Thursday, July 9, 2015

Do You See Designs Ideas Everywhere?

I am constantly seeing things that inspire me to try to stitch them - do you?  It seems like these ideas are everywhere around us and I am continually taking photos so I will remember them later.
This feature wall on the exterior of the Royal Albert Museum in Edmonton has me thinking of stitching the ancient pictographs of the aboriginal people of Alberta.

Perhaps a visit to Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park is in order to do more research!

 At the EAC National Seminar this year, the fruit trees at SAIT were in full bloom but early in the week we awoke to a spring snow.  The juxtaposition of the spring blossoms weighed down with a blanket of winter snow appealed to me - typical Alberta weather!

 What about the hinge on this door from the oldest builting at SAIT?  Don't you love the dragon?  I wish there was more of this kind of whimsical detail in modern architecture!

I think a thread painted magpie will be a project in the near future.  Everytime I see one of these birds close up, I appreciate the blue metallic sheen in their black feathers.  Can't you see this captured with lovely Kreinik threads creating the highlights?

So, what inspires you?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Ramblings from the River


 There are a wonderful amount and variety of birds here by the river and I have been enjoying waking up to their song each morning.
 My first thought when I noticed all the shavings around the base of this tree was that the beavers had been at work again but not this time.
An obvious clue was this perfect whole in the tree trunk - obviously someone's home but much closer to the ground than I would have expected.
 The shavings were much finer than those left by beavers as well - amazing that all this was done with a small beak.  The inside of the hole is quite large and perfectly carved out.  I tried for a photo of that as well but it didn't come out.

 I think that the hole I found is the nest of a sapsucker.  I thought it was a woodpecker but my husband has corrected me and he is more of a birder than I am.
Looking at this photo, you can see why I usually think beavers when I see any wood shavings at the base of a tree.

 The beavers have been at their handiwork in spite of our best effort to wire as many trees in the park as we can manage.
 The beavers tend to take the tree almost down and then lose interest for some reason and off they go, leaving a very weakened tree that will succumb and fall during the next big wind.
 Yes, beavers have to live too but it becomes a concern when these trees start falling on the hiking trails or near someone's campsite.
 Even in a park where people appreciate a natural setting, the safety of hikers and campers must be considered.
One close call of a weakemed tree falling near a group of children was all it took to convince me that the beavers are a cause for concern.  Hopefully the wiring of the trees will convince them to move along the river a little farther away from the campers.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Very good read!

This one is a winner and I am happy to recommend it to anyone.  the curious incident of the dog in the night-time is written by Mark Haddon, who spent time working with autistic people.  The book takes the form of a journal of a boy with Asperger's Syndrome as he tries to solve the mystery of the murder of a neighbour's dog.  It provides insight into how this boy sees the world around him and how the autistic mind works - it is a revelation and one of the best books I have read in recent years.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Technology is not my friend! (Book Reviews)

My new internet hub gave up the ghost after only a month so I was stuck with no connection for a couple weeks until I could get to town to have the faulty cord replaced.  Frustrating to say the least!
Back online now, but in the meantime, now the electrical system in the 5th wheel has gone haywire on me...  I am left now with three working plug ins and two lights that work - one in the bathroom and the other above the computer.  At least the receptacles I plug the computer into are still working so I can sit in the dark and be online...lol.  
While I was out of touch with the world at large though, I did a lot of reading.  I don't know how I manage it since I am working between 12 and 16 hours a day six days a week (yes, this is when being on salary really sucks - it I was getting an hourly wage I would be able to retire soon!)  Anyway, here are the eclectic mix of books I have read the last couple weeks...

Raven's Cry, written by Christine Harris (illustrations by Bill Reid)
I enjoyed this book for the insight it gave me into the Haida culture and traditions.  To me at least, the history of these Native people of the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii which translates to "Islands of the People"), British Columbia.  I was fascinated with the rich tradition of Haida art and find myself wanting to know much more now.

The Dovekeepers, written by Alice Hoffman
Like Raven's Cry, this book provides insight into a people and time, in this case the time is 70AD and the people are four women during the seige of Masada.  It tells the story of the intertwining lives of these women and is definitely a good read in my opinion.

