Monday, April 30, 2007

New Camera

I ended up not quilting at all yesterday. John, who is not with the only buy used program, found a Fuji camera on sale at Best Buy that was a lot better than the one we have, and a lot cheaper than we paid for the first one, and he decided to buy it. He said I could take better pictures for the blog and Etsy store. I'm sure he's right, but I have to learn to use it. I took a couple of fishing pictures yesterday, but I haven't read how to take them of the camera yet. We hung out at Chris and Richards for awhile, Rich bought Guitar Hero for his PS2. I totally suck at it. Then we went fishing, and back to Chris' for dinner. I started quilting this morning, and I'm about half way done. When I finish I'll take pics and post them.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

This and That

I found directions online how to assemble a Kromski Mazurka spinning wheel, it shows how to attach the treadle to the footman. I'm not going to try and use it til I get it oiled, though. Everything I've read says that wheels need to be oiled fairly often, and I'm sure this one hasn't been oiled in years.
I am going to try and dye some more of the blue fabric to be a border for the landscape piece. I had a bit left, but I don't think it's enough. It should be pretty easy to recreate, I used 1/4 tsp. of dye in 1 c. of water. I fused the flowers down yesterday morning; I'd like to get it finished today and tomorrow. I have some boxes of stuff that can go to Irene's today, and I'm going to make John bring them over there. I think Chris is painting today, but if he's done in time, maybe we can go fishing. When I came home from Joan's yesterday there was a bucket of minnows, John stopped for them on the way home. It's nice to have the little fridge downstairs now, we can use it for bait. There will be a lot of little things I miss about this place; mostly the closeness of the stores and the wetlands right behind here. I'll still come over sometimes, especially for the raspberries and the dyeing materials. I still believe it's the best thing though. It will be good for Irene to have us over there, and it will be good for us, too. I'd like to think we can save a bit by being there, although as I told John, we can pay most of the bills, his mom can buy her food and pay a bit of her mortgage and maybe if she calls Mary or Linda; but we can pay the bulk.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Spinning Wheel

I spent the afternoon with Joan, and I feel a bit guilty. I didn't help her do much of anything and I brought home her grandmothers spinning wheel. It's a castle type, it looks like it was well used, the wood is wearing away on the front of the treadle. But it still turns quite nicely. I have it all together but haven't hooked the footman to the treadle, I can't figure out how. It hooks right on to the fly wheel, but I can't figure out if it ties on or what. So I am going to look for directions. Anyway, I'm anxious to get started now. Joan said we should all dress up in costume and bring the spinning wheel, the loom and a treadle down to work for our sidewalk sale. We can all dress up and do little demos. That would be fun, if I learn to spin by then.

Friday, April 27, 2007


Well, everything started out pretty good. I found a print that was in the fabric I got from Bonnie last year that had bands of grass interspersed with other landscape elements. They were only about half as wide as I needed, but I just overlapped 2 bands that I cut from the fabric. There were also some stones in the same fabric and I put bits of them at the bottom of the quilt. I had some really nice pink daisy print fabric and some tiny narcissus on another piece (again, both from Bonnie), which also looked nice. The flowers were too big in the piece I was originally thinking of. I had a green batik to use for some grass and flower stems, and I cut the stems on the bias so I could bend them when I put them down. I got everything arranged and glued in place, and started sewing. When I got to my first flower, it frayed. I didn't use fusible because in the book they recommend not to, although I know I've heard of fusing the elements down. I wish I had now. The only Wonder Under I have is heavy duty, I'll get some regular tomorrow. At least I don't have a lot to take off, only the flowers. I'll just cut out new ones and fuse them on.

Getting Started

I've read everything I can get my hands on, and I think for a practice piece I am going to do something like the Black Eyed Susans quilt in the book Landscape Quilts. I realize I don't know much about shading and light, and if I recreate something, it will give me a feel. I think I am going to do just a bunch of different flowers, though, instead of just the Black Eyed Susans. I have a piece of fabric that has a lot of different wildflowers on a black background so I'll start with that. Then I'll start going through my stash for leaves and grasses. I need one other fabric for the bottom foilage, I may not have one. The sky will be the blue I dyed yesterday. I have to find my fabric paints, I have some somewhere; I haven't used them in so long I'm not sure where I put them. What I don't have is a glue stick and some really sharp small scissors. When John comes home we need to go to the post office anyway, so I'll get them then. I'm pretty excited now that I know what I want to do. I'll take pics and post them as I go along. I also may do a bit more dyeing this afternoon.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Just What I Was Looking For

I did a search for landscape quilts and found this wonderful blog from a Nfld. quilter. And she has a nice worksheet of tips on her blog, too. This is going in the sidebar, too. Her work is amazing!

