Wednesday, December 30, 2015


RE- solution
RE- think
RE- charge
RE- set
RE- fresh

(photo taken at a coffee shop in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where we are celebrating the holidays together- all 6 of us.)

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Fabric Markets

The fabric markets I've seen in the past ten days have all been colourful!

Ribbons in Hong Kong

When there is so much choice I often can't buy!

Fabric Market in Ho Chi Minh City


Beads at the fabric market in Kowloon.
A fabric stall in Kowloon.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas This Year

This is the only snow flake I will be seeing this Christmas.

This is all the ice I am going to see.

I am in Vietnam with my family.

Merry Christmas to all my friends.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Easy Piecing Christmas Stocking

Every year at this time, I post a quick project to make as a gift. To see past ideas, click here, here, here and here.

This year I have the instructions for a Christmas stocking.  the technique I used is between foundation piecing and quilt-as-you-go, which I L-O-V-E!! It is fast to make and easy!

Finished craft!

Step 1: Fold a piece of thin batting in half and cut out a stocking shape. You will have 2 halves that will make one stocking.

Step 2: Cover the batting with fabric. *place the batting stockings on a table in a mirror image and cover the top part.

In the spirit of reducing my landfill footprint, I have chosen to use selvage strips which normally get thrown out. I have been collecting them for a while. I keep a box near my cutting table and toss them in there for future use.

Start by putting a 2 1/2 inch strip to cover the toe.
It isn't necessary to worry about what angle to put it on.
Lay a selvage strip over the first strip (good side UP) and sew through
the three layers- in this case the green fabric, red fabric and batting.
Use your walking foot for this.
It helps all the layers feed into the machine at the same time.
If you are not sure if you caught the strip below
with your stitches
 simply lift the selvage edge and peek under. 
If you don't have enough selvage strips add a few regular fabric strips.
Here I used a striped fabric measuring 1 1/2 inches wide.
Place good sides facing and sew a regular 1/4 inch seam allowance.
Flip and iron and proceed with selvage strips.

The covered socks should be mirror images of each other 

I had fun choosing the red and green selvage strips and finding fun words from the selvage I wanted to highlight.

Step 3: When the batting is covered in fabric, turn the stocking over and trim the fabric ends that stick out.

Step 4: Use this stocking as a pattern for the lining. Fold a piece of lining fabric in half, good sides facing.

Step 5: Draw the outline of the stocking. Make the top end about 1/2 inch higher. (This piece will be turned over at the end and will show on the outside of the stocking.)

Step 6: Cut out the lining part of the stocking on the inside of the pencil line which will make it slightly smaller than the outside part of the stocking.

Step 7: For the lining, sew using a seam allowance of about 1/8th inch and over a measure of 3 inches  gradually move the stitch line to a generous 1/4 inch seam allowance. Continue sewing all around the sock using the generous 1/4 inch measure until you have 3 inch left on the other side. From there, start angling the seam allowance so it finishes at 1/8 th inch. Do not turn inside out.

Step 8: For the outside of the stocking: If you want a hook for hanging, use a piece of ribbon. Make a small loop and place it in between the stocking halves, about 1 1/2 inch from the top. Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance sew the 2 pieces of the stocking, good sides facing, catching the ribbon. Turn inside out.

This ribbon came tied on a gift from my favourite quilt store.
Step 9: Slip the lining as is inside the stocking.

Step 10: Roll the top of the lining to make a small hem and roll that over onto the front side.

Step 11: Sew the lining overhang by hand using the blind stitch.

And the best part of all.... Fill it with great stuff!!!

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Sunday, December 6, 2015


Lines made of light.

A garden suddenly redrawn with the flick of a switch.

Radha Chaddah and Tom Kuo are the artists.

A tree without leaves, a skeleton of sticks, brought to life with light.

Reflective Tree by Scott Eunson

All images from Nuit Blanche, 2015.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


I really needed to take a good workshop to find a new source of inspiration. Sometimes you get tired of your same studio, the same fabrics, the same projects. You need to kick start something new.

Gunnel Hag's work using photo transfers

I spent Saturday at Gunnel Hag's studio in Toronto and experimented with photo transfers.

I am really happy with the samples I made during the workshop. I printed on several types of fabric; cotton, silk, linen and commercially printed cottons.

One of methods taught was new to me (using Bubble Jet Set) and the other two methods which I had experience with I was able to tweak using Gunnel's tips.

I also enjoyed talking to the other student who took the class. She had several degrees in art-related subjects and I found her inspirational. BONUS: she was of italian heritage!

