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Thursday, June 28, 2007


I got my camera back yesterday. Thanks Jen.

Here are a couple of pictuers of some of the dyeing we did over the weekend. I had not done much discharging with bleach before so that is where I learned the most. There was a soft plastict toy gekko lying around and someone had the bright idea of using it as a stamp. It worked so well! Everyone went home with a gekko bleached on dark fabric, surrounded by leaves also used as stamps. The effect was beautiful. You can see one on the black fabric on the lower left rung.

Katherine discovered that if you fold fabric as for tie dyeing but dip half in bleach you also get an interesting effect. There is a particularly nice one on the left side in the middle.
I will be doing more bleaching if it ever stops raining around here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Still Here

I am still here but have been very busy with not much time for blogging.
Last weekend we went to a friend's Artists' Weekend. I taught fabric dyeing and discharging. It was lots of fun and I probably learned more than I taught. There was also floorcloth painting, pottery making and a Raku firing in the evening. There was lots of good food as there always is when it is potluck. The only bad part is that I forgot the camera there so I can't publish any pictures until I get it back. Hopefully,that will happen this week and I'll show you some of the amazing work that was done.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Toy Sewing Machine

When we cleaned out my Dad's house I got this little toy sewing machine. I'm not sure how old it is. It was around when I was young and I always wanted to sew with it but never managed to make it sew even one stitch. It doesn't seem to have a bobbin but maybe it never had one. It needs a good cleaning and then it will look cute in the sewing studio. I tried to take a picture with my hand to show the scale but the camera chose that minute to run out of battery. It is about 7 inches high. Unfortunately the little knob that used to be on the flywheel to turn it is missing. It has gold decorations that may show up more when I clean it. I am wondering if I should use oil or soap and water to clean it. Anyone have any experience with cleaning something like that?

Sunday, June 17, 2007


I am overwhelmed and very grateful for all the sympathy I have recieved from you all. Thank you so much.
My two sons, as eldest grandchildren prepared and read the eulogy at the funeral. It was very well done so I am adding it here so you will have an idea where I come from.

Grandpa’s Eulogy

Grandpa was born in 1914, one generation removed from Ontario Pioneers. The house he was born in still stands. And he was a beautiful baby, as we all know. How do we know this? Grandpa told us. How did he know? He knew because he won the ‘Most Beautiful Baby’ contest held in the Tobacco Creek District. Think of that, the most beautiful baby in the Tobacco Creek District… and that was back when there was some real competition!

In 1920 Grandpa started school in Tobacco Creek. Sorry, ‘Tabaca Crick’. Who says Canadians don’t have accents. It was the same school that his mother Blanche began attending in 1894, and it was the same school that all his children would attend some years later. Grandpa was a good student, but the ‘Most Beautiful Baby’ didn’t turn into ‘the best student’. In those days, student’s grades were ranked and printed in the newspaper. Grandpa’s name was not at the top of the list. In fact, Grandma’s grades turned out to have been better. But as Grandpa always said, his exams were harder.

In 1929 Grandpa completed his studies, and started working. And by working, we mean working. He started as a hired man for Vern Devins, and later worked for Geordie Gibson. These years were hard, but he loved them. Or at least he loved talking about them. It was the age of the horse, and Grandpa was a horseman. He lived through the horse age, the steam age, the machine age, the space age, and the computer age, but the age he loved the best was the age of horses.

In 1940, Grandpa married Annie Corden after a whirlwind courtship that lasted just 4 years. Although they lived only a few miles apart their whole lives, they didn’t meet until they were in their twenties, when they started going to ‘House Parties’. House parties were a prairie tradition, a tradition that would be maintained with a new twist by Ron and Darianne, who started the ‘Hot Tub House Party’. I don’t think Grandpa ever attended one of those.

The first time Grandpa went over to meet Grandma’s family, he told them he could play piano. Unfortunately for Grandpa, they had a piano. Let’s just say he wasn’t asked to give an encore.

Grandpa loved to tell how when he was courting Grandma, he was supposed to leave the house by 12:30. So when the clock struck once at 12:30, it was time to go. But it also struck only once at 1:00. And it only struck once at 1:30. So that was an extra hour together! But he really had to be gone by 2:00, or there’d be trouble!

Grandma and Grandpa spent the forties farming. After living briefly in Elmwood, they worked several years managing the Earl Collins place. In 1945 they rented 3 quarters from Bob Cruise, and farmed there for 3 years. They next rented Uncle Sam’s place, and moved there in 1950.

Oh, and by the way, they also had five children; Bob, Joyce, Ken, Ray and Judy.

Grandpa was really proud of all his children, as he had every right to be.

Tragedy struck Grandpa’s family in 1953, when Grandma contracted polio. She spent a year in an iron lung, while Grandpa had to manage a farm, a young family and visits to the hospital. Of course, he had the help of his friends and neighbors, and of his children. He would tell the story of how all the kids would get themselves off to school, except for Judy who was too young for school. He would go out to do the chores, and she would wait for him in the house, standing at the window so they could see each other.

I think the thing that Grandpa was proudest of having done in his life was sticking by Grandma when she needed him the most.

