Monthly Archives: June 2016

In The Garden

When I started this blog I promised myself that I wouldn’t feel guilty if I didn’t post regularly.  I’m not a fan of writing just for the sake of writing, and I’ve followed a few blogs where this has been the case.  Needless to say, I don’t follow them anymore!

Lately my sewing and quilting have taken a back seat to yard and garden work.  As described in the previous post,  A Lull, Hopefully Short-lived, we have been working to create a new garden and to restore one that was neglected for several years.   It’s hard work, but so satisfying.

You may have gathered that I try to look on the bright side of life.  Sure, there are times when it’s necessary to be serious, but why waste that energy if you don’t need to.  Last week my Mother in Law was checking out the garden and she said that it was whimsical – music to my ears.  We’re trying interesting plants and using lots of bright colours.  Believe me, this past week the colours have cheered up the cold, wet and grey days.  We’ve been collecting odd bits and pieces of stuff from the beach – rusted chains, huge spikes and old chunks of ferry dock pilings.  Hurray!  We replaced the two old lawn chairs, which Blake found on the side of the road, with four aqua Adirondack chairs.  And this week we crossed a major ‘to do’ off the list.  We installed a flag pole and raised The Maple Leaf for the first time.  It’s beautiful and we’re going to have a christening celebration on July 1.

Here are a few photos of things in the yard.  You can click on them to enlarge and to bring up a description.

Now, as Sunday is a day of rest, I am going downstairs to work on a quilt that’s in its final stages.  I hope you’re enjoying a restful, final day of spring.  Thanks for reading.


A Lull, Hopefully Short-lived

The photo above was taken on the deck of our Denman Island home.  We’ve worked hard this past week, getting the garden and yard into shape, and getting these pots done was one of the final chores.  From now on it’s a matter of keeping on top of the weeds, deadheading, watering and enjoying. And, hopefully back to the sewing machine!

Our garden and yard must meet three criteria.  Plants need to be drought tolerant, deer resistant and low maintenance.  Our household water comes from a local lake and we’re mindful of how much we use, especially when the summer is hot and dry, like 2015.  We have several different grasses and herbs.  They do well with little to no water.  I’ve been ‘collecting’ lavenders, which pass our tests while providing beautiful colour and scent.

Deer resistance is more difficult and seems to change with each year.  Our yard is fenced on three sides.  The deer have figured out that the fourth side is open. Typically any plant that has a strong scent and fuzzy foliage is safe.   It’s frustrating to learn the hard way that chives are left alone, unless they’re garlic chives.  The latter were munched to the ground. I planted some bright yellow yarrow – Achillea millifolium –  two years ago and it thrived.  So I planted a couple of different red yarrows, only to find that, overnight, they were destroyed.  It seems like the best way to deal with this is with a sense of humour.

As for sewing, well, I’m kind of stuck.  I finished the big, bright Indian quilt and a couple of smaller projects.  I’ve got something half quilted but I’m having trouble coming up with  ideas for new projects.  The Denman Island Studio Tour is coming up in August and I’d like to get a few things ready for that.  Big, small, table, wall, bed-sized?  Can’t decide.  There are so many different things to do in the summer;  I think the change from being indoors quilting and sewing to being outdoors playing will be good for inspiration and ideas.

While I’ve been mulling this over I’ve read two books by an author/artist named Austin Kleon.  Steal Like an Artist  and Show Your Work.  Terrific books for anyone who is or inspires to be creative.  Check out Austin Kleon’s work here: Austin Kleon

I’m also enjoying the series of four books, known as the Neapolitan Novels, written by Elena Ferrante.  They take place in Naples and follow the lives of two girls, beginning in the 1960’s.  Lots of twists and turns, interesting characters and a great look into the gritty life of working class Neapolitans.

I hope you get a chance to change pace, do some fun things and pick up a good book over the summer.  Let us know if you discover a ‘must read’.

Thanks for reading.




Something Fishy

Simplicity can be effective.  A couple of years ago I purchased a book by a gal named Casey York. The book is titled Modern Appliqué Illusions 12 Quilts Create Perspective and Depth.  The designs are quite simple, yet the finished quilts are eye-catching as they have a 3-D quality to them.

One in particular drew me in; it was called Ripples.  I loved it because it reminded me of the goldfish in our pond on Denman Island.  I’ve made this quilt twice in the past year – once as a wall quilt and once as a lap quilt.

The wall quilt went together nicely.  It had three koi, made from different orange fabrics.  I used a light grey cotton for the shadows and the same grey for the binding.  The backing was a bold orange and gold print.  I’d never done circular quilting and found it a challenge to start.  However, as the circles got larger, it was much easier.  I entered this quilt in the Denman Island Studio Tour last August and it sold quickly to a lovely girl who was working on Denman for the summer.

The lap quilt has five koi on it.  The backing is pieced and includes two blocks of Japanese koi fabric.  The binding is dark charcoal with white bubbles.  You would think that the lap quilt would also go together nicely.  After all, I’d ‘mastered’ the technique on the smaller one.  Well, that wasn’t the case.  I ran into a few problems and feel that it was because I was being so casual and not really paying attention.  I used the wrong product to adhere the appliqués to the quilt top.  This product is not meant for sewing as it gums up the needle and causes missed stitches and broken thread.  The circular quilting was more challenging because the quilt was larger.  There was another issue but I’ve managed to erase it from my memory!

This quilt was a gift for dear friends of ours who have a lovely home on the island of Hawaii.  And here’s something that really surprised me.  I wanted to send the quilt to Hawaii and had a three-week window to get it there.  I tried both FedEx and UPS and got quotes of approximately $130.  The FedEx clerk asked if I wanted it to go air or ground and, if I’d known there was a road to Hawaii, believe me, I’d have driven it myself!  Thinking those prices were just a tad steep, I stopped in to Canada Post.  Their quote, including the envelope, was $30.  BINGO!  Delivery was six days later.

I enjoyed making these two quilts and look forward to trying other patterns from Casey York’s book.  In the meantime, here are some photos of the finished projects.

Thanks for reading.