Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Weekly Post - Fabric Beads Part 1

Where did August go?

I realized I have missed many weeks posting. It is not that I haven't been working but live revolving around me has been very busy.

Family from Vermont, birthday celebrations, weddings -(2), canning wonderful peaches, pears and salsa, experimenting with eco print dyeing, experimenting with ice dyeing, making jewelry with fabric beads, helping friends, new fence (finally!) all good things but it left me drained.

Combine that with the sadness in the world with hurricanes, and situations of extreme acts of hatred against people and that leaves me drained.

Why do I let life events effect me so...? Because like it or not I am a feeler. Intuitively or unconsciously I feel deeply. I am trying to just go with that as I would rather care to much than to little. I need to recognize it, see it and learn to accept that I am resilient and will not break. Do what I can and not break. So some of my down time has been reading so scientific books on resiliency. Fascinating. But a lot of processing.

But for a blog on my art work that is not very fascinating.

So I am going to share how I make fabric beads. Again not rocket science but a easy process to do when you just want to fiddle some time doing something rote and simple.

Making a fabric bead... 

What you need:
- piece of colourful fabric
- small stir stick straws, drinking straws or skewers
- double sided contact tape. (Scor tape or fabric glue
- cutting mat, rotary cutter and ruler or a sharp pair of scissors.

Choose a piece of fabric that is colourful. Batiks work great. Use up pieces that you may have saved. This is one way I use up my scraps. Cut the fabric the length of your straw or skewer. 

These are some straws I have collected from my wanderings. Recycling all those coffee straws or you can buy a box of them at a place that sells restaurant supplies or coffee supplies for business. 

Placing the double sided  scor tape on the fabric top and bottom. If you are using glue put a small bead line of glue where the tape is .
 Remove the tape and place the coffee straw on the sticky tape and start to tightly roll the straw up to the top tap. Remove top tape and finish rolling.
You should now have a covered straw. To cut the piece into individual bead. Place a ruler beside the straw and vision how long you want your bead. 

I didn't do this in the picture above but I would use my rotary cutter to make a clean cut on both ends first. Or you can use scissors for this. Don't use your best blade or scissors for this!
Here is a finished set of beads. 2 one inch beads and 5 half inch beads.

There is more that  I do to the beads or you can use them like this.

Part 2 I will give you some suggestions that I do to fancy them up.

Part 3 will show you how I have used them in a project.

Then I will consolidate the instructions on a tab at the top.

I love making the beads. It is a perfect activity for TV or sewing that doesn't require a lot of thinking.

Hope you are having a wonderful week. Enjoy the sunshine while it lasts!

 Linking up with the needleandthreadnetwork
P. S. I have no affiliation with Scor-pal tape but do find it very useful. Google it for a place where you can find it. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Weekly Post - Post Cottage Edition....

Every summer we are fortunate to be able to head to the family cottage to rest and relax.

Built in 1941-42 the place has stayed basically the same with the addition of one small bedroom and a fully functional bathroom. I have to ask my mom when my "auntie" had that put in.

A few years ago we changed the clapboard siding to aluminum to save costs. Continual paint maintenance was becoming too much. Now we can give it a good pressure wash and be done.

Everyone gets to do just what they like at the cottage. My husband reads, kayaks
and putters at a few chores. I take along some basic sewing, read and sometimes a craft or two. Our now adult kids kick back read, rest and play games. My sisters family fish and she reads. Our dog lives to fetch sticks and run.

 If we quit throwing in the sticks then he "accidentally" throws them in the lake and makes a big scene out of fetching them.  Now with the next generation we will see what develops. Baby Pea came up with her parents for a weekend but since she was just under 3 weeks old she basically slept and ate.
Many memories are created at this place which we just kick back and relax. No TV unless we bring a DVD. No Internet for we have a dial up wall phone. It truly is our happy place.

The cottage is an inspirational place for me. This year I worked on another set of blocks for my "Judy" quilt. So far I have managed to make one set of five blocks a year. I am going to push myself on this one. It is time for it to be done. Paper piecing Judy Niemyers way is not my favourite way of making a quilt. It is incredibly accurate but very labour intensive!
We had another edition of cottage craft club for my sister and family. This year was felting. They took to it like ducks in water!

I did make some little dresses and diaper cover pants for my Sweet Pea and her cousin. Being 4 months apart in age I couldn't resist making matching outfits for them.

I also completed a special bib and cuddle bear order for a friend to give as a gift. I only do these for fun because it is way to time consuming to do it other wise.

Another thing I did was gather leaves for my echo printing. Out came a old phone book and the leaf pressing began. Storing up my spoils for when there are no leaves to play with. I feel like a kid again with my tree identification book and going into the woods to gather leaves for the leaf project.