Most of the photos I transferred were photos of textures. Below are a few examples of the 8.5" x 11" photo transfers.

photo of the wall in the courtyard of Giulietta's
house in Verona, Italy. 
photo of a rusty panel, Verona streets.
This was transferred onto silk. It is really lovely
and almost transparent.
This photo taken at one of Paris' cemeteries
was transferred onto a grey fabric with
a small square design.
I like it.
The building in downtown Toronto
was transferred onto a piece of
commercially printed cotton
with words and math formulas

I am not sure yet how I will add stitch to them or how I will integrate them in larger works. That part needs to have some 'steeping' time.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Quilt Heirlooms

I am sorting through my children's books. I am packing up the ones we want to donate and setting aside the ones we want to keep.

There are many!

I came across Patricia Polacco's The Keeping Quilt.

It made me wonder about MY quilts.

Three of the latest quilts...
all old tops that were recently machine quilted.
Will they be passed down? Will they be blankets that start a conversation about the great-great-grandmother who made them? Will they be discarded and forgotten and eventually sold at an Antique Quilt Market?

Three more..
T-shirt quilts and simple squares

Right now my children love the quilts we have around the house. Each child has a quilt that I made especially for them. Each one is personal.

I love making quilts.

Follow your passion and you will find your purpose

Friday, October 16, 2015

Having a Great Day

I am having a great Friday!

It started with a breakfast with my husband at my favourite place. Then 2 hours of knitting and chatting at the Purple Purl. Then baking for tonight's dinner party. The house smells fabulous!

Something I saw at the knitting store this morning reminded me of something funny.

Bunting (knitted) hanging at the Purple Purl.

In Italy, I often see prayer flags of different colours hanging from the balconies.

Here is one example (top right side)

The coloured, rectangle flags are sometimes used to bless the surrounding countryside. The wind takes the blessing and carries it everywhere. All who are touched by the wind are uplifted and a little happier.

I saw something like it in Umbria except the colours were different.

After I uploaded the images on my computer I realized it was a clothesline of rags!

I hope on whichever day you are reading this, that you too are having a great day!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Umbria Trip Meeting Date Set

If you are interested in finding out about my Umbria Trip please join me at

Olive grove

 L'Espresso Bar, 321 Bloor Street West (at St George) in Toronto

 Sunday, November 1, 2015 

4 pm

Beautiful Umbria

I will have a print-out of the itinerary, the price, some photographs and can answer all questions about the trip.

The focus of the trip is to create a journal where from ideas can be extracted and new work, either traditional or contemporary, produced upon return to a  home studio. It is a chance to gather ideas and be inspired without the pressure of performing on the spot. It allows people to vacation and learn. The journal then becomes not only a collection of ideas but a memory of beautiful Italy.

I will bring my journal/sketchbook on the 1st.

The view of Trevi from the terrace

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Studio Visit in Umbria

While in Umbria I visited my friend, Virginia Ryan,  in her art studio.

Acrylic paintings by Virginia Ryan fill the studio space.
Exhibit SHIFT, 2013

She is an established multidisciplinary artist. She is also a mother and an author.

She has lived for many years in West Africa and that influence is evident in her art work. Please read on her website "White is a Color" by scrolling 1/5th of the way down.

detail, Les Femmes de Gagne A'la' Rue du Commerce/4
160cm x 180cm
acrylic on canvas
Eight years ago, I saw her multi-entry exhibit at the GCAM (galleria civica d'arte moderna palazzo collicola) in Spoleto. Photography, paintings, collage, sculpture, video and voice.

On this visit, I was particularly interested in her fabric-related work from her SHIFT installation.

fabric dresses as inspiration

She is such a wonderful person full of life and full of great ideas AND a great hostess! I find her inspirational to me as a person and as an artist.

Catalogue cover for SHIFT 

She will be giving us a tour of her studio and a presentation about her work on the Umbria Textile Trip I am organizing for August 2016.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Next Project

I am not yet ready to start sewing. I am still unpacking and getting settled after six months away.

Umbrian countryside

I am however going full speed ahead in firming up my textile trip plans for Umbria in August 2016.

The town of Trevi seen from the terrace of the house we will be staying in.

This trip will have a different feel than the Verona Trips I organize. The focus of the Umbria trip is to create an art journal where from ideas can be extracted and new works, either traditional or contemporary, produced upon return to a studio back home. To help facilitate daily entries, we will have a daily theme as we visit hilltop towns, do cultural and art activities and visit two Italian artists.

Vineyards and olive trees in the Umbria countryside.

In November, I will be having a meeting in Toronto where I will present the full itinerary, show some photographs and have a price ready.

Looking west at the view of the hills.

I can only take 6 people for this trip. So far I have four people VERY interested, four people who have come to Verona with me.

Think about it.