Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Day One & Two

Perhaps by the end of this trip, Howard will be more familiar with how to take flattering pictures of me. So far, not so much. I just showed him these images and we discussed what might work better - LOL - like I'm a photography expert but...

These were the outfits for day one and two. Travelling, I wore my Burda jeans, a black lace RTW top, a grey with black polka dot RTW cardigan, and my closed shoes. Normally when I travel by plane, I find the cabin cold. NOT. Both of us boiled and have decided to dress lighter on the way home. For our first tour day, I wore the Simplicity denim pencil skirt, the sleeveless blouse that I said I wasn't packing but did because it's colorful, and the thrifted turquoise cardigan that lasted only til mid morning since they are having record sunshine and warmth here in the Netherlands.

We arrived in Amsterdam almost at dinner time and - luckily for us - our chauffeur went to the wrong dock and then had to drive us across town so we did get a car tour but no time in the city. I can see now why we might have opted for the pre-trip days in Amsterdam only our budget and our ability to be away from home that long wasn't up to it.

Above is half the ship. Our cabin is on the lower deck of big windows just above the small windows. We have a balcony and float about four feet above the water. I like this view. It looks directly at the water and shoreline. A floor down, and we'd have no view and a floor up and we'd always have to look down. I'm glad we made this choice.

Today we went on a tour of the UNESCO world heritage site windmills. There are nineteen, three of which are still functional. Our tour guide - Ada - was incredibly knowledgeable with a friendly smile and great sense of humour. I was intrigued by how happy she was to volunteer to support the site. It was more genuine than I've experienced before and in an "of course we're happy to do that" kind of way like there's no question.

We had a lecture at the workshop about the windmills and wooden shoes which are made from willow. I learned that - unlike where I live - willows are very welcome here because they love water and there is so much of it. The wood is made into shoes because it's soft and scuffs up and won't slip on the ground. Wooden shoes always seemed clunky to me and yet they are perfect for this climate since they only sink somewhat into the wet ground and stay on top better than traditional shoes would... and stay cleaner.

We toured the museum windmill. It's number three and contains pictures from the fifth windmill which has been inhabited by ten generations of the same family and is still operational. The family provided the pictures that were on display - of a family with thirteen children living in one small building. It makes me wonder how introverts survived in those days. Perhaps they had to go for a walk along the dike to get alone time. I would have loved to go for a bike ride on the dike.

The view of the windmill in the distance was taken from the second to top floor of the windmill we toured. We were not allowed to the top floor. There were a lot of very steep stairs that were worth climbing with caution. You had to go up and down them with your nose to the stairs and hold on to the railings. Such a peaceful setting.

Right now, the boat is making its way to Cologne. We'll cross the border into Germany around eight o'clock tonight and tomorrow tour the town. I will post when I can. The Internet is intermittent and temperamental. If there are some strange half finished what is she talking about postings, that's why and I'll correct as soon as possible.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - safe travel, no issues, my baggage arrived with me

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Magic Dress

Yesterday, I vacuumed and dusted and tomorrow after getting dressed we'll do the bathrooms and then it's breakfast with friends, coffee with our boys, and off to Vancouver. We fly out Sunday afternoon. Once I see how the cruise is organized, I'll post how things are going. They say the internet service is intermittent so between that and being busy it may not be every day but hopefully a few times.

I packed the magic dress - Vogue 1410. I took this dress to the Design Outside the Lines retreat and at least half the class tried it on - all body types and a wide range of sizes - and it looked fabulous on everyone. I highly recommend giving the pattern a try. I've made it with sleeves and without and next I want to try piecing the fabric.

I'm packing two skinny and small knitting projects - as in skinny yarn and small needles so the scarves will take a considerable amount of time. This denim blue is a cashmere silk blend that I've double stranded. I'll work on the project today at the knitting group in Salmon Arm and by the time we get to the plane, it'll be well and started.

I packed a book light just in case I'm knitting while everyone else is sleeping and some sleep aids and a microbead travel pillow hoping I will sleep and not even noticed that I'm locked in a tin can with a million other people. Did I mention that I don't like to fly. I'm not afraid. I just don't like it.

Wendy asked for the leaf pattern. I got it from the tree project organizer but when I did a search, I found it on Ravelry. It's the Mountain Laurel Leaf - a free knitting pattern by Bonnie Sennott. You can vary the size depending on how many rows you knit after the increases and before the decreases. They're fun in a whole range of different yarns.

