Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Quilting gone wrong

Yesterday evening, I added a few beads to the centrepiece of my challah cover. Then I started free-motion quilting. It did not go so well. I'm still picking out the stitches. Teeny weeny ones. I remembered to put the stitch length to zero. I think I forgot to put the tension to zero as well.
Oh well.

This morning, I started embroidering seams on the first of the two small wall hangings I'm doing. It looks nice so far.

We have a funeral today. A woman my age who has been battling breast cancer for at least 10 years. But it was still all too fast. A few weeks ago, the doctor told her she only had a few weeks. And that's all it took. It's awful, and it affects all of us.

WW today. Don't know how I did. Don't particularly care. I know I'm eating better so that's really all there is to it.

I was hoping to do some stitching this evening, but I may just park myself outside the shiva house to tell trick and treaters to skip this house.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The mother lode

A while back I wrote about fabric I found at a garage sale. Well if I was pleased then, I'm thrilled now. But more about this later.

Yesterday was an errand day. We went to Penina's to drop off the gift. Ended staying for breakfast (that was our second breakfast because we're early risers).
From there we went to my friend, Judith's. Carmit forgot the charger for her camera when she left here and Judith is going to Israel today so we took it down to her.

Judith is a friend I met at university. She is very outgoing and while playing Jewish geography, we found out that her first cousin is married to someone I was with in the tnua (youth movement). So we hit it off right away and have been friends ever since. Judith loves shopping but not at stores -- garage sales, rummage sales, etc.
We often do this together but we haven't physically seen each other in almost half a year, if not longer. During the summer, I'm away weekends. During the week, we both work. And weekends since September, we've both been busy -- she with her grandchildren, me with my needlework and both of us with the holidays. So it was really nice to see her.

And then we popped in at my mother's for a short visit.

OK, now the story I referred to earlier. Judith bought some fabric for me at the Designer's Walk (google Toronto Designer's Walk) sidewalk sale several months ago. Books of fabric samples. In short, the mother lode. I spent the afternoon taking the books apart and sorting the fabrics. The only drawback is that some of the fabrics have glue on them. I washed one piece in the machine at high temperature to see if the glue was water soluble -- it wasn't. I guess I could have ironed the glue onto craft paper but I couldn't be bothered. So this morning, I trimmed off all of the glue-y bits and now I will wash all of it, see how it holds up to water (it's all cotton or synthetic, except for one book of "dry-clean only" which I have set aside in the meantime), then iron it and get started.

Yesterday, I also sewed the borders onto the two smaller Auf Simchas pieces. They're both ready to embroider/embellish.

I finished the challah cover centre piece. Now I just have to quilt it.

I also tried an experiment to engrave a small piece of metal with my initials and the date. It didn't turn out too badly but I'm not convinced yet. I'm also going to try printer printing on ribbon and see how that goes.

Anyways, off to work shortly.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Field Trip to Home Depot and Michael's

So we went on a field trip this morning to Home Depot (hardware) and Michael's (craft store). Home Depot for the blue stain which they didn't have and would only tint for us if we bought a large quantity. So we didn't get the stain.

Since we were already in that shopping area, we went into Michael's. I had seen in their flyer advert that certain wools were on sale. I bought two balls (2 for $5), one navy and one royal or lighter blue. I swear that is all I was looking for. But I just happened to see another ball of dark blue/light blue which I've used before. It has a nice pattern as is (I will post a picture later when I've used it) and it also crochets up nicely. I picked it up, saw the price ($9), put it back, then picked it up again. I'll use it and I may not find it the next time I look. I also notice that they had stain but not the colour I want. I also noticed that they have a very nice notions section -- they had variegated cotton threads. So I don't have to shlep far to find them. And then just before we were leaving, I noticed a bin with ribbons so I found two widths of royal blue ribbon which looks like grosgain (I think that's how it's spelled).

Did I mention we "popped" into Costco on the way there? I had to replenish my supply of socks, some of which mysteriously disappeared while Carmit was here...

On the way home we hit Food Basics and stocked up on WW-type foods. I've cooked my soup and cut up celery sticks to go with the baby carrots and grape tomatoes and I'm all set for next week.

Now I'm busy auditioning trims for my challah cover. Once I get those sewn down, I can quilt the cover.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Blue stain on shadowbox

I've decided to do blue stain on the shadowbox. The other option I was considering is just too complicated. I hope to buy the stain and get it done this weekend. I still have to sign and date the cq square which I find rather daunting. I'm not used to working in such small rounded stitches and will be unhappy if it doesn't work out the way I want.

