Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The colouring is weird on the yellow background square but it is the same block as the greener one. When the yellow was photographed, it was apparent that the cq part was swallowed by the border. So I added some lace and yarn to separate the block from the border. At any rate, I wasn't crazy about the block to start with and like it even less now. I will try to sell it so I don't have to look at it any more, lol. And from now on, I will only push the envelope in the direction I want to take it.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Yesterday was a great day. The weather was so balmy that I didn't need a coat, just a sweatshirt cardigan.

We started off at the York Heritage (i.e. Toronto) Quilters Guild Show at the Japanese-Canadian Cultural Centre. Nice venue, plenty of room.

Most of the pieces were traditional style, most machine pieces, some hand quilted, some machine quilted. If we used to go the quilt shows, stand back and admire the patterns, now we go up close to examine the stitching techniques. And when I say "we", I mean both Menachem and I. I wouldn't be surprised if he does take up quilting. He certainly has the patience for it. And then he could use all the bright highly patterned fabrics he likes and I don't... Anyways, in the quilt show booklet there was an advert for the new quilting store which opened in Toronto. Cock-a-doodle Quilts. It's located at Castlefield and Dufferin which is near to my mother's so we decided to pop in to see what it's like. First of all, it's very spacious. They have a huge showroom and another large room in the back for classes. The class room has a gigantic cutting table, individual work stations, each with it's own ironing board. It's not quite finished but getting there. And because it is an industrial space, they have high ceilings so they have quilts on display which aren't obstructed by shelving.

I wasn't intending to purchase anything but I bought a pigma pen for writing indelibly on fabric for labels and three pieces of fabric which on second thought may be too loud for what I intend to do with it. Oh well. Something else for the stash.

Then we popped into California Sandwiches for lunch. They have a grilled vegetable sandwish with sauce on a Kaiser bun. The bun soaks up the sauce and is delicious. Those of you who know me well know that I don't like messy stuff -- I don't like working with clay or anything else with a liquid texture. I'll make an exception for the sandwich. BTW, the sauce comes in hot, medium or mild, they call the mild "sweet". People kept coming in and asking for what sounded to me like "the sweet deal". I kept looking for a sign indicating what the seet deal was. It was "sweet veal".

From there, we went to my mother's. She has a collection of coins, or rather my father had a collection of coins -- Canadian, British Mandate Palestine, French and other. My mother wants to divvy them up among the grandchildren for Chanuka as gelt but wants to be sure that we're not sitting on some rare coin. Yunkie and I had made arrangements to meet at my mother's to go through the coins, Yunkie had already gone through some of them and catalogued them in an Excel file. Yunkie has a cold and didn't want to bring it to my mother's so he didn't come. I ended up brining the coins home and hope to work on them later today.

After we came home yesterday, I was just too tired to stitch or do anything else. I ended up having a nap, a light supper and going to sleep early.

But not before I had done my round of blogs I read. Sharon of Inaminuteago discussed the concept of being recognized as artists. She basicly said that if we don't recognize ourselves as artists, we can't expect others to. She said that we have to treat our art as work, putting in the hours in our studios, whether we are inspired or not, the same way that a writer sits and writes for hours each day. If we treat our artistic endeavour as simply a hobby, our creativity will not be sufficiently stimulated.

This makes sense to me and I am going to do my best to consider myself an artist and act accordingly. I'm not quiting my day job just yet but wouldn't that be amazing if I could?

Sharon's blog was particularly apt because I am making cq pieces for sale and am debating what price I can charge for my work. My work is highly labour intensive. I don't want to price myself out of the market nor do I want to underprice myself. It's an interesting dilemma and one I hope to resolve shortly.

Anyways, I did spend about an hour in my studio this morning, working on a WISP (work in slow progress). Some of my internet acquaintances have set themselves a goal to finish up WIPs, WISPs, and UFO's (unfinished objects). I don't have that many of them, but I too shall strive to work on and finish them. I also have the stash of fabrics I purchased to make a quilt from my Inbal's birth housecoat. It's technically not yet a WISP, but I should get started on it and move on.

I have a translation to do. I've done a lot of it but the last bit is a transcript from teacher's college. The names of educational concepts are different from those used here so it's a bit time consuming. I hope to get back to it later today.

