Monday, March 27, 2006

Creative checklist

I don't really know how to say it in English but I guess what I mean is how far I've come along creatively since I started blogging.
First of all, the blogging sort of holds me accountable to "do" creative. I am inspired by work of others. I "borrow" wink wink ideas and even have some of my own...
I look at things differently. I see something someone else has made and instead of just admiring, say "hey, I can do that" and do!
I see materials (not just fabric material)in a new how can I use that? wouldn't that be great in a collage? light.
And although I still envy those who are more creative and talented than me, I have started considering myself creative and talented.
I've come a long way, baby!

Anyways, after patting myself on the back, back to my mundane life.

Last week I was at the doctor's for my annual checkup. My mother always says that she was perfectly healthy until she went to the doctor... So I'm doing the annual additional tests and hoping that I am perfectly healthy. Today was a test involving the drinking of a small ocean an hour before the test. Did I mention the not going to pee until after the test part? Who invented that one? Wait, I know. The same person who invented the breast flattening like a pancake test. I have a feeling that neither were invented by women...
Fortunately, unlike some members of my family who are worriers, I am not. So I don't wait anxiously until the test results come in. I'll worry if I get a call with bad news.

So this evening I am going to just relax.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Finished (I think)

I have finished because I could keep on fussing but it won't make that much of a change. The bottom hamsa is not attached backwards -- it's attached on a sort of hinge and flipped when I moved it. Some of the elements aren't terribly clear but you can get the picture. Anyways, it's been a very interesting experience and I hope to continue in this vein. However, I do have the chuppah to finish so I'm going to give it a rest for a bit until my other commitments are finished.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Quilt show

I wasn't planning to do much today. (Not true, I was planning to clean the kitchen cupboards, ha ha.) Some stitching and that's it.
So that's what I did this morning. I took out one embroidered seam that I wasn't happy with and replaced it with another which I like. Besides, I noticed that I don't have that many embroidered seams and that most of my treatments are trims. (Note to self for next time--more embroidered seams).
Then I remembered that the Etobicoke Quilter's Guild was having a quilt show and my mother wanted to see it. So I called her and my sister, Devora, and Menachem took us. (I have the most supportive DH). Well, it certainly was time well spent. There were some lovely quilts, all sane and mostly traditional but there were a few quilters who drew outside the lines using interesting techniques and embellishments, though no where near the embellished cq I'm in love with.
There was also "stuff for sale" -- either recycled stuff (buttons, lace, hankies, etc.) or new (fabrics, threads, beads, etc.).
And in spite of my alleged craft supply diet, I picked up some unusual buttons, some lace and some beads. I also picked up some free ideas... And my mother told me that she has some cq-type fabrics for me -- embroidered tablecloths with either holes or stains that would be perfect for cutting up. So all in all, the quilt show was quite enjoyable.
And Menachem and I were discussing the sane quilting thing when we got home and it turns out he may be interested in taking up machine quilting, not the piecing and sewing the tops, but sewing the sandwich. And that's the part I don't feel comfortable with. So we may just have an additional marriage made in heaven.
I came home inspired and did some stitching. I did one cluster which turned out so so and used another button for a button/bead combination. I literally cannot sew on buttons. They're always loose. And I must reread how to do the clusters in the course notes because no matter how many variations I lay out, they just don't look right.
Anyways, I am almost finished and will do the final touches tomorrow and then post a photo.
In the afternoon, Mintzy and I are invited to a wedding shower where other than the hostess and her sister, we don't know anyone... But Mintzy's not shy so it should be fun.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


On the way home from work yesterday, I went to the dollar store to buy some gift bags. I was also looking for a new transparent shower curtain and laundry bags. When I need a dollar store, there are two equal-distanced from my office. One is in the mini-mall with the cheap jewellry I sometimes buy for cq. The other is in the mini-mall where the Fabricland store is located. I went to the Fabricland one. So I found my gift bags (I tend to buy gift bags rather than wrapping paper because the bags usually get reused a few times whereas the wrapping paper, unless the recipient is particularly crafty, ends up in the garbage), no shower curtain or laundry bags, and some red flower shaped rather large sequins, suitable for my class block.