We also went on a side trip to meet up for a day in Haliburton to see the Fabrigos! What fun. Al was teaching, Robynne taking his class, and Karen was visiting her daughter with her sister. We went to Fleming College Haliburton walked the trail of the sculpture garden and then went though class open house. It was inspiring.
Thus ended the two week adventure in Muskoka for 2017!

I am linking up with the needleandthreadnetwork
Have a great week!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Weekly Post...a little late this week.

Last week was a whirl of excitement with grand baby # 1 being born.
What's a grandma to do but take every opportunity to help out. So we spent time holding and cuddling, baking and cooking and spending time as a family!

This week I have still managed to sneak in some cuddle time but also brought out the MX dye on

My friend Karen was up for an impromptu dye day with me. 

Here are some fabrics placed in a baggie to create some leaf fabrics. 

Karen made up a bunch of baggies of her own mixtures of dye combo's . 

Then we tried some ice dyeing.   Hot summer day resulted in the ice melting quickly. 

We remembered to take a picture of what dyes we put on our ice. 

I wanted to make some ice dyed scarves. I used Sea Glass MX from Dharma Trading. 

And I used Pewter from Dharma on some others.

All in all I have a number of pieces made. Next I have to add the after pictures. 
I really need to write down what I try to see what works and doesn't . 

Today I am going with leaves that are in my garden and echo printing on Silk Habotai , Rayon and Cotton Jersey scarves.  

Part 2 of this weeks post will be after the bundles are unwrapped and dry. 

Other sewing this week included altering hems on a friends daughters wedding dress and some hand quilting on # 1 baby's crib quilt. 

We are taking a few days holidays so my sewing machine will come with me so my daughter and I can work on some projects amongst the trees (on the covered porch) at the lake. 

Slowly but surely I am getting some of my goals reached for the year. When I am at the lake I tend to get reflective about life at home. 

How about you? Do you get reflective when you get away for a few days of down time? 

Have you any projects like dyeing you tend to do in the summer when your studio becomes your back yard? 

I am too late for the Needle and Thread Network this week but I am managing to keep up my posts to once a week. Soon I hope to be more intentional and post twice a week. 

Have a great week! 


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Weekly Post, Discharge Dyeing 2 and Homefront news.

This past week has been an exciting week.

On the regular sewing note I made this little bassinet quilt out of left over blocks from our grand baby to be quilt. (which I am still working on... hand quilting)

Due date was approaching so I made the top on Thursday/Friday and decided to tie it with a yellow pearl cotton and large quilting stitches in the borders.

I finished it Sunday night at 11 pm

I also cut and sewed binding for a large queen size quilt over 450 inches long and the binding for this bassinet quilt and the crib quilt. It takes a while to make it all. But now I have it ready to sew on. 
This little quilt was not on my list of to finish or make but will be a bonus. They did not have a blanket for the bassinet. 

Discharge Dyeing Part 2 will be able to be found on the page at the top of the header marked Discharge Dyeing. I figure if I do it this way it will always be a easy way to find the information and I can do edits and additions more easily this way every time I find new information or do some experiments. 

On the Home Front... 
We went to a wonderful wedding for one of my nephews. He spent a good deal of time here as a child and it is a blessing to see him be married to such a wonderful girl. 

This leads into our next part of exciting news. The above bassinet quilt could go yesterday to the intended recipient. 

After us all dancing up a storm Saturday night,  including our DDIL who was due that day, we got to meet in person our first grandchild. 
Little Abigail Heather
8 lbs 8 ozs
22 inches
2 hours old

Proud loving Grandma

Adoring Grandpa

Happy Family!

I have been told it is Amazing to have Grandchildren but it was such a joy to see them all well! 

I can see many cute outfits in Abbie's future! 

For the rest of the week I am not sure much will get done. I am babysitting the grand puppy  a 10 month old goofy Husky/Shepherd and combine that with my energetic English Shepherd I have two crazy dogs. When they do sit down for a few minutes I don't dare move or it will brake the peace! 

I am doing laundry for my DS 1 and my DDIL, some mending and some planning for next week to get in some dyeing. We also plan to go to the cottage for some R and R so I imagine we will be trying to help out our fair share  with the family next week. Our DS1 started a new job and his boss is great about him taking some time off. But it is building industry's busy time of year. 

Have a great week! 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Weekly Progress and Discharge Dyeing

Sewing this week has been limited to making nursing covers for soon to be arriving Baby V. Our first Grandchild. I also am making a quilt but I haven't even touched the hand quilting yet.  No pictures of the covers because I gave them to my DIL last night. 

The second amount of sewing I have been doing is curtains for my main floor. These are hard curtains to make and no pictures yet of them because they are boring. I am making panels and suspending them on curtain clip rings. 

