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Thursday, 18 May 2017

Spring Blossom Inspiration

I found that this Spring lasted longer than some in the past. We have had Springs that last a week or two and then the hot weather sets in. When the season is so short the spring blossoms and flower bulbs fade very quickly. However, this year, our Spring stayed on the cool side for quite a while so our blossoming trees were beautiful for a long time.

I was able to get some sketches of the various blossoms done and turned them into Mother's Day cards for my daughters. I am so glad that I took the time because yesterday and today are hot, hot days and the blooms on my trees are flying through the air and covering the ground in a carpet of pink and white. They were beautiful while they lasted.

Now we will get the lilacs, forget-me-nots, pansies, irises. Lots of inspiration!

My pear and crab apple trees

Thursday, 11 May 2017

When Pondering Sparks Inspiration

As you know, I go for a walk around my neighbourhood each Thursday morning. It serves as a way to prepare my mind for my art day but it also often provides me with subjects to draw or with treasures that I pick up along the path.

This morning I received a little treasure that I thought I would pass on. As I walked I was praying for some of our family and friends who are struggling with difficult things and wondering why we are given these difficult situations on occasion. We would love to eradicate them from our lives and often we worry, become angry and despair over them. I do believe they have a purpose but what could that purpose be?

I was given this little treasure and it calmed my mind. Difficulties are not pleasant; they are painful to those going through them and those watching and supporting them. changing our perspective, these difficulties can result in beautiful blessings. We tend to obsess about the difficulty but perhaps we have to back up and look at the bigger picture, take a God's-eye view of the situation. Try to see His grace at work in the struggle because He is definitely there and working.

It's like we used to pluck all the dandelions out of our lawn because they were WEEDS. Now that we are no longer permitted to spray weed killer, there are lawns covered with them. And interestingly, that lawn of dandelions is so joyful-looking. A bright yellow field! A pretty blessing!  And then they become pretty little puff balls.

So the inspiration that I got from this little treasure has to do with the fabric cards that I make. I just made an art quilt of many of those cards and hung it in my front hallway. It is really interesting to look at. But how cool would it be if I worked out a large pattern for an art quilt and split it up into smaller 4 X 6 inch fabric cards that I could send to people for their special occasions and when they were done with them received them back. Once they were all back, I would put them together and VOILA! the image would be revealed to all! And it would be a piece that would remind me to always look at the bigger picture.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Inspired by Other Quilters

As promised, today I've posted some of the quilts that were being created at our retreat last week.  Even though I haven't made very many traditional quilts, these women inspired me with their work.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Sew Blessed

This week I packed my suitcase, gathered my quilting gear, sleeping bag and pillow and headed up to Markdale, Ontario for the Quilting Sisters Quilt Retreat at Campfire Bible Camp. I had never attended before and so it was an adventure for me.

The property is beautiful and at this time of year was coming out of the winter slumber. The trees were becoming green as was the grass. Small wild flowers were making their appearance as well. I headed for the main Lodge where I found women already sitting behind their sewing machines and hard at work. The large room was decorated for our Asian Theme and also adorned with wonderful quilts.

I was welcomed immediately and offered a table to set up my equipment. That would be my station for the rest of my stay. Among the humming of sewing machines there was a lot of communication going on as the women greeted each other with familiarity. I was among the few who were first-timers but I felt at home very quickly. I was very glad everyone wore name tags and quickly got to know most of the women in attendance. Of course, we all played "Dutch Bingo" and found many connections among us. What was wonderful was that these were all Christian women who were devoted to God and lived and loved for Him. This became quite obvious throughout the week from conversations and behaviour and a genuine care and compassion. However, lest you think these were stuffy ladies, I have to let you know that they were not at all but instead were fun-loving, joking, teasing, rambunctious and goofy. At times, there was so much laughter and giggling, the tears streamed from our eyes.

A huge amount of sewing, cutting, measuring, and lining up seams was done as well. Some finished quilting projects, started quilting projects or just made some headway but everyone was industrious. It was wonderful to see how different all the quilts were and how unique. What stood out to me was the fact that most of these women were making quilts to give away either to organizations or to family and friends. But all were thoroughly addicted!

Outdoor gathering space

Washroom, showers and pool

Our cozy cabins

On Wednesday evening, our chefs had a wonderful Asian Dinner planned and we were all to come dressed in Asian finery. I have to say that the meals were all just as creative as our quilts. Chefs Jane and Brenda made colourful and tasty culinary delights for each mealtime.

This retreat was such a wonderful experience for me and I'm sure for everyone in attendance. It is something I'll definitely do again. Check in for next week's blog where I'll post photos of a few of the quilts that were there, both finished and unfinished.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

A Little Behind in my Blog Posts

I've missed a few weeks of blogging and I apologize. Sometimes life gets in the way. In the last few weeks I have finished and hung my fabric cards art quilt. I hung it in my front hall and I really like the look of it there. I didn't use all the cards I received back but I still plan to use them so if you have any you don't want any more please send them to me.

My art quilt is also coming along well. You can start seeing the resemblance to my painting.

I've also been recording the new birds that visit my bird feeder. Here are a couple.

I took the time, on a nice day, to sit on my new back deck and sketch the fort we made for the grandkids to play in. Lots of imagination and make believe is practiced here.

Friday, 7 April 2017

So Much Inspiration!

Spring is the time of year that inspires me the most. It's a time of new life and new beginnings. Everywhere plants are waking up and starting to reach for the sun. With every rainfall sent from God, the world gets a little greener. I love it!

But it gives me a dilemma. There is so much I want to record in my sketchbooks as it happens that other projects get set back. I could be busy every day, all day with art making but I don't have the luxury of all that time. That being said, I have a few projects on the go.

With my bird feeder hanging outside my office window, I am noticing so many more different kinds of birds there and want to record them all. This week I also started another traditional quilting project with a friend and my sister. It is going to be a table runner. I am also still sketching aspects of my daughter's historic home which I feel a little pressured on because she is now looking to move. I have finished putting together my fabric cards and now just have to sew a rod sleeve to it so I can hang it on the wall. Oh, and yes, I am still making fabric cards for various occasions and doing a little cross-stitch to embellish them with.

A fabric card I made from one of my bird sketches.

Pieces for a table runner

My daughter's house in the snow

 And most importantly, I have been working on my latest art quilt. Progress is going well so far but very slowly due to the many tiny pieces.

 I am trying not to stress over all these projects because they are supposed to be enjoyable to do.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Art Quilt Pattern Completed

I have been working feverishly to get my art quilt pattern finished and yesterday I was able to complete it and begin sewing. This is my favourite part of art quilting. Hopefully I have marked in the proper colours and won't have any gliches while putting it together.

This pattern is very detailed with many very tiny pieces. I have to take extra care that all the pieces match up correctly as I sew. For example the far shoreline has to match up across the whole background. Because the pattern is divided into sections, each section has to line up with the others. It is easy to sew two sections together with one a little lower than the other and get an angle that shouldn't be there. This isn't so crucial in the rocks and tree areas because they are odd shapes anyways but the grasses will be a challenge.

As you can see in the photo above when comparing it to the photo below, I've completed the lower right corner of grasses.