This morning I'm taking Miss Chloe for a long walk, then journal writing, then a trip to Salmon Arm to look at more real estate and knit with the group, and then last minute packing. Only one more sleep. YES YES!

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - only one more sleep

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Two Rings

Last night, I organized the stash and cleaned the studio so that when I get back from my trip it's ready to go. It takes me way longer to get back in the flow if I leave it a mess because while I might not have enough energy to clean up, I may have enough to stitch something. Or perhaps to...

... work on a piece of jewelry. This piece was started in Ashland. It's sitting on the desk waiting to be next. With it, I'll practice inserting bits and piece and twisting the cord in different directions. It may end up a pin or a pendant. The main fabric is the same as the scarf I'm working on.

Claire had asked for a closer image of the turquoise beads. I don't have one. None of the pictures I'd taken have come out well so I'll need to take the finished piece - when it's finished - outside in the sun to get a better shot. These beads are starts. We'll see where they go.

Diane loves sticks and a lot of her pieces contain elements of wood. I picked these up wandering through the park. I find myself looking down just a little bit more. The other day, I picked up a really interesting bent nail.

This is one of Diane's pieces. They're amazing. You can turn them over and over in your hand and think you've gotten the details and that you could do something like that and then you see the picture and wonder what is that... and that... and that. And it's okay because the image and the essence are enough to keep pushing forward and to create my own version of textile jewelry.

As you know, jewelry is one of my favourite souvenirs. Typically I buy necklaces because I only wear one ring only mine has been catching like crazy lately and when I took it to the jeweler, he said the claws needed replacing so for now I'm ring-less.  I didn't want to lose the stone. I'd already decided to buy a ring as a souvenir of our cruise so I'll see what I find and decide about fixing the other one from there. And have two rings... how fun!

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a clean studio

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wait Not Rush & Buy Not Sew

Do what you know you should do, and you will know what to do. God clarifies in the midst of obedience not beforehand. - Chasing Daylight, Erwin Raphael McManus

On Monday, when we got home from viewing the condo and house,  neither of which was right for us, Howard was quite exhausted. I really feel that God is calling me to move in that direction and yet when I see how difficult that may be for Howard, I wonder if I'm being selfish only every time I think it through and weigh out what I know, it comes back to being the right decision so I'm trusting that all will unfold as it's meant to and we'll end up with the scenario that is right for us. Even so...

... yesterday, was one of those off days when you're not exactly unhappy and you're not excessively sad. It was a thought processing day spent mostly on the couch knitting leaves. The group in Salmon Arm is making a HUGE knitted tree to be exhibited in the art gallery in the fall. So far the roots and the bark have been knit and now they're aiming to collect a million leaves.

The style of leaf I chose takes about ten minute to put together. So far, I've knit seven turquoise, six lime, and four pink. They're like chips - you keep popping them because they're so easy to knit while talking or watching TV. I'll clean up the ends this afternoon while at my friend Rosemarie's and then knit some more. It's a great way for me to be involved and part of the community.

I talked to my daughter yesterday and the nursery is not ready for the things I have so I opted to finish the bunting bags when I get home from my trip when I'll have more time to enjoy the process rather than rush. AND... along the same path... no sewn raincoat. I shopped instead. Kamloops is a semi-dessert area and the weather people are predicting temperatures of 41 Celsius on Sunday. It's not exactly a hot bed of raincoats but I did find this lightweight silver coat on sale 50% off. The style is not as fun as the one I;m sewing. Oh well. Good and enough. I'll finish the sewn one when I get back and - LOL - go from no raincoat to two raincoats in one year. Too funny.

We packed our suitcases on Monday night. Or Howard did at least. Mine is more test packed. I've been filling holes and swapping out a few things all week. I noticed that none of the sweaters I planned to take had closures so I went to the thrift shop yesterday and bought this black cape with cuffs. I'm not overly fond of the buttons and will change them later but for now this works. I also...

... bought this fuchsia sweater that several people have assured me does not look frumpy. It may or may not make the mix because it's fairly heavy. I'll check the weather forecast first to see if it's like to get worn and if so, I may need to wear it on the plane. AND...