So I thought I would share with you some pictures of samples I made for a group of friends who came once a month this past year to learn and play with me. I learn best by tackling a project and learning as much as I can about it. 

Discharge Dyeing with deColourant, deColourant Plus (no longer made) and a Bleach Pen. 
deColourant Plus on various fabrics using a wooden Stamp and a foam stamp.
I can't say I was impressed with the deColourant plus. The purpose of this paste is to remove the colour from the fabric and then to add back the colour of the paste. In this case blue.
Back row fabric: Commercial Batik, Hand dyed black, blue hand dyed flannel, hand dyed red/pink on cotton
Front row: Two commercial cotton fabrics.
The foam stamp was the stamp that shows up the best. 

This was the same fabrics (mostly) using the same stamps and used the deColourant. deColourant is a product that removes colour from a fabric in a past form.
Back Row: Batik, hand dyed black, commercial cotton
Front Row: Hand dyed blue flannel, hand dyed cotton pink/red
Here the deColorant worked on all but the flannel. 

deColourant Plus in Silver (discontinued) It seemed to work on all the fabrics but not as well as the flannel.
Back row: Batik, black hand dyed, blue flannel, red/pink hand dyed
Front Row: Two commercial cottons. 

Here I use the Blue and Silver deColourant on the first two pieces and the plain deColourant. All were the same commercial cotton. But this time I used a stencil and applied the deColourant with a brush.

This was a piece of commercial fabric that I played with a bleach pen with.
The bleach pen removes the colour well but a halo effect can be seen. It is hard to get the bleach to flow evenly.

I have some more experiments with the bleach and deColourant, some conclusions, sources and things to try with the products next post.

Until then I am off to sew my curtains.

I am linking to needleandthreadnetwork

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Eco Printing/Dyeing....

A couple of weeks ago some good friends and I visited a local Crafters Spring Market. It was a fun day out! And of course seeing many of the items for sale in my head and out loud I say I can do that or I have read about that....

Information. I am an information junkie! This is a good thing and a bad thing. Good thing because I am not afraid to try new things. Bad thing because I find it hard to focus on what things to do. I am like a squirrel running around trying to do it all!

So after our day out I offered to eco dye some scarves with my friends.

I hadn't done it before but of course had read about it. Followed the andthenwesetitonfire blog posts on the subject, googled you tube clips and checked out India Flint' s website who wrote a wonderful book on the subject.

I already had some blank silk scarves and had been collecting rusty metal and had an old canning pot that had seen better days.

I went to the local re use it store and supplemented my rusting metal collection and bought some old pails.

I was ready!

I invited the girls over after I had got the equipment ready and tables covered.

We watched a few you tube video's and I answered a few questions.

Now remember that we are total newbies to this process and they have never done any kind of dyeing before.

Here my friend Alice is setting up a piece of treated cotton with her chosen plants. She is a very knowledgeable plant person and came with many different forged plants. 

This is my friend Caroline. She also is a very knowledgeable plant person and worked as a florist. The flowers she choose came from some beautiful left overs from her son and daughter in law's wedding. These are treated silk scarf blanks. 

Here are the four of us. Alice, me (Jo), Caroline, SueAnn poising for prosperity sake! 

My re purposed canner is filled with rusty water silk scarf bundles on copper pipe and branches. The cotton bundles went in too! My kids did not think that this looked at all appetizing but it did smell quite nice with a vinegar and eucalyptus smell!

Next day was the reveal after everything had cooked and cooled. Notice my old wash tub comes in handy and my dog lurking behind in the next picture. 

We hosed the fabric off with my garden hose to remove the remaining leaves and debris. 

Again Moe the wonder dog had to be underfoot the whole way!

Cotton piece


All in all it was a great project. For the ones of us that went with just wing it  mode it was a great surprised  to how the scarves turned out. For us who wanted a controlled outcome were surprised and trying to analyze what and why happened. 

Lessons Learned

Learn more about the process... so I can understand what causality. 

Buy more scarves and fabric... so I can experiment more. 

Do some controlled experiments... so I can be more intentional about placement and effects. 

Record results I can remember what I did in the experiments. 

Buy India Flints Book Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes For Beautiful Textiles .... so I can do all of the above! 

I did order India's book while at my sisters in the US last week and spent a good time reading it. Now I need to go back and make some notes as to what experiements to do from the plants in my own back yard. Today I also plan to order some more silk and cotton to play with. So you may be seeing some more experimentation in the next few weeks! 

I am linking up with 

Mid Week Makers

Have a wonderful week.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

WIP Wednesday.....and thoughts on blogging

I have all kinds of things to post about until I sit down to post. Then I think who wants to hear this or are they interested in that... ?

