Friday, June 27, 2008

Tag ... I'm It!

Betty Pillsbury has tagged me, and asked me to answer the questions that she posted on her site...so here goes!

TEN YEARS AGO ...
I was working in the billing department of a courier company in downtown Toronto, commuting via GO train an hour each way. I used this time to do a lot of stitching...and often got into conversations with fellow travellers about it. I was just beginning to realize that I was a designer!

5 THINGS ON TODAY'S TO DO LIST
- Post this Blog & dump the ton of "bulk" e-mails that arrived today
- Make a chore list for the kids
- Hit the bank & grocery store before work
- At work - get ready for our big Canada Day Event
- After work - continue stitching on my Jean Drag Bag & Porthole # 38

SNACKS I ENJOY
- Fruit ... and/or fruit salad
- Frozen yogurt
- Carrot cake muffins...complete with Cream Cheese Frosting!
- Butter tarts with raisins
- Pecan tarts or pie
- Sweet & Salty Granola bars

THINGS I'D DO IF I WAS A MILLIONAIRE
- Donate a big chunk of change to Sick Kids Hospital ... they do amazing work!
- Visit all my favourite e-friends around the world
- Buy that huge mansion we've always wanted
- Set up trust funds for my kids
- Create an Artists Endowment Fund ... to support fledgling artists in their quest for greatness
- Travel ... to all those exotic places that I've always wanted to see

PLACES I'VE LIVED
- Mississauga
- Nakina
- Sault Saint Marie
- Georgetown
- Toronto
- and currently ... in Pickering

Thanks Betty ... this was fun!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Porthole # 27


#27 started with a piece from one of those infamous silk ties that I found at Goodwill. I loved the colours in this one. Added the tatted medallion first, then the wine LD fans in cranberry silk (Gobelins I think). Opposite that on the cranberry patch I used Ribbon Floss to make Buttonhole points trimmed with Detatched BH and opaque E bead centres. On the navy patch I started with overlapping Herringbone...two rows in tan and the third in turquoise was topped with fly stitches for the points. I finished off the bottom with a Bullion Stitch cable.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Food For Thought - The Power of the Net

How small our world has become thanks to the Internet.

I was reminded recently that the first List I signed up on recently had it's 10th anniversary, and this gave me cause to reflect on what has happened over that time.

I remember being quite computer-illiterate back then. Fortunately, others around me had more knowledge about how it worked...and helped me to get out there. My brother for one had set up a small site hosting pages featuring Canadian artisans...mostly family and friends...showcasing their talents and providing contact information for those interested in purchasing goods shown for sale.

Funny thing is...I didn't sell one thing from this venue...but...what it did do was connect me with a few individuals who saw my work...connected me to resources...and in their own way changed my future!

Maryanne Croome.....a fellow Canadian...(hailing from Burlington ON) had begun this thing called a List for Silk Ribbon Embroidery enthusiasts. She e-mailed me to invite me to participate in this group and as it was free...hey...why not? It was fabulous to see that there were lots of people out there in the world who loved this as much as I did...and I was able to see pictures of what kinds of things others made using this medium. (At this point I did not have a scanner...so my descriptions were all I could offer.)

Next I was contacted by another Mary Anne ... Griffin! She found the Circle of Hands site and was eager to meet other SRE designers to chat with. (At this point I didn't even think of myself as a designer.) We became fast friends and I told her about the list that I had joined, then she joined too.

That year my DH gave me a scanner for my birthday...so now I could create images of my work to share with my net-friends. I was like a kid in a candy store...once I got the hang of creating pics...I was sharing all of the new things I had made...which were abundant then...and getting such positive feedback ... I was thrilled! But more than this...there were several who insisted that my creations were good enough to publish. Denial was my first response...thanks...nice of you to say but...I wouldn't have a clue how to do that.