And I want to do finish cataloguing the coins and then do some more stitching. So I will leave blogging for now and get back to working.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Not enamoured but for all intents and purposes finished

I've just about finished the block I started last week. Now that I've stepped back from it, I see how busy the borders are. And so to counteract the business, I am "framing" the cq square with white lace (machine sewn on already) and fuzzy light blue wool fibres (to be hand applied this afternoon). Hopefully it will create a division between the cq and the borders. Like I said, I am not enamoured of the project but it is done. I will post photos of the before and after later.

Now I have to prepare for my Guild presentation. This morning, I cut up some freezer paper squares and put them under a heavy book so they'll lie flat. I also cut up some muslin squares. In order to demo the cq block foundation, I am going to make six blocks, so I will be able to show the piecing, as each piece is added.

This weekend's plans? Did I mention that York Heritage Quilter's Guild is having a show? Hope to be there Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon I am going with Yunkie to Savta's to sort random coins for Chanuka gelt distribution. That's the definite stuff, so far.

And that's all for now. Maybe I'll get in a second post later on.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I have broken 150

On the WW front, I weighed in this morning at 149. Now this may not seem all that important to others, but for me it's something. I plan to keep on the program and see where it takes me. BTW, I am not following the program fanatically and am, in fact, dipping into the Halloween chocolates and sugar cookies, but apparently in moderation. What I have cut back on is bread and bagels. And I miss those bagels...

On the CQ front, I am almost finished the cq'ing part of the block I started last weekend. I have embellished all of the pieces, except for one which I plan to needle-punch. Actually, needle-punching should be done first so that the fabric can be pulled taut over a small embroidery hoop. I will have to use a large hoop and keep adjusting the tension. Photos to follow.

Learned from this block: 1. Use only the colour combinations I like. Otherwise, stitching seems more like a chore than a pleasure.

Plans so far for the coming weekend: Visit Mom, prepare pieces for Guild demo, visit York Heritage Quilt Guild show, maybe visit Inbal and Itai to meet Noga, maybe get together will Joann for dinner.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Busier weekend than anticipated

The only plans I had for the weekend were to see the Morrisseau exhibit and to stitch. Ha ha.

We had been talking for a while about fixing up the walk-in closet in our bedroom. When we bought the house, it had minimal shelving which consisted of a 15" x 15" shelf unit in one corner, a high up shelf on two walls and two rods under those shelves. It was "enhanced" by two flimsy metal shelving units we bought from Canadian Tire a gazillion years ago. Last week were were at Home Depot for something else and checked out their offerings. The units were high tech and high price and not our cup of tea. Menachem suggested buying plywood and building something. I suggested looking for book shelves which could serve as clothing shelving. We found something in the Ikea catalogue.

So our weekend plans changed. Saturday morning, I started out by piecing a cq block with a colour combination which is fairly foreign to my colour preferences. I was really experimenting with time to see how long it takes to actually do a piece from start to finish. It took me about an hour, to draw the pattern onto freezer paper, to cut the paper pieces, iron them onto the fabric, cut out the fabric, machine sew the pieces into a block and sew the borders. I sew the borders on before I start embellishing because I find it easier to finish the piece that way.
I think it should probably take me less than an hours but I had to change the foot on the sewing machine, the tension was wrong, I forgot to use a muslin foundations when I started sewing the pieces -- you get the idea.

Anyways, after I finished piecing it, we went to Ikea. Ended up buying the Expedit shelving 150cm X 150 cm in beech. I don't like Ikea for one reason -- in order to exit the store, you have to walk all the way through all of the departments. It insults my intelligence and annoys me.

Then we stopped off at the fancy thread store where I bought a few more fancy threads.

By the time we came home, it was time for Devora to come and we went to the McMichael Gallery in Kleinberg to see the Morrisseau exhibit. I enjoyed it. His colours are extremely vibrant and his depiction of native spirits and nature are truly original. We had just missed a vocal concert at the gallery. I found that walking slowly and stopping at each picture was physically difficult. Afterwards we walked around Kleinberg for a bit but there really isn't that much to see there in the fall.

We had overnight guests last night. Two HH shlichim from New York came to Toronto for a seminar. They were originally supposed to stay with Itai, the Toronto shaliach but his wife had a baby this week so they came to us. They didn't arrive until late so that threw me with my 8 p.m. bedtime out of synch. That and our next door neighbours whose teenage daughter had a noisy party. I can't complain about the music, I didn't hear any, but what I did hear from 9 p.m. on was the banging of the bass. Oy. And then at around midnight, the party spilled out onto the street and teenagers can be very noisy and inconsiderate of neighbours. I know I sound like an old lady. I don't care. When I don't get my sleep, I am cranky.

