Thursday, July 14, 2016

Typical Day

What is my typical day when I am in the south of Italy on holidays?

Well, I walk down to meet the fish guy early in the morning. He drives around to the smaller paese to sell fresh fish.

He often says hello to me through his van loud-speaker which always makes me laugh!

Then I walk down to the beach and as I do, enjoy the views.

I swim for a few hours. I actually think of nothing when I swim!

I meet up with friends. The older folk always like to tell stories of their interesting past. I am glad to listen and laugh with them.

I come back home and on the way I knock at Signora Rosa's house and ask if she has anything from her garden she wants to sell. I use that fresh produce for lunch.

She sometimes gives me a recipe suggestion- like today: grated Tropea onion with grated zucchini in a pan with some oil. Let it cook and reduce. Add zucchini flowers and cook till creamy texture. Add cooked pasta and mix well. Add a handful of grated cheese.

After lunch, I sew or sketch or record stories I heard at the beach. My balcony has an amazing view of the sea and a breeze which is much appreciated on hot afternoons. I sometimes go back to the beach.

In the early evening some locals gather near the only store in town. We sit outside and chat...think Dolce Gabbana ads... and I sometimes knit. We wave to friends in the passing cars. There is lots of laughter.

It's summer and I have no clock to run my day. It's un-thinking time. It's just ...being.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

You Might Like It...Eventually

I love the look of hand quilting.

My baby quilt has a few folds from being in my suitcase!

I have done very little of it myself.  My work is usually machine pieced and machine quilted, free hand. I have tried to like doing the hand quilting myself but it never clicked with me. I never had much success and it wasn't something I found pleasurable. It was definitely NOT relaxing.

Having the baby blanket up close as I quilt,  I enjoy looking
at all the scraps I used to make it.
I really do love scrap quilts,

I know how to do theory, that is. If anyone asks me, I can tell them how to do it, how to hold the needle, that a shorter needle is better to use because you can "rock" it while you make the stitches, that the spaces should be the same size as the stitch length, to use hand-quilting thread that is usually a little thicker than regular thread. I can advise on what pattern would work well with their quilt design. But again, I have not made very many hand-quilted quilts myself.

I have a friend who has a shop near where I stay in Verona. In the afternoon, she sometimes sits outside if there are no customers and does hand work- knit, embroider, quilt or piece.

The other day I went out and asked her for advise on how to quilt by hand. She laughed because she could not possibly teach ME anything. But I sat beside her and we chatted and I just quilted and ...guess what? I actually DO like quilting by hand....after 25 years of trying to like it!

So I have brought my baby quilt here to the south of Italy where I am now holidaying. After four hours at the beach I come up for lunch and then do some hand quilting on the balcony.

It is very enjoyable....finally!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Triangle Shadows

I notice shadows. I have always noticed them, even as a young child walking around on hot summer days in Montreal.

I remember them on the floor at my grandmother's house.

Shadows are dark. Sometimes light. They look blue on the snow.

They move. They grow.

A later addition: Click here to see an installation by Peabody Essex. Now that's a shadow! It's a different kind of shadow- a static one - but nice!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Inspiration Everywhere

A week ago, while waiting for my daughter to meet me in Rome, I took a walk near our boutique hotel.

I found a cool and tranquil haven at the Villa Aldobrandini, away from the bustle of via Nazionale.

View from the top of the garden on the villa property

The villa was constructed around the 1600's, I think...I photographed the sign so I could read it again later but without my glasses I ended up cutting off quite a bit in the photo and some information was lost!

I wonder if these "rock carpets" are original.

I love the design.

I imagine the creator looking around for just the right stone, like I do with my fabric when creating a quilt.

I imagine the care someone took in placing each stone in just the right place, like I do with my fabric when I make a scrap quilt.

Inspiration is everywhere.

Be sensitive to your surroundings and let them inspire you.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day

Some countries, including Canada, are celebrating Father's Day today.

In Italy, it is celebrated on March19, Saint Joseph's day.

Four generations
What did I get from my dad? 

My creativity. My sensitivity. My independent thinking. My problem solving ability. My work ethic. My gift of constant ideas. My love of family. 

Happy Father's Day, Dad.

Circa 1965
I am on the far left.

Hand Stitching Indian Style

I heard all about Dijanne Cevaal's travels to India. I am particularly interested because my husband has been working in Bangalore for the last month and I plan to join him during his contract there and perhaps travel to different areas when he is occupied with meetings and such.

One of the things she did during her residency in Pushkar was to help find use for small pieces of fabric discarded from making clothing.

She designed a patchwork-type purse using pieces of hand-spun, indigo-dyed fabric.

She hand-stitched each small geometric-shaped piece of fabric using stitching inspired by the techniques the local women use.

Aperitivo with Dijanne!

The stitching is called  Sujuni. It is different from the Kantha stitch in that there is a chain stitch used to outline figures and shapes and the straight-line running stitch is used as a filler. To read more about these two forms of Indian traditional embroidery, click here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


I received a gift this morning.

by Dijanne Cevaal
25cm x 50cm

An unexpected present.

I spent yesterday with Dijanne Cevaal showing her around Verona and she was was my pleasure! I LOVE Verona and I was interested in hearing about her textile adventures.

She gave me one of her lino-printed, hand-dyed fabrics. If you want one for yourself she does sell them through her blog. Her Medieval Project panels are similar and can be embroidered and embellished any way you want.

Click here to view them.

I am not sure how I will use mine. It will always remind me of our time together in Verona.