Auf Simchas II is finished. I cut the sleeve this morning before work and stitched it on during work (slow day). I hope to give it to Penina this weekend. And then I may borrow it back to enter it into a competition.

Inbal is doing her charity bike ride starting Sunday. She is going up to Jerusalem tomorrow because that's where the ride starts. I am bursting with pride.

And that's all for today, folks.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Decorating the shadowbox itself

I took a quick look at the Textile Museum of Canada website. There's an exhibit of shadowboxes which are up for silent auction. I didn't pay much attention to the content of the box yet, but more to the box itself. I saw two that interested me. The first was stained in blue so the wood patterns showed through. This is what I had originally thought of doing. But there was another one which continued the colours of the contents onto the box. For example, where in mine the upper left corner of the cq is dark blue, the shadowbox would be painted dark blue too. Light blue painted to correspond to the light blue cq piece. I kind of like that idea. But I'm not sure yet.

I didn't get any work done yesterday evening -- too tired. I didn't get anything done this morning -- too tired. And I doubt if I'll get anything done this evening either. I guess I'll just have to wait for the weekend.

Decorating the shadowbox itself

I took a quick look at the Textile Museum of Canada website. There's an exhibit of shadowboxes which are up for silent auction. I didn't pay much attention to the content of the box yet, but more to the box itself. I saw two that interested me. The first was stained in blue so the wood patterns showed through. This is what I had originally thought of doing. But there was another one which continued the colours of the contents onto the box. For example, where in mine the upper left corner of the cq is dark blue, the shadowbox would be painted dark blue too. Light blue painted to correspond to the light blue cq piece. I kind of like that idea. But I'm not sure yet.

I didn't get any work done yesterday evening -- too tired. I didn't get anything done this morning -- too tired. And I doubt if I'll get anything done this evening either. I guess I'll just have to wait for the weekend.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pomegranate shadowbox

This is my shadowbox for the Pomegranate Guild 25th anniversary. The theme of the exhibit is "Threads of Identity". The outside perimeter of the box is approximately 10" by 10".

I chose to make my colour theme blue and white because of my strong ties to Israel.

The upper left hand corner is assorted family buttons -- my mother's, my sister's and my aunts'-- which have been beaded. Just below that are five chamsot. A chamsa is a good luck amulet.

Below that on the left is a piece of my cousin Ruthie's wedding dress. The flowers in silver were original to the dress. I outlined the flowers in blue to go with the blue and white theme.

The middle piece, is a tree on a white background. The white duppioni silk is from my sister's wedding gown. The tree trunk is from one of my father's ties. The tree top is a "sandwich" of two pieces of tulle filled with snippets from family fabrics -- my wedding dress, my mother's wedding gloves, a tablecloth my mother had embroidered, and again my father's tie. The three birds in the tree signify my three children. The sandwich technique was something I saw demonstrated at one of the Guild meetings.

The right hand light blue piece is embroidered with silk ribbon, a technique I also learned at one of the Guild's workshops.

The blue piece to its left has two Judaic and biblical symbols -- the dove and the pomegranate.
(The shadowbox picture was taken flat on a table--the pomegranate is suspended by beads and should hang vertically).

The final piece, the white wedge at the bottom is from my wedding dress. It is embroidered with the Hebrew word "shalom" and I doubt any explanation is required for it.

I still need to sign and date it.

And if anyone has any suggestions how to decorate the wooden box itself, please let me know.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Challah cover

This is the challah cover I've started on. The centre will be cut away to accommodate a centre piece, most likely decorated but without writing. (I mean, if it's covering the challah, isn't it pretty obvious what it is?)
And today, while surfing at work, I came across Soduko quilts and thought that might be a neat idea for the back. I just have to do the math correctly.

Finished wallhanging

Not hanging properly because I haven't done the sleeve yet, but this is the finished product.


Here are the Auf Simchas square details.

Auf Simchas II -- Finished, well almost

So this morning I finished the binding on Auf Simchas, in time for Penina's birthday today. I still have to sew on a hanging sleeve and add a stitch or two to the mitered corners, but in general, I'm done. And it is a beauty if I do say so myself.

I think I will ask Penina to lend it to me. I may just enter it into a show if I gather up enough courage.

Now I'm thinking of backing for the challah cover I'm making. I may just use the some fabrics from the front but in a different configuration.

I will post photos later.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Pomegranate shadowbox stitching finished!

Yesterday, I put the final touches on my shadowbox cq square. On the white wedding dress fabric, I chain-stitched the word "Shalom", in Hebrew, and filled in the chain spaces with sparkly white and blue threads.

