Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year's Resolution

"Life is Now" (Vodafone catch phrase)

I live by that.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas!

I am in Val Gardena, Italy, skiing for the holidays.
(photo credit: Sophia Reford)

(My next post will be December 30)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Like Walking into a Candy Store

Entrée des Fournisseurs, La Mercerie Parisienne
A lovely craft store situated in
a small courtyard
in the 3rd district of Paris.

I was there a few days ago.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Getting Lost in Paris

Drawing made with marker on a metal door, anonymous graffiti.

Art exhibit flyer

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Floor Rugs

I love these simple patchwork floor rugs, by designer Serge Lesage, made of bits of cow hide….or as they refer to it, natural materials.

Blue and orange,
great colour combination.

There is a good example of this
one on their web site (see below)
using reds.
 I can see that made up into a quilt.

If you like these, check out their web site by clicking here. Once you're in, you can play with colour by clicking on the Create Your Own section. (it's really fun actually) This exercise could be useful for modern quilt makers when wanting to test colour choices.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Altered Books

I had my last class on Abstract Art at the AGO last week.

My class mate's finished altered book

As a project, we altered books.

An example of an altered book
the teacher brought in from the
 Globe and Mail, 2010

Some finished their paper sculpture.

The same friend's altered book taken from a different angle.

I did not but it is coming along well. I plan to continue in January and will definitely post it.

Here is the inspiration for my book which I photographed in Paris yesterday. It is exactly what I want to achieve….although my work will surely evolve while I am cutting into the paper and may actually never look like this.

Shoe display at BHV department store in Paris

Here is another altered book which I found in a store window as part of their decoration.

Altered book in a window display in Paris, France.

Monday, December 9, 2013

More Last Minute Gifts to Make

For those of you looking to make gifts for this upcoming giving season, here is my idea for this year.

A table runner that takes about 45 minutes to make!


1/2 metre of fabric, which will be the back and the strips down the side. In my example, the darker fabric.
8.5 inches for the inside panel, which should compliment the outside fabric. I used pieces from the same fabric line.


1. Sew the inside panel fabric to the 1/2 metre piece making a long tube shape. The selvage edges will be at the top and bottom of your tube. You do this by laying the panel fabric good sides facing on the other fabric and sewing along the edge.

2. Turn the tube right side out so you have the good sides facing outwards.

3. Flatten out the tube shape so that the side strips are equal in width. (The side strips will be somewhere between 2.5 and 3 inches) I just measure down the sides and flatten with my hand. Then I iron to set.
At this point you can add a piece of flannel as a batting inside the tube and quilt it in place if you like. Alternatively, you can quilt without any batting or flannel to give the runner more detail. I did neither and it was very nice just the same…and way faster!

4. Cut off the selvage edges on the top and bottom ends of your flattened tube.

5. Fold the runner in half as if you are closing a book. Have the front of the runner facing you as you do this step.
At this point you can add a tassel inside "the book" as you close it. Lay the tassel inside the book. Leave the tail of the tassel hanging out slightly so it is seen as you sew across the top. (next step) This will give you a tassel hanging off the pointed end as a finished look.

Here I have folded the flattened tube and sewn across the top.
You will be sewing on the good side of the fabric.
It seems odd but you are doing it correctly.

6. Sew along the top edge.

7. Repeat steps 3 and 4 at the other end.

8. Open up your runner and flip the triangular piece you have just created so you get a nice pointed end looking at the runner from the front. Iron.

This is the back view. You will have made a "hood".

This is the view from the front.
If you added a tassel there would be one hanging from the point.

A runner can make a simple, solid-colour tablecloth look festive. It can also dress up a wooden table.

By changing the fabric choices you can make a runner for a child's bedroom. It could look great on the top of a chest of drawers.

Of course, you can opt instead on buying a table runner at Pottery Barn for $90.00.

For last year's idea, click here and for another one from 2011, click here.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

More Publicity

In the spring of 2013, I took a small group of Canadians to Verona for an experience they will never forget.

A view of spectacular Verona.

You can see older posts about the 10-day trip by clicking here and from there scrolling the travel log backwards to view the previous 10 posts.


You can get your hands on the Winter Issue of Canadian Quilter Magazine

cover of the Winter Issue 2013

and read all about it.

The magazine invited me to write about the textile festival, Verona Tessile, and to give the readers some insight on the trip I plan around this festival. What great publicity!! The magazine has a readership of 20,000. Impressive.

The other thing the Canadian Quilter's Association did was invite me to exhibit one of my works in their Invitational Quilt Show which will be included in Quilt Canada 2014. The works will be exhibited from June 11 to 14 at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. I have looked at my works and there is nothing I want to submit. I've got to get busy making something. I don't want to pass up this opportunity. I was honoured to be invited. I must submit something grand! How intimidating.