Hand Dyed Cottons

Well, I tried the hand dyeing technique and I'm pretty happy with the results considering this is the first time I've done it. I posted some pics of the process, and there are a couple of things I'll do next time. I did 2 pieces of white fabric and one of grey.I should have used a bit more dye and I think my colors would have been a bit more brilliant. These are ok, especially the blue over the grey; I think it will make a nice background for an evening sky. The lighter grey and magenta reminds me of dawn a bit, too, so I can probably use that one.There are bits of yellow like maybe the sun is starting to come up. The pinky magenta came out ok, too, I'm just not sure what I'll use it for. Anyway, next time I'll use more dye. I also could leave it to set a bit longer. She said in her directions that an hour is enough, but I know when I've tie dyed, the longer the dyes react with the fixative, the brighter the color. I mixed turquoise, magenta and a smidge of black for the blue dye, and poured some of it over all 3 pieces of fabric. That's all I did to the grey, but one of the white pieces got some yellow poured on it after the blue, and the other got some magenta. I can definitely see where the blue dye started to separate back into the colors it was made from. Next time I'm going to go for a bit more brilliance, and see if I can't get a bit more control on how the end result turns out.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Another Dyeing Technique

I'm trying this in the morning. I think I can get some nice backgrounds for some landscape quilting experiments. If it wasn't so late I'd try it tonight.

Landscape Quilting

I had a tour bag I was working on that I was going to finish up today, but I screwed the buttonholes for the casing up so I put it off to the side. I will have to remake the patchwork band for the casing and I don't have time before work, so I'll do it in the morning.

I was listening to a song by a Newfoundlander called Salt Water Joys, and as often happens, one line from the song just kind of stuck as inspiration for something else. The line is "The ocean smells are perfume to my soul". It conjures up so much for me. I thought of what I could do with those images and feelings as far as a mat goes, but last year I ran across an article in QNM about a quiltmaker from St. Johns who does these absolutely wonderful landscape quilts. She has the ability to create the imagery down so perfectly. Her name is Karen Colbourne Martin, and a search for her on the internet brought me nothing, as did a search for Nfld. quiltmakers. Anyway, I took pictures of the pics from the magazine and that's what I'm showing here. Her work is fantastic and shows outport life in such detail. They look like pictures, not like quilts.I do not for a second believe I can do anything anywhere close to this, I am thinking maybe something on a much smaller scale. The article says that she projects pictures onto muslin and draws a full size design, and then makes her patterns from that. I am going to take a look at some of the photos I have and see what might work. I bought a book about landscape quilting quite awhile ago, I'll dig that out too.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Finally Feeling Better

I have been dealing with the worst abscessed tooth I can ever remember having; it has been pure hell at times. The infection has been really stubborn and was not responding well to the antibiotic so I had to go back yesterday and have it changed. I also couldn't get anything that seemed to work for the pain, I had a prescription for Vicadon and I took them all, all they did was put me to sleep, and I'd wake up 2 hours later in pain again.Large doses of Advil seems to do the trick, and I can take 4 at a time every 4-6 hours. I'm finally feeling way better this morning. It still hurts a bit, but not anywhere close to what it did. While I don't know about spending the day in the basement, or dyeing my roving today, I definitely feel up to working on Siobhan's mat. Maybe I'll get it finished.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Bunch of Stuff

I've had the radio on all morning, and listened to the news coming from Virginia Tech. What do you say in the face of something like this? They'll be talking about it for awhile. I can't begin to imagine how the families of the kids feel. It's a terrible thing, but I really hope it helps to change the gun laws in this country. If that happens, at least something good will have come from this.
I was going to sew but I think I'll sit outside, the weather is warm and sunny. I have some embroidery I want to try, so maybe I'll do that.
I finally sold another bag on Etsy, just when I thought I wasn't going to sell anything else, and we have decided to move in with John's mom. She needs someone to help her out monetarily, and since the housing market has tanked, it's pretty obvious her house will not sell. So the best solution seems to be us going there. I figure this will be, at the very least, for 3 years, although I suspect it's for the duration, however long that seems to be. There are some pluses, my work space will double so fitting a loom and spinning wheel will not be a problem. And my garden will be a nice size. John and I will loose some privacy, but we've only been alone since December when Siobhan moved, and sometimes I really miss her, so that's not a really big deal to me. The house is farther away from any stores, but I can still walk up to one. All in all I think it will be better for Irene and for us.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Day Off