Now I have to decide what to do with the shadowbox itself. It is unfinished pine. Should I stain it blue? Paint it white? Cover it with quilting? I don't want to do anything which is going to detract from the stitching.

While I was mulling that over, I pinned the binding on Penina's piece. I actually am using a larger backing piece and folding it over for the binding. I was flustered with the corner mitering so I've left it for now.

And then yesterday afternoon, I had a spurt of energy and decided to make a challah cover from the blue and white cottons fabrics I had previously thought to use in my shadowbox project. I cut 2" and 3" strips, then cut them length-wise diagonally and arranged them radiating from the centre of a 20" square, alternating blue and white, and 2" and 3" pieces, so it's somewhat random looking but actually not at all. I started sewing yesterday and finished this morning. Now it's trimmed and waiting for the centre to be cut out and replaced with a centre piece. I don't think I will use lettering "Shabbat" or "Chag". I think the centre piece will be decorated with braiding, ribbons, or something similar to what I did for the twins. Not jewellery though because I want it to be washable.
Next project is to sew borders on the two cq hangings I'm making from the leftover squares from Penina's piece. And then embellish them.

You may have noticed that I'm procrastinating with respect to the homework from my course. I just can't get into it. I haven't found a theme or a saying yet. Once I have that, I should be able to catch up quickly.

We've been decluttering at home, mostly stuff that was downloaded from the internet for future reference. But by the time you go to check on it again, it is already redundant. I want to get the computer room set up so it can be used as a guest room.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

CSNF report

I was too tired to write yesterday evening after I came home from the Canadian Sewing and Needlecraft Exhibition. Hence this morning's post before I go into my studio to work.

Yesterday morning, I went into my studio, looked at the Pomegranate project and finally figured out what to do in the last square -- I wrote, in Hebrew, "Shalom" in script. Now I am embellishing it. And then I will be finished with the textile part. And start angsting over the frame...

At around ten, I left for the CSNF. Menachem took me to the Finch station and I took the subway down. (Yesterday was also the CN Tower climb in which Gwen, the friend from work who climbs stairs with me, participated. If I had known I may have gone earlier to cheer her on. Next year, I may just join her...)

Anyways, mixed reviews for the CSNF. There were fewer exhibitors and a lot of the same old stuff. I did find out that there's a quilt store in Stouffville on Main Street but I really don't need any more fabric until I use some of the stuff I have. I enoyed the quilts which were exhibited although I was horrified to see some of them hung with the bottom lying directly on the concrete floor. But no cq. I did buy some more blue beads, some blue and white variegated thread, and a pack of 4 fat quarters. I think I may have outgrown the experience. I can see (and purchase) new things on line and at the merchant malls at the local quilt guild shows.

Anyways, when I was finished, I was to meet Menachem at a board meeting at Davenport and Ossington. Having absolutely no knowledge of how to get anywhere downtown, I asked the TTC person at Union Station how to get there and he said there's a bus from Dupont Station. When I get to Dupont Station, the TTC person there says no bus. So I walked. In addition to the four hours I had walked at the show. So my feet still ache and I think I shall spend most of today sitting.

Off to work in my studio.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


SRE is silk ribbon embroider, just in case you were wondering.

So this morning, before work, I managed to get a little SRE done on the shadowbox project. Between this post and my Pomegranate Guild meeting tonight, I hope to add my French knots, beads and stitches.

That leaves me with one piece of my wedding dress mileage/kilometrage from it) which is as yet unembellished. For a mini dress, made from less than metre fabric remnant, I've sure gotten a lot of needlework/sewing mileage/kilometrage from it. I have used pieces on numerous projects and still have some left over.

So yesterday I broke down and went to weight watchers. I have been unable to lose the pounds I put on since my last (and first) successful weight loss. I feel that now that I've got the exercise part of the health equation going, I should try the weight part as well. I find that by tracking points, it does keep me more aware of what and when I'm eating. I don't like the idea of being preoccupied with food all day, but hopefully it will fall into second nature status after a while.

I took off early from work today. Yunkie picked me up and we went to my mother's because Lenny and Eyra Fritsch are visiting from Israel and my mother had them, Joe and Yvette Podemski, Yunkie, Penina and me for lunch. Menachem couldn't come -- he has a bad cold, is feeling miserable and didn't want to spread germs. It was a lovely afternoon.

