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Mirror, Mirror On the Wall

This week’s photo assignment was ‘mirror’. I knew immediately what image I wanted to capture—but it depended upon the electrician’s work schedule.

Our house is over a hundred years old and has original flooring and light fixtures. We’ve replaced  a few things along the way; updating some of the wiring, replacing broken plumbing pipes, installing mini splits for climate control (a vast improvement over open windows and ceiling fans in the summer and huddling around the gas fireplace in the winter.

But then there were the light fixtures. In some decorating whim of the seventies (I think), we had shag carpet on the stairwell (removed within a month of our moving in) and painted light fixtures. There were some other oddities—the water heater in the corner of the kitchen and the boarded up kitchen windows, the double sink double drainboard cast iron occupying nearly eight feet on one wall and  burst plumbing