I cannot pass by Fabricland without going in. As I enter, there's a big basket with button cards: $1 for 10 button cards. Who can resist? They had pearl white, off-white, moss green, red, orangey-brown -- remind anyone of the colours of my class block? So I bought 20 cards. I also found some trim I liked.

This morning, I did a little auditioning for my block. The colours are great but after I place them, I feel like the block may seem a little overcrowded. I will place them, photograph and upload to ask for opinions from my joggles teacher and classmates.

I was at the doctor's office for my annual physical today. It went well. She sent me for the usual tests -- bloodwork, mammo, pelvic ultrasound, bone density. I am always healthy until the results come in...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The mother-lode

We went to Chaim and Miriam's on Sunday night. Menachem met with Chaim to discuss the camp budget and I took my cq stuff to show Miriam. Miriam was very impressed and immediately went upstairs and came down with one of Amy's dresses -- a peach and white affair which is very frufru. I'm not sure of the fabric types but will figure that out and how to use them later. She also brought down her jewellery boxes and gave me a ton of earrings, necklaces, brooches, and watches. I have been diligently taking them apart and sorting. I can't wait to use the stuff!

This evening, we are going with Mintzy and Rafi to Positano, an Italian restaurant. I am also looking forward to it.

I have added a few bits and pieces to my class block. I am just waiting for lesson number six on Thursday so I know how to finish it off.

Anyways, I brought some of the stuff to the office to pick apart so that's all for now.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Home stretch?

Well, it kind of feels like this block is drawing to an end. I searched my button box and really didn't have anything suitable for a cluster. I used one pearl-like button and a lot of pearl-like beads and I kind of like the result, even though the button looks somewhat forlorn by itself.
But I used real pearls on the green trim. And used a few findings: the birds and the chamsot.
I was having trouble visualizing the finished square so I "framed" it with the burgundy/red trim. I now see that the embroidery on the brown bottom right corner is off kilter. I think I'll pick out the stitches and do something else there.
And then a bead here, a bead there but I think I'm pretty much finished.
Anyways, from a leisurely weekend with no plans, we've had a busy weekend. Yesterday I went with Mintzy to Cayne's and we got a shower gift for Yoni and Julia. Actually a few gifts. We took several small items from the gift registry. Menachem went to Home Depot to buy some stuff so we can paint the kitchen ceiling. In the afternoon, the cable guys came to fix the internet wire. Then Devora came for a visit.
Today, we were invited to Eddie and Nafisa's (next door neighbours) for brunch. Then in the afternoon we were invited to Rafi and Mintzy's for dessert in honour of Rafi's birthday. This evening Menachem has a meeting with Chaim L. to go over the camp budget. I'm not sure if I'm invited or if I am, if I'm going. We'll see.
And the phone may ring any minute with an invite for coffee at Rachel's who called earlier. She was in Cuba over March break and wants to shmooze.
That's about it for today.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Slow day at the salt mines

Things are slow at the office today so I have time to post.

I am looking forward to a lazy weekend. Other than leisurely stitching, there are no plans. I should try to walk to increase my exercising. But if it's cold and windy, forget it. I'm not a martyr.

Yesterday I took a break during work and went with Menachem and Alissa to the shul where Sari is getting married to measure the chuppah frame. It is 72" X 72". I know the width of my three panels is about 62" so I will have to insert two additional panels between them to fit the width. Lengthwise, I haven't measured. I'm pretty sure I have the 72" but if not, I'll do the same thing -- add panels at the top and the bottom. I'm thinking of maybe doing colourful dupionni silk squares. I'll have to think about it. Anyways, now that I have the measurements, I can put it together.

I also have one more week of my online class. Once I finish the class block, I want to frame it. And then I want to go back to Auf Simchas and continue embellishing.

