Mimi Kirchner’s Dolls

Sometimes when the creative juices have just run dry, or I can’t get to my own creating, I enjoy visiting the blogs of artists who are good at what they do (probably from long hours of practice) and seem to have fresh ideas for me to enjoy.

One of those artists is Mimi Kirchner, who I’ve written about before, but to be sure, I can’t find the post.  I found her some time ago, and was fascinated by her “art history,” as she calls it, when her pottery studio burned to the ground and she went a completely different direction.  This morning’s post showed this new doll of hers all done up in a Heather Ross double gauze pinafore, striped stockings, turquoise shirt and a little wee crown, for she is the Frog Princess.  Mimi knows just how to combine the usual with the unusual that always makes studying her dolls an adventure and a lesson in creativity.

Sewing on the Edge

Front of French Pincushion

I read a lot of blogs, but I do have my favorites.  One of them is Cindy’s Live a Colorful Life, which is always enjoyable to read.  She talked about her new business, Sewing on the Edge, where she takes selvages and turns them into pincushions.  This summer I’ve been doing a lot of sewing and I thought I should send her all my selvages, so I wrote to her and Yes! she’d love to have them.

Back of French Pincushion

But when I looked at what I’d hoped to send her, it was a pathetic little collection.  So I grabbed my food fabrics stack–you know, fabrics with food all over them of all kinds–and started slicing.  I’d been collecting these for years, one of those things you start collecting and keep at it, and can’t remember why.  (I do remember now: I want to make a basket quilt, using only food fabrics).  Some of those things are over 12 years old, maybe even 15. By the time I finished I had a better bundle of stuff to send.  Then the French fabrics arrived for the Provence quilt, and I saved those selvages and sent those as well.

Yesterday our held mail was delivered in a stack, and top was this tiny little box.  I opened it and the sweet little French pincushion was there.  Wonderful!  Thank you so much!

I’m always thinking I’d like to do something with the selvages–like made a chair cover, or a little pincushion, or something.  But at my age, I’ve realized that it’s okay to NOT do everything.  I don’t have to hand-dye my fabrics, really I don’t.  I don’t have to be the Queen of Applique–the Princess will do just fine.  And I don’t have to worry about doing something creative with selvages: Cindy’s got that one down, and I’m happy to contribute to her industry and creativity.

Quilts in Canada

I just returned from a trip to eastern Canada and I was interested in the amount of quilts and quilting that I noticed in Nova Scotia.

On our way to the Anne of Green Gables House, we stopped for lunch at the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company and there were quilts hanging from the ceiling.  I was pretty amazed because around here, nobody does this.  It was the first taste of the frequency with which I would see quilts advertised, either in quilt shops, or in gift shops, or just a lone sign tacked to a front porch: Quilts.

While it is traditional to use quilts in turn of the century houses, I enjoyed seeing what the curators of the Green Gable House had used.  One little girl, upon seeing this, said “Oh, this is Matthew’s bedroom.”  Her fusion of the fictional with the real was a theme I heard from other visitors to this home.

Another bedroom in the house, complete with chamber pot.

Even though everything about this home is fictional (Anne never lived here, nor did the author of the series–it belonged to her grandfather’s cousin and she only visited the house) I still enjoyed seeing the “sewing” room.  A hand-hooked rug is on the floor in front of the machine.  I saw these rugs all over this area–it’s a traditional craft–and to me it’s the quiltiest thing about this room.

On our way out to the outer edge of Prince Edward Island, we saw this sign.  As usual, we were pressing on to our Bed and Breakfast and didn’t stop, but this place didn’t look like it was open, either.  Quilts and sweaters seem to be popular items for sale in this area, a natural considering the weather.

Quilt shops kept popping up everywhere (as well as quilt stores–where they would sell finished quilts).  I’m not much interested in the completed quilts as I prefer to make my own, but was happy that there was such a thriving business here. (Click to enlarge and see the QUILTS business in the background.)

When I mentioned that to the proprietor of Fiddle Stitches, a shop in Mabou (photo above) she nodded.  “Oh yes, we’re doing quite well.”  Click on this link to go to a listing of shops in Nova Scotia.  I found it interesting that there isn’t one in Halifax, the main city on the island.

Since available space in my luggage space was tight, I didn’t intend on buying anything–but I did anyway.  She was so genial and I found a couple of cottons I liked (of course).  Mabou is known for its style of music played with piano and fiddle, hence the fitting name for this quilt shop.

While this wasn’t our bedroom in the Glendyer Inn (a bed and breakfast in Mabou) I snapped a photo of the quilt.

Here’s your kitschy quilt-related photo.  Hanging in our next B & B on the wall.

Mahone Bay had a shop that sold quilts, right next to another gift shop (below) that also hawked these wares.

Even when I wasn’t seeing quilts, or shops, or places to buy quilts, as a quilter, we always see the pattern in places around us.  This pattern was the floor of the “Sailor’s Church” in Old Town Montreal.  I see a grid and I either start sketching (like I did when I sat in the Anglican Church) or snap a photo.  My travel notebooks are full of little gridded out pictures, ideas for future quilts.