31 janvier 2009

Creative Challenge

This is where I am in the “mystery” challenge so far.
and a detail :
It’s the only thing I stitched in the past days, well...I did some more stitching.
Since we receive one task at the time, we do not know where we are going.

I’m still in the middle of the moving of my eldest daughter. I still have to get many things out of the boxes and sort.
I rediscovered those old Indian stamps, they were used to stamp a pattern for those fabulous Indian carpets/rugs.
I arranged them in a ‘still live’ with my received old lace bobbins.

For my “City and Guild creative sketchbook module 3” I’m gathering some inspirational pictures. No problem with that ! I only have to search for them in all the drawers in my studio and near my bed.
Since I’m in the middle of rearranging most of my stuff…

I also did a ‘similar colour’ exercise with a contrasting accent
This is the sewed result so far :

And with some embellishment stitches :
I’m still auditioning some fabrics to be used as border for my ‘Marseille L’Estaque’.
Without probing result for the moment.
But tonight I will do some more searching for ‘Marseille L’Estaque’. I want to continue this one and FINISH it. Since I promised myself not to have any unfinished work …
Keep focussed !

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap ... but by the seeds you plant! "
Robert Louis Stevenson
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28 janvier 2009

Birthday Philosophy

I’m turning 46 year tomorrow !

I do not realise I’m turning 46 ! In my head I’m still that girl playing and telling me stories about later.
Well I’m in ‘later’ and I’m having fun. I feel good in my body and in my head, not fearing ‘later’ and certainly not wanting to go back.
From time to time I ask me some questions regarding the future, but never the past. I made my mistakes – who didn’t ?
But I build on the live lessons I learned. I took some decisions but I also took my responsibilities ! I learned not to please every one but to be pleased with me in the first place. If you like/love yourself you can start loving others.
When I take a look in a real or fictive mirror I find that the balance is positive.
Still have to work on some points, never fearing to accept a defeat and growing after that.
I feel spoiled because of the chances to survive were given to me after 2 serious illnesses, once when I was 16 and the other when I was 40. This illness forged my character to what I am and forced me to live here and now and dream of later.

"To me, life is like the back nine in golf. Sometimes you play better on the back nine. You may not be stronger, but hopefully you're wiser. And if you keep most of your marbles intact, you can add a note of wisdom to the coming generation."
Clint Eastwood

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25 janvier 2009


I finished the top of ‘Marseille L’Estaque’ for now.
I will start to construct the borders so that I can extent some details in the borders.
For now I have to look for different colour options. Maybe do something like ‘Marseille Frioul’.

I also played further with my plastic background from Shelagh’s challenge .
I added an organza layer on top :
Since my eldest daughter is moving, I will use her room as painting studio. She has a worktable the size of her bed. Every time I wanted to use paints I had to be creative in storing the wet painted surfaces. And I had to put a protective plastic on the floor and on my sewing table. I even used our diner table to paint.
So, after I finished playing with the plastic background, I started storing all the paints, brushes, papers, plastics, crayons, enz. in boxes
and carried them upstairs.
I still have the reference books that will also go upstairs with my help
Or …
What did you think ?

“Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow”.

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23 janvier 2009

Finally !

I’m playing again !
I’m enrolled for a creative challenge from Shelag
The first part was ironing garbage bags.
We have a large variety of shopping bags, so I used some old bags :
Then I added some more sliced bag handles :
This is wild !

I also continued this :
I’m using all the odd bits of water-soluble stabilizer I find in my treasure bags.
Sometimes I hoop 3 to 4 little tiny pieces of stabilizer !
And all only to make this :Thread lace in different greens

I couldn’t resist the temptation to layer the thread lace on my work :
I’m far from finished but…
Rome wasn’t build in one day neither !

"And in the end it's not the years in your life that count.
It's the life in your years".
Abraham Lincoln

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22 janvier 2009

Being a mom and an artist !

I so hoped I could make the tree from my ‘Marseille L’Estaque’ the past evenings but…
I sometimes ‘forget’ I also have a DH and 3 DC. The 2 girls (22 and 19) had decided that their mom had to be a fulltime mom in the evenings. They wanted nice food (this is for DH), they wanted many, many hugs, they wanted me watching TV with them.
My son (almost 21) finished his last exams and came home after a month of absence and he wanted his dad and mom for him alone – understandable – before he goes to London for some days.
For three days -during my free time- I was a fulltime mom. I have the feeling that, the older the children get the better they know how to ‘manipulate’ their mom. They are getting you on your feelings…
If I really wanted, I would have say that I wanted to sew and be busy in my studio but I let them decide of my free time for some days.

“D'you call life a bad job? Never! We've had our ups and downs, we've had our struggles, we've always been poor, but it's been worth it, ay, worth it a hundred times I say when I look round at my children. “
W. Somerset Maugham

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19 janvier 2009

City and Guild- Creative sketchbooks

I finished the second module of the City and Guild Creative Sketchbooks from the Kemshalls. I’m so glad I started this course. Playing with all those toys (understand : paint, pastels, crayons, enz.) is great fun. This course is ‘giving you permission’ to make experiments of all kind !
Edwina Mackinnon is my mentor and she’s very supportive. When you start a ‘City and Guild’ class you receive a ‘timeline’, this means : the time it will take you to accomplish one module.
For module one and for module two ; there was a timeline of 6 hours each. I spent some more hours to finish the 2 modules. I also did the option ‘take it further’ because I wanted to play a little more and know the used products better.
I never did a colour wheel in the past and now I made three different ones ! I uses acrylic paint, liquid paint and tools and gadgets from my shop.

I had great fun making this exercise :
And this one :
You have to look at those as a technique exercise only.

After blogging about my bobbin collection I received several real old bobbins with still lace thread on it.

