Monday, May 30, 2011

Suddenly summer

The clouds have parted. The rain has stopped (for the moment). And someone has turned up the intergalactic thermostat. It's summer! We have a couple of postcards to show....both on a summer theme....a summer road trip!
Lost! Copyright © Cheryl Coville 2011
 'Nuff said on this one, we think.

Copyright © Cheryl Coville 2011
Now, THIS one is born of bitter memories. You can see this comes from a long ago time before seatbelts and fancy-schmancy car seats. It was a time of should we say it?....every man (and kid!) for himself? Although there were never this many kids in the backseat of our family car, we probably seemed like a whole tribe to our demoralized parents up front. "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?" (At full volume. The concept of the inside voice having yet to be invented.) We wish there was a way of showing in postcard form the rhythmic kicking of the back of the parent's seat and the scooping action of the parental arm into the back seat in response. Ah, yes. Good times!

And then, years later. Nature's payback. US in the front seat. Mouthy little guys, pummelling one another in the back, as we drove mile after curs-ed mile. Nowadays, those same little guys are all grown up and have vans with DVD players so the kids in the back seat think they're at some kind of mobile movie theatre.

Is it any wonder the only summer road trip we crave nowadays is a vicarious one lived through postcards?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Illustration Friday: Asleep

Copyright © Cheryl Coville 2011
We thought we'd shake things up a bit this week. We feel really comfortable working in pencil. Black and white is really how we see the world anyway. Things are either right or wrong, good or bad. Of course, that kind of thinking can get a girl into a lot of trouble. So, this week, we offer this little sketch done in coloured pencil with which we have struggled mightily. We offer it here in the spirit of experimentation. Maybe next week we'll move up to our new watercolour pencils.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Don't tell Mr. Coco

Grandma Coco has a crush on the Purolator man. She thinks we don't see him often enough. And really, who wouldn't love a guy who brings you stuff ... on time and without expecting anything in return. :) Yesterday, he brought us not one, but TWO boxes.

The Kingdom of Coco is a fabulous place to live but we are a tad lacking in good art supply stores. We have to drive an hour to get to the closest one and we were bitterly disappointed the last time we went there. So, you can appreciate how happy we were to discover an excellent online retailer. Curry's Art Supplies has been in business in Toronto since 1911. We've ordered twice from them and have been extremely happy with their service. And you all know how fussy Grandma Coco can be.

Here's what we got.....

It's like Christmas! There is something so wonderful about new art supplies. Stark white pages and sharp, sharp pencils. Curry's had a couple of specials to celebrate their centennial. One of them was sketchbooks with decent weight paper (9" x 12", 100 pages) for $4.95!!!! We just had to get 2 of them.

And a metal box of 2 dozen watercolour pencils and a block of watercolour paper. These pencils are so pretty. We've never used watercolour pencils before. It's kind of daunting.

As well, we've been trying to find some paper that we really liked from several years ago. We know it's an Arches paper because we have a tiny piece of it left with the watermark on it. It's a beautiful paper for drawing on with plain old pencil (which is our preferred medium)....with a smooth, velvety surface that takes the pencil well but still lets us erase. We took a chance and ordered some 140 lb hot press paper and Curry's gave us a sample pack of all the Arches watercolour papers so we can try them out.
Thanks, Mr. Curry's! GC's got a crush on you, too!

We got free shipping AND a 15% discount!

However, the absolute best thing about our order? The paper comes in sheets that are 22" x 33" and we figured they'd come rolled up in a tube. But no! They shipped them flat in a shallow box. Every single item was wrapped in plastic and nestled into its box with bubble wrap. All in all, we give Curry's TWO thumbs up. If you're looking for a good mail order source for art supplies, Curry's might be it!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

... and found?

So we took a shovel to the old sewing room/studio in what turned out to be a veritable archeological dig. The whole process actually ended up taking way less time than we had feared (it always does!) and it was oddly satisfying. Sort of like taking a calming breath.

BONUS!!! Look what we found!

This is a tiny practice piece that we did several years ago. It's only about 6 inches x 9 inches. We also found some strip-pieced remnants from an old slipper design that was part of our pattern offerings back in the '90's...a contemporary of the Cosy Quilted Cap and Mittens patterns.

The colours go well together we think and the idea of finding hope at the bottom of a quilted nightmare is just too good to pass up. This will become part of the Frankenquilt....the knitting-themed quilt.....Knitter-Knatter.

Here's how we're going about it:

In the photo above, you can see we laid the Hope motif so it overlaps the strip-pieced fabric slightly. We then cut through both layers. This makes the 2 motifs nestle into each other.