Anyways, off to stitch.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Snippets, continued

I had zigzagged the snippetted circle in dark blue (same colour as tie) and it didn't look good. Also, proportionwise, it was too big for the area it was intended for. So I cut a smaller circle out of it, finishing the edge in white and then added a white boucle yarn to the perimeter. It's smaller size allowed me to put it on a white dupionni silk background where it's definitely a tree top and I used another piece from my father's tie for the tree trunk. I then put 3 birds in the tree top and a few sparkly beads from a beaded bag my children gave me for one of my birthdays. I only used the bag once and decided it should go to better use. In the meantime, I have used the beads on several projects, including the family chuppah.

I had to take the subway/bus home from work yesterday and since the subway station is at Empress Walk, I popped into the Fabricland store looking for variegated blue and white thread (which they didn't have -- I will get some, I hope, at the Canadian Sewing and Needlecraft Show this weekend). They were having a sale -- aren't they always? I bought some trims, not in colours that I can particularly see myself using any time soon but they were made from tiny shiny square sequins. And one blue wispy thing that isn't really a match to what I'm doing. Oh well.

Monday, October 16, 2006


So I'm excited. I'm in the midst of trying out a new technique for the Pomegranate shadow box.
I took snips of fabrics from family stuff: my father's tie, my mother's wedding gloves, my, Bat's and Devora's wedding dresses and made a sandwich of them between two layers of blue tulle. I arranged them in a circle which will now become either a tree top or a flower. It's not as polished looking as I would like but it still is interesting, unique and meaningful. And blue and white.
I like the tree top idea because I can then put 3 silver birds in it, one for each of my children. And embellish with beads from Penina's wedding and other beads. I just have to figure out how to make the edges which are now just zig-zagged more polished looking. Perhaps blanket stitch?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A little creativity every day, somedays very little

So it's the weekend and that's the time I get most of my needlecraft done.
Yesterday, we went to my mother's in the morning because someone came to appraise some flutes. Then we came home and went to Mintzy's to remove a small desk attached to the wall in her kitchen so she can put in a new piece with three double drawers in where it stood. It took all of 15-20 minutes to remove it. The wall behind it was damaged so Menachem did a 10 minute plaster repair which requires 24 hours to dry. Mintzy and Rafi went up to Dori's mother-in-law's in Orillia and we decided to put together the Ikea piece. Those things are complicated. No wonder people pay to have them assembled. (We're putting it together as a symbol of our friendship).
I did get a little stitching done -- in particular a button cluster on the Pomegranate Guild piece.
This morning, I took out stitches on the centre of the same piece. I didn't like the way it looked. I am now trying to figure out how to incorporate fabrics from my father, mother and siblings without straying from the blue and white colour scheme. And also, I want to sew them together some how using my grandmother's hand cranked sewing machine. (The theme is Threads of Identity).
I also bit the bullet and am in the midst of my online course homework. I finally chose two fabrics that I don't particularly care for their colours and decided to go for it using embroidery threads that I have but will never use because I don't like their colours. Perhaps my embroidered motto should be something to do with negativity -- and I usually am very up and positive.
I also would like to put the backing on my blue Auf Simchas and finish it in time for Penina's birthday (the inspiration for the piece was the trims from her sons' bar mitzvahs.
So instead of going on and on here, I will go back to my drawing, or rather, sewing board.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Short post -- not much to say

I started couching down a lovely white thread/wool using a contrasting blue thread to couch it but I didn't like the way it looked nor the "wave" for lack of a better word at the moment to describe the pattern. I am too pooped to stitch tonight but maybe tomorrow morning, I'll get in a stitch or two.
I'm off to watch Coronation Street and then make some phone calls for the Pomegranate membership committee.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Blue period

It looks like I'm having a blue period. The wallhanging is not finished yet. The center cq is. I am still debating what backing to put on it and whether I should free-motion quilt the borders before I bind it. And what colour (i.e. shade of blue) the binding should be.
The other photo is of the materials I have gathered for the Pomegranate shadow box. The cq square is not terribly visible but it is sort of in the middle, surrounded by the various threads, findings, beads and other stuff I will use for embellishing.
I actually got started on it this morning and embroidered several of the seams. I'm on a roll...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Not too bad for a Monday

I just noticed that I started blogging a year ago, more or less. I should try to keep up with it more regularly.

So, since the plan for this weekend was to sew the borders on Auf Simchas II, and I didn't do it yesterday or the day before, I am pleased to announce that I got up early today, bit the bullet and voila -- borders. I always procrastinate when I'm not confident that I will succeed to sew straight lines... It looks quite impressive and once the digital camera is juiced up, I will post a photo.

I also pieced the Pomegranate cq piece. I will perhaps also post the naked square and some of the threads I purchased on Saturday. I'm not sure if I'm using ribbon trim on this one. That's what I like about cq. I let it dictate to me what needs to be done.