1965 Grandpa’s first grandchild was born in 1965 and today I’m up here reading Grandpa’s eulogy. Grandpa had 30 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and every single one of us has nothing but great memories of Grandpa. He taught us to howl at the moon, he let us follow him around doing chores, he drove us crazy when he had that extra glass of juice Christmas morning before we could open any presents, he convinced us all that if you chewed wheat long enough it would turn into bubble gum (it doesn’t) and of course, he taught us all how to spit. He taught Darianne how to seven-step in the fresh snow, he taught Ron that using your brain was far better than using your back, and I’m afraid he taught Tom to be a farmer. Sorry, Tom, somebody had to do it.

Grandpa loved nothing better than a visit from one of the Alberta relatives. Okay, maybe he liked dancing better, but he really liked it when someone from Alberta came out. One time when Judy and Carrie-Anne were getting ready to head home after a nice visit, Carrie was telling Grandpa what a beautiful day it was for traveling, cool, no rain, but nice and cloudy so the sun wouldn’t be in their eyes. Grandpa said, ‘It’s 5 AM and your heading west. I wouldn’t worry too much about sun in your eyes.’

In 1983 Grandma died, and for a little while the light went out of Grandpa’s eyes. But he recovered, and a few years later he stopped full-time farming and moved into Carman, bringing his house with him. But there was one problem. When the house was on the farm, it faced south, the better to see who was driving by. Now the house was on a nice lot in Carman, but it was facing north. Suddenly, Grandpa’s perfect sense of direction was muddled, and for the first time in his life he only had a pretty good sense of direction, not perfect.

It was around 1987 that we all noticed that Grandpa was spending a lot of time with Marg Keiver. But we didn’t know how much time. After all, Grandpa did have his private side, and he was never one to kiss and tell. In fact, he could keep a secret for years. Mom still doesn’t know what comes after ‘Sally in the garden, siftin’ cinders..’

In 1995, some kids threw a stop sign right through Grandpa’s window in the middle of the night. Pretty stressful for an older man living alone. He called on his neighbor, Moe, and the police came along, investigating, asking questions and so on. Describing it later, Grandpa said it was around this time that he ‘started to feel pretty cool’ Grandpa was the definition of ‘cool’. Never mad, never too up, never too down, he was pretty ‘cool’.

March 15th was Grandpa’s birthday, a birthday that he shared with our sister Cherie. And March 15th 2004 was Grandpa’s 90th birthday, and I think it must have been one of the better birthdays he ever had. We held a big ‘Come and Go Tea’ at the Friendship Centre here in Miami, lots of the ‘Alberta relatives’ were in attendance, and Grandpa got to visit with friends he hadn’t seen in years. He had a great time, and often said how glad he was that everybody got together to visit him while he was still alive, instead of waiting until he died when he couldn’t enjoy their company.

In the spring of 2005, Grandpa’s dearest friend Marg Kiever passed away, and I think for the first time he started to feel old. He still took his nap everyday after lunch, he still loved to hear from friends and family and he still listened to his old-time fiddle music, but I think a little of life’s joy had left him.

And here we are today, remembering Grandpa and what he meant to us. In a strange way, even though we’re all really sad and miss Grandpa already, it’s kind of nice talking about him, remembering stories about him and kind of feeling his presence. And I hope that this feeling of his presence will stay with us all for a long, long time.

Thank you

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sad News

My father passed away quietly in his sleep Sunday night. My brother phoned him every morning and when he didn't answer the call on Monday morning they knew something was wrong. He was 93 and still living independently. He always said that when his time came he wanted to go to bed some night and just not wake up in the morning. He got his wish. His worst fear was the hospital or assisted living. We are all thankful that he was spared that.
The funeral will be on Saturday so I will probably not be blogging until after that.
He was the best of Dads and Grandfathers and we will all miss him a lot.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Silk Painting

I have finished quilting all the backgrounds of the animals and some of the animals themselves. It is at this point that I have to flog myself into keeping at it and finishing the project. It will go faster from here on I hope. I am not sure how I will quilt the barbed wire. Maybe along the wires with dark brown or maybe between the wires with beige. I'd have to go back to Fabricland to get beige thread so maybe that would be the best idea. The sale is still on. Lol.

Here are some silk scarves I painted awhile ago with Dupont dyes. This one was done by painting the flowers with red and then applying clear gutta around the edges of the red before adding shading. The little brown spots in the middle were done using a nearly dry brush and a tiny bit of dried up dye from the mixing tray. For the borders I mixed a strong salt solution and painted it on the border area. After it dried, the salt acted as a bit of an anti-fusant. I like the way the edges turned out due to the salt. Unfortunately, I got a splotch of red in the lower corner that kind of ruined the look I was going for.

This one was done by making a thick sugar solution by boiling sugar water. When it cooled I painted some on the silk and added the dye with a brush. It sort of oozed together and I quite liked the look of it. The scarf is long and narrow so I folded it to show the different effects at each end.
I should have ironed the scarves before taking the photos but they were going right back into the storage box so I didn't bother. Looking into that box made me realize that it's time to get the bolt of silk and dyes out again.