This morning, we sent off the shlichim, and set about putting the shelving unit together. It wasn't that hard and it looks quite nice in the closet. I spent a few hours stitching. Then Mintzy called and asked if we wanted to go see "Three Mothers", an Israeli film, at the Sheppard Centre at 4. In my opinion, it was a very good film. Afterwards we went to the Pickle Barrel for dinner and Menachem just left to go classic Israeli-folk dancing at the BJCC.
I will check my email and get into bed.

Friday, November 17, 2006

This 'n' That

I finished the Heschel piece. I'm pleased with it and hope they will be too.
I haven't done much stitching otherwise. I've been fooling around with organizing my sequins, buttons, etc.
I like to clean up my work space between projects.

Wednesday night was the Pomegranate Guild meeting. I took in my shadow box for advice on how to close it in the back. I received some very encouraging comments. Now I have to prepare for the next meeting which I am presenting "Our Lives as Crazy Quilts". It will be a talk about how I approach crazy quilting to encompass family andJudaic meaning, and a sharing of my sources and techniques. I am a little anxious about the quality of my presentation, but only a little because I figure, what's the worst that can happen? They'll be sure never to ask me to speak again...

The weekend is fast approaching. Saturday afternoon, I am going with Devora to the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg. There's an exhibit of work by Morrisseau, a well known Native-Canadian artist. In the morning, I want to make up some cq blocks to work on to be used as demos in my presentation. And perhaps to visit the thread store to get some silk ribbon and threads in colours I don't have.

No plans for Sunday yet but I can always stitch.

I am starting to get excited about our trip to Israel in January-February. Our main focus is to visit the kids, relatives and friends. But I would like to do some textile related things, visit some galleries, meet my internet quilting friends. I also want to visit the studio of a woman who does micrography and figure out how to incorporate it into my cq.

And speaking of quilting, Dee emailed me yesterday that my quilt is about 70% quilted and looks great. So I am looking forward to getting it back. It's kind of like finding money you had hidden but had forgotten about until you found it.

It's 4 a.m. I should be sleeping but have been waking up every night at 3 a.m. for no apparent reason and am unable to fall back asleep. Bummer.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Two posts in one day, trying to catch up

I finished needleweaving a flower on the Heschel piece but it looks more like a starfish so it's a starfish. Maybe I should also add some fish. Anyways, now that I understand the technique I have to fine-tune it to work for me.

I also tried the needlepunch. It's quite easy and produces a lovely texture. I can see the possibilites. But I don't think I'm going to use it on the Heschel piece because I want to get a better handle on the different needle sizes and thread sizes. Once I see the results and better understand how it works, off I'll go. Also, it has to be done on a taut fabric so I'll have to use a hoop and that means I'll have to needlepunch before I do any beading or really encrusted work because afterwards the hoop no longer fits...

I found a really good quote from Churchill "We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give." For me, it's tzdaka (charity) and tikkun olam (repairing the world) rolled into one quote.

I open my mouth...

It's Sunday morning and I've been busy.
Wednesday night I was at a meeting of the Pomegranate Guild executive -- I'm on membership.

Some (no names to protect their identities) were lamenting the fact that no one wants to step up to the plate to volunteer to carry out tasks. I totally agree BUT I know myself and know that certain tasks are not for me. I cannot delegate, I don't want to be in charge. But ask me to help, I'm your woman. I'll even volunteer before I'm asked.

So, we were discussing the problem of last minute changes to programming. December's planned program was cancelled by the presenter due to other commitments. I have no quarrel with the canceller -- she is working major-time on the Guild's 25th anniversary celebration and main project. So what are we going to do for December's meeting. Here's where the "I open my mouth" comes in -- I volunteered to do "Our Lives as Crazy Quilts" -- a presentation about how I translate family and life cycle events into textile "scrapbooks". I will demo technique and philosophy. So now I'm thinking about how I can translate something I do on my lap to a frontal presentation. It's challenging but I'm excited about it.

I am almost finished the Heschel wall-hanging. I have two motifs to finish. I finally figured out how to do needleweaving flower petals (I searched on until I found a demo) and have even made a kind of device to keep the sides from caving in on themselves. So the needlewoven flower will be one motif. And I have to figure out how to use my needlepunch so that can be motif #2. I hope to get them done today.

