Thursday, November 4, 2010

some quiltlets

 This little nosegay block was given to members of our guild by Diane Shink, an AQS appraiser and collector extraordinaire of old blocks, star quilts and vintage aprons.  She asked us to produce a 15" block and we were allowed to do whatever we wanted with this.  Many chose to deconstruct it, but I thought that I would give it a new look and leave it as what it was - a nosegay of flowers.  
And here it is.                                                                             

Below is a piece made with a picture that I took of a small lake on a golf course, early on a November morning.  It was done as a challenge for our 12bythedozen blog.  Reflections was the theme.  The size is 12"x12".


Friday, October 29, 2010

Swiss Rail Tour

Our Swiss Rail Tour with IRT and Great Rail Journeys started in London with a Eurostar train to Cologne where we spent the first night.  The hotel was a 2 minute walk to the cathedral so we had a quick look before it got too dark to see (hence no pictures!)  

The next day we went to St Mortiz via the Euro-City along the Rhine for much of the way.  Lovely scenery.
Our first excursion out of St Moritz was on the narrow gauge Bernina Express to Tirano in Italy and we were able to travel in this old Pullman coach which had been very lovingly restored inside.

 This lake marks the divide of the watershed in Europe.  Again spectacular views of the mountains.
 Going down the valley into Tirano was breathtaking.  I'll have to stop using all these adjectives, but we were lucky with the weather and to see the snowcapped mountains surrounding the valley was beautiful.
 This little section of track is a world heritage site.  It's quite old and a very tight circle for the train to turn on.
 A small section of the old part of Tirano.  The local dish there is pizzoccori which we enjoyed for lunch-pasta made with buckwheat, and mixed with cabbage and potatoes and cheese, then baked.  Delicious!
 There we are standing on Piz Nair overlooking St Moritz.  Lots of snow up top, but the ski season hasn't quite started.
 And the view of St Moritz from across the lake at the foot.  A lovely hour's walk around the lake.  To save trekking up the roads to the hotels, the town has installed elevators and escalators to get people up to the main section - it would have been quite the hike otherwise to get to our hotel (the Monopol - very nice).
Our next train trip was the Glacier Express and on our arrival in Zermatt we passed this lovely old building on our way to our hotel (the Park hotel Beau Site) -another excellent one.
 Zermatt has a section in town of these old buildings- and many more can be seen up the mountain side.
 The cog railway up to Gornergrat took us to the top where we were able to sit outside and enjoy the scenery - so many glaciers and when the clouds are gone (which they weren't) a view of the Matterhorn.
 And this was the train.
 Another outing had us on the train to Stresa on Lake Maggiore in Italy.  Our tour of the lake was cancelled due to the races of these gigantic boats.  Lots of noise and rooster tails, and we watched one race but that was more than enough.

 And finally the Matterhorn!  We knew it was there all along, but clouds were constantly covering all or part of it.  On our last day we took three gondolas up to Kleine Matterhorn and instead of taking the last one down, we walked - it was a glorious day and it was definitely Heidi country.
 On top of Kleine Matterhorn
 If you look really hard, you will see the ski tows and skiiers  below.  They drop down from where I am standing to take the picture and ski on the glacier year round.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Shaw Festival

Earlier this week we were in Niagara on the Lake to see some plays at the Shaw Festival.  This is a very charming town and hotels, shops, and residents go out of their way to beautify the place with flowers.  This is just an island in  the middle of the road!  And the Courthouse theatre is the gray one with the pillars

The Prince of Wales Hotel

The Charles Inn, a charming place to stay with a superb restaurant
This area is well known for it's wines and there are plenty of vineyards to tour.

the Trisha Romance house.  The whole town is filled with lovely century old houses, this being perhaps one of the fancier.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I've managed to do quite a bit of reading this summer at the cottage.  I'm somewhat hooked on Peter Robinson (no relation) mysteries and feel that I could land in parts of Yorkshire and start walking and I would know my way!  Another odd mystery was Lie To Me by Timothy Findlay.  But I enjoyed it.

While in Boston last weekend for the wedding of my nephew (and what a wonderful celebration that was!) I wandered into Borders bookstore only to find that they had just received the Canadian Kobo readers and were promoting them for a very nice price.  So I bought one.  I haven't used it a lot -in fact have only bought and downloaded one book.  But I think that it will be very useful for overseas travel.  It works outside, which I hear is a disadvantage to some of the others.  And I decided that it needed a little case to protect it.  So whipped one up with some more of my gelatin plate printed fabric.

Monday, August 16, 2010


It has been a slow month for sewing.  I'm in the middle of a hospice quilt - due soon.  Procrastination must be my middle name as I've had it long enough that I shouldn't be down to the wire!  And next will come a few other deadlines - least of which will be the 12 challenge of Reflections.

This is a little piece made for a group quilt.  What I like about it is the use of my gelatin plate printed fabric- I think it worked out rather well and certainly not the usual abstract use!