So I have been reading a bit about blogs and what would interest people. There is a whole lot of advice to get more readers or increase your following. Does it become a numbers game of what makes you more in to read.

So I thought why do I read the blogs I do?
In no special order it is
- work I am interested in
- a story
- developments
- experiments
- learning something
- someone who asks questions and really takes the time to listen and reply to comments

I guess I feel like it is a community a give and take.

My favourite Blog for sharing, learning and experimentation is andthenwesetitonfire Judith and Beth are wrapping up the blog this month. The commitment these and  the other  co- bloggers have put in is amazing and for no benefit really to them accept the joy of doing it. They are going to leave the content up so you can go there to still see all the wonderful work that has been done.

If you have enjoyed their blog please do use the link to leave them a thank you for the work they and others have done.

Another blog I enjoy is Elizabeth Barton She is a wonderful author, teacher and artist! She talks about her work, teaching and asks questions! I enjoy reading her blog very much. Please check her out if you like to learn more about art quilting and you can also take her classed at academy of quilting
Sample I did in an Elizabeth Barton class online. 

Over the next while I am going to write why I like the blogs I do.... It would be great if you would share some great blogs with me.

Another thing I am going to try to do is finally document some of the experiments I have done on certain subjects. Usually I find a topic that I want to investigate and research. Often I take pictures and plan to write up what I have done. I like to learn this way. It gives me tools for my toolbox. I hope to point you to the books, DVDs and resources that I have come across.

Then my other goal will be to document my own journey. This may be my own Fibre Art or my more run of the mill sewing for home, family etc. I still love to traditional quilt for my family and think I will continue to do so.

So what I have I been up to this week? It is working on not much. I had great intentions but have spent the time with my sister and her family. Watching live soccer games, movies, and just hanging out.

I have been trying to do some hand quilting on the baby quilt for our first Grandchild due in 3 weeks. It won't be done for the shower next week but the baby will be in a bassinet for the first few weeks anyway.
Picture on phone.....uggh

I also finished up this for the Art Gallery of Burlington for a call for blocks for the 150 year anniversary of Canada. Of course this is  on my beloved peach blossoms of Niagara. Growing fruit in the area of Niagara I grew up in and still live is near and dear to my heart.
Peach tree in Niagara 12"x12" block for AGB

I am starting to update my experiments with Lutradur so I have created a page on my header. First done is the references I used. 

Hope you have a great week. I am linking to

Please share your favourite blogs with me! 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Thats What Friends are for....

Today is a wonderful day. I sit and hear the birds singing, the sun shining and only a few tasks on the to do list. None of them items I  hate....well maybe the dishes.

But that is not what makes it a wonderful day. Today is the day when at 5:30 or 6 pm DH walks through the door and is officially retired. My best friend will be spending a lot more time with me and also doing the things he has wanted to do for a long time.

In the worlds standards he is young to retire.... 57. But he has been a smart guy all these years with our finances despite my fabric habit and my book habit. It is actually me that worries about finances. My mom said it best when she said Jake wouldn't do it if he knew there was a risk.
Jake at Canada's Wonderland the summer before we were married. Always has been up to do what I ask for a laugh. 

It is interesting to hear peoples comments from joy for us to I think a bit of envy. And if I know my hubby he will be humble and down play the whole event. We celebrated with our wonderful kids on Saturday at his favourite restaurant. And he said you can have anything on the menu. My beloved did not choose a steak but his favourite a Panzorotti.
So happy to be a Dad with each one of our 3 children but here he is in 1990 shortly after our DD was born. 

When asked at work if they could throw him a potluck he declined it. So it is cake at 3pm in the lunch room. My guy just goes quietly about his work with a lovely quirky sense of humour.
Here in 1995 we posed at my sisters wedding. Our family.

He even worked a full week longer than his notice date given last December because there was more info to pass on and work to get done before he left. And has suggested he go in a couple days a week after we take a few weeks to visit the cottage and my sister.
On his 40th birthday with his mom! Year 2000

He is a good guy and I am so blessed to have him. I look forward to having my best friend around doing what he likes, what I like and what we like.
Always leaning into a pose! Year 2005

Playing on Vacation in his beloved Vacation shirts! Year 2010

So we are in another phase of life. Kids grown and well on their way. Grandchild on the way. And some time to be together a bit more. Many don't get this chance.
See that love of the Vacation Shirt! And the spirit of fun ! Year 2015

It is my hope and prayer we use it wisely, to value it's worth, to help others as opportunities arise and support those who come in our path. And I know this man who I have been married to for 31 years will do it as he has done his work life, quietly, diligently, lovingly, with honour and with a quirky sense of humour.

Doing what he loves! 2017

Love you hunny!