Today I took my works back from the exhibition. Some works will have their place back in my home. Some others will have a new home and I’m happy for the new owners.
I met all the buyers and I know they will be taking care of ‘my babies’.

Tomorrow I will take ‘Marseille L’Estaque’ in my hands again. I have to start making that tree ! As said in a previous post, I want to make the tree a bit dimensional. Therefore I will use tulle and many lose threads. I also will embroider some free standing leaves.

“What we play is life.”
Louis Armstrong

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16 janvier 2009


I made a new sample for the class I will give in February :
It’s a mix of decorative machine stitches and Angelina.
I also started to assemble all the different pages I made. My first idea was to punch holes in the pages. But then I had to put large eyelets in my page AND find a ring large enough to hold all the pages:
Between this picture and now, I made 3 new fabric pages.
So I sewed eyelashes using wool.

Tomorrow is the last day of the exhibition.
I’m so glad I took the opportunity to exhibit. The public was ‘wild positive’.
They loved the fact that they saw an evolution from classic quilts to contemporary work.
It’s not because you love Mozart that you can’t love Pink.

"The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance."

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14 janvier 2009

Time Flies

In a not so far past I had an embroidery virus and loved it.
I made those alphabet samplers in 1994

And an apple sampler, this is one of the six apple :
I enjoyed it because it was a calming activity, I loved the silence and the peaceful feeling. I stopped because my sight didn’t agree with my (very little crosses) stitch-activity.

In that period I started a collection of old spools, they only had to be in wood. This is a part of my collection :
The red egg on the left was used to repair socks.
The napkin under the bowl was machine embroidered.

“Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it.”
Jacques Prévert

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11 janvier 2009


Today I made 2 colourwheels.

One with paint chips samples…
…and another one with acrylic paint.

I started a third one in thread but didn’t finish it yet. I intent to make some more : one from found material and one made from publicity papers.
Going back to the very basic from time to time is a necessity.
A refreshing lesson and I learn every time.

I also continued on ‘Marseille L’Estaque’ :
and a detail :
I enjoy thread painting the façades from those homes. I used the word ‘home’ instead of ‘house’ because I started to see these houses as homes.
When I work some time on a piece, this piece is becoming mine. I put my soul in it and can only hope that others will see what I feel.
But I’m still making those pieces for MY joy and when others like it, it makes me more happy than I already are.

The temperatures have started to raise again. We now have a +4°C ( +39°F).
I will have the occasion to horse riding again. It’s been a long time.

“Education is a progressive discovery of your own ignorance.”
Will Durant

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9 janvier 2009


It has been ages that it was been as cold here at the coast.
For the moment we have temperatures of -8°C (17 ° F). We are not used to this.
But, on the other hand, we have splendid views.
We have no snow but this :

This was early this morning ...
... and the next ones were this afternoon :
A fantastic blue sky and iced trees !

Since we had fog past night, it had frozen on the trees.

I also took the time to photograph some spider webs..
I can’t find the word to express the beauty of nature in this winter dress.

Today, taking those pictures, was my way of being creative !

"Money is the opposite of the weather. Nobody talks about it, but everybody does something about it."
Rebecca Johnson

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6 janvier 2009

Winter evenings

Every evening I try to take the time to play in my studio.
I have to confess : Tiered or not I “play” at least half an hour.
I continued to make the exercise samplers for the class I will give :

This is the embroidered tyvek sample
Working with tyvek is an adventure : you never know how it will look once zapped.

I worked a little on my City and Guild course module 2 : looking for information about drawing material and painting some samples.

Yesterday evening was our sewing evening with 2 friends. We started the round robin and this is my background so far :
I only used small leftovers from previous works. I sewed them on a muslin background.
The flower will be appliquéd on the collage top.
I went from light to dark to represent the shadow/sun side.

For now I will continue thread painting ‘Marseille VI – L’Estaque” .

"Don't knock the weather. If it didn't change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn't start a conversation. "
Frank McKinney Hubbard

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4 janvier 2009

Round Robin

I prepared a ‘controlled round robin’ for tomorrow evening. Two friends and me are coming together every 6 weeks to have a creative sewing evening.
For this time I proposed to make the same (well, each will have her own accents) big flower.
Once the top is made, we will cut it in three parts and make an exchange.
This is flower I chose because of it’s simplicity :
Then the reassembling will begin. Every technique is possible.

In my class preparation I painted some Tyvek :
I intent to sew a door with windows on it and then zap the result with my heat gun.
Just curious….
I also added two detail shots from 2 different samples :

I hope that those who will take my class will be excited to try all the different techniques…
I only can image the suitcases they will need to take with when they will come to the class…

“What is defeat ? Nothing but education ; nothing but the first step to something better.”
Wendell Phillips

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1 janvier 2009

Play Day

I just love it when I have an extra day off !
I’m thread painting ‘Marseille VI –L’Estaque’ and I see this piece coming to live !
I never took as many pictures for a piece as for this one.
The biggest advantage of digital photography is that you have an instant answer to some of the questions you can have. You also have a all over distant view of your subject.

I took a detail picture from the window at right to show you the first round of the thread painting :
I also took a picture of the back, that way you can see how I balanced the tension of the threads. I use a size 100 thread as bobbin thread so that I have as few extra bulk as possible.

I love neat backs, can’t help it.

These are the embroidery threads I use for this piece – not all of them will actually be in this work -. I sorted the colours so that it is easy working and auditioning the threads.When I bought my new sewing machine (the Diamond from Husqvarna), my dealer gave me as extra present (because I was the first to buy the machine) all those embroidery threads.

A total of 207 Madeira spools !

"Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow; Don't walk behind me, I may not lead; Walk beside me, and just be my friend."
Albert Camus

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