To join the 2 motifs, we cut ON THE BIAS a 1 inch strip of this bright pink fabric (which we bought when we were in Maui 4 years ago) and a 1-3/4 inch wide strip of fabric (for the back).  Fold the wider strip in half and pin the cut edges to the raw edge of the back of the Hope motif. Line up one edge of the 1 inch strip with the raw edge of the right side of Hope (right sides together) and stitch through all the layers. Next, stitch the remaining edge of the pink 1 inch wide strip to the corresponding raw edge of the slipper strip-pieced fabric (right sides together).

Then, we opened everything up. You can see the narrow pink bias strip stitched to both pre-quilted pieces.

And, on the back side, we just handstitched the folded edge to cover the machine stitching. Neato!

Definitely a Frankenquilt!

Monday, May 23, 2011


The workmen have come and gone. The house is a dusty, chaotic mess.....lovely floors, mind you, but still....a mess. (No pictures today for reasons of deniability.) Slowly we are putting things to rights but somehow we have lost our way. Our mojo is missing. We know we were wildly excited about several creative endeavours but what were they? It's almost as though we've forgotten. Did you ever go away for a few days and wonder when you got home, what exactly it was that you did in your normal life? What it was that ordinarily gave you so much pleasure? It seems strange that that could be so easily forgotten.

Our sewing room is in need of a good tidy-up. As the makeshift catch-all for all the bits and bobs that had to move for the house renovation, everything is in upheaval ... and not in a good, creative swirl either. This is more of a "can't find a thing" kind of disorder. So, it would seem the first order of business would be to just bite the bullet and clean that room up, find all the pieces for our knitting themed quilt, our fuschia/purple scarf, our "Say Cheese!" scrap quilt (Ha! that's new! You haven't seen that one yet, have you?), our beaded February Lady sweater variation (also new!) and hope for the best.

We have a list of "should do's" and a list of "wanna do's". Which do you think we'll tackle first?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Time for a safari!

Copyright © Cheryl Coville 2011

 Don't you just love it when 2 things collide? And we mean when they collide in a good way. This week's Illustration Friday theme is Safari. And since we've already mentioned we have a practical streak and a newly discovered fascination with fabric postcards, we've decided to combine the two. We have a lot to learn about fabric postcards....mostly in working in such a small space. This little card is only 4 inches x 6 inches. We've discovered it's all about simplifying. And in case you haven't noticed that's a discipline that doesn't come naturally to us..... being inveterate complicators ... but we're trying.

For any illustrator/artist types who've arrived here through the Illustration Friday link (and not familiar with quilter/seamstress proclivities) this is a fabric collage, held in place by stitching.

We've just joined a fabric postcard trading group called Postcard Cottage. There are some fabulous postcards floating around there. We wonder how long we'll have to wait until the Safari topic comes up. :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What a difference a day (or 2) makes

Grandma Coco wants to apologize for allowing Cheryl to whine and carry on in our last post. Things are brighter today both inside and out. The world is sunny and spring-like and green! once again. We have robins building nests over the lights at both our doors...front and back.

AND the mailman brought us a lovely package today from Monika of My Sweet Prairie. Isn't her business card pretty? Look what we won..... a set of chalk markers and some really special tape from Marathon. Monika was celebrating her blogiversary a week or so ago and gave away some really cool prizes. Thank you, Monika!

As well, the workmen are coming right along with our new floor! It's going to be so pretty but we find we're afraid to step on it. What if we make a mark? That's the one great thing about having extra old carpet....we didn't worry about it at all. :)

Once the floor guys are finished, we have another man who's coming to replace those awful wrought iron railings with wooden spindles. Until then, we have to be careful not to fall over the edge of the landing. Thank goodness none of us sleep walks!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Down for the count

Copyright © Cheryl Coville 2011

We've had a rough couple of weeks. We feel like we've gone a few rounds with Mike Tyson. The list of injustices includes: Night time drives through freezing rain advisories, black ice and lightning. Hurricane winds. Power outages. (And that means no water which means....NO HOT TEA!!)  No telephone service. And all that without our Mr. Coco, who had to fly away and really did feel bad about us going through all this alone.  Then, the workers who are coming to install new floors decided to show up on Friday instead of the following Monday without calling first! And all the stuff we had planned to move carefully out of the way over the weekend had to be moved hastily. Now, nothing is findable. The whole house is in chaos. And don't get us started on the dust factor!!  Turns out you get a bit of dust when you pull up 35-year-old carpet. Who knew? What's a girl to do? Sometimes, art therapy helps. Truly.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Coming together

We have more knitting themed vignettes sketched and ready to appliqué but for today we thought we'd like to start bringing the various parts together. Will it come together as we envision? or will it just look like a textile explosion? Time will tell.

We have one of our wonky stars with the dog centre and the circles that were cut out of Barnyard Roundup. .... the quilt we made recently for our great-niece. They look good together.

