Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Books new to me...

One of our yearly traditions is to head out to the Book Outlet Boxing Day sale in St. Catharines, Ontario.

It is a overrun and clear out remainder book store which is in a huge warehouse. Sometimes I get a lot of books and sometimes a few. Yesterday netted what I call a few. 

What you see on the red sticker is the regular sale price. The boxing week sale is half price. Nice additions to my reference library. 

This is Boxing Day sales at it's best! - Jo

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Circles Squared2

Circle Squared2 is a work in progress.

I started by stamping the fabric with a candy wrapper holder... the kind that holds the chocolates in the box with Colourvie a product created and sold by Gunnel Hag of Toronto, Ontario

I then was inspired to stitch in different embroidery stitches around the result circles in sets for 4.

Now that I have that done I am stuck on the borders... I have been percolating that for many months.

It is one of my first projects I am going to finish after my back pain settles down.

I really love the idea of this one. It is a homage to my love of art and my mathematical family.

It won't be shown for awhile but I will share a brief glimpse of the embroidery.

What do you get stuck on and how do you move on? 



Monday, December 7, 2015

Decolourant experiments .....

Earlier this year I took a workshop/retreat with my friend and fellow Fabrigo Al Cote...

Al Cote is a talented artist and please check out his website and display at the Grimsby Public Library and Art Gallery this December, 2015 Grimsby Public Library and Grimsby Art Gallery, Ontario

One of the techniques we played with was decolourant. This is not just the spilling of bleach onto your clothes and "making lemonade out of a lemon" But acutely products that you can use more safely that household bleach for your fabric and your own health. Here is s a link to learn more about it and its properties.  http://www.dharmatrading.com/paints/decolourant-and-decolourant-plus.html

These products can be stenciled, painted, stamped, ragged etc on your fabric.
Then they are left to dry. And then processed as per the products instructions.

Al is a great teacher and has been pretty busy teaching this year. But he also loves to experiment and use that in his work.

Here are some pictures of the deColourant that we played with on that day.
Before... deColourant added to fabric. These have the "coloured DeColourants" added. 

After the declourant was ironed and washed out.

and some more
Before and after

after only

Before and After

After only
After only. 

It was a quick and easy surface design trick to have up your sleeve.... 

Hope you have enjoyed. 

Have you used deColourant? 


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Pixel Ladies....


  • About the Pixeladies

    The Pixeladies are artists who love to tell stories in cloth. When they're not creating art, they teach courses on Adobe Photoshop Elements for fiber artists and sewing enthusiasts. 

If you ever want to learn to use your Adobe Photoshop program these are the ladies to meet. 

This summer I took a course online from Deb Cashett and Kris Sazaki - the Pixel Ladies.
I haven't taken a course like this ever before. Geared to Artists but really for anyone they made it fun and informative.

The price could not be beat either...

I took a web design course at a local school several years ago. I paid more and it was absolutely useless. The teacher was horrible and self inflated.

But Deb and Kris were professional, fun and gave feedback promptly and patiently.
Pixel Ladies Class where I learned to cut out sections of a design from a fabric and re arrange it into something else

The format is by video lessons and by pfd workbook. You work on your assignments and post to the classroom site. You have access to the other students in the forum and their questions and work,

They have several courses to offer at different times of year. And you can learn to use Adobe on your PC or Mac because Kris uses one and Deb the other.

My only down comment is be prepared if you want to get full use out of the course it is a time commitment. Sure you can watch the information and read it too but if you don't do the work you won't learn it. And it is a lot of information over 4 weeks. I spent several hours on each lesson.
Moe our dog posterized

I really liked being to watch the video's over and over again just to see what I didn't get the first time.
I did write notes as I went.

The classroom is open for 6 months so you can re watch videos etc, but the feed back only goes on for the stated 4 weeks.
Fussy cutting out a flower and applying a filter. 
The potential is great to use these skills in my work. And it was just plain fun. 

Pixel Ladies Blog

Check them out!


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Working in a group....

There are many ways to work in a group...

You can join a guild, you can join a club that hasImage result for clip art group similar interests etc.

I currently belong to two quilt guilds which are filled with fun creative women. I haven't actually made it to either one this fall due to work schedules and how my fibro has been but I do love seeing the pictures on Facebook.

I belong to one once a month stitch group and those ladies are good for the soul. They make me laugh! I have made it to most of those days.

Then there is the Tiara Club as my husband and I have dubbed it. It is where I go to talk about my latest obsession my Baby Lock Tiara!

Last year I joined with 3 other artists to get together to expand, explore and create. We have been meeting regularly to share our own art, learn from each other and have done several collaborations.

We named ourselves the Fabrigos. The name came about while we were having one of our collaborative brain storming sessions. We love fabric, we have become Amigos and we love adventures.

Now we have started a blog to share what we are doing and to document our journey. I hope you will drop by and visit our blog, leave a comment and share in our adventure. You can find our blog

Fabrigos - The Journey of Four Artists and Their Fiber Art Adventures

I hope you will drop by and see what we have been up too! We have great fun and it is an inspiration to be with these friends and artists.

Each group works in a different way but is so giving and forgiving. If you ever find yourself in such a group enjoy! If you don't have a group start one! And if you don't enjoy the group.... do yourself a favour and find another. 


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Creating Peach Blossoms... and 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge.

I have been busy working on a special project. It has taken a couple of months to work out the idea from concept to completion. More time than I thought it would. Because I am entering it into a juried process I don't think I should publicly post it.

I don't know if there are "rules" about this - I know that there are some calls that request that you not post pictures. But if there is no such requirement should you show pictures of your work if you intend to enter it in competitions or exhibits?

But  I will post what I made to create my project.

I wanted some textured fabric in a specific colour. I wanted fabric to make some peach blossoms.  So I made some tissue paper fabric.
Muslin or lightweight fabric  layered with tissue paper and a watered down PVA (white school paste) to adhere the tissue paper. Then I painted the fabric with a wash of seta colour paint.

So this is the beginning of my blossoms. 

My other thing to get me out there is Cheryl Sleboda's 

Maybe not a great month to start this but no time like the present. 

Go to her site and check out her blog. There she has a link up to some great blogger's. A wonderful way to see some new ideas. 

Some of my posts will be what I am up to with my art or creative adventures. 
Next week I am off with friends to view an exhibit in Auburn, New York. Looking forward to a day out and some inspiration. 

Have a great day... 


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Trying out some advice...

What do you do when you don't know how to do something?
You reach out and ask. So that's what I did today to see if I can figure out how to post from my I pad mini and add a picture. If this works I might be able to blog more! 
Here is the test...
This is our dog Moe. He has had a bad time with allergies this summer. Hoping to have a hard frost so he can go off the meds. 


Waiting for the perfect.

I realized this morning I am waiting for the perfect.
Perfect day
Perfect time
Perfect supplies
Perfect computer
Perfect machine
Perfect place....

Do you wait for the perfect?

I haven't been blogging because I don't have the right pictures. I have the posts on draft since the summer. But I was putting it off until I could organize my photos. Had trouble with my pic so I got a Mac.
Then it was learning the Mac.... But then I couldn't load the pictures and it is a whole different way to organize the pictures than on my pc.

PC was to go to my hubby. Did the switch over of files .... Then he plugged his mouse in it and the computer went blank.

Return to Mac to find out why I can't upload pictures.

Went to Blogger forum for help. Long complicated or just long ways of finding out what might be happening.  Still haven't managed to make it through the directions.

I have spent the majority of my computer time just trying to figure out what I can't do.... Tagging my photos, looking for photos, and more.

Now I have bought a sit down mid arm. Trying to figure out that... That is not so bad.

New phone.... Or new to me. Still working on it.

Shilouette cutter machine.... Still working on it.

I am tech worn out.

On top of that we are renovating on weekends our house and my mom has cancer.

I thought having grown children would give me more time to do the things I love.

One good thing this week was taking Monday off from work and spend the day with my best friend for our 30th wedding anniversary. Ups or downs this guy has been at my side for over thirty years. He is the best thing in my life!

So this post is dedicated to the guy who is always there.
And here he is the patient man who would even try on costumes for the kids high school plays and have his picture taken...

Monday, May 18, 2015

What is my definition of a UFO/WIP...

Sandy from Quilting For the Rest of Us... quiltingfortherestofus ... asked the question to define for ourselves what a UFO is ... Image result for ufo

Since I have never seen an alien landing even though we are huge Dr. Who and Star Trek fans I know she is talking about my other love - quilting.

For me this is a hard question because I define it as

 1. an unfinished object. An project that I have started and not completed. This means I have actually started it by cutting it out and sewing it.

Recently I got rid of a bunch of projects that I no longer was interested in. I donated them to my guilds cuddle quilt project.

So this cuts down my UFO's

But now that I do art quilting I have a lot more UFO's.

There are the projects that I have started on but stalled on. No deadline so no finish.

I also have the never ending projects. That are my Dear Jane quilt Image result for dear jane quilt
and my hexagon hand sewing quilts. Image result for grandmother's flower garden quilt

There are also the quilt tops I have finished but haven't quilted yet because up until now I have been a hand quilter and progress is slow.

Since I sew other projects they move into a UFO category as well because they are not finished.

I also have UFO classes that I have started on line mostly with Craftsy. I plan to finish them.. when I have time.

I do get things down but it is hard to focus at times.

So I guess my definition of UFO is still an unfinished object. But I would have to have categories

Forever Projects
Craft Projects
Quilting Projects
Fibre Art Projects
Class Projects.

It time I became a finisher instead of an alien with a UFO to do list!

All I am seeing is Red!

Red, Red, Red... meters of it. 13 meters of red chiffon... Several meters of red satin.... 35 meters of horse hair braid.

Hours of applying horse hair braid.

All I can say is that I must love my great niece 'cuz I am making her this for her graduation in June.

This is the pattern that the mom and daughter chose. 

I think I will be seeing red for awhile... 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Judy Niemyer

I was invited to join a "Stitch Group". It would be devoted to make Judy Niemyer quilts. I haven't done much paper piecing and thought it would be fun. How big of a commitment could it be?

So I went to Judy's website and checked it out. Until I was asked to join I didn't even know who she was or what she did.
Judy Niemyer www.quiltworx.com

I choose this pattern to work on. It was not so busy  in colour of most of her quilts seemed. And I liked the neutral space.
Little did I realize that this was a companion quilt. That means that it is make with the left over arcs of the quilt below.

So I sent for this pattern.

So far the commitment to time has been a bit more than expected.
One evening pulling fabric from the stash. I found 50 fat quarters or pieces of fabric to use in the quilt. 25 dark and 25 light. The twenty five had to be five different colour-ways.
Then (and still now) my basement is littered with the rejects and boxes that hold the fabric.

Then I had to prepare the fabric to cut. Ironing 50 fat quarters...easy to get done. It was... I like to iron. But wonderful friends dropped in to set up the fountain I bought to Springs ago. My hubby is not to handy in areas that he is not familiar with. It was much easier to set up when I realized that the top of the fountain was actually the bottom! 

Some of the fabric waiting to be ironed. 

Pile of fabric on the ironing board. First I made it damp with water and then I sprayed with Ellens Best Press. 
Once all the fabric was ironed I was done and it was supper time... 

After supper I packed up the required equipment and fabric for the next day.... 

My first day was inspiring. Most of the group was merrily sewing away making their blocks. One lady was doing the sewing by hand.... That is an amazing feat! 

I managed to cut out most of the fabric templates in the first stage. I still have to cut them up  into groups to go into bags to sew into the blogs. 

I will say that Judys method is very methodical. It is hard for a newbie to follow with out help. My help came in the form of reading the pattern about 50 times and watching Judy on you tube. 
I would have had to rely on the group to get me to understand what to do if I did not watch the videos... 

So I will document the progress as I make it. My goal is to get the fabrics all cut out and ready to start sewing next month. I will also have to watch some paper piecing videos along the way. 

Even though I am trying to go into the art quilting/fibre art world more I think that every traditional style quilt will teach me skills as well as beautifying my home. It really was an exercise in colour theory to pull the fabrics. 

I love my new group. So funny and inspirational. Thanks for inviting me! 


Friday, May 1, 2015

Red and White and Black all over with grey added in .....

I have been working on several projects.

Last year I went to a Guild workshop. I had just joined the Grimsbys Quilt Guild and wanted to meet some of the people.

I had a great time. It was suppose to be a jelly roll race using a technique  and it can be seen on the Jenny Doan Missouri Quilt Co 's You Tube Channel. Missouri Quilt Co

It was a patten based on Jenny's  Pinwheels Technique and changed up by 3 Dudes Quilting from Phoenix Arizona.3 Dudes Quilting  She called the pattern the "Amazing Jelly Roll Pattern."

It is quite easy to do once you get the hang of it. I did my blocks in Red, White and Black.
Definitely not my pallet.  My did not turn out planned and were all randomly stripped.  I was talking to much to follow to much of a plan .

But the colours are growing on me...

However I did make the blocks and finish them. I now have roughly 50 blocks to turn into a quilt.

On there own I find them too busy so I bought some grey in two tones to break up the visual chaos.

I might try to insert the neutrals using a idea from the book Quilting a Circle of Nine by Janet Houts & Jean Ann Wrights book . http://landauerpub.com/Quilting-a-Circle-of-Nine.html

I am not sure how I will tackle it next. But it is on my to do list to finish this Amazing Jelly Roll Quilt.

It will be fun to play


Check out my Fibre Art Small Group at Fabrigos

I really mean to be a blogger.... honest!

It has been a crazy few months. Crappy weather, fibromyalgia flares, destination wedding, 60th anniversay of my parents. And the worst the diagnosis of cancer in the bladder for my dear Mom.

Mom is a rock. She has gone through alot in her 79 years between being a farm wife, a Mom of three, active Grandma of 8, Great Grandma of 5 +  and volunteer. And that can not even hit a fraction of what she does, who she is, or what she means to us. But I know and that is good enough. We have gone on many life journeys together - laughter, tears, angry - the whole gamete of emotions.
My family on my Christening Day in 1963
So you understand that where I have been is not here... add computer problems (but that is another rant)

I am trying to let go of" have to's "and turn them into "want to's" or not do them. 
I am trying to purposely take down time and relax so my muscles don't seize up. 
I am trying to stay on the happy side and not take on others unhappy.   

I am a saver.... I think I can save the world if only they would let me help. 

Now I want to be a pointer.... pointing them in the direction. 
"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink" 

Take notice world...
Play nice in the sandbox! (My favourite new saying.)Image result for sandbox picture

And if you have a problem only you can fix it... so take responsibility  - do what you need to do, get professional help but only you can change things. 

So in the next few months I turn my attention to the positives, count my blessings, do what I can for others but take care of me too. 

Enough rant. Cause nobody likes a rant accept our own   Canadian Rick Mercer... mine are not as funny as his. 

So sewing wise I have been working on my son and daughter in laws  wedding quilt. I am making it with my daughter, and my best friend -  my sons "other mom". We work on it together so it comes a bit a time when have time free together... Usually two or three hours on a Saturday.
The pattern is taken from a magazine and I will include the reference later. This is the first two rounds. The idea is the blues and greys get lighter in tones in each round. It seems an easy pattern which it is but we are very focused on the decision of what colours to put into the four patches. 
We decided the back will be more free form with using up left overs to provide another choice of how to have it on the bed. A twofer.... 