I met one lovely lady on the list who unwittingly empowered me. Nora Creeach had a birthday...and decided to share a gift with the List members via a draw. She put names of interested parties into a hat and pulled out a winning name for this gift....and it was me! Cool! She sent my gift in the mail...a book called Ribbon Basics by Mary Jo Hiney and Joy Anckner. It is such a beautifully done publication...featuring awesome alphabetic creations in silk ribbon.

While looking through all the mapped out patterns, it struck me how to pattern my own pieces!

See...my forte has always been in creating originals...not creating a pattern first and working from it. I had to work backwards...making a the original and then patterning from it. When I realized that all I needed to do was to trace over my original through a clear acetate sheet...the designer in me was finally unleashed! All I had to do was get some fine permanent markers...and map the design with pattern graphics.....and I could create a pattern that others could recreate! My original acetate could be scanned to create a reproduction that could indeed be copied.

Armed with this knowledge I took the next step. My friend Terry Albright had provided me with contact information to the editor of a magazine called NeedleWorker. I mustered every ounce of courage that I had...forwarded some scans of my work...and waited for a reply. What was the worst that she'd say?....your work is lovely but...

I was not prepared for the reply. She did indeed find it publishing material...and would like to present it as part of a set...so did I have some other ideas that could work with my sachet as a trio?

The rest....so they say...is history! The "Silk Ribbon Boudoir Accents" consisted of the original sachet, an oval doily and a tissue box cover (both of which I created only drawings for...not expecting to have to actually make patterns for...but forced into putting my money where my mouth and sketches were...I actually did!) It was a "Special Feature" in the October/November 2000 issue!

Let me tell you...there is no greater high than seeing your work professionally photographed and in print for the very first time...declaring "Designs by Marie Alton". I felt immortal!

Did I forget to mention?.....the editor then was none other than the incredible Deanna Hall West?

Can you imagine how my hands trembled sending that first e-mail to her?

That all seems so long ago and far away...because since then I had a total of three articles presented by NeedleWorker....one a collaboration with Deanna....and a fourth presented by Quilting Arts magazine featuring my very own Melanie Rose.

So there.....that is how it all came to be...and I thank you all....for changing my life!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Porthole # 26


I finally had the time to scan in the next batch of Portholes.


# 26 is another of the deep jewel tones. The scan does not do this one justice. The stacked Herringbone on the teal patch was done with Pearl Crown and the purple Colonial Knots in #5 Perle Cotton. The Feather Stitch spray is actually done in Candlelight Gold with Midnight Colonial Knots. The travelling chains are Ribbon Floss. On the purple patch I used black#8 Kreinik metallic for the Chevron row topped with #4 Amethyst for the LD fans and Copper #8 for the Herringbone / crosses overlay.

Better ... and New Blogs!

Well I'm pleased to report that my back is much better now...managed a full day at work yesterday (being careful not to do anything too strenuous) and off today to rest it again...then will have an easy 3 days in the office to get back to 100%.

I was not able to sit at the computer very much these past few days...so spent this morning catching up and poking around my faves...and...discovered two new ones by long time favourite stitchers and Net friends....Crazy Mary and Victoria Adams Brown!

I've added them to my sidebar...so I can visit often! Check them out!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Damned Weeds!

I went down to the front garden beds on Wednesday night to see if the seeds I planted recently had sprouted yet...and was glad to see a multitude of shoots everywhere...but there was also a whole new crop of weeds.

I hadn't planned on weeding...and would have been better off if I had just left them alone...but noooo...had to start pulling them out...and while I didn't even do that much...I must have moved just the wrong way...now my back is out!

It is an old recurring problem...but has been about a year since the last time this happened. I've been horizontal for the most part since then...and will be getting back to that shortly.

Will post more another day...when it doesn't hurt to sit!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Portholes # 24 and 25

The roller coaster has stopped briefly to take on more passengers...and let me off for a brief reprieve....but will be going full speed again tomorrow. In my short time off I managed to plant a flat of impatience...and did a bit of clean-up and weeding! I really don't like weeds...they are way too hardy...and make short work of free time.