Tomorrow is lesson 2 of the online course. I usually do the homework immediately upon receipt of the lesson. I'm stalling on this one. First of all, I'm not sure where we're going with it and that will probably influence my fabric colour choice. Secondly, I'm not sure I want to make a full three piece sandwich. I may make an "open faced" sandwich because I have a problem with the messy back showing.
We have to come up with ideas for sayings or designs. I came across some Jewish Haiku. "Lacking fins and tails, the gefilte fish swims with great difficulty". Or perhaps just a phrase in Yiddish. I'll see.

Anyways, pictures later and if anything else blog-worthy happens, I shall write again.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Show and Tell

This is what I've been doing so far this weekend. Saturday, I purchased all of the fabrics for $4 (Canadian!) at a garage sale. I have now washed and ironed them. The bluish fabric on the right is actually a lovely white batiste. I'm not sure what I'll do with the zig-zag fabrics but cheap is cheap.
This morning, Joy came over with her mother-in-law's costume jewellry. The colours, especially of the beads, don't show too well but there are some interesting and challenging pieces. And the price was right... So I'm happy.
Tomorrow I will tackle the Auf Simchas II and maybe start on some other cq squares. I have already sane pieced them but I want to gather threads, and bits and pieces so I can take them to work and work on them, time permitting.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Long weekend

So in Canada this is a long weekend -- Monday is Thanksgiving. So that's a short work week to look forward to.
Yesterday evening was Erev Sukkot. Menachem picked up my mother and we had a quiet dinner together. My mother is having dental work done (root canal, new crown, etc.) and is limited in what she can eat (chew). Menachem made lentil and rice soup, garlic mashed potatoes, and sole almondine. He also made a gorgeous "soccer ball" challah substituting silan for honey. It was delish, as usual. And my mother took home leftovers...
The Thanksgiving weekend we usually go up to Perth to do some maintenance work at camp and then do the Autumn Studio Tour. This year, Menachem went up last week so there was no point going all that way (3.5 hour drive) just for the tour. And since Carmit went home and we don't really feel like doing much, we decided to have a low-key weekend at home.
This morning, we woke up late (8 a.m.), Menachem surfed, etc. I fondled my fabrics.
We had plans to go down to my mother's place to try to fix the lights in her basement. On the way, well really out of the way but not far from our house, we went to the needlepoint store which sells all kinds of embroidery threads, silk ribbons, etc. I wanted to show them Penina's Auf Simchas hanging because I had purchased some threads there. I received some very encouraging comments. There's nothing like being validated by people who know how much effort goes into making these pieces of art.
I stocked up on threads for the Pomegranate Guild shadowbox. I am calling it Kachol v'lavan (blue and white). My starting point is two pieces of blue dupionni silk left over from Dori's chuppah. I'm not sure yet which whites I'll use but I'm getting ahead of myself. More about kvl in another post.
We went down to my mother's and Menachem fixed the lights.
From there, since we were already halfway downtown, we thought we'd drop in to visit Judith (she wasn't home) or Corinne (she was home but was busy). So we headed north to visit Mintzy and Rafi who were entertaining/being entertained by grandson Noah.
On the way, I asked Menachem if he was hungry and we decided to stop in at home first and have a bowl of soup and some challah. (The last sentence is only relevant to explain how our hunger resulted in me increasing my fabric stash.) As we turned onto Snowshoe, we saw that there was a garage sale. We stopped and it turned out there was a suitcase full of fabrics at 25 cents a "piece", a piece being either a meter or more, or several pieces attached together (factory samples). I bought eight pieces. Then at home I reconsidered -- for that price, I should pick up any others that looked half decent. So we went back for seconds... So now I have a whole basket full of fabric which I will launder, iron, fondle and get ready for use (and post photos I hope).
And now we are back home and vegging.
Tomorrow morning, one of the ladies from my office is coming over with her mother-in-law's jewellery box. She saw my first Auf Simchas piece and offered me the stuff. She was thrilled that someone can put it to good use. I can't wait to see what goodies there are!
Monday afternoon, I am meeting with the Pomegranate Guild president to go over the membership lists. I am the official keeper of the list because I know how to update it in Excel and I can get Menachem to print labels. Since she lives near Alissa and Mel, we may pop over there for a visit too.
OK. So my plan for this weekend is to finish sewing the borders on the Auf Simchas and maybe quilting it, and to start/continue some other cq projects.
And did I mention the weather is fabulous? A little chilly but sunny.
Off to take a nap.

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...