My friend is not really a quilter but she helped hand quilt with me the quilt I made for her son and daughter in laws wedding. She has a math degree and is great on figuring out the math. She enjoys the process of planning. And the sewing but she is a busy person with 6 sons and full time job. It is a gift to share time with such a good friend. 

Add in my daughter and we have a great time! 

I am working on many projects and hope to show them in the next few weeks. My plan is to write and plan the posts so I can be more intentional. While working  a day job seems to be in the plans for the near future but I do want to develop all the ideas in my head. 

I am being encouraged to put myself out there and teach a bit. It is something I have wanted to do but have been waiting for the perfect time. Maybe there isn't a perfect time. 

I have been listening Heidi Easley from Texas Art and Soul who is having a series of video casts with different artists who in their medium talk about their story. It is very encouraging. It is a free event and you can sign up through her website. 

That is all for now... thanks for reading. 

If you have any tips on how to stay intentional with your work please comment. 


Sunday, February 8, 2015

It's been a long time baby.... and now I am percolating!

It's been a long time baby....

It really has been a long time when it has come to blogging.
After our wonderful family trip last fall things have gotten terribly hectic and I have lacked the energy to do much...

My never ending computer problems, working 3 days a week and my fibromyalgia have whacked me out. Have you ever just not had the energy to think?

I think I just gave up for awhile.

But it is time to pick up my socks and soldier on.

So what is the plan this year.

Work on some projects that have been sitting around. I have decided that work in progress- WIP or UFO's  make me feel guilty.  No more! They are now pieces that are percolating.  You know the old coffee makers that went on the stove. Sort of like that my pieces are started and put in the maker and need to bubble and boil for awhile till they are done.

There are my own Percolating Projects...

Traditional Quilting Projects

  • Dear Jane  Need to take an inventory or what I have made- making the blocks - hand piecing ?/? done
  • Grandma's Flower Garden ? Till I get bored with the blocks- making the blocks - hand piecing
  • Bible Blocks Queen- making the blocks - machine piecing 7/? done
  • Red and White and Black all Over ? until I am happy with the blocks - making the blocks - machine piecing
  • Steve and Leah's Wedding Quilt Oversize Queen- making the blocks machine piecing 6/80 done
  • William Goes Fishing Lap Size- quilting machine 
  • Turtle Party  Queen- basted and waiting
  • Go the Twist Right - finished top. Next layer and baste
  • Go the Twist Wrong - finished the top. Next layer and baste
  • Quilt block challenge Twin - Hand Quilting
  • Quilt block challenge small - Need to layer and baste. 
  • Spiral Table Runner. Cut out strips. 

None of these projects are pressing so I fit them in as I have time.


Fibre Art in Progress

  • "Circles Squared"
  • "Forrest Fire" 
  • "Life on the Farm" 
  • " Red and White and Black all Over" 



  • Al's Challenge - Concrete and Grass Lands 
  • Clothing Challenge
  • Aids Awareness Block  

Misc Sewing

  • Bears for Babys
  • Book cover for Art Journal for Fabrigos
  • Book cover for Art Journal for my own projects
  • Some clothing projects to be rediscovered in the abyss of the sewing room. 

then there is my photo projects

  • History of my family... currently scanning photos with my mom so we can get the stories down. 
  • History of my husbands family
  • Making on line photo books out of my pictures. All the ones I took in Europe last fall and backwards
  • Finishing the scrap books I started... 
  • Scan the other family history
  • Develop my photo shop skills and
  • Develop my camera taking skills. 

Sound like a tall order...

Then there is the home repair projects

  • Re do the main floor by Christmas 2012
  • Go through each room and re evaluate what is in it and organize. 

I need baby steps... not look at the grand picture so much but move forward and work on it a bit by bit.

I plan to put  a progress page on each of the above. Just to give accountability to myself.

A dull post but it is down in writing. so here goes to 2015 and beyond.



Not an exciting post ... no pictures