31 December, 2009

Happy 2010!

The beginning of a new year. I always love the beginning. All the hope for making changes and doing things differently than the previous year. A time to start fresh.

May your year be as peaceful as this photo taken on the first day of 2010.

04 November, 2009

BJP 2008 Finished!

OK, it has been awhile since I have posted but life keeps getting in the way. I seem to be traveling so much that I'm not sure if I'm coming or going! I knew that if I didn't give myself an absolute deadline for getting by 2008 Bead Journal Project completed it could sit around for some time! So, I entered it into the Fine Art of Fiber show at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

For this past BJP project, I have been focusing on colour and the memories it brings to mind or the feelings that a specific colour evokes. I decided to work through the colour wheel and work on one colour a month. I was a little surprised by some of the words, thoughts and memories that came to mind while beading. Some of the words may not make sense to others but to me, the colours brought to mind specific memories so I tried to include those with my words for each month. I became very surprised at how I seemed to be drawn to the colour green. Red has always been my favourite colour but the green just keeps calling me!

31 August, 2009

Tsukineko Inks

This photo doesn't do the colours justice but I will explain what I have done. I have the full range of Tsukineko Inks. Looking at the jar is not always a good indication of what the colour of the ink will be like on fabric so I decided to make myself up a colour chart. I based this somewhat on a colour wheel. I took each colour & painted a little circle of it & then wrote beside it what the colour was. Although it is not photographing the exact colours, it really is a good resource to know exactly what a colour is going to look like.

And it was fun to do!

13 August, 2009


Well, it has been a while since I posted. It is summer and things just seem to get busy. My daughter is in South Africa learning how to tranquilize big game so we have a house full of animals at the moment. When I do get a chance to get some work done, I don't have time to post photos. Everyone is back to school next week so hopefully I will get a chance to get some things posted.

But one thing I really wanted to get figured out this summer was my camera. My youngest takes great photos and I wanted to know how to do the same. I have a decent camera but I wasn't sure what I was doing. I see photos on the web all the time that I LOVE but didn't know how to take those sorts of photos myself.

So, yesterday we went to Brookfield Zoo and spent the day taking photos. Our last stop of the day (before getting our Dippin' Dots) was the butterfly section. Finally, I took a photo like I've been trying to take & I love it! Now I have to remember how to change the settings when my youngest isn't around! :)

03 July, 2009

Fish Star Book

I recently did a workshop with Melaine Terasaki at the North Suburban NeedlesArts Guild Summer Seminar. We made star books. I spotted the paper above for the cover and how could I not use it! My boys are big into fishing! So, I printed out a number of pictures of the kids & Bill with fish and added them to this book.

I even managed to a picture of the Blue Marlin Bill had caught some time ago. Here you can see clearly the picture that I printed onto cardstock to use as the background image. It was a picture I had taken of a pond that had hundreds of Koy fish in them. When you threw food in, they would swarm.

This is what the book looks like when you open it & tie the covers back. This is where it gets it's name of Star Book.

01 July, 2009

Taste of Chicago

Yesterday Bill and myself went to the Taste of Chicago. This was the first time EVER that I had been. It is something that I've been wanting to do for a long time but we just never seemed to be able to get there.

It was an overcast day which actually worked out well as it was also cooler than it had been. So much cooler that I had to wear a cardigan!

Before we left, we had picked up a map so there were two things we wanted to try: Bill wanted to try the corn and I wanted to try something called Pork filled Banana Dumpling.

Here is Bill eating his corn. It wasn't too bad.

For my Pork Filled Banana dumpling (which I'm trying to eat here) I was actually a bit disappointed. Maybe I was thinking more of a Chinese dumpling. It wasn't too bad but it didn't really seem to have much taste.

Here is a close up picture of it.

We walked around trying all sorts of different things. New this year is what they call "Taste". For between 3-4 tickets, you can get a small version of one of the items that the stall offers. Where we could, we did get this. It allowed us to eat more things than we would have otherwise eaten. Actually, from what I could see, it was a big hit as most people were getting the Taste version. Unfortunately the stalls didn't have all of their items in a taste portion, otherwise we would have stuck to that size.

We had a great day. I'm glad we did it.

Here are some pictures of some of the other items we ate:
Potato pancakes with apple sauce
Pulled Pork Sandwich
Sweet Potato Hashbrowns
Funnel Cake (this was not as good as I would have hoped for as it was a bit tough. While we were sitting on the curb eating it we figured out why, in the back of the stall they had boxes of these that were frozen. They were not making these fresh but instead heating up pre-made funnel cakes. Funnel Cakes are ALWAYS best when made fresh.Here is a picture of Bill taking a picture of the food for me. I was making such a mess of my eating that he took the camera away from me :)

25 June, 2009

October BJP

OK this is my October piece. Some of the words that came to mind while working on this piece are the same as the previous month and actually the same as November. But that's OK. These colours are in the same colour family.

