Sisterhood Quilt: Stitching Together Art and Friendship Around the Globe

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook is a collaborative effort, born from the seed of an idea between bloggers Anne Lawson and Kate Chiconi. It started when Anne offered (and mailed) sketchbooks made from experimental drawings or practiced watercolor washes. Anne offered them to blogging friends and sent about half a dozen around the world.

sisterhood Cover and map

Inside back cover: Foldout map (left) and original page art by Anne Lawson (right)

Kate added her own gorgeous drawings and some fluffy feathers to her version of the book, then sent it back to Anne.  You see where this is going, right?

Anne posted Kate’s drawings here, and then through this comment thread:

I think we need a larger sketchbook, and initiate a Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook ~Kate Chiconi

the project grew wings.

All told, 15 bloggers signed up to take part. One of the sisters set up a Word Press blog, another created an interactive map of the traveling sketchbook. Anne is adding photos to a page on her blog as each of us completes our entry and sends it on to the next sister.

sisterhood sketchbook inside

Opening page: Textile art by Kate Chiconi

I broke out in a cold sweat when the sketchbook arrived in the post. I’m crafty and creative in my way, but was a bit intimidated by the artistic abilities represented in the sketch book. I calmed down, let different ideas wash over me, and eventually decided on a paper quilt using images of the art and poetry that came before me.

My entry is The Sisterhood Quilt: Stitching Together Art and Friendship Around the Globe. I copied each of the traveling entries so far, and created a collage of squares. I printed the squares on watercolor paper, then double stitched them to a piece of onion skin typing paper. I included a square of the map, and a square of my recent squirrel pillow project. It’s called Four Loves: Animals, Sewing, Nature and Photography.

The poem in the upper right hand corner comes with a sad tale. Viv in France, part of the original sisterhood, died suddenly and unexpectedly while visiting her daughter in July. I found this poem on her blog, and hope her family will appreciate the posthumous entry on her behalf.

sisterhood quilt full page

Sisterhood Quilt: *Upper row* Kate, Chas, Chas and Viv *Middle row* Anne, Sandi, Sandra and Alys *Bottom row* Anne’s cover, book detail, map (copyrighted material belonging to original artist)

sisterhoood quilt

The threads that draw us together

Contributing Artists so Far:

Australia

Anne Lawson
Kate from Tall Tales from Chiconia
Sandra (Lady Red Specs) from Please Pass the Recipe
Megan (Chas) from Chas Spain
Sandi, who lives in Wandin East

sisterhood map of Australia

A corner of the map. All this fun started in Australia

The States

Alys from Gardening Nirvana (that’s me)
Sue From The Magpie’s Nest (the sketchbook is with Sue now)

Artists to Come:

Ushashree from Creative Crafts DIY

Europe

Marina in Greece, Athens Letters
Lyn, also in France, Tialys
Constanze is in Germany
Annett blogs at Knetty Craft
Jan is in Britain, The Snail of Happiness
Margaret, also from Britain, The Crafty Creek
Then back to Anne in Australia

It’s been a joyous experience taking part in this project*. I hope you’ll come visit our shared blog and get to know us a bit better.

A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life.
Isadora James

*except when I freaked out at all the talent on the pages before me

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Art in the Mist: The CreARTfuldodger

You know how it goes. You follow a blogger who follows another blogger and before you know it, the three of you are walking on a beach in Victoria, BC.

Wilma and Boomdee, Victoria BC, August 17, 2014

Wilma and Boomdee, Victoria BC, August 17, 2014

Two years ago this month I met Wilma, the artist behind the blog creartfuldodger (CreArtful Dodger). When I returned to Victoria in June with Mike, Wilma drove into town to share a meal. She offered to pick us up at our hotel, and when I gave her the address she knew it well. Wilma’s daughter works at the same hotel. Serendipity!

Wilma with her art

Wilma with her art

Wilma is great company, a wonderful tour guide and an accomplished artist. Over dinner, she surprised me with the gift of this inspired bird collage.

Knowing my love of Nigella aka Love in a Mist, she used an original, 1900’s seed packet as the starting point. She incorporated airmail stickers and stamps, also my favorites and created a tag using a vintage book cover. It’s beautiful and thoughtful. She also included my initial on the gift bag, a charming addition.

Creartfuldodger

Creartfuldodger: Layered seed packet, postage stamp, mailing labels and other ephemera. The green image shows detail from the back of the tag

Wilma writes:

Love-in-a-mist,

It is truly hard to resist!

