commission baby quilt for a good friend. I can't post the actual photo of the entire design because it is a gift for her friend, but this is a sly little side shot of one part of it before it was quilted. It turned out very nicely. Now I'm off to do a bit of research on prospective publishers for my picture book. It may be a long shot, but it's worth a shot.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 15 of 42

That whirlwind weekend is over. I just love, love, love the quilt show weekends. Now I am left so inspired. I met so many wonderful people and saw so many amazing quilts. I am so pleased and honored that my charity quilt garnished a sweet $150 for charity. Thank you to everyone who placed a bid. I am so touched. I am thrilled to be hooked up with a new art quilt group called Ravenesque. They get together monthly and share ideas, try new techniques and show and tell. It'll be so much fun. For now I have 3 challenges left for the Beausejour Show coming up in May. They are all 12" x 12" mini quilts depicting a different idea or technique. So far I have completed the button, the lines, the shapes, and the tree. The next three challenges are visual texture, actual texture, and anything beads! Those will be fun and I'll post them as I go along. For now here's my little tree.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Days 13 and 14 of 42

Aaaaccck! I missed Saturday. No excuses. I just came home and went to bed. But I did have such a fun day at the quilt show. I was there volunteering and enjoying the show from 9am to 9pm and then a group of us finally went for dinner. We were so hungry and had a fabulous late-night meal and chatted for over an hour. By the time I got home, I just forgot. So, back to the plan... That was day 13 and now it's day 14. It was the last day of the quilt show today so I checked out the vendors one last time, saying goodbye to some friends. There were some great vendors there, but this year my favorite pick goes to THE QUILT PATCH from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. They always have friendly staff, fun in-house designs, immaculate displays and perfect packaging. I bought a little wooden block sign from them that says "Sew far, sew good." It'll be perfect in my studio. I stopped in their quilt shop once driving through Moose Jaw and my son sat and played with the buttons in an old tin tub for 2 hours while I shopped. It was heaven. The picture is Shelley, myself, and Jeanne, the owners. Just good people. I laughed a bit at how shy and modest they were about having their picture taken when I saw the butt shot that my son took of me. Good grief, it looks like I've tried to shove a few bums into those jeans! I am never eating chocolate again!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Day 12 of 42

There's something that happens inside you when you are inspired. It can be a second take, a moment of disbelief, a feeling of guilt or even just a whimsical feeling that lasts all day. But today I had a feeling that what I do, that is, what I am passionate about, can be more than a hobby. More than a side line to my regular job. It can be more than just a long-lived hope that one day I'll do what I love. Today I was inspired by the trunk show of Pippa Moore and her African quilts. Her amazing story was a heartwarming and very humble account of how to the world she is only one woman, but to those few African women, she is the world. It reminded me of a brief email acquaintance I had last year in quiltmaker and teacher Sharon Pederson. She told me that I should assume that I am a quilt artist and then act as if I already am one. Then I told her she was pure sweetness.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Day 11 of 42

Phew, that was a long day. Quilt reflections 2010 starts tomorrow and the quilts are hung! My entire body is exhausted right down to the tendons in my fingers from pinning quilts. But the show is going to be fabulous! I cannot believe the variety and beauty of the quilts. And the vendors! I'm gonna be broke. Here's the show info if you happen to be anywhere near Winnipeg:
Quilt Reflections 2010
Friday, April 9th 1:00 - 9:00
Saturday, April 10th 9:00 - 8:00
Sunday, April 11th 9:00 - 5:00

$5 Daily admission or $12/3 day pass
Kids under 12 free

Here's the silly write up of one of the small art quilts I have in the show.

This art quilt piece was inspired by the “Challenge Quilts for Charity.” I enjoyed the curved piecing with black and white and a splash of color so much that I made this second one to complement the color scheme in my guest washroom. I bet my friends and family will love it so much they’ll come running out of the washroom “looking like a fool with their pants on the ground!”

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 10 of 42

Kids say the darndest things! My son has reached the age of spelling everything. No longer can we, as adults, secretly spell something in a conversation so that he doesn't catch on. Now rather, we'll be having a heated debate about something adult and Gavin will interrupt and say, "Mom, Dad, stop it! You are scaring the D-O-G! (Its true that our great big dog gets worried when we argue, horse around or if anyone gets hurt and cries. He normally rings a bell to go outside, but he also rings the bell when he's stressed out. It's hilarious.) But back to spelling, Gavin also tries to impress us with spelling rather large words. He will study the milk carton carefully and then announce, "I know how to spell homogenized!" Then he'll read it out loud right off the carton. But we are no fools. The other day Gavin announced at breakfast, "I know how to spell Tropicana!" My husband launched at the orange juice carton and tucked it under his arm and said, "OK, spell it." Gav looked shocked and covered his mouth with his hand as if he was caught. Then he smiled his mischievous little smile and spelled it no problem. We were impressed and praised him, to which he replied, "Aw, it was nothing. I just rememberized it." Love that kid.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Day 9 of 42

