Saturday, April 18, 2020

All the Time in the World Now Until I Run Out of Blue

This isolation thing is strange.  Now that I have time to do whatever I have materials on hand for, often there is no desire to do it.  But I forced myself to do a little painting and once I got going it was fun.  There are no end of tutorials out there that explain things, and I did a lot of copycat art in just a few days.
I have many part bottles of acrylic paint and decided that the saying is true, The only paint that is wasted is what remains in the tube, unused.
I had a stash of canvases garnered from years of experimental painting, and a few picked up from the Reuse Center in Edmonton.  So I took plain old wall paint and gave them a good coat.  I put enough on the first one, as you can see, to scrape off and put on the second. I brushed it out as smoothly as I could and set them aside to dry.  There is a certain amount of texture that shows through but this is a learning curve. Reuse, repurpose, and so on.
Then I went to my Pintrest file where I saved all the paintings I loved and throwing inhibitions to the wind, followed the tutorials.
This one was off a site of Paint With Len Hend.  He has a number of free tutorials that are quite easy to follow, and I learned three valuable lessons from him. 
1. Keep cleaning your brush
2. Dark colours to the corners and
3. Good enough is good enough. If you can't cover it with a tree don't muck with it.  Carry on.
He says in this particular video to make the painting your own.  Well, the general form and the background followed his but when it came to brush refused to paint Aussie trees and made spruce instead.  Oh well.
I need to learn to subdue the colours a bit but I'm learning.
This one is kind of a memory picture of the creek that ran past our farm. The one acrylic I didn't copy.

This was my last painting and I think I was getting a little tired after about four days of intense work and I don't like it as well.  I think I will try again one day when I replenish my supply of blue.  I only have cerulean and turquoise left and while they are beautiful colours they don't always work out.

One day while visiting on Facetime I brewed two teabags into a small cup of water and forced myself to put down layer after layer of tea, allowing it to dry in between.  A good lesson in patience for someone who likes to smack down thick paint and push it around with a palette knife.
Interesting, but very unstable, if it gets a drop of water the tea dissolves and remakes the shapes.  

Friday, November 29, 2019

Keeping It Fresh

When we moved to town it bothered me that circumstance made it difficult to have a garden.  I resented buying onions, potatoes, zucchini, carrots, and various other things that indisputably taste better fresh from the garden.  But it is what it is.
Then I developed a new peeve.  Green onions that cost an exorbitant amount for 6 pieces, and that either turned to slime or withered pathetically in the crisper. Mini cucs that became listless and tired after a couple of days. Mushrooms that aged faster than I am these days.
And somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered an old friend telling me that she poured her milk into glass jars to make it last longer and taste better.  Hmm. At the time I had to make effort to keep up with buying gallon jugs of milk but now that its only us two chickens here I find that milk does indeed keep better transferred over to glass jars.  Great use for those two quart sealers that are too big for canning these days. Although I found a two person milk jug with lid at VVillage that is perfect for the table and easy on the hands to carry across the kitchen.

Mushrooms.  Ten days in, and should be used soon.

White onions peeled and cut into 1/6  pieces.  I just take out one chunk and I'm ready to go. The pieces don't dehydrate and separate like they do in plastic wrap.  I figured the salad topping and the bacon bits might as well be in glass too. I am partial to fat little barrel shaped jars.

Mini cucs in an IKEA glass storage container.  Used the last two this morning.  They kept 10 days.  The celery about the same, although the ends are getting a little brown.  The green onions, incredibly, are over two weeks in that jar and doing fine.  I wash them immediately on getting home, take off any icky parts, and cut off roots and ends, and any damage that might harbour bacteria.  Then I chop them and store in this cute little jar.  Then if I want to add a half cup to a salad...they are ready to use.  If I want to garnish a bit of snack, three pieces are easy to extract. If a piece or two are becoming less than fresh they stick to the side of the jar, making it easy to wipe out. In a plastic jar they begin to spoil after 4 or 5 days. In a plastic bag...don't even bother!

I love my vintage milk jug.

This one is a new experiment.  I bought two kinds of cheese at Costco as I don't get into town a lot.  Over ten days and the cheese that I stripped of plastic wrap and cut to fit a pyrex storage dish, ironically with a plastic lid, and it hasn't dried out yet. One little corner might be showing signs but its been a long time.  Next time I am going to brush the surface with canola oil and see it that helps.