Note: Travellers on my trip to Verona don't necessarily have to be Canadian or live in my city because the actual trip starts at the Verona airport. Last year we had a Canadian living in France join us!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Making Presents

It's been a while since I made a baby quilt.

My latest baby quilt…of course I made it using my scraps!

I made one as a gift recently for a new mom.

I used small triangles to cover the
opposite corners of a rectangle. I didn't measure these.
I love all the colours.

I put it together using my quilt as you go method!
(which I will be teaching out in Peterborough in February
at the Kawartha Quilters Guild))
I save all the triangle bits left over
from other quilts in a glass jar ready to use.

A new mom who is so happy and so excited about her bundle of joy.

a closer look at the border

I am so happy for my friend and her first baby.

On the back I added three maple leaves (very Canadian) because she was born in the Fall
and because she shares her birthday with two other cousins!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Back Home

I left Peru...

Wall art in Lima.

...and am back in Canada.

My snow-covered front lawn.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Art Gallery in Lima

I visited the MALI, Lima's art museum, but only one exhibit was available for viewing as the rest of the gallery is being restored.

This image was taken from the program. Work by Sergio Zevallos.

I saw the exhibit called The Wondering Body with works by Sergio Zevallos from the Grupo Chaclacayo.

The exhibit was mainly photography but there were several pieces of collage which I enjoyed very much.

Santa Rosa's image was used and altered with drawing and collage.
I understood it to be about the tension between Catholic devotion
of the country
and the real life horror of the armed conflict (1980-2000).
The group also made collages from waste,
sadomasochistic reenactments,
religious transvestism,
processions of alters made from trash.
Their art found no place in Lima.
(image photographed from the program)

The group consisted of three members. After their first and only exhibit in Lima, they went into a self-imposed exile in a house in the Chaclacayo district where they worked for 6 years. The group decided to move to Germany in 1989 in part due to the growing social and political hostility of the armed conflict in Peru. The artists took with them all their work and what they could not bring they burned and carried the ashes with them.    

The group dismantled in the mid '90s. Their works never returned permanently to Peru.

The triangular roof is installed over the courtyard of the building.
It's an odd sensation being inside a building but really being outside!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Where in the World...

I am in Peru this week. Surprise!

I'm in Lima to be exact.

I took a tour of the city today and learned about its history.

Ruins from the ancient temple Huaca Pucllana.
Notice the bricks are set vertically.

and ended on the Pacific Ocean for sunset.

No sewing today.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tea with Marilyn

I had (virtual) tea with Marilyn Mirabelli of Simply Splendid Victorian Afternoon Teas.

My friend Gail decorates her garden with vintage tea cups.

You can find the interview she conducted on her blog while we had "tea".

La Stanza del Tè, translated is The Tea Room,
an art piece by italian Maria Teresa Sansotta.
made with tea bags, fabric scraps, crinoline,
 approx. 1m x 1.40m
It was a present to me from the artist
for my 25th wedding anniversary.

Marilyn has organized teas at my home on several occasions. I remember the Mother's Day Tea with fondness. Very elegant and right up to my high standards!

The tea ingredients,
including scones and fancy sandwiches,
always come in a fancy box!

Thank you, Marilyn, for your interest in my textile career.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Liberty Fabric

A friend visited Toronto recently and brought me these lovely Liberty fabrics.

Bought at the beautiful Tudor Liberty Store in London, England.

She purchased them at the Liberty store in London, England- one of her favorite spots.

Beautiful colours and patterns.

What a nice friend!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Harvest Art

Artist Alice Vender Vennen reflects on her art work and its process.

Alice and her work taken at the TOAE a few years ago.

"...the harvesting nature of an art piece," she wrote.

The components are collected, arranged and assembled and the end result is something kept and preserved. Creative preserving, she called it.

My piece in progress

I took a 3-day workshop with her at the Distillery District in Toronto.

Alice explains using a sample piece.

I actually made something in the first 4 hours!...Does this mean I am "unstuck"?

I made this small piece on day 1 and the next day, I made a
larger piece that was so much more mature! (seen below)
My piece entitled "Three Days"
 13" x 17" 
It is almost impossible to photograph
an art piece that has a glass cover
 because of the reflection
so the colours are off and you can't
really see the copper pieces...but
you get the idea.

We ended the workshop with a bottle of wine and some chocolate and a feast for our eyes of our powerful pieces.

A harvest of creativity.
Alice is teaching the same workshop November 1, 2 and 3 in Toronto and I know there was a space or two left. Contact her directly if you are interested. Great workshop.