Perhaps Alys will remember, with pleasure, her stay,

And return again one fine day. – Wilma Millette, Creartfuldodger

With great pleasure, Wilma. Love and thanks.

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Friends Who Blog and an Enchanted Light-Catcher

Washington DC and Virginia

The Gathering of the Bloggers, Washington DC and Virginia, Spring, 2015

A year ago last spring, I spent an extraordinary week gathering with bloggers from around the world. It was an experience I’ll never forget. We traveled from Canada, parts of the US and as far away as New Zealand, gathering in Washington, D.C. and Virginia.

Laurie of Life on the Bike, and Julia of Defeat Despair, invited us to stay in their homes. They were excellent tour guides, showing us the sites and sharing stories about their community. Shelley, of Peak Perspective hosted several of us for an engaging afternoon atop a hill in Virginia. We enjoyed laughter and an amazing spread of food under the watchful, curious eyes of Haggis the dog.

Lisa of Arlingwoman provided local perspective as she guided us through the enormous Washington Mall. Her knowledge increased my enjoyment of the incredible history that resides there. We toured Lisa’s community garden and learned about her Plot Against Hunger.

We shared a meal with Lisa as well as Stacy of  Visual Venturing and Patti of Displaced Beachbums.

Rounding out this amazing journey: Kelly who blogs at Boomdeeadda and Kelly’s Korner  and Pauline of The Contented Crafter.

What started as “blogging friends” became “friends who blog.”

One of the visual reminders of our time together is my beautiful light-catcher. Pauline made one for each of us, selecting charms to reflect our interests and our lives.

You can see the amazing details in the short video below.

Five years and 940 posts later the most amazing statistic is this: there are nearly 16,000 comments on this blog. Comments become conversations, conversations lead to friendships and in this great big world of ours,  interesting, like-minded, bright, clever, talented, and wonderful people from around the world, log on and add sparkle to my day. I can’t thank you enough.

The Luck of the Draw: Fairy Gardening 101

You won’t believe my luck!

Sheryl Normandeau, the blogger behind Flowery Prose, hosted a book giveaway.  Yours truly, lover of all fairy gardening, won!

Sheryl reviewed two books on her blog, Fairy Gardening 101 by Fiona McDonald and Fairy Gardening: Creating Your Own Magical Miniature Garden – Julie Bawden-Davis and Beverly Turner, then generously gave both of them away.

Here is an excerpt of her review of McDonald’s book:

Fairy gardening 101 book

Side by side: My Fairy Garden and a book filled with future inspiration

This purposeful how-to book gives you all the information you need to create a fairy garden, with lists of supplies, suggestions for interesting containers or settings, and tips for successful long-term maintenance of your beautiful creation. Easy to follow, step-by-step instructions cover the making of miniature furniture, fences and other garden structures – and, of course, even the fairies themselves! What I’ve always loved about fairy gardens is the use of recycled/upcycled materials and found objects (either natural or man-made) that you discover in your home, yard, neighbourhood…or garage or thrift sale! The sky truly is the limit when it comes to sourcing materials for your mini-garden – and that’s half the fun!

In addition to blogging from the Canadian prairie, Sheryl writes numerous articles and short stories. She is a contributor to the forthcoming book “Growing Gooseberries” in The Prairie Garden 2017: Fruit and Berries available this month.

One of my favorite chapters gives instructions for building your own fairy garden furniture, including a fancy looking canopy bed. Once I’m back on my feet I’m going to give that a whirl. Another chapter features fairy garden kits to give as gifts. Isn’t that a fun idea? I don’t know if I’ll be able to muster the energy between now and Christmas, though I know two little girls that would delight in one. I might put something together next spring.

Thank you, Sheryl, for this treasured gift!

Celebrations: Anniversaries, Birthdays and Boomdee Comes to Town

Life is full!

Mike and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary September 23rd.

20th anniversary collage

Celebrating at Santana Row

Then Boomdee (aka Kelly or Petals) came to town.

together at redemption

My favorite photo of our week together

I had a birthday…

Birthday collage 2015

Cards from dear friends are the best part of any birthday

Then hosted a gathering of friends.

gathering of friends 2015

Good friends gathered around the table

I ate too much cake and homemade flan but enjoyed every morsel. By the way, peeking out from under the plate is one of my  gorgeous new dinner napkins also known as serviettes. Kelly meticulously hand-stenciled them as a birthday gift. Please check out Kelly’s Korner for the full reveal and tutorial. They’re stunning!

bunny's flan

Bunny’s delicious flan

We road a steam train up a steep grade through the redwood forests, traveling on a narrow-gauge railroad.

felton train collage

Roaring Camp & Big Trees Narrow-Gauge Railroad

We visited the historic Ainsley home in downtown Campbell.