We used to watch a great show which unfortunately was only on for 3 seasons, called Sportsnite. In my opinion it was one of the best comedy shows ever. One of the characters on the show had a great social conscience, but one day he decided to take the day off. Well, I decided to take yesterday off, and I did fairly well. We went fishing and Chris brought up Imus, but I didn't really consider that as breaking the day off policy. In the face of peak oil, climate change, and the end of civilization as we know it, Imus is nothing.
Anyway, I read Kunstlers post this morning, some times the commentary is as interesting as the post.One of the comments was that young people have the baby boomers to blame for the current situation. I'm not sure that I agree with that. I do believe that the boomers totally dropped the ball on pretty much everything, however, they were brought up as kids believing that resources were endless. They saw and ultimately bought into, the American Dream just like everybody else. During the 60's, while a very few people may have been aware of the fact that the American Dream was not going to be sustainable for all that long, most people had no clue. It was just the tiniest bleep on most people's radar. It wasn't til the oil shocks of the 70's that it began to get a bit more attention. I can remember Jimmy Carter sitting in the White House with his sweater on to encourage people to turn down the thermostats. And even then, once that little crisis was passed, people were told to go back to business as usual. No, it's not the boomers fault. I think there are a couple of reasons why this is something that doesn't get the attention it should. One reason is because a lot of people don't want to know. It is really one of the scariest things, ever. And maybe nuclear weapons are just as scary, but this is different. At the very worst, it means the end of the human race, total extinction, and while I don't believe that will happen, it's something that could happen. And, if it doesn't, how many people want to think that the life they are living is going to have to end? We truly live a life that at any other period in history would be considered magical. We have more of everything and an easier time of it than anyone else in the world ever has. Who wants to think that way of life has to disappear? When the ramifications of no more oil are really looked at, it's terrifying. The way it affects food production alone is bad enough. They say that the average salad travels 2100 miles, and for every calorie of food that are eaten, 10 calories of energy are expended in it's production. Any other species in nature that took 10 times the energy to hunt it's food as it got from eating it would become extinct rather quickly. Because we have had this bonus of fossil fuels we've been able to disregard one of the basic rules of nature. Most people don't want to look at the implications of that. I know I certainly don't. Major famines and starvation are not part of the rosy future I had in mind. And throw global warming in there with it's climate changes, and the situation gets even worse. Places that were once arable land and could be farmed may very well become unusable. And that's why ethanol isn't an answer. At some point I believe that the choice will have to be made: Do we feed people or cars?
Or what about not freezing in the winter? How are we going to deal with not having natural gas or electric run furnaces to keep ourselves and our families from freezing to death? I actually think if you can afford to put solar panels on your house you should do it now, not just for conservation, but because this may very well become a huge benefit in the future. I think a lot of people may turn to burning wood, which will still emit carbon into the air, plus will result in massive deforestation, which in turn will just make matters worse. Again, not exactly a fun thought.
Then there's medical advances. A lot of our medicines and health care depend on technology that is only possible with an easy source of energy. I think a lot of diseases are going to make a comeback, and we will not have the resources to deal with that. Who wants to think about that? Who wants to think that their descendants may die of scarlet fever or diphtheria, diseases that our kids have been vaccinated for? Again, this is not a comfortable line of thought.
I could go on and on, but I won't. But these are all really hard things to look at and while it's not right to not want to face those things, it's understandable. I know I stuck my head in the sand for a few months, and every once in awhile I still do because the implications are just too scary.
Politicians certainly don't want to be the bearers of such bad news. It would probably mean the end of their careers. Global warming is an issue now, and people are beginning to do things to reduce their impact on the planet, but it may be too little too late. And out here in suburbia, where I am, I would say that things really haven't changed much. I don't see many people walking or biking or riding the bus up and down Roosevelt. However, I believe that the current administration is totally aware that we are at or soon will be at, the world peak of oil production. As has been pointed out in almost all blogs and websites dealing with peak oil, Matt Simmons was the Bush families energy investment advisor. They know, which is why we are in Iraq. And in the future, we may very well have more resource wars to look forward to. The escalation of that scenario isn't something that's really easy to face, either.
I have to say that I believe we can come out of this and be better off for it. But we need to start planning now. We need to face that our lives are going to have to change, a species cannot use resources to the extent that humans have and expect to survive. But I think we can change for the better. We are going to have to go back to a much lower tech way of life. A lot of the busy-ness that we consider "work" and "leisure" is going to have to end. We are going to have to re-invent the way we do things, but we can have a better life by doing that. I think that's the message that has to be spread, and if it can be, people will be open to change. And if we start soon enough we can be ready for the end of the oil age. We can make a lot of new jobs with people working on solar and wind power, and people installing the necessary infrastructure for that. We can totally overhaul our railway system for transport, and it can be run on electricity. Some people say we may have sailing ships with GPS on board. And as the world becomes less and less globalized and more and more local, there will be jobs created right here as we re-learn how to make the things we need again. I believe we can still live a good life, and pass that on to our children and grandchildren. But we have to start now. I know it's hard to tell people, and while I have told some people, it isn't easy, and they don't always believe it.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Baby hat