I am also thinking about taking another online course at joggles. It's fabric collage and it's not being offered right now but maybe I will invite someone to take it with me. It's more fun when you're sharing it with someone. Any takers?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

This and that

Last night I was at my Pomegranate guild meeting. The program was a hands on demonstration and workshopr for making an afikomen bag (Passover related, for those who may be wondering). I am at my worst in the evening -- tired, eyes hurt, not focussing, etc. So I usually end up taking the instructions and materials home where they accumulate. If the project doesn't grab me at the workshop, I'm not going to suddenly be enamoured of it when I get home. Sometimes, I get good beads or threads or stuff I can recycle into other projects. Sometimes not. Last night's was a not. Never mind, I had a nice evening with friends.

Today is Class 5 of the cq course. The photos of Sharon's work are amazing and the light bulbs are going off in my head. I would share the info, but I think it's copyrighted. I know what I'll be doing in the next few days.

A little later, Menachem and I are meeting Alissa at the shul where Sari is getting married. We're going to measure the shul's chuppah frame so I can finish my sewing accordingly.

Did I mention that we had a very nice get together on Tuesday night at my mother's for Purim?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Two views of the class block

Here are two photos of the class block. The first one shows the colours better than the other. the other shows a truer picture of the trims. I'm still trying to decide where to put stuff.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Lost internet connection

We haven't had internet at home for two days. It's amazing how disconnected I feel without it. And yesterday I was too busy to surf at work so it's just now that I'm getting caught up on my email and visiting the sites I'm used to visiting.

Here's what's new:

Course block -- I did my SRE and it looks quite nice. I still need some beads, french knots, etc. to finish it out but it's coming along. I had to go to Staples/Business Depot yesterday to pick up something for the office. Fortunately, there is a Fabricland right there so I went in and bought a few trims. I'm now auditioning their placement (photos to follow when the internet service at home is restored). And I unpicked some other trim which no longer appealed to me. I'll post at the joggles forum and get feedback. I have to remember that the trim goes beyond the outer border of the square so I have to make a "frame" of paper so I can see what is going to be exposed when I finish.

Purim -- last night I was going to go downtown to the Kiever shul with my mother to hear the Megilla read by Ori. Yesterday, it was cold, windy and stormy. I opted to stay home.
Tonight, we're all at my mother's for a Purim get together. I'm looking forward to it.

Pomegranate Guild -- tomorrow is the monthly meeting. This time it's with Haya Nativ, an amazing fabric artist. It's hands on -- we're making Pesach matza covers and/or afikoman bags.
As much as I'm looking forward to it, I don't like going out at night. At least not until it gets warmer and the days get longer.

That's it for now.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


So I got most of what I had planned done.
The upstairs bathroom is ready for use. Still need to purchase a few things but the shower curtain's up and the room's been cleaned.
I also did the bedroom and the studio -- it still needs to be organized a little more. Didn't get to the computer room and don't know where to start. It's pretty much the catch-all room of the house.

After lunch, I had Menachem drop me off at Needleart (north of Highway 7 won). I picked up some lovely stuff in the browns, rusts, golds -- some thick DMC thread, some velvet thread, and some synthetic ribbony stuff.

I walked home. This is a considerable distance (for me) so I am quite pleased with myself. And the weather was gorgeous -- 10 degrees and sunny. I stopped off at Mintzy's to gloat about my purchases and exercise...

Once home, I tackled the class block. Where I had two parallel seams, I covered one seam with a pied shaped piece of rust ultrasuede which changed the seam alignment. Then I embellished the new seams. Am pleased with the result. I didn't start on the SRE yet -- still trying to decide the spray design and the kind of flowers. I have a lovely 7 mm. gold silk which lends itself to daisies, I think. And all the other threads and silks for assorted rose-type flowers and other blooms. Tomorrow.

And I'm wondering how does one make silk ribbon? Is it simply strips, bias cut or what? There's just so many internet sites for dyeing silk ribbon but I haven't come across cutting it yet. I mean, I never need more than 12" strips at a time anyways. Just a thought.

And off to bed. I'll try to post a photo tomorrow after I've stitched.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Report on cultural activities

So yesterday evening, Rafi and Mintzy picked us up and we went downtown for dinner and theatre. The Chinese restaurant was fine -- we ordered a few dishes, some meat, some veggie -- not amazing but tasty and filling.

"The Arab-Israeli Cookbook" was an interesting play. It was based on interviews with people in Israel, both Jewish and Arab, the West Bank and Gaza. The common denominator was food. The six actors played a variety of parts, cooking on stage as they did. It wasn't a brilliant play but the premise was interesting and it certainly was thought-provoking.

And a little too long in uncomfortable chairs. The four of us came out kvetching (complaining) about aches and pains as a result of the seating. Either the seats really were bad or we're just getting older and crankier.

I am declaring a moratorium on "culture" for a while. Mindless TV at home will have to suffice.

I came home from work and re-arranged my studio. I haven't finished yet but the major bits are moved and I just have to organize the mess on the tables. I pull out the beads and threads and trims but don't put them right back into their "homes". Result -- mess. So I will attempt to straighten that out before I start stitching.

Also, the bathroom remodel is finished and I have to do some heavy-duty cleaning in there and while I'm at it, the other upstairs rooms.

I've been looking for silk ribbon for SRE and there's less and less of it available in town. I either have to go back to the place I went last weekend, north of Highway 7, or go downtown to Queen Street to Mokuba. I'm thinging maybe Mokuba because then I can hit Arton beads, the trim stores, Chinatown, etc. But then I'm thinking maybe north is better because then I can't hit Arton beads, the trim stores, Chinatown, etc....

Anyways, I have an idea for using ultrasuede on my class block. I'm thinking of a papercut design and I have to figure out how to cut it and how to attach it. My challenge for this evening. I'll let you know if it works out.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Birthday Flowers

These are the flowers I mentioned in my previous post.

Today we received another surprise -- not for my birthday. A gift certificate to Positano's restaurant here in Toronto. So another event for the usually stay at home Erezes.

This evening we're going to see a play "The Arab-Israeli Cookbook" with Rafi and Mintzy. We're starting off at a Chinese restaurant downtown.

I'm dizzy from so much culture and activity.

The new cq lesson was posted online and the photos are delicious. I think this weekend I will rearrange my studio so I face the natural light. And then I'm gonna stitch like mad. If I can find silk ribbon. My colour and width variety is very limited. I'll see what I can find.

Birthday surprises

So yesterday was my birthday. A low-key day because after a certain age, you don't celebrate as loudly as before. I went to work, came home, and in the evening, we went to dinner with my mother. Did I mention that all three of my children called me from Israel?
When I got home, there was a message on my phone. On Sunday we were at an Arts Festival for the Heschel School and I bought a raffle ticket. Turns out I won something!! I think a doll but I'm not sure. I asked my brother to pick it up. I never win anything. This is a good sign.
Then this morning, I came into work and there's a huge floral arrangement from my children. Lovely tulips. I cried. If I remember, and there's juice in the camera battery, I will post a photo.
And today, there's a new cq lesson on-line. So life is good.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Bit the bullet

Ok. It's International Women's Day today (and my birthday) so there's nothing I can't do!!
I started working on the original course block. Que sera sera.

I am taking the bullion embroidery book to work today and time permitting, will make a sampler of bullion stitches.

B-day plans? Not yet. Maybe after work. Speaking of which, I'm out the door now. Talk later.

Monday, March 06, 2006


So this morning I posted a photo of where I am, course block-wise. I have received positive feedback which is always nice. Also, by posting the block, I can "see" it differently than when it's lying on the table in front of me. Still can't see any paths, but...

I was just at the library and borrowed three books: Elegant Tatting Patterns by Janet Carroll, Embroidered Treasures for Silk Ribbon by Helen Dafter, and Bullion Stitch Embroidery by Jenny Bradford.

I am determined to learn tatting. I would prefer to have someone show me but I have a shuttle and may just try it myself. I can crochet and maybe I'll just practise getting better at that.

The embroidery books look interesting. I'm hesitant to purchase any books until I'm sure it's a good book I will refer to often. There's so much stuff on the internet but that means doing my needlework in front of a computer screen.

Anyways, no stitching this evening. We're babysitting for Alon.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

In the meantime

So this is where I am with my class project. I started with the squiggly line at the right centre. It kind of overpowers the whole thing. But I just started on my silk ribbon embroidery and hope that when the spray are done, they will balance out the picture a little. The purple silk ribbon laying across the hoop isn't attached and there's another thing of SR lying on top yet to be used. My mantra in life is "the big picture" and I'm hoping that it will turn out alright in the end.