The reason Vitamin C came to mind was because I remember eating Vitamin C tablets that were this colour. They actually had the words "Vitamin C" written on them.

This is still on of those colours that makes me smile. Happy colours.

18 June, 2009

BJP September

For all of you who think you are way behind, I'm here to make you feel good! :) I have FINALLY totally completed my September piece. I have been working on other months but they are not in that "final, post on the web, show to the world" stage.

My goal/theme/journaling has been about colours & how they make me feel and the things that come to mind when I'm working on these colours. As I've been beading my butterflies I have been writing down these words and thoughts. For some words they may not make sense to others but they do for me.

If you had seen earlier posts, you would note that I was originally going to put these butterflies onto a patchwork background. I loved working with the patchwork and pulling out all of the fabrics to give me all the colours of the rainbow was just a joy! But when it came to completing the piece, I just couldn't get the words conveyed that I wanted, plus the butterflies were disappearing into the background. I like this format. Yes, I'm very visual with the words but I like that.

Here is a close-up of the butterfly.

I have also been working on other projects this past year and decided to continue with my theme of colours; the things that pop to mind when I look at a colour, or how different colours make me feel about different things. I will try to start getting some of these things posted. I know, I've been slack about posting. sorry.

I have more butterflies to add but I still have handwork to get done. Now that I know how I'm going to finish off the pieces, I'm rolling them out. Once I get the handwork finished for the edges, I will post more of these.

So, if you are behind, you can't be as far behind as me! But I'm catching up quickly! :)

Oh, and I love the idea of doing a new project. I already know what I'm going to do. Make journal covers for each month and use the journal to write my thoughts for the month, using it from year to year. I thought it would be interesting to see how my thoughts during a particular month change from year to year, particuarly when the first 3 months of next year I will be in Australia! Who knows where I will be the following year during those same months.

30 May, 2009


The other night on the news I saw a photo someone had taken of the poppies at the Chicago Botanical Gardens. As I live just a few miles away, I had to get there for myself and take my own pictures. They were nearly over so I'm glad we had a nice day. My daughter went with me and she kept taking photos with her phone for sharing with others.

They also had lots of beautiful coloured flowers. The tulips & daffodils were already finished but there were lots of wonderful violas and many other plants full of colour. Here is another one of my favourites.

Felt workshop

OK, life is getting away from me & twitter, which will automatically update Facebook from my phone, is about what I seem to be able to get to at the moment. Anyway, here are the pictures of two of my pieces from the workshop. The first one is a bit washed out, I do need to try & get a better photo. The shapes were cut out felt glued on top before I gessoed over the whole thing. I have been trying to do another piece the same way but it seems that the gesso actually does go off over time!

My second piece the colours are actually richer than they appear. They have that lovely sparkle to them. I have all of the photos on Flickr so if you want to see more, click on the link to the right.

22 April, 2009

Felt workshop

Today & tomorrow I am doing a felting workshop with Michelle Sales. We are having a lot of fun. I will post completed pictures tomorrow but for the moment, if you want to see some photos, check out my Flickr page.

Drawing with Paint

While doing the class with Judy Coats Perez at IQF, one of the things that we discussed was a ruling pen. It is a pen that, pre-computers, was used with mechanical drawing. Now that computers do most of the work, they are hard to come by.

Well, I found something similar in Michael's! It is called a Fine Line Painting Pen by Lowe-Cornell, Inc. I found it in the section where they sell the inks.

This is a close up of the nib.

And here is a picture of what it looked like when I was drawing.

I had to thin the paint just a little with a bit of water but once I had it flowing, it worked beautiful.

I also tried using Tsukineko Inks. I like to experiment but there are no pictures as it was a disaster! It ran and would not give a smooth line. I also had a little bit of trouble getting the ink into the nib as I didn't have the little squeeze thing to do that with. I tried by using a syringe. Don't do it! It was a disaster.

On a related note, does anyone know how long it takes for red Tsukineko Ink to wash out of hair?

18 April, 2009

IQF 2009

I have just spent the last 2 days in workshops taught by Judy Coates Perez. They were wonderful classes!

The first day we did Tsukineko Inks. I still need to take a photo of what I did for that class.

Yesterday the workshop was about whole cloth painting. This is my piece to the left. I am happy with the painting as I have tried this before & it never seemed to work. Now it does. Judy is a wonderful teacher. Next I have to quilt it which will add more detail. Once that is done, I may come back in with some more paints.

These were wonderful classes. If you ever get the chance, take a workshop with Judy. You can see photos from the class in my Flickr account. Still learning the camera so some of the photos didn't get the flash that they so desperately needed!

The show itself was wonderful. They had vendors selling everything that I just had to have! And even though we were in the classrooms, we felt like we were right on the floor when Pokey's Tweet came through saying she had spilt green paint all over herself so they were obviously having a good time!