This is going to be a double bed sized quilt and there's a lot of real estate involved in that big of a quilt....a lot of bed to cover. As much as we can appreciate art for art's sake, we find it very difficult to make quilted wall hangings. We are way too practical for that. Quilts have that wonderful tactile quality that's totally wasted if you never get to touch them or wear them or cuddle underneath them. So, this will be a quilt for our bed and since Mr. Coco is very forgiving and since most of the time that we're in that room it's dark, we're just going wild. No one to impress. No one to care. We highly recommend the process. It's very liberating.

Our friend Karen of Sew Karen-ly Created turned us on to the idea of using pages from old phone books for stabilizer. We had been using freezer paper (which is heavier and harder to remove) and that freezer paper is expensive. The phone book pages are FREEEEEEE! and such a good idea. Karen uses her phone book pages for string piecing and you can see her tutorial for placemats made with them here. Very pretty!

Next we're adding a couple of those crazy cat panels we got from Sew Sisters. We LOVE these cats. So bright and brash. Just like us!

Next, after removing the stabilizer paper we'll trim away as much of the excess fabric from the back as we can and we think a couple of the circles are just crying out for some hand embroidery.

approx. 17 inches x 24 inches

Be sure to visit Karen's blog tomorrow (Friday) because she's taking part in a blog tour for Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour. She has a block in the book and she'll have a copy of the magazine to give away.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sending the book on to ...

Copyright © Cheryl Coville 2011

Please send your mailing address to us at:
grandmacocosdesigns (at) gmail (dot) com

We hope you'll enjoy the read
and maybe pass the book along to someone else
when you're done.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Scrap Happy Dog Sweater

Another motif for the knitting themed quilt ...

Copyright © Cheryl Coville 2011

About 15 inches x 15 inches.

Are there any fans of the TV show Castle out there? A while ago, Terri from Purple Moose Designs sent us her copy of Heat Wave by Richard Castle. It's a quick and entertaining read. Anybody want it next? Leave a comment here and we'll draw a name and mail it off. Anywhere in the world. Deadline: tomorrow night (Tuesday) at midnight.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Illustration Friday: Lesson

Copyright © Cheryl Coville 2011

Who doesn’t remember playing school as a child and roping in younger brothers or dolls  to play the part of students? That’s how this drawing started. It was going to be a little kid reading to her dolly. And then, the little dog showed up. Now, this isn’t just any little dog. This is our little dog. Or maybe we should say “was” because he’s gone now.

He was the sweetest little black-and-silver miniature poodle and he came to us as all our pets do, as a rescue. A friend couldn’t keep him anymore and so he came to live in the Kingdom of Coco. In a word, he was ‘perfect’. He was sweet-tempered and loyal and loving and (relatively) well-behaved. That’s the thing about small dogs. They can get away with more because they won’t knock you down if they jump up on you and if they do occasionally pee on the carpet, it’s not like they’re going to warp the floorboards. J

His name, we were told, was Rennie. Our friends were Anglophones (that means English only speakers for any non-Canadian who might be wondering). When we asked about the name on his birth certificate (which was René), my friend said they had named him for the famous Quebec politician (and confirmed separatist), René Lévesque because Rennie was a FRENCH poodle. OK. That makes sense. Anglophones pronounce René as Rennie. So Rennie he stayed...even though as a French major, and lover of all things French AND a proud Canadian, it all seemed a little....wrong, somehow. 

But there was nothing wrong with Rennie himself. He liked to cuddle and he loved to cuddle with us. He spent long hours glued to our side in our special chair while we drew or did needlework just as he’s sitting in this drawing. With that look of complete adoration.

So, why did Rennie pick today to visit? Well, we, along with the rest of the world, have been watching the coverage of the Royal Wedding (that is, when Ontario Hydro sees fit to provide us with electricity…. Their telephone update line starts out by patiently and condescendingly reminding us that there’s been a BIG STORM and many customers are without power….yeah, yeah….) We don’t know if it’s the frustration with the hydro situation or what, but the joyfulness of the wedding is tempered by a little melancholy. We can’t help feeling a little sad, a little weepy even that Princess Di didn’t live long enough to see her handsome son marry.

And that’s where Rennie comes in. You see, Rennie died the very morning that Princess Di’s death was announced here in Canada. The 2 deaths are inextricably linked for us. Someone we never really knew, but admired. And someone we loved like our own child.

So, today when our pencil was moving and suddenly we realized “Hey, that’s Rennie” (because believe it or not, that’s sometimes how it happens) we took a moment to remember him.

You are never truly gone if someone remembers you.

BTW That's Rennie in the photo in the sidebar....the one advertising the pattern for the Cosy Quilted Cap and Mittens. We miss that little guy.