Friday, December 30, 2011


Purple is made by mixing red and blue together, the warmest and coolest colours. It is thought to be the ideal colour because of that.

They say if one surrounds oneself with purple one will have peace of mind...go figure!

Purple is the colour I keep making and painting with these days. The panels below are details of my latest work..still in progress.

two kinds of purple

I want to have lots of stitching on these.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ms Emma still designs

My friend, Sofia Verna, was in Toronto recently. She is the owner of Ms Emma Designs but more importantly she is the designer, painter, the artist behind the clothes.

Ms Emma Designs, 543 College Street, Toronto

While she was in town, she was busy sewing up a storm!

Her fabrics are as beautiful as ever! She paints and dyes them in her studio in Italy. She has a great colour sense!

She also makes wonderful jackets out of the wool from her sheep!

crocheted jackets

photo taken several years ago at Sofia's farm/residence

In September, 2013, I will be taking a group of quilters/textile artists to Umbria, Italy, for 10 days.

our destination for September 2013

The itinerary for this trip will include a day at Sofia's gorgeous home and property. We will be having a class with her in her studio!

Start saving!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Artist Self

Although I was away from my studio and sewing machine for a few days, my artist spirit was still with me. Everywhere I looked was something inspirational-

a shadow,

a pattern,

a shape,


oops..I'm in the corner there!

I had some quiet moments while the kids and husband slept-in. I worked out some new art ideas.

I am back at home now without the rest of the family.

The girls are still in Paris.

The boys are at the Reford farm.

A bit more tranquility at the end of a busy, busy year.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

My One Year Anniversary

Last year for Christmas my two younger children gave me this blog.

365 days ago

They chose the name, set it up and taught me how to post. I have thanked them almost every day this year. What a great gift... they said they could not possibly match it this year!

This blog has helped me stay focused on my art work. It has helped me develop an eye for photography and that has helped me SEE.  It has been a great way to publicize what I am up to. I have loved discovering other textile lovers through my followers' list.

There are people visiting this blog from Canada, Italy, Australia, USA, Chile, India, Spain, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, France, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Brazil, South Korea, Philippines, China and Malaysia.

28 countries.

I have had close to 15,000 visits. That's incredible! To think all this is available through the World Wide Web.

(as an aside, did you know that WOW flipped upside down spells MOM...)

I have loved all your comments - many who had difficulty posting their thoughts, emailed me instead. Keep those coming!

Thanks for your support throughout my first year of blogging.

Tiramisu and the blog birthday 

I want to wish all of you from around the world a wonderful holiday season!!

fireworks from the summer in the south of italy
 (photo by 'my sister' MT Sansotta)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Visiting my Art Heaven

I stopped by to meet Sybil Rampen. We had been communicating via email about works for the show I am curating for France. Since I was in the neighbourhood...

click for the web site: Joshua Creek Heritage Art Centre

What a magical place! The buildings are filled with art. Art everywhere- on the walls, on the floor, on the shelves, on the benches. All kinds of art- framed, unframed, paper, paintings, textile, sculpture, rocks, wood...and artists sprinkled here and there-one painting in a studio, one sitting at the dining room table drawing, two off the kitchen watching and enjoying tea..and me plunked in her computer room viewing artists' work on a screen.

Sybil with one of her students

Right now at the Joshua Creek Heritage Art Centre there is an exhibit on of Chris Kummer's work. 

Chris' background is in sculpture and anthropology. Her textile sculpted dolls are adorned with beautiful stitchery. They hang around the gallery encircling the room. Their faces are looking out towards a table set for the Christmas dinner party Sybil is hosting for her artists and board of directors.

I was there for about an hour and loved ever second of my tour! Thanks Sybil. A la prochaine.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I visited the Ontario Craft Council's gallery space on the weekend.

I had a very nice chat with Maxine, the receptionist and we discussed in great length some of the pieces in the show. I mentioned to her Scottish artist David Mach who has been making sculptures out of matches for 26 years. They are much more interesting than Daniel Durocher's circle of matches, in my opinion.

I was there to see Judy Martin's work in particular.

Me standing beside Judy Martin's textile work, "Energy Cloth"

I had seen it when it wasn't quite finished.

I love all her stitches. I love the colour violet in the ribs.

I found these other works to be interesting. They reminded me of textile but were hard materials instead.

This looks like a piece of soft fabric or a rolled up leaf
 but it is porcelain.
Work by Paula Murray entitled
 "Nothing Endures but Change"

I thought this was rubber but it is blown glass.
Work by Cali Balles entitled "Infrastructure 3"
(don't mind the shadow)

I liked this piece- the shape, the texture, the colours.
It is by Lesley McInnally entitled "Ode to Odin"

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Giving and Getting

At this time of year, we think of GIVING.

Last week, I did some GETTING!

I won the block-of-the-month blocks at our guild Christmas party! They picked my name out of a hat!

The blocks I won are on my design wall for now.
I plan to sew them up over the holidays.