06 April, 2009

Dyeing with food colouring

For those of you that are just dyeing to know :), No, it is not possible to use food colouring to dye Fabric Dryer sheets. For some reason the colour will just not stay, even with a good amount of citric acid.

So, next try. I know that tea bag dyeing works really well but those vibrant colours would be so much more fun!

I'm finally getting some time in my studio. Hopefully soon I'll have pictures of work.

24 February, 2009

Xi'an, Shaanxi Provence, China

We had a great time in Xi'an. Well, I did. My husband still thinks it is all a scam. I still think it is amazing that these soldiers were found after being buried for so long. Just imagine what else is out there.

The first photo shows some of the soldiers in Pit 1. There are 3 different pits.

We also walked the city wall. We thought it wouldn't be too bad, but after walking for 3 hours from one exit to the next and only covering 1/4 of it, we decided it was time to get off!

The trip was amazing and made me appreciate very much what I have at home. Everything is so backward, just getting around can be difficult. We were trying to find a taxi at one time & it took us 2 hours! We finally walked into a Hyatt hotel & pretended we were staying there to get them to get us a taxi. Taxis would stop but they wouldn't necessarily take you where you wanted to go!

I have more pictures on my Facebook account if you want to see some. I took 592 photos! If you don't have facebook, e-mail me and I will send you a link to my google photos.

14 February, 2009


I do not have a lot of my fiber related supplies here in Hong Kong. I have some but more importantly, I don't have the space I have in Chicago where I can lay everything out & not have to move it until I'm done! So I decided to take a different approach to what I'm doing for the few weeks that I'm here. HK newspapers have the most wonderful colourful pictures! I have been collecting all the pictures I can find & yesterday I started cutting them out. Some pictures and stories I am just pasting into a sketchbook. These are my inspiration pictures, things to look at to remind me of the colours of HK & China. Others I am cutting out to use in collage work when I return to Chicago. I will post pictures of my sketchbook later. After I have pasted the photos into the sketchbook, I'm planning on going through with my coloured pencils and adding drawings, etc. I love looking at the sketchbook, the colours that pop off the page and so vivid.

07 February, 2009

Hong Kong

Well I finally finished one sock but didn't get a picture of it yet so I thought I would post a couple of pictures of Hong Kong instead. One thing you will notice, though. The pictures look a little hazy. That is not because of a bad camera shot, that is Hong Kong! It is always full of pollution, unfortunately. Days with nice clear blue sky are very rare. And if we happen to get one, I will be heading out all day to take photos. Checking the 7-day weather forecast on the Hong Kong weather page, is actually tells us that next Monday will be fine but hazy. Actually I just noticed that they changed it, thank goodness. It was a little picture of HK that was yellow - now would that be considered haze or pollution! :)

This is the star ferry from Kowloon side with HK in the background. This shows very nicely the "haze" I'm talking about.
This is one of the old time junks. Unfortunately she didn't have her sails up. When she does she is even more beautiful. We were walking along the water front on Kowloon side and were just about to head to the MTR (train) when she came along. Next time hopefully I will see her with sails.

Taken on the balcony of friends house. They have the most fantastic view of the other side of the Island, as it is know. The view behind us is Deepwater Bay with the yacht club. They were having some sort of race.

A view of Repluse bay.
Another view of Deepwater Bay. There is a golf club to the right and we have friends who have a membership. When I lived in Hong Kong from 1982-1992 with the kids, we used to have many birthday parties there.

02 February, 2009


Being in Hong Kong is a little frustrating artistic wise as I have only brought my knitting with me. It is the easiest thing to travel with. But I am keeping a sketch book & have all these wonderful ideas of things to work on when I get back to Chicago. I will have lots of things to get caught up on when I get back but the kids will still be in school and my husband still in Hong Kong so I will have the time.I have, though, been knitting away. I have not yet finished this sock but this is the bamboo yarn that I hand dyed. I am loving the look and the feel. I'm hoping that it will also feel good when worn.

I have also started on a knee high sock. So far I'm also loving this too.
I still have a ways to go but without having to worry too much about shaping, it is the perfect thing to be working on when riding the escalator home. Hong Kong has this fantastic way to get from Central to Mid-Levels. It is this really long escalator system. There are lots of fun things along the way to see. We live about 1/2 block from the top of the escalator. The biggest problem is that it can only go one way. Until 10am in the morning it heads down. The whole thing is then manually turned around to go up the hill. I have seen them do it. It takes about 20-30 mins for them to go to each escalator & turn it around. It really is an amazing form of transport.

30 January, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year

I know this is a couple of days late but better late than never. Here is a money tree to bring you good fortune for the year.Here is a lion dance out the front of one of the buildings on our street.
This year is the Year of the Ox. May it be better for you than forcasted!