We are planning on doing our local towns summer craft show which they do in combination with the summer festival, and I have been trying to think of something that will sell well and be relatively inexpensive, and I think I am going to make some baby and little kid hats. I made a test bonnet this morning and modeled it on Debbie for the pictures. This was easy to put together and didn't take long. A third of a yd. will make this bonnet which is lined with the same fabric. I interlined with white muslin, it really didn't need it but the pattern called for it. So it cost a little less than $3 to make, took about an hour and a half, and I know I can get at minimum $10 although I think $12 is what I'll start at.I have several hat patterns, so I'll spend the next couple of days making them.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Free Hugs

I was cleaning out my bookmarks, and I came across this. It was on one of the Yahoo groups I belong to, and when I first saw it months ago, it made me get just a bit teary eyed. I watched it again just now with the same results, and I don't want to forget about it.
Plus, the music is really good, too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Spring Snow

Well, this is certainly unusual for this time of the year.I know we've had snow late in the year, but I can't remember the last time it was this late. Does this have anything to do with global warming? I don't know.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hungry piggies and a cushion cover

Here are Little One, Pumpkin and Jasmine waiting for breakfast this morning. They are so cute, as soon as they hear me in the kitchen they start letting me know it's breakfast time. Jasmine is a bad girl sometimes, I have to pick her up so her sisters can eat in peace.

I just finished this cushion cover, I need a pillow form to go in it. It will be about 14" square. I'm not sure if I like it or not, it's a bit busy. I have such a stash of oriental fabrics, though. I need to think of something else to do with them.

Etsy Store

I realized this morning that there is not a link to my Etsy store in the side bar, so I added one. If you don't want to scroll all the way down the page, here it is too:

Monday, April 09, 2007

Another new bag

I just finished this, and I might keep it. I have a new backpack, but my purse is beginning to show a lot of wear. I'll think about it for a day or two, and then either keep it or put it in the store.

Bad Shopping

I just read this excellent article on how bad shopping is for the planet in a UK newspaper.,,2052490,00.html The article points out that if we continue to consume at the rate we do now, by the end of this century we will have a planet that is totally inhabitable. It doesn't mention the buying used option, which is the one I am trying to stick to as much as possible. It does mention the waste of food that happens all the time, and although John and I have gotten better at that over the years, I still throw out more than I should. If I shopped for what I need one day at a time, I wonder how much I would cut down on waste. Obviously somethings I couldn't do that with, such as a box of cereal, but with meat and fruits and veggies, and some dairy I could. The article says that in Britain people throw out thier weight in garbage every 7 weeks, how much higher is that figure here? It also gives some really good resources on the net to help break the buying as recreation habits that we have. All in all an excellent article.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter and Shopping Bags

We are having dinner at Richard and Chris' today. It's really cold, not at all spring like. We have been having some wintery weather the last few days. It was just so warm two weeks ago, too! The weather forecast is for colder than average for the next week.

Here are some pics of some of the shopping bags I've made. They are all from organic cotton, and are really easy. I am going to make a smaller one to use for a lunch bag when I go to work. I also have 3 plain ones made from organic hemp, which I am giving to Carla. She was talking about the flourescent light bulbs, too. She wants to buy a bunch and hand them out for free to people, which is a good idea, too. I didn't mean to put the flowered one twice! I can't figure out how to get rid of it.