Last night we went to hear Liel sing. It was a benefit for SACH, Save a Child's Heart, a non-profit organization which provides heart surgery to children of the third world and cardiac training to third world professionals. I hadn't heard of the organization before so I was quite impressed. A little less so by Liel. She has an amazing voice but I had a problem with the decibals.

Anyways, today, aside from stitching, we will go out to shop -- Home Outfitters -- to buy new pillows and otherwise spend out Aeroplan miles rewards.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Haven't done any stitching but I have finished removing the beads from the fabric they were on. They are for the most part plain clear beads. But they were used to outline flowers painted on a silky type fabric so they took on the colour of the flower they were adjacent to. On their own, they're just plain clear beads. Gave me an idea of how to use them. I'm just sifting through them now to remove the threads which didn't fall out when I cut them off the fabric.
Yesterday evening I was at Weight Watchers so didn't get home til late and did not stitch.
This evening, I have a Pomegranate Guild executive meeting so again won't get any stitching done. Oh well, I'll just have to think about stitching instead.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Trip to Israel?

This morning, we decided to see if we could find a cheap flight to Israel this month. I called the travel agent and there is a really cheap flight $599 CDN plus taxes BUT it's only for 9 days. I'm sorry, 9 days just doesn't do it for me. I need a few days to recover from jet lag. And even if we decided to do regular price $1199, the timing isn't all that great. They need me in back in the office by November 24th. So, as disappointed as I am, I think we will defer travel to the middle east until January-February.

In other exciting news, my needlepunch kit arrived today. I have yet to figure out how to use it and I hate reading instructions but at some point will bite the bullet and figure it out. This may just solve my signature problems.

I haven't stitched much today. I think I sewed on a button. Whoopee. But I started detaching beading from fabrics my mother collected for me from Edith's, the store where she bought her outfit for Yoni's bar mitzvah. They do alterations so there are hems and other bits and pieces for my cq work. It keeps my hands busy (without involving my mouth...) and in the creative mode, if only passively.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Just stitching...

Yesterday, I started on the SRE on the Heschel piece. Only had half a day to work because in the afternoon, I went with Mintzy and Rafi to see a matinee of Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" at the Bluma Appel theatre. I was rather impressed by the set, rather minimalist but very inventive, including a water feature to replicate a stream. The acting was quite good for the most part. My only complaint, the seat, has more to do with me not being able to sit for long in one position, than the seat itself.
Afterwards, we went out for a bite to a vegetarian Indian restaurant at Bathurst and Dupont, more or less. The onion soup was delish and a baked potato and bean salad was just enough for me. Rafi and Mintzy continued on to Dori's to babysit and I took the subway home. So I didn't get home until close to 8 and didn't stitch at all last night. And I missed phone calls with both Inbal and Rotem. I'll call them on my own.
This morning we're up early and I've been stitching on the Heschel. It's coming together. I've just about finished the SRE, finished my final seam and now am going to do some embellishing with buttons, jewellry, etc. Listening to Mozart choral music on the radio with stitching. Does life get any better?
But now, after stitching, I'm having trouble focussing my eyes.
Anyways, not much else planned for today. Maybe a visit to Mom, maybe drop in on Alissa and Mel. Maybe stay home and do some more stitching.
Oh yeah, just before the Mozart, I heard Gordon Lightfoot singing a song and think I've found the words for my course piece in his lyrics.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Inching my way along

I've been working on the smaller Auf Simchas quilts. The first one I'm making for a fundraiser for my nieces' and nephews' school. It has three cq blocks -- I've completed the seams on the first block and am now doing the seams on the second one. The first one turned out great so I hope the next two will meet the standard set.

Menachem stained the shadowbox blue. I like the colour but am not sure if it needs another coat. And whether it should be a little shinier. Decisions, decisions.

I washed all of the stuff Judith gave me. The first load was O.K., the second shrunk quite a bit and I still have to dry two loads and iron everything. But I'm excited about what to do with the stuff afterwards.

I am hoping to make it down to the Textile Museum on Saturday morning for their fall sale not so much for the fabrics as for embroidery threads. And then in the afternoon I am going to see a play.

I am hoping that once Bat & Sandy return, I will be leaving the office earlier and will be able to spend a little more time stitching in the late afternoon/evening. We shall see.

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...