This will be the last pair shown...as I'm closing in on the last done of the pieces...so will back off to one per show after this.





#24 .. black & pink & green...I like this combo...dark and sharp. Black roses from a piece of lace...Griffin Buds on the green patch...metallic half wheels with detatched buttonhole on the pink patch...staggered pink buttonhole stitch topped with Colonial knots...purple long & short Chevrons embellished with knots and LDs.





#25 ... White lace motif embellished with green SRE and gold metallic knots...Jeans Stitch cranberry herringbone tacked and topped with green LD leaves...finished off with gold metallic quarter buttonhole wheels and Colonial knots.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Minutes to Midnight

It is ... and it's what I happen to be listening to now as well ... Linkin Park!

This is a band I picked up on from my kids and I think they are really awesome...musically and especially lyrically. This is their third album and I really like the direction they're going...a bit away from the previous two...with lots of maturity showing through.

Next time you're checking out You Tube ... look for their video from this album called "What I've Done". It's reality magnified...past, present and future.

Spent this day off working...laundry, scheduling and a bit of planning out the next series of Portholes...have # 33 done and 34 to 40 ready to stitch. Evolution on this project is surprising even me...(as most of you know I'm my own harshest critic)...and I'm really liking the results of my latest creations...I'm thinking that the recent infusion of new fabric has spurred more creativity ... coupled with the Free Form pieces that I've added...way cool stuff.

It's now Minutes Past Midnight ... and back to the grind tomorrow.

Better head up...and get horizontal. Later!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Porthole # 22 and 23

Okay...well my plans to garden today have been dampened by rain...so will play inside instead. Have lots to do and want to get some completed things scanned...like the next batch of Portholes and some Free Form embellishments!


This pair was done in similar colourway...both began with fabric from the same source, namely a piece cut from the bottom of a long dress that I shortened. It's a beautiful floral rayon with gold enhancement.


Porthole # 22

The piece of fan-lace was a small bit left over from my wedding...it trimmed the flower girls dresses. Tacked the top edge down with some Colonial knots in grape cotton perle #5 and the bottom edge was yellow quilting thread. I used YLI Pearl Crown Rayon for the Fuchsia LD feathers. Below that, the same grape #5 in 1/4 buttonhole wheels trimmed with detatched buttonhole using Jeans Stitch in Lavender. The stacked Chevrons in purple were also Jeans stitch. On the gold patch a row of Herringbone in purple Pearl Crown was overstitched with turquoise Silk 30.


Porthole #23

I rather like the effect on the white patch...started with a row of long/short Chevrons then used purple Jeans Stitch to connect points diagonally, tacked the cross points and added LD trios at each top bar. On the yellow patch is a spray of LD done in Aqua Ribbon Floss with Colonial knot florettes in white Ribbon Floss. (This stuff is fabulous for adding texture.) On the purple patch ... a series of Buttonhole 1/4 wheels in Cranberry Jeans Stitch. On the patch below that I used Kreinik gold cord for LD flowers with Colonial knot centres in Pearl Crown. Below it a fine row of Herringbone in purple Pearl Crown and turquoise Silk 30 Chain vine with grape #5 cotton florettes.




Monday, June 2, 2008

The Front Bed in Bloom





Melanie captured more of the gardens for me yesterday...warm sunny days have coaxed the Giant Germanic Irises to bloom...and how could I have forgotten the bushes behind the bed...not entirely sure of the species except that I think they are a type of Honeysuckle bush.

The Creeping Phlox is in full bloom now too and the big fountain of thin leave will be orange Day Lilies later. Have planted some seeds there which will take a while to show...but should be way cool when they do...and a few yellow lilies too...one of which I broke when weeding...poo.

There is only one bed left to deal with...which I hope to clean up tomorrow...the centrepiece of it will be Delphiniums. I didn't even get to see them last year...just too busy!

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