I won the table prize (my chair had the Christmas sticker!) and everyone at our table got a present from Margaret!

filled with chocolates, Danish cookies,
sewing related items and of course, FABRIC

I, too, gave myself something ... I jazz concert! I went to hear Bill McBirnie and Robi Botos perform during lunchtime at the Four Season's Centre for the Performing Arts. Ahh- one hour of inside quietness during this crazy time of year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Last Minute Christmas Gifts

Do you need another idea?

How about a pillow case?

I made one a few years ago for my daughter and she still loves it!


24 inch cut of pillow case fabric (24 inches x width of fabric) Non-directional is ideal. For fabric with figures, they should stand with their heads towards the selvage in order for them to be upright when the pillow case is completed
10 1/2 inches fabric for cuff (10 1/2 inches x width of fabric)
1 1/2  inch strip of accent fabric (1 1/2 inches x width of fabric), folded in half lengthwise and ironed.

How to:

Part 1

1. Lay the 10 1/2 inch fabric on your table with the good side facing you
2. Lay over that the pillow case fabric with good side facing you (the selvage ends are to the right and left sides)
3. Lay the accent fabric over that, lining up the raw edges
4. Pin in place
5. Sew all layers together
(helpful hint: I use my 1/4 inch foot for this)

Part 1 should look like this.
Part 2

1. Flip the cuff fabric up and over to the front.
2. Fold a 1/4 inch seam and iron.

Part 2 should look like this.
Part 3

1. Sew the cuff so that the accent fabric peeks through.
(helpful hint: I use my walking foot for this)

Part 3 should look like this.
Part 4

1. Fold the pillow case in half, good sides facing outward.
2. Cut off the selvage edge.

Closing up the Pillow Case:

Sew the side and bottom of the pillow case (you are sewing an L shape)

Regular way:

1. Fold with good side facing inward and sew the L-shaped seam
Turn right side out. Voila!!


French seam: (looks neater and better!)

1. Fold the pillow case with the good side of the fabric facing outward.
2. Sew straight along the L edge catching only about 1/8 inch of the fabric.

first part of the french seam
3. Turn the pillow case inside out and iron the edges flat.

4. Sew the same L shape, taking in a generous 1/4 inch seam allowance.

5. Turn the pillow right side out and iron. Voila!!

Fold and wrap!

If you are making several I suggest you do it assembly style- cut everything at once, match up your fabric pieces for every pillowcase, pin all the pieces together, sew the first seam on all the pillow cases, etc. Way faster!

This is a good gift for any age!

Add a good bedtime book to the gift. Or how about a cup and hot chocolate recipe, or a new pj, or a bedtime cuddle toy, or a new alarm clock...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Grade 12 art students

My talk at St Joan of Arc secondary school went well...but there is always that one kid that is unappreciative of your experience. He's sitting at the back WAITING for you to finish while he plays on his cell phone.


I love speaking to groups and explaining what I do. It is something new to many even though the textile art I practice has been around since the 1960's.

I had timed the talk at home with time to spare but oddly enough I had no time left to demo the free motion technique on my machine. I think the students would have liked to see that and maybe try it at home.

Sewing Free Motion in Juliet's (as in Romeo) bedroom in Verona, Italy
March 2011

My next talk is February 23, 2012, at the East Toronto Quilters Guild.

In April, I am going in to speak and work with the grade 9 and 10 art students at Branksome Hall.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Toronto School of Art Open House

This weekend is the TSA open house.

December 15,16,17
noon to 5pm
410 Adelaide Street West

All students get to hang one piece they created during the term.

I helped clean up the studios last week and went out there quickly on the opening night before the party had started. Thank goodness I did. My art work was hung sideways.

wrong way

right way
It isn't the first time that my work is hung wrong or even photographed sideways.


Sometimes the work does look better but this one definitely needed to be righted.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Something to Think About

ART WASHES AWAY FROM THE SOUL THE DUST OF EVERYDAY LIFE                             pablo picasso

Over the Christmas break, make time to go to an art gallery or an art museum and be vacuumed!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Preparing for my Talk

St Joan of Arc secondary school's art department has asked me to come in and speak to their grade 12 class as part of their artist guest speaker series.

I am preparing my works this weekend for next Friday's engagement.

Some of my pieces incorporate paper and since many of them have travelled and have been handled quite a bit I need to make a few minor repairs.

I will also include "pieces in progress" so they can see the stages of a textile work.

I am bringing my post cards which are my version of sketching- an important part in creating my work.

I want to keep the 30 students interested. I have decided to demo the free motion technique on my sewing machine. I use it in all my work.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Collage Book

In collage class, we made an accordion book. I made mine about my trip to Verona.

Verona accordion book, Gail Marmoreo's work behind it.
I think I will give it to my friend.

I was very involved in promoting literacy for about 8 years starting in 1990, the International Year of Literacy. I did that through workshops I gave at the Toronto Public Libraries, the Toronto Public School Board amongst other things. One of the workshops was entitled "Book Making with your Children".

My children's french books, books with puppets, books about their dad

Making the book in class reminded me of the great books my own children made for their stories.