Ainsley House Collage 2015

Ainsley House 1925 English Tudor home in Campbell, California

On Sunday we Skyped with Laurie and Pauline, covering topics both serious and mundane. It was good to catch up.

Kelly and I enjoyed full days and unscheduled nights, with time to relax, have a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and to put up our feet. What a joyful week.

In a flash, it was time to put Boomdee on a plane, as we made plans for a visit next year.

Next up: Edmonton, Alberta Canada.  If my surgery goes well I’ll have an honest to goodness bounce in my step. Planning the next visit makes the goodbyes a little easier.

Blogs Near and Dear

I’ve missed your blog and look forward to catching up with you in the next few weeks.

3 Days, 3 Quotes: Come Join the Fun, Day One

Good grief, Charlie Brown, has it really been three weeks?

I was about to say that Pauline of the Contented Crafter posted three quotes last week, then offered up the challenge/opportunity for others to do the same. It’s actually been three weeks, reminding me once again that life is just a teeny bit too busy now.

I digress. Doesn’t this sound like fun? Here is my own little twist: in the next three weeks, add three quotes spread out over three days and be sure to have fun doing it. That’s what we’re all about here. If I call out your name below, it’s because a) I think this is fun and b) I think you might enjoy it. NO pressure. In fact, you can forget I even mentioned it. It is kind of fun though and you never know who you’ll inspire with a funny, clever, pithy, creative, mind-bending quote.

Here’s what Pauline says:

like so many of my friends here in the world of blogging I’m not given much to following rules and I’m hoping some of you might just like to keep the thing alive by posting a quote on your own blog and you can nominate or not – according to how you feel about rules. Let me know if you pick up the banner.

This is what I think about ‘Quotes’: Quotes can be read and not understood. Quotes can be read and not seen.  For a quote to have meaning, I must attempt to live it.

Pauline posted four quotes. What a rule breaker! 😉 That’s how much fun this is. You can read Pauline’s quotes here, here and here.

You can quote me on this…

quote day one washington dc

Washington D.C.

Tag, you’re it (but only if you want to):

Lisa at Arlingwords
Diane at Garden Sunshine
Sheila at Sewchet
Johanna at Mrs. Walker’s Art and Illustrations

Catching the Light, Sharing the Love

Given the time, I could write an entire book on my extraordinary trip to Virginia and D.C. earlier this year. One of many highlights included the unveiling of the light catchers, intricately hand-crafted and lovingly presented by Pauline King. On our flight home, Pauline offered to make one for my sister Sharon and within weeks it arrived at my door.

Here’s Sharon’s reaction when she opened the gift:

It’s difficult to convey how special these are. Pauline describes her process in a recent post found here. When writing about Sharon’s light catcher, Pauline says:

I have made my light-catchers for a few years now – rather sporadically, as I enjoy making them especially for someone. They are my gift of good wishes, good fortune and a bit of magic woven into beads and charms and crystals for someone special. I like to think of the person I am creating for, then I choose colours and shapes and crystals and charms especially for them. Then it all just weaves itself together.

sharon's light catcher pauline king

Like most artists, Pauline is far too modest. She weaves a special charm into each one using glass, crystal, semi-precious gemstones, beads and the most delightful charms you’ve ever seen.

The enclosed card says “the charms have been especially chosen for you and represent the following”

Teddy Bear: for the child within, may there always be cuddles.

Boot: for fashion and style!

Music Notes: May there always be music in your life.

Jigsaw Puzzle: for when you need the last bit of the puzzle.

Ballerina: to remind you when the body can’t dance, the spirit can!

Cat in the Moon: to remind you of the magic and mystery of both.

Babushka Doll: we all have hidden layers…..

The Witch, the Skeleton and the Spider: for your love of Halloween.

Book: for the places your imagination can go.

Purse: may there always be enough.

Pentagram: may you always be protected.

Fairy: may you always see the magic.

Sharon has tall ceilings in her home, so I’m enlisting Mike’s help so we can hang it in the perfect place.  After one foolish mishap, I count my lucky stars and no longer climb up a ladder alone.

The following bloggers enjoy catching the light: