Two New Faces

It’s those faces again – my friend Andrea has sent me two new ones – one yesterday and another today: a small seashell with a perfect face –

Sea Shell Face

And an upside down face on a log –

Face On Its Head

I haven’t been looking so closely myself – although I always see lots of different faces in my bathroom floor tiles and in the granite slabs on the wall at the elevators –  all kinds of animal faces and some “human” ones, too.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned seeing faces is called pareidolia. It’s quite a common phenomenon and gets easier when you actually start looking. If you have any you want to share, send them along!

An Aside – A Simple Lined Grab Bag

A couple of days ago I happened across mention of a smallish fabric grab bag. Not sure why I bothered to read the piece but I did. I downloaded the template, printed it, cut it out, and thought it might be worth a try. I’m on the lookout for something to make as a small Christmas gift for the gals in the knitting group – this bag was worth putting in my ideas collection.

Simple Lined Grab Bag

Since I try sewing/making something every day this was an easy/fast half-hour project. I hadn’t kept the instructions so actually constructing the double-layer bag took longer than it should have and this first (maybe only) bag is not as neatly finished as it might have been but I thought construction was obvious – it wasn’t quite, there are a couple of twists and turns, but in the end I rectified my mistakes and completed the bag.

So here is my grab bag. It’s a good size for carrying a small knitting or hand sewing project. The problem with it as a mass produced gift is that it’s on the expensive side – in it’s simplest version (just two layers of fabric) it uses half a metre of each fabric (with useable scraps left over). Unless you happen on a good fabric sale I’d be making a sizeable investment were I to make, say, twenty of them given the cost of good cotton fabric these days. However, if you’re looking for something quick to make to give as a small gift you might find this grab bag worth your attention.

BTW: I left out the batting and didn’t bother with the inner pockets – just the bare grab bag.

Bamboo Quilt – Finished!

I started this quilt at the beginning of March. I had no idea how long it would take or how many decisions I’d have to make as I assembled the blocks, fit them together, planned the back, figured out how to quilt it….

I finished it this morning (with two weeks away from the work while I was in Italy) so working time on the quilt – about five weeks.

Quilt Top

Standing back from it now, I think the decision to use the light turquoise Kona cotton narrow inner border was the right one – it brings out the blues of the inserts which create the stems and leaves of the bamboo. I also like the choice of the border fabric which makes the inner panel stand out and at the same time echoes the hues of the panel just a bit darker.

Quilt Top – Detail

My plan when I started thinking about the quilting was to create some kind of single run embroidery design to fit my 360 x 260 hoop – I set up a double design to run bottom to top on the right, then repeated top to bottom on the left. The design stitched out well but my spacing when doing the hooping wasn’t close enough and I was left with quite a few spaces that still needed quilting. The solution was to create three more designs, narrower and shorter, to drop into those spaces. I wasn’t sure I liked how the quilting was turning out but now it’s done the space is filled pretty evenly. The border quilting turned out as I wanted it to. I’m happier with the quilt than I thought I was going to be!

Quilt Back

The back strip is a wide (13″) strip more or less crazy quilt pieced using bits left over from the top fabrics. It carries over the colour feeling from the front.

Binding – dark blue solid Kona cotton.

Coltsfoot In Bloom

Yesterday it was gloriously sunny and the coltsfoot near the building just glowed. I forgot to photograph them – caught them today (which is overcast) so the flowers aren’t so bright.

Harbinger Of Spring

I saw forsythia in bloom yesterday as well – I imagine the first flowers actually appeared just after the middle of April but I just didn’t notice the new vegetation – but there they were yesterday, May 5 – in all their glory.

They’re shouting – “It’s Spring in Nova Scotia!” They make me feel like singing.

I saw coltsfoot on May 2 in 2015, last year I first noticed some April 15 2017. There’s no doubt the season is advancing each year – the fact that I didn’t notice the first flowers (besides the crocus in gardens which is earliest of all) is because we don’t have flower gardens here at the apartment building unlike at my townhouse where we had garden beds everywhere so we gardeners were primed to be poking around for signs of spring life!

I got back to quilting the quilt today – filling in the designs where I inadvertently left spaces that were just a bit too big. I’ve just finished creating three new embroideries so I can fill in some smaller spaces – tomorrow, I hope to get to those. Then the quilting of the border. Once I establish the size for the embroidery for the sides and top/bottom that will go quickly using an endless hoop which allows me to embroider and just move the fabric along. And binding – a couple of hours and that will be done.

Update – And Back to Creative Endeavours

Arrived back in Halifax early last evening, dumped everything in the apartment and headed straight to the walk-in clinic. I was able to secure a visit for a couple of hours later. Came home, had some soup, then returned to see the doctor. No pneumonia, no other serious communicable diseases – just a very over-reacting reactive airway due to the many irritants encountered in Italy. The doctor prescribed a 5-day course of prednisone (an oral steroid tablet) to see if that will help reduce the swelling in my bronchi; we’ll see if it does. I started taking it this morning. In the meantime I’m continuing with the pulmicort I’ve been using for the last six weeks (I’ve used it off and on for 27 years). Coughed continuously this morning but I think I’m starting to feel the steroid kicking in (about 5 hours after taking the first dose) – the congestion deep in my chest is rattling less so the uncontrollable coughing is subsiding.

I unpacked this morning, put stuff away – I find putting stuff back much easier than preparing to go away. I’ve done several loads of laundry much of which is hanging to dry.

I’m not feeling up to it today, but tomorrow I plan to return to the partially quilted quilt I had on the go when I departed.

Back of Quilt – Quilting Detail

This, after all, is a blog about my creative endeavours – the knitting, sewing quilting, etc. that I do. I need to get to work again – I have a showing of  small textile wall art pieces already in my collection in June, and a larger exhibition of quilts end of July – beginning of August (I’ve got six new quilts completed and will fill in with two from the quilt stash) and new wall art (which I haven’t even begun to work on).

On Deck – 2008

This photo of the women on the ship deck is one I want to do – removing the lifeboat and putting her on the other side – she will also need to be lightened and sharpened – I worked on that a bit before I left for Italy.

A second work I want to create is of Roger Federer playing at the Aussie Open 2018 – this closeup was taken from the overhead spider cam but shows him practically in the air – both feet are a fraction off the court surface and you can see him tracking the ball.

Federer – Aussie Open

My intention is to have the figure smaller in relation to the court by filling in the background as in the image below – with the timer clock (obscured by Federer in this image) and probably cutting out the spectators.

Court Background

This one needs more playing around but I want to get going on it soon.

So finish quilt and work on these two art pieces – full steam ahead.

A Twist To The Adventure

I’m sitting in the Toronto airport waiting for a connecting flight home to Halifax in about 2 hours, three days sooner than planned.

Gate 44 Toronto Pearson

What I haven’t mentioned was that I travelled with my “mystery” cough hoping the change in climate and location might actually reduce the tightness and congestion. In fact the reverse happened – I reacted to the alpaca, lots of vegetation was in bloom so lots of pollen, the old house, formerly a barn for animals and hay made the cough slowly worse. I woke up Tuesday morning (yesterday) and said to Linda I thought it prudent to get back home as quickly as I could.

To make a long story short, Gianni drove me to Tarontino to catch the train to Florence. Linda called ahead and reserved a hotel room for overnight. I was able to upgrade my return flights through Air Canada (don’t ask about the cost – as my late father would have said “it’s only money!”)

This morning I departed Florence at 6:40am to Frankfurt, connected to Toronto and am now waiting to fly the last leg of the journey shortly.

I’m not sick, but the chest congestion and the coughing are dreadful. My usual maintenance rituals aren’t working so it’ll be off to the doctor tomorrow to see what’s possible to settle my airway down.

I was afraid to stay till Saturday concerned the situation would deteriorate to the point that I couldn’t travel. Figured it a good idea to get home while I was able.

I had a great time for the 10 days I was in Tuscany/Umbria. Loved all the shmoozing and  eating we did.

And that’s more than you wanted to know!