The Good German, written by Joseph Kanon
Again, a time and place I had not given much thought to - Berlin in 1945.  This is a good story - mystery and love against the backdrop of a city devastated by war. Worth reading.

Strangers, written by Dean Koontz
I have a weakness for books by Dean Koontz and this one is not a disappointment.  A great story, good characters and development.  Difficult to put down.

Zen and the Art of Needlecraft, written by Sandra Detrixhe
The Amazon.com review says it better than I can:
"Passionate crafters know that needlecraft - knitting, sewing, quilting, cross-stitch, et al is so much more than a hobby or a way of passing the time. "Zen and the Art of Needlecraft" explores needlecraft as a means of balancing the mind, achieving enlightenment, and living consciously every day. Whether embracing the Zen principles in gift giving or creating projects conducive to spiritual growth, author Sandra Detrixhe leads the reader along the Zen path in the way that only another serious crafter can."

Fishbowl, written by Sarah Mlynowski
I would call this one a good summer read - amusing and light hearted story of some broke girls sharing an apartment.  Mostly fluff but when you are stuck in a camper with my tv and no internet it passes the time pleasantly.  

A Stolen Life, written by Jaycee Lee Dugard
A disturbing book about Jaycee Lee Dugard, kidnapped by a stranger at eleven years of age and kept for eighteen years.  A sad commentary on how an overworked system ultimately fails in protecting those who need protecting.  Uplifting in her strength and optomism.

The Panic Zone, writyten by Rick Mofina
I enjoyed this thriller, a bit complicated in characters and locations but a good read.

Cellar Girl, written by Josephina Rivera
My daughter in law is a fan of true crime stories and loaned me this book.  It is disturbing and graphic but ultimately her strength is what allows this woman to survive and see some of the other women imprisoned by a serial killer released.  A story of human endurance.

That's some of the books I have read lately - quite the list I realize and it makes you wonder how I have time while I am complaining of being overworked and exhausted and unable to accomplish much of anything.  I guess my excuse is that when I am too tired to do anything at all, I can still manage to read into the wee hours of the morning.  



Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Counted Thead Round Robin - Blackwork

I'm in a counted thread round robin in the EAC Virtual Threads group (a chapter of The Embroiderers' Association of Canada) and this is my work on the first piece to come my way.  It is always a bit nerve wracking being the first because you sort of set the tone for the piece but Diana gave such good details of what she is looking for, it was easy.  This is on a rectangular piece of nice linen and she asked for blackwork leaves along the botton and up the left side - she even provided h thread choices and templates for the leaves so all that was left to do was to decide on the blackwork patterns and the outline.
The first leaf is in the bottom left corner and is outlined in chain stitch.

The seconid leaf is outlined using stem stitch.  Diana asked that each leaf be outlined using a different stitch, which I think may be challenging towards the end of the round robin.
I enjoyed working on this and think it is a very nice design idea - can't wait to see how it looks at the end of the round robin!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Couple More Book Reviews

 I've polished off a few more books this week - the joys of no television!  If you liked Tuesdays with Morrie, you will like Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom.  As a matter of fact, you should probably read anything you can find by Mitch Albom - well worth reading - feel-good books and easy reads.
 Of course, Kathy Reichs is a favourite - this is another book in the series and I enjoyed it.
This one was completely different - I likely picked it up thinking Wool was fibre related but it turned out to be a sci-fi - sort of a post apocolyptic thing.  I have to say I enjoyed it a lot - a good read!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

New Blackwork Piece - "Kick Up Your Heels"

This my new blackwork design, Kick up Your Heels!  I am pretty excited about this - it was a lot of fun to design and stitch and I loved playing with the colours.
Here is a closer shot if you would like to see more details - check out the purple crystals - gotta love that bling!  I designed this for my Seminar Theme Award entry.  The theme of this year's seminar was Stampeding Stitches so I dreamed up this pair of cowgirl's party boots.  Managed to snag third prize so not to shabby.  Now, what to do with the design?