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Thursday, 26 May 2016

My Corner of the World

I finally had the opportunity to view my art quilt, Reflections of the North, displayed in Stratford, Ontario at the My Corner of the World show put on by SAQA and the Stratford Perth Museum.  It is always thrilling to see your own work hanging along with so many other beautiful pieces in a prestigious venue.

Over 300 works were sent in and only 81 selected for the show. I am quite honoured to be among those chosen.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Playing with Tea Bags

I have quite a few projects on the back burner that I really have to get to so today was going to be that day. I've worked most of the day in my studio but it seems like I didn't get anywhere. I know many of you can relate, you've all had days like that.

As I blogged about earlier, I am trying to make a calendar for the year 2017 which I would like to have printed. I have done January to April and I'd like to get May done before the end of May. I've decided to do May with fabric and tea bags.

I like to use painted or dyed tea bag paper to depict flowers. The paper that tea comes in is very delicate - just like flower petals. I've made some fabric cards this way and I really like the look. I can also paint or dye the paper with gradient hues of colour to make the flower petals and leaves more realistic.

So today I spent some time dying and painting the tea bags for this project. I also spent some time sketching from photos to get some designs for this May calendar page.

Above is a small sample of my idea for the calendar page. This is a fabric card I also completed today.

Friday, 13 May 2016

One Wing-backed Chair Finished

My fingers are wrecked but today I completed the reupholstering of the wing-backed chair. I was hoping to be done yesterday but all sorts of things came up that prevented me from working on it for any length of time. I was also waiting for some upholstery tacking strips that we had ordered online.

The strips arrived today so I left everything else and headed down to the studio to get to work. It is very satisfying to do a project like that. As we removed the old fabric, we could see how stained the chair was. The fabric was even covered with some kind of pet hair in the creases. Gives me the shivers. But now the whole chair is covered in new updated fabric that will suit my daughter's historic

I just think I'll let my hands heal before I start on chair number two.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Recycling/Up-cycling: Entering into Unknown Territory

My daughter and her husband and son are moving back home to Toronto from Whitehorse. Having sold what they could of their possessions in Whitehorse or taken them to Goodwill, they are in need of furniture to set up their new home.

As Providence would have it, upon driving in the neighbourhood, we came upon two wing-backed chairs sitting out on the curb. I stopped, my daughter hopped out and sat in them to see if they were still good. Then we drove home.

Who can pass up two good chairs for free? They ended up in our house and although they were worn and a bit dirty, they were sturdy and in good shape structurally. One even had a pop-out foot rest!

We had in mind to reupholster them. Neither of us had ever done this before but we thought if it doesn't work out, we haven't spent any money on the chairs. So we figured we would start taking the old upholstery off one of the chairs to see how difficult it would be and see if the chair was as solid as we thought.

Taking the old upholstery off was not so much difficult as it was time consuming and a bit painful as our screw drivers slipped and nicked us in the fingers several times as we dug the staples out of the frame. Our plan was to use the old fabric pieces as pattern pieces for the new fabric. We also made sure we took lots of pictures so we could remember how it all goes back together again.

We were really pleased to find that the foam padding underneath was still in very good shape so we decided to leave that on and cover over it.

Join us again next week to see the finished product.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

The Baby Portraits are Keeping Me Busy

I went through the book that records the artwork I've done and flipped to the baby portraits. Since November 2015, I've finished 5 more portraits. I can post 4 of them for you to see but the fifth hasn't been given to the parents yet so I won't post a photo of it.

I will have another one to start on in a week or two.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

A Year of Neighbourhood Drawings

Today I sketched on the last page of my neighbourhood sketchbook. I flipped back to the front of the sketchbook and noted that the date on the first page was April 16, 2015. Today, being April 14, 2016 means it took me a full year to finish this project. Now when I go through the sketchbook I can see how the seasons developed, when certain plants bloomed, what the weather was like on certain days, when we had snow and what wildlife I saw. It is not a comprehensive record but it is pretty to look at and it was a way for me to practice my live sketching or sketching from photos. It will also give me inspiration for other things such as my fabric cards, paintings or journals.

Last week I sat in the local Tim Hortons and sketched the interior of the store. It is still difficult for me to do this in public but no one bothered me and I enjoyed the challenge.

This week I drew a Smart car I saw sitting in someone's driveway. I think they are so cute but I don't think I'd ever ride in one.

If you are interested, I've posted a short slideshow of some of the pages in the sketchbook on Instagram.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Two Art Quilts Mailed Out

In the last few weeks, I have mailed out a couple of Art Quilts. The first was the SAQA Benefit Auction Quilt that I blogged about a while ago. In that blog I posted a picture of my plan.

I worked fairly closely to the plan but changed the leaves and put 3 in instead of 2. I started first to quilt the boards of our deck which are weathered and most of the paint has come off except for some small spots.

This background is just gray fabric that I quilted with lines to mimic wood grain and screws and boards. I then fused the blue gray "paint" on top.

Here, I am playing with the placement of the leaves. These are the base colours of the leaves and the shadows under the leaves are black organza.

 Here, I have fused other fabrics onto the base leaf fabric to give the leaves form and dimension and then I quilted them adding veins. I felt that the composition was a little heavy on one side but I didn't want to add another leaf. Suddenly, I thought of something I always see on the deck along with the leaves and went outside in search of snail shells. I found 3 and made sure there wasn't anything live in them by pouring boiling water over them. When they were dry, I used my glue gun to attach them. When I was satisfied, I put a narrow border around it and called it done. It is 12" X 12" and is called " First Fallen Leaves". It is posted on the SAQA website and if you want to see it and all the other beautiful quilts that have been sent in, go to , and on the menu line click on Artwork, then Benefit Auction and finally View the Quilts.

The other art quilt I mailed out is the "Reflections of the North" which was accepted for the SAQA Show "My Corner of the World" being held in the Stratford Perth Museum in May. I thought I wasn't allowed to post photos of it but when checking the mailing instructions, I noticed that there was no restriction on posting so here is the finished quilt.