Summer has been good this year, and August has been especially so - the weather good, the corn delicious, bike rides to markets, and lots of time at the cottage.  Our daughter is back from the UK for a month and there have been birthday parties, and there are weddings to go to.  

It's also been a good time to reflect on my art and how to develop it.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lake Memphremagog Blues

Indigo dyeing is something I've wanted to do for a long time and it was a great to do it with the help and support of a group of friends.  We had 3 days at the cottage and were able to work outside the whole time.

The indigo is synthetic partially reduced granules from ProChem and following the directions on their website, we made up a 20 litre vat.  This shows the stock solution that is about ready to go into the water solution.  The transformation, both of the coppery crust that forms, the limey green that shows underneath, and the colour that emerges after had us feeling like alchemists!

The stock container was slowly submerged and as the contents spilled into the water a navy cloud emerged.

After being submerged for several minutes, this twisted and tied piece of cotton was withdrawn and as you can see it's as green as the glove.  In a couple of minutes the colour had changed (oxidized) to blue.

The gloves (from Dharma) are called Mad Scientist Gloves and reach up over the elbow - and down to the bottom of the vat when something fell to the bottom!

Some of our folded pieces hanging on the line to dry.

And this is what they looked like after they were opened up.

The first piece on the left is pole wrapped cotton, and the next 3 are silk velvet scarves.

Cottons wrapped and stitched in a variety of ways.

Soy wax and various kitchen implements were used to create these designs.  Also a wood block and tjianting tool.  It will look better cut up!

And here we are!  Blue fingers notwithstanding.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Black & White and Red all over

The online group that I participate in had a challenge of producing a 12" square quilt on the theme of "Seeing Red".  This is my effort.

When I started to think about my quilt the Red Shirts were barricading themselves in Bangkok.  And trouble was brewing.  Red is my favourite colour - I think of it as a cheerful thing, lively, energetic, and full of promise.  But throughout our modern history it is a colour that is associated with violence, evil, and oppression.  Which got my goat a bit.  

I've used my fabric that I made during a Rayna Gillman workshop on gelatin plate printing, and the red is my own dyed fabric.  I've embroidered a variety of names such as red shirts, red brigade, khmer rouge, red guard, seeing red, red square, and then racking my brain for the last:  rackham le rouge.  A little humour never hurts.  

Finishing the bike tour

Quintin:  this is the Chambre D'Hôte that we staying in.  A stunning 300 year old house with floors and stairs of granite and huge rooms, and a huge garden out the back.  The owner, a lovely lady, told us tales of growing up in the area, and some of the history of the house, and served us tea in her great room.

Some of the buildings in Quintin

At the L'Abbaye de Bon Repos
This building has the lodging, and the restaurant.  The food was excellent, and we really enjoyed fresh local goat cheese.  

The Abbaye itself - much without roof, and in need of repair.

The final 5 Km run into Gouarec along this beautiful canal.

Gouarec - a town filled with buildings like these.  Quite lovely.  We sat having a coffee just across from these.  Our coffee breaks in the little towns along the way were nice breaks during the ride - often having conversations with the bar owners and patrons in there for their beer (no matter what time of day).
All in all, it was a great 6 days whizzing through the country side.  The bikes were good, the paniers kept our clothes dry, and the route wasn't too difficult.  Now if the rain had been better organized.....

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Biking in Brittany

Here I am on the first leg of our biking trip.  We left our suitcases with Bretagne Bikes and filled our paniers with the clothes that we will need for the next 6 days and off we go!  The first leg from Gourac to Caurel was 14 Km which was a nice easy start.

It gave us time to wander around and see the pretty church in town.  There was a very nice walk that started up behind the church and led to a small shrine and calvary.

We also came across this tiny little section of town that was all stone houses built of slate.  The first one was abandoned, and derelict but as we moved on there were two that were obviously well cared for.  And like many houses in Brittany, were enhanced by the climbing roses and hydrangeas.

This was the magnificent Chambre d'hôtes that we stayed at in Châtelaudren.  And a welcome sight it was after a 50 Km ride in the rain.  Jill Walker, the owner, provided a great breakfast the next day.  And along the way we were warned that food would be hard to get, but when we finally reached a restaurant in Corlay it was filled with workers, and of course, with the shops being shut from 12 to 2 there was a nary a speck in sight.  Thank goodness for granola bars!  We had a very late lunch in the town, and then crashed for a bit.

Here are a few views of the town with it's old waterfall and mill.

Binic was  an 18Km ride.  We started out in the rain, and uphill, but the last 6 km were mostly downhill - a bad sign for the next day's ride!
Here are 2 shots of the harbour - before and after the tide rolling in.

A partial shot of the town, and the coast line.  There is a lovely cliff walk along the top.
To paraphrase Elizabeth Barton, if you've been reading, thanks.  And if you'd like, leave a comment.  More to follow on our bike tour.