... then I bought this turquoise sweater that doesn't button closed but is in one of my favourite colors and styles. Howard says I have to pack it because it looks great on me. Turquoise does. Once it comes out of the wash, I'll de-pill it and see how it looks and perhaps pack a pin to hold it closed if necessary. Again, it depends on the weather forecast. This time weather it'll be warm enough.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - deciding to wait not rush and buy not sew

Monday, June 22, 2015

More About The Necklace

Apparently, I'm in turtle mode. For the second weekend in a row, I meandered and didn't get much done. My big goal for the week is to finish the bunting bags and mail the package to my daughter. It's beyond highly unlikely the raincoat will be finished in time to go. Luckily, the statistics don't point to too much rain and the temperatures make layers a good idea.

A lot of our family and friends have been asking when we're leaving and when I say Saturday, they're shocked. They think it's in July and that's true... sort of. Mid July is when we get back. By this time next week, we'll be in Amsterdam and boarding the boat.

Thanks for the response about the necklace. I promised some more information in my replies to the comments. It was so strange that no one had commented at first but I'm glad to hear that it was a half decent first piece and that yes, I can wear it... especially since I already did. The initial pendant was quite shiny. I left the crinkled middle section alone and rubbed black paint on the outer sections. Once that dried, I covered it with clear nail polish. Toning the shine down helped integrate the pendant with the rest of the piece as did the added beads.

The finished neck cord was too big to fit through the loops at the back of the pendant so I threaded a softer cord through the holes and tied a knot at the back so the pendant would stay centered. This cording was a turned bias strip of silk dupioni over a soft-core center. Because of that, I could scrunch the fabric down to create more texture.

The third cord was ribbon wrapped around an inner core. I have no idea what the technical name for that inner core is or for the soft-core center used on the bias. They are drapery and decor supplies.

The hardest part was tying the second and third cords around the primary center one. It took quite a long time to get the two sides looking somewhat similar but not identical.

The pendant initially didn't fit in and looked like a silver chunk at the center so I started experimenting with different ways to add more detail to the rest of the necklace. I started with some silver paint on the main cord and a few beads and then...

...tied some thread tags for additional texture. It still didn't look integrated so that's when I toned down the pendant and toned up the...

... cording with more paint and shiny beads. I'm quite pleased with how the necklace turned out only when I wore it on Friday, the chain came off one end of the clasp. That smacks of cheap quality. I won't be buying those finished cords again and for my next piece...

... which will start with these seven knot buttons... I'll try making the clasp myself so it'll hold together better. I'm not sure I'll get any work done on this before I leave but the ideas are ripening.

This is the fabric sample I painted on Friday morning. I think it has a graffiti feel to it that seems to show up quite frequently in my work especially when I start playing with black. I like how the black highlights shapes but I want to be sure it doesn't dominate all my work.

This morning, I have a chiropractor appointment for some post-accident adjusting and then we're driving to Salmon Arm to look at a condo and a house. After that, we're test packing our suitcases and making a list of what we need to get - things like cold medicine and such. If you have don't forget to pack this suggestions, I'd love to hear them. Thanks.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - RTW stores for things you forget or don't have time to sew

Friday, June 19, 2015

Room To Grow

Yesterday was a long day of errands picking up items for our trip. There's a handbook with "rules" to follow some of which are confusing like being told to bring an umbrella on one page and being told that they supply umbrellas on another. It seemed prudent to take a small ones only umbrellas are not something we need in Kamloops so I had to buy some. We leave a week tomorrow. We'll pack over the next few days and make sure that everything we need short of toiletries is in our suitcase and ready to go so that next weekend all we have to do is put those final things in and go. I'm not one for last minute rushing.

My friend Barb met me before I developed the ability to pull out, rip apart, and re-fashion. She's still somewhat stunned by this new way of being and thought this pin was perfect. I love the mystery of not knowing that making a mistake can provide.

The linen above is more taupe/green - as in I won't wear it - than the blue/grey - which I definitely would wear - that it's showing on my screen. I put it in a turquoise dye bath... twice... and...


... it came out mottled which is not what I intended but not a bad thing. There are many items that can benefit from a variety of values including...

... the scarf that I started on earlier in the week. It's not going well. I've cut apart the triangles you see above and approaching it a different way. I wanted the scarf to curve around the body and it was going in the wrong direction. A fabric that isn't quite right for a garment can be perfect for something else. Along with the scarf, I'm also using it to...

... learn how to make beads, glued knot buttons, and start the focal pendant of a brooch or necklace. The learning will be slow - and hopefully steady - as I work between the different areas. I'm typically more all this or all that in my approach - as in all clothes or all painting - and I don't tend to flow from one to another. That way of working - along with having more than one thing on the go - are things I'll need to change to accomplish my intentions.