This too is a new idea, gleaned from someone we were catering a lunch with.  Peel the garlic and cover with grapeseed oil which is said not to go thick when cold.  Just did it this morning and I will see how it goes.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Half Log Cabin Quilt, Scrappy Style

I have been collecting shirts for a bit.  Men's shirts. Girls shirts.  Orange shirts and plaid shirts. A pair of orange denim pants that belonged to my daughter but no longer fit. But it turns out that I had more imagination than shirts.  And guys are notoriously clingy to their plaid shirts, shabby, ripped and otherwise. I love sewing shirts into quilts.  I use the button bands, and collars, and cuffs, and pockets, and every label I can work in.   Buttons on quilts bring me joy.  But the shirts supply was low. So I dipped into the scrap pile.  And the bought but never used batik strip collection and came up with something I find very pleasing. So the beginning square is from the orange jeans. The backing is cut from a set of flannel plaid sheets that are still good but no longer used.
It feels good to be sewing again.
But there are some other things that made me very pleased.
My son cut me plastic templates in specific sizes from some scrap plastic I had on hand.  The one I am using for this quilt is 15 inches square,  and I bought a suction handle from Amazon that works amazingly well. I have accuracy issues and this helps me keep to a size.

 Two. The bulb on my machine burned out but in my online travels I found this LED light strip designed for under a sewing machine and for people with failing close up eyesight.  I didn't bother replacing the little bulb that burned out.

Three. I found variegated thread to quilt with.  I was SO excited that it was the right colours.

And so I begin.  But that's normal.  Let's see if I can finish it.

Number one. Forty to go.

The pile grows.

No floor space in the house to lay out the pieces properly but all 41 are quilted and ready to sew together. This is the scary part.  Will everything match up?
Binding is cut and pressed
corners are mitered

Here we are, washed and partially dried.  The dryer can't cope with heavier things that are one piece, but it gave it its best shot, and it will finish by air drying. Thought I'd never finish but for once I pushed through and it is done.

And here we are. Washed, dried, delivered, and made up on the bed for which it was intended.
They like it, and it has been cat scanned and approved for use.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Sewing/Emergency Kit

An old wallet.  Well, not too old, but no longer used.  It holds needles, thread, pins, scissors, sharpie, sticky notes, shirt buttons, individual wet wipes, and nail clippers.  I keep it in the vehicle to fix little emergencies.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Art Quilt

I learned today that what I made my youngest daughter after we left the farm was actually an art quilt.  I called it a memory quilt.  I guess it could be both. It included a cat, a guitar, campfire, green grasses, trees, flowers, sunflowers, goldfish, moose, trees, an eagle and blue sky with white clouds to remind her of what she grew up with.
I named it rachelus retrospectus because we spent a lot of time making up words to suit us from Latin roots.

Monday, January 21, 2019

The Pink String Quilt

Used up most my pink scraps making this quilt.  So very cosy to nap under.

 The back is of pieced flannelette and pink corduroy strips, 8 inches wide.  The binding is pink gingham.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Latest Rag Stash Buster Quilt

I finished a quilt.  Actually start to finish in about 2 weeks.  Amazing what sewing can get done when your DH goes farming.

 I planned it to use up the multiplicity of fabric scraps of 40+ years of sewing for a family.  Yes, I used up a lot.
The denim squares had been precut.  A couple years ago I had a stack of old jeans to get rid of, so I sliced them open, and standing at the snack bar in the kitchen, ran a bic pen and a couple of sharpies dry cutting them to 6 1/2 inches  (the size of the acrylic square I own).  I piled them up in a drawer and what joy to take out accurately cut denim, ready to go.
One square out of every four patch was backed with a different print, I drew on a star from a template made out of a large margarine lid. and I sewed around it.  Then I carefully cut out each star, leaving a margin to clip and fray, and sewing the little guy on the opposite corner of the four patch, and I was surprised at how quickly that went.
The backs were string quilted to a very thin worn out old sheet cut to 6 1/2 inches, and then I sewed them together back to back.  The clipping took a bit of time.  I actually face timed my daughter and while she worked on a painting I did a lot of the clipping and mercifully I don't even remember the amount of work it was. It was a great visit!
I always cold fluff dry the quilt before I wash it, and then washed it twice.  The amount of lint it produces is horrifying but it looks soooo good.  I am imagining that it will be the cover of choice for one of my grandsons when they visit.

Don't say I didn't warn you...there will be lint. Plan on being around to clean out the lint screen every 15 minutes or so.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Late Summer Garden Crazy

My DIL has a fantastic garden, wild with veggies and flowers and experimental plantings and due to circumstance it has been on its own for a bit.  Everything went a little crazy and grew together with wild abandon.  All her children and the neighbor's cat are able to disappear into it. She invited me to pick myself a bouquet and what a delight it was to fill a container with all sorts of wonderful blooming things. 
Of course, in true show-it-off-internet-fashion I don't have pictures of the weeds, the yellow belly cucumbers or the gargantuan zucchini that lurk under the leaves. I share with you the things that thrilled me and showed up wonderfully in the cool evening air.