Friday, June 08, 2007

More Fabric

I innocently dropped in at Fabricland yesterday to buy a spool of white thread. What could be more bland than that. Oops! There was a sale of quilting fabric at buy one get the next 3 metres free. Then I spied the lovely Oriental looking piece and I was lost. I got 2 M of it and one of each of the others because the best part of the sale is that you don't have to buy 4M of the same fabric. There was a minimum of a 1M cut but who would want less than a metre anyway. The worst thing is that the sale is on for quite some time yet and I am almost sure to have to go back for more. Oh well, my stash is not all that big yet so I don't feel guilty. It's just the problem of which ones to take. There were at least a dozen others that I wanted but none as much as the oriental print. The next problem is what to do with it. How do you cut into something like that? I was even thinking of some item of clothing like a robe or skirt. Any ideas?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Quilting the Animals

I have finally started quilting the animals. I am never very satisfied with my quilting. Also the horse kept shedding tail hair during the quilting process. If this keeps up I'll have to somehow add a different tail. The cat looks better quilted, the goose at least not worse and as for the horse, I don't think there is much that could be done to make it look better. Good thing this is a wonky quilt and probably destined for at three-year-old. Are you reading this Carmel? Whatever Reve wants he gets. Lol.
We are getting more rain today so the green will just keep getting greener. On the next sunny day (whenever that will be) I will try to get some photos from the top of the escarpment.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The View

Since every single comment suggested leaving the quilt as it is, I began pinning this morning. After a false start (I forgot the batting, duh) I am half finished. I'll finish pinning after lunch but then I need to do a bit of thinking about how I will quilt it. I may try to texture the animals a bit but I've never done that before so I'm not sure how it will look. Of course, I've never done most things on this quilt so that shouldn't be a problem. My three-year-old grandson thinks it's his so maybe he won't be too fussy about the quilting quality.

Clare asked about the view out my studio windows. It's not a very sunny day and two of the windows have screens so the pictures aren't as good as they could be but here they are anyway.

This is to the North where there is half a mile of bush with a deep ravine and a small creek. There are lots of different plants there and it's cool and shady in the summer. Since it has rained pretty well steadily for two weeks, the grass was very long and needs to be mowed twice. This is after the first mowing. All the rows will disappear after the second mowing and it will look like a lawn again. Unfortunately, it has started to rain again.

This one is looking through the screen, SouthEast toward the house. This is the view from the window in front of my sewing machine.

This one is looking west up the hill. It is much steeper than it looks and from the top you can see for miles and miles. We live on the shore of a pre-historic lake bed so it's very flat to the East. Once you get to the top of the hill it is flat again. I'll post pictures from up there another day.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


I was all ready to start quilting Maggie's Farm. I put it on the design wall to look at it from a distance to help decide what I should do for the quilting. As soon as I looked at it I saw a big mistake. Yes, I forgot to put the orange inner border on the bottom. Don't ask me how that happened. Now I have to remove the brown border, add the orange and then of course the brown side borders will be too short so I'll have to add a piece to them. They are already pieced so I'll have to decide whether to take the piece off and add a longer one or just add a couple of inches to the one that's already there. It will probably look better to rip back and add a whole new piece. The added piece is not that long so it won't be a lot of ripping back.
It is strange how you don't see things until you step back. What would I do without my design wall????

Monday, June 04, 2007

Flin Flon Fat Quarters

The best gift in the world for a quilter is fabric and it happens that there is a quilting store in Flin Flon. Guess what I got for a gift? Right first try. Here are the fat quarters Marcel brought me from Flin Flon. I really love them all but the one with the autumn leaves is incredible. I also like the one with the dragon flies a lot. And the other green ones.

If you had an hour to spare before you had to be at the airport and there was a fabric store very near the airport, where would you spend that extra hour (and any extra dollars you might have on hand)? Right again. Here are the fabrics I got at Fabricland. I loved the way the dotted fabric looked on my jungle quilt so I bought lots this time. It is not quite the same. The dots on the jungle quilt are much bigger but this will be fine too. I'm thinking of doing one with very bright colors again and I hope it will come in handy then. The orange and green fabric looks like flowers, maybe dandelions, and I think it will make great background fabric for more chickens or other animals.

I got some wonderful barbed wire fabric from Nellie at Nellie's Needles . I want to use it for a border on Maggie's Farm so that will come next before I get to cut into any of my new fabrics.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Studio Pictures

I don't have the camera until Saturday evening. Marcel took it up to Flin Flon when he went to adjudicate an art show. Flin Flon is about 8 hours north of here so the scenery is quite different .
Meanwhile, here is a picture of my (messy) studio from the door. He was about to leave so I just shot off a few pictures so I would have something for my blog while he's gone. You can see the split nine patch that I am plugging away at. The problem with quilt as you go is all the hand sewing on the back when you start to assemble it. I also didn't get it assembled very well. Some of the blocks don't match very well but I am sick of the thing so it's getting finished as it is with no ripping out. I really wish I had assembled it and then quilted it as I usually do.
The left foreground is a little corner of my dyeing table. If it ever stops raining I will get to some more work there. The forecast is sunny for the weekend so maybe...