One thing I do really well is have a good laugh at myself. Uncontrollably. Sometimes I laugh so hard that I start squeaking and can't breathe. My husband looks at me with a hint of concern and says, "You just crack yourself up sometimes, don't you?" Well, I had some fun with the Gavin Cityscape art project, but I think it's turned out to be one of those things you just love because your child made it. Except his crayon work is the best part of the piece. I fused and stitched a background to match the crayon skyline which was fun, but there is definitely a reason why I have a professional framer for my quilt art shows. I don't think in the history of the earth that anyone has accidentally made a 1/4 inch matte except for me. I was trying to maximize the art space of the piece and just didn't consider how small I should really go. So now I'm laughing out loud all the way to the fart sack.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Day 8 of 42

Quick! Take a photo! My studio is momentarily spotless and perfectly organized until 5 minutes from now when I start sewing for the rest of the day. I had one more task which was to label my drawers. My husband pointed out (months ago) that I have green tape on all of my drawers with scribbled letters when I have a perfectly good labeller. But it has been sitting so long that the batteries need charging, so another day (or another month). Finally, all of the cleaning is done and now its time to play. I wanted to challenge myself to a little art quilt once a week and this week's idea was a piece inspired by my son's art. So I'm off to work on that and I'll also try to finish up a friend's baby quilt. Not sure if I could have gotten all of that accomplished today if I wasn't 100% fueled by chocolate, Happy Easter everyone.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Day 7 of 42

Well, back on day 3 of this 42 day blogfest I promised myself (and all of cyberspace I guess) that I would have my studio cleared of clutter. That was optimistic. I think I'm only about halfway done but I still have one day left because I get Easter Monday off. I am going to work so hard to finish it tomorrow. So far I have cleared all of the scrappy stuff that was just garbage, and organized my fabric and my thread. I got these great new fat quarter bags that you store on a shelf and then just grab and go when you have a quilting retreat. They are fabulous! I also had an old thread holder that was sitting idle so I filled it up and mounted it on the wall. It looks great! I can't believe how many great colors I have. (I actually have about 3 times that much thread which is a bit ridiculous). I also organized my ABC quilts in bins and caught up on a bit of paperwork. I just started running a program for my local quilting guild called ABC Quilts. The guild members donate their time and fabric by making up to 1000 quilts per year for charity. Its unbelievable actually. The quilts go to local hospitals and organizations to provide comfort for those in need. Well, back to the basement! If I can actually get everything done by lunch tomorrow I'll have a few hours to sew one of my weekly art quilts!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Day 6 of 42

Again I had a pretty lazy morning. But I'm still feeling inspired lately in general. I made some fresh corn bread with breakfast, but otherwise just puttered around trying to get some things done. My son and I went to a local art studio at noon for an Easter event and had so much fun. We did Pysanka which means we wrote with wax on eggs and dipped them in dye between layers of writing with the wax. It was very cool. The video they showed was very traditional Ukrainian methods and designs. But working with a 7 year old and an open flame, we had fun with circles, squiggles, scribbles and it turned out very nicely. It was very satisfying to warm the final wax coat and rub it off to see how the colors turned out. After that we went to a delicious family dinner and now it's time to prepare for the crazy Easter egg scavenger hunt tomorrow morning. I mean, by going to bed early of course! The Easter Bunny will do the rest!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Day 5 of 42

Well its been a lazy, slow wonderful day. Not loads accomplished, but I feel much better. I'm certainly eating again. Isn't it great how food tastes when you've missed it for a day? Here is a picture of my son's froggy quilt that I just finished the other day. I love this quilt so much because it was a round robin quilt; every paper pieced frog block made by one of my friends. I was more motivated to finish this quilt than any other quilt I've done because the Quilt Show is coming up and I want them all to see how nicely their work has turned out. This will be hanging at the show next weekend. Every block has its own significance, each adding its own touch of whimsy and charm.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day 4 of 42

Uuggghhh! I have the worst case of under the weather right now! I should have seen it coming since my son just had the flu on the weekend. So no cleaning or sewing, or eating today. I just slept for 4 hours after work, and now I'll snuggle up in a warm quilt, eat my ice chips and go back to bed. The good thing is I have 4 days off for Easter, so I'll be able to relax and get better. Anyways, here's a snapshot the fabric bowl I made yesterday. It always floors me how some cord and scraps of fabric can turn into something so beautiful. This one has 3 colors of batik fabric and it turned out great!