Thursday, July 24, 2014

One Thing I Know For Sure...

...nothing beats linen pajamas in the summer. Especially if you are a middle-aged woman. I was lucky enough to pick up a Magnolia Pearl nightshirt at Shelagh Rogers's* yard sale last summer, and believe me, it has been a miracle.

* Shelagh lives on the island. Just down the hill. I'm not supposed to tell.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


I'm too busy to blog these days. But the garden still needs to be watered, and some pretty flowers begged to be photographed. In all their natural and un-Photoshopped glory, I give you:
 A hydrangea.
 A poppy.
Another poppy.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


The setting sun comes through the window at an odd angle these days, illuminating the kerosene lantern. I couldn't get a shot that was in focus for the life of me, but I kind of like the fuzzy ambiance. It's a fairly accurate reflection of life these days.

We have been having a heat wave here, up to 29 degrees Celsius. I know that for most people that is just a nice summer day, but I have totally wilted and can barely summon the strength to sip a glass of iced tea, sit in the dark, and watch murder mysteries on Netflix. Hence my lack of blog posting, or more importantly, the production of anything worth blogging about.

I am moving in two weeks, and haven't even begun to pack. And somehow, months ago, abandoning all common sense, I signed up to be part of an island artist studio tour the weekend before we move, which means I have to clean the house and hang my work in some sort of aesthetically pleasing way. I may not be blogging for a while, or the weather might change and I will have renewed energy and post something interesting everyday. Who knows???

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Much Better

Heather Cameron, Wheel of Life (2014) Hand embroidery, wool, silk and cotton on canvas, 36"x36". Photo by James Emler
Yeah, having a pro photographer in the house sure helps! He did this in one shot. I should get him to do a guest tutorial in lighting and photographing textiles.

Friday, July 11, 2014


My poor neglected blog, please forgive me. I haven't been ignoring you, just busy. Trying to finish this:
I'll get James to take a proper picture later. In the meantime, I finished stretching it around 6 this evening , then my friend Ranza came over and we drank some wine and then took the dogs for a walk around the block. Perfection!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

A Thread Roadblock

Just as I felt like I was zooming towards a finish, the thread goddess decided to give me a smack upside the head and make me properly humble. What happened?

Well, I had actually backed myself into a bit of a corner with my thread choices. To play up the contrast between a smooth, sinuous snake and the wild, furry rodents, I wanted the obvious: silk. But the silk was expensive, and limited in size, and I only had one spool and didn't want to waste it, so I used a fair bit of six-strand embroidery floss and size 8 perle cotton for the heavier lines. To create the right kind of curving line for the snake's scales, however, needed something with a bit more body and weight than the perle.

Silly me first tried the organic weaving cotton that had worked before. It was too thin and sparse looking. Two strands of perle was too heavy. I did have some rayon gimp that was perfect in every way - weight, sheen, body - except that it was red. So I got out the dyepot and attempted an overdye. Either I had misread my burn test for fibre content, or my dyes were too old and weak, but it didn't work. I just got a slightly darker red.

After a brief episode of self-flaggellation that resulted in nothing more than lost time and lowered morale, I went back to the thread bin and pulled out my single precious 10 m. spool of heavy brown silk. To conserve the thread, I couched it down with sewing cotton. Whaddya know? It seems to work!

I have sent James in to town to Stitcher's Muse, where the lovely and helpful owner Dione has stashed away her last two spools of Cinnamon Brown silk for me. Fie on the expense! My time is worth it, not to mention my mental health.

Full speed ahead!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Treasure Trove

James came home today with a big cardboard box full of old sewing notions. It had belonged to a friend's mother and had been in storage forever. The friend thought I might be interested. Boy, did she have my number! I spent the next hour removing petrified rubber bands from bundles of thread saved for "just in case". Such thrift! But there were treasures to be found too.
Wow, a vintage needle book with a design perfect for this weekend's Canada Day celebrations.
I love the spiderweb embossed foil papers. So colourful, like a box of chocolates! And I see the few remaining needles are indeed rust-free, as the caption promises.
Then I found what looks like an even older needlebook.
But it too has the same spiderweb embossed foil papers. Not only are these needles protected against rust, they are made of Swedish steel!
Now, what could be in this tiny felt pouch?
Diamonds!!! James tested them for hardness, and alas, they turned out to be acrylic. But I will save them for a party favour, so fun.
And what does this wee box of French Perfume contain?

 Red plastic beads, of course.
Check out the letter opener with a nattily dressed Fuller Brush man. I'm sure my mom had a couple of these in the desk drawer, they were probably a freebie. Who gets so much mail these days that they need a letter opener?

There was also a little wooden ruler from the American Pencil Company, and seven feet of Corticelli ribbon. (There was also quite a stash of thread, seam binding, elastic, snaps, etc., that were all made in either Canada or the USA. Most of those manufacturers are long gone, or relocated to overseas. I'll do another post featuring some of the wonderful old labels.)
But the sweetest find of all was this little handmade etui, just about 2 inches wide.
Doesn't it just make your heart go pit-a-pat?