... LOL... apparently I need practice. I wrote this post at 4:00 yesterday afternoon and proofed it at 8:30 last night and at that point no one had commented on the necklace. I knew it wasn't the most gorgeous piece in the world but I also didn't think it was terrible beyond wearable. Should I wear it in public or not - VBG? Does it need help? What kind of help?

Rather than overthink it - and because this was practice - I grabbed the nearest paintable fabric yesterday morning and started. It was aqua broadcloth. As I painted it occurred to me that broadcloth is actually fabric and that it can be and is used for finished garments although not by me. I tend to think of it as a throwaway fabric for test garments that's less expensive than muslin. As I painted, I thought about how to take the piece forward into something like a bag. The possibilities were intriguing because I'll want the finished piece to have a "more than broadcloth" feeling.


... when Diane is demonstrating stenciling, she'll pour out a teeny tiny dot of paint and say she could paint the entire yardage with that. There's no way I could so I want to learn how to have a lighter hand with the paint and how to hold the applicator and work with the stencil in that gentle way. I used a small amount of blue paint, a little sea sponge thinking it would soak up less paint, and one line on a stencil. I'll be working with this stencil for quite a while to see what all I can do with it. I want to set limits that are broadening. After painting...

... I used a medium point Tee Juice pen to draw a variety of lines. Some are more lovely than others but overall...

... the impression is quite playful. Again, this piece is at the beginning of my learning curve so while it's not amazing, it's also not horrible. There is room to grow.

This morning, I'm picking up coffee and driving to Salmon Arm. I'll journal at the Starbucks there before meeting with a realtor and touring the town. She's going to tell me about the good and the bad, the do and the don't. I'll take notes.

After that, I want to research some retail possibilities for items to sell in my studio and then I'll go to the knitting group again in the afternoon. I'm starting to connect with the community now so that when we move I will already know some people. Depending on how organized we actually are, I may go again next week before we leave and definitely again when we get back.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - the benefit of mistakes

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Painting Ugly Fabric

Part of moving forward with my creative work is recognizing what I'm good at and where I could use improvement. In terms of sewing, my technical skills are quite strong and I need to focus on the details that add interest and variety. In terms of jewelry, my design skills from textile art are transferable and I need to focus on the jewelry formats and how to put the elements together.

The quotes from Free Play that I shared last week continue to resonate. The images dancing in my head cannot become reality until I actually attempt to make them and then there will be a disconnect between what I can imagine and what I can actually create until my skill-abilities catch-up with my imagine-abilities.

In the chapter I'm reading now, the author is talking about limits and how they yield intensity. Boundaries can help us to get started and stay with the work and they can prevent us from wandering off in endless directions. He writes: one rule that I have found to be useful is that two rules are more than enough. That's so true. There has to be a balance between a project that is so open ended a decision can not be made and so constrained that there's no room to create.

I want to learn how to make textile jewelry and I will learn to do by doing and by making the doing doable. When I saw the necklace above left, I loved the pendant but not the wire "chain". It's the kind of wire that once it gets bent, it's kinked forever and it looks cheap. The finished cord at right was in my stash. To make...

... my first necklace, I made the "rules" reasonable - use the purchased pendant in a necklace with a black and silver color scheme that is created using only supplies already in stash. The finished piece is not beyond amazing but I think it turned out pretty good for a first try. At some point in the future, I want to create the pendant as well. For now, working on the cords is an easy way to start. Another thing that made it easy was...

... being prepared to play. When I created the second studio, I moved the loveseat upstairs which left open space in this studio. On Tuesday night, I set up a paint table by the window and moved the serger to a side table so I could use the second desk for putting jewelry together. As a place to sit, knit, and read, the second studio is great. As a place to make jewelry, it wasn't working and yesterday, while making this piece, when I needed to move between stations, this was perfect. I'll most likely move those supplies back.

One of my goals is to find a way to naturally flow between the areas I want to develop. They can work together which is why on my way to painting beautiful fabric, painting ugly fabric would be highly beneficial. I can cut up those pieces to make piping, binding, knot buttons, jewelry, patches, pieced sections, and all sorts of other bits that will fit into my creative direction. YES YES. For this morning's hour, I'm painting and then I have a whole bunch of errands and a haircut.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a decent first piece