On another note, my boss and I had been noticing for the last month or so that sewing machines had been missing at work. We suspected who it was, and thanks to the input from a couple of other people, along with our own knowledge, we put 2 and 2 together and caught her. She had been pawning the machines, and I searched for them on E-bay, the pawn shop had 5 of them listed on E-bay and all together they had 9 machines. The police were called and they went over to the pawn shop and sure enough, she had signed whatever it is you have to sign when you pawn something. She knew something was up because she left the store, she had listened in on a conversation with Mr. Skeen and the police and I guess realized they knew who had done it. They did not arrest her though, I guess because it was Easter weekend and so late in the day on Friday, they couldn't get to a judge to issue a warrant. I wasn't sure if Hancock would press charges, but last I heard they are going to, the $ amount makes it a felony. I feel bad for her 2 kids, but luckily they have a wonderful grandmother who is willing to take care of them.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Hand dyed roving

Ok, I dyed half of the roving this morning. I actually found directions here: I read them and then made a few changes. First off, I didn't dye as much as she did, and I only used 3 colors. I took the roving I was going to dye and divided it into 4 equal pieces, I'd say they were about 36 inches each.I wound them into bundles and soaked the wool for an hour in the sink. I didn't have any plastic wrap, I hardly ever buy the stuff, but I did have some plastic grocery bags, I cut them open and used them with the printed side down in case any of the ink they print with should happen to run.Before I started to dye, I boiled some water and then put it in a pan I use for oven dyeing, put a wire rack over it and put it in the oven at 250 degrees. I kind of had to lay the pieces of roving doubled up on the grocery bags. I then poured the dye on and squished it through with my hands. I pulled the sides of the plastic bag over the roving, rolled it up and put it in the oven to steam for about an hour. I turned the oven down to 150 degrees when I put the roving in. I used Cushings green, aqua green, and peacock blue, and I think the coloring looks nice. There are a few spots where there is no dye, but it should blend in and maybe give it a bit of a heathery look when I actually start to spin. I know there is a drop spindle floating around somewhere, and although I'm not really very good at it, I'm tempted to spin a bit with it once the roving is dry.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Look what I got!

It still smells a bit like farm, but that's ok. Tomorrow I hand paint! Yay!

Another link and shopping bags

Here's another link today, which I will also add to the side bar:

I also had an idea. I have made a couple of shopping bags for myself, one is hemp, and the other is organic cotton. I'm thinking of selling them to raise money for an organization that uses the money to spread the word about peak oil and or climate change. I don't know which one yet, I have to do some investigating first. The Climate Crisis Coalition may be the one, although I asked both Carla and Melissa for advice. Actually, Gregory having a job as a community liason for one of the (I think) representatives for NY, might be able to make sure that which ever organization(s) I am looking at are on the up and up. So Melissa, when you read this blog and talk to Gregory ask him if he would do that, or if he knows of anyone who is doing a really good job to educate he public.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Crude Impact

I just finished watching this movie for the second time, this time with John. I watched it by myself the other day. It really is an excellent movie; it talks about all the areas where humans have had an impact on the earth and other species because of fossil fuel, about how global warming, the global economy and the energy crisis are all interrelated, and how just small things can make a difference if every one does them. One of the things it said was that if every one just replaced 1 regular light bulb with a fluorescent bulb, there would be 1 billion less lbs. of carbon released every year and that's like taking 1 million cars off the road. That's astounding! Another thing was that if you tell people that they are going to have to sacrifice and give things up they usually do not want to listen and make the changes that will be necessary. But if you can convince them that changes will lead to a better quality of life for them and their children and grandchildren, they will make those changes. One thing that Americans don't always grasp is that many European countries have high living standards and yet they consume about 1/2 of the amount of resources that Americans do. And I don't think people really want to use up everything and not leave resources for coming generations. If you asked, I'm sure most people would say that helping to insure that their descendants enjoyed a good quality of life is important. Of course one of our biggest issues is transportation, and it's a really difficult one to get around. But as oil becomes more expensive and it becomes obvious that there really is no miracle energy source out there, I think other things will happen. I think more people will work from home, I think communities will be formed that are walkable and bikeable, I think we'll take stock of how we live and how we work, and we'll form sustainable communities. And I think that in doing that we will be creating a quality of life that will be better. One of the points the movie made was that we seem to think that if 1 thing makes us happy then 2 will make us twice as happy, and 4 will make us twice as happy again. However, there have been studies done and on average a person today is no more happier than one in 1950, even though the person today consumes 2/3's more than the one from 1950. Quality of life doesn't depend on having stuff, although people often seem to think it does. Anyway, it's an excellent movie. I'd like to order a few copies and give them to people to watch. The movie's website can be found here: or it can be watched online here: I'm going to add both links to my side bar.