Menachem is finishing up the painting in the upstairs bathroom. Once that's done, the new tiles have to be sealed, the sink drain replaced, a new shower curtain purchased and hopefully, we will be able to stop running two flights downstairs to shower.

When Menachem finished painting, we're going to an art exhibit at the Adath Israel synagogue, a benefit for Alanna, Jeremy, Michelle's and Noam's school. I doubt if I'll be doing any heavy duty purchasing but Alanna has a table selling beaded jewellry she made and I'd like to support her efforts. I'd also like to get to Chapters to buy books for Noam and Jeremy's birthdays. And I might even buy myself a cq or embroidery book.

Yesterday afternoon, we popped up to a the thread store north of Hwy 7. The place does mostly needlepoint -- they sell printed needlepoint canvas, wools, threads, etc. I went specifically for silk ribbon but didn't like what they had so I bought some DMC cottons and velvet threads. All, of course, in pinks and purples. I guess I'm kind of stuck in a colour warp. I may introduce some blues and yellows, but I'm not sure yet. It was a stretch for me to use the greens.

Last night, we went with Miriam L. to see a Hebrew play called "Wife, Husband, Home" at the Bloor JCC. I initially purchased the tickets to support the efforts of a friend (Tami, Elliot B.'s wife) who brought the play from Montreal to Toronto. I wasn't expecting a lot becauses the actors were amateur and the budget low key. However, most of the acting was very good and the play itself was excellent. Many layered and the kind of play you keep thinking about after it's over.

On Thursday evening, we're going with Rafi and Mintzy to see another play, this time in English, called "The Israeli-Arabic Cookbook". So much Culture in such a short period of time... When we moved from the farm to the city, I swore we'd be able to chose the plays and concerts we went to (on the farm, we went to see whatever the local municipality brought in). Ha ha. In the Canadian winter, culture shmulture -- we prefer to stay home in front of the TV.

Friday, March 03, 2006

So, I had to go downtown

So I had to go downtown today to legalize some documents at the Official Documents Services office. Usually this is done for documents which need to be used in a foreign country. The lawyer signs an affidavit that the document is true to the original. The lawyer's signature and seal are verified by the ODS office which affixes its own seal to the bundle. Then the foreign country either accepts it as valid or not. None of this may interest you but I had 36 documents to have verified meaning it was going to take them a while. So I left the documents there and went out to kill an hour and a half.

First I went to get my driver's licence renewed. I haven't driven for about 18 years but since Canada has no official ID card, the driver's licence is it. Note to self -- always go downtown to renew it. There are hardly any lineups if you visit during the regular work day, not before work, during lunch, or after work.

Then I would have preferred visiting a bookstore but it was too far to walk since the temperatures were quite cold with a high wind chill factor. So I went to the nearest shopping establishment, College Park. College Park has a Winners store, mostly clothing at quite reasonable prices. Carmit swears by it. I swear at it. The racks are stuffed, there's very little rhyme or reason to where stuff is. But I wasn't looking to buy clothes -- I was seeing them through the eyes of a cq'er. Oh, those sequins, those beads, that scarf. Cut up, stitches picked -- I could see the possibilities. But reasonable as the prices may have been, they were still too dear for a cq chop-shop adventure.

I spent the next to last bit of killing time at the Dollarama. I love the dollar stores but wasn't enamoured with any of their crafting/fabric/buttons/trims. Not even at those prices.

Popped into a sandwich store, had a quick bite, back to the ODS, picked up my files and returned to the office. Finished a title search and came home.

This morning before work, I picked out some stitches and sequins on my class project and did some beading. This evening I did a little embroidery. Tomorrow, I hope to make greater progress. And if the winds have died down I may just walk to the thread/wool store near the house (just north of highway 7). I need the exercise and doing it will make me feel virtuous enough to justify spending money...

About Me

I am in my mid 50's, have been married (happily) for 38 years, have 3 adult children who live an ocean away... By day I am a legal secretary. The rest of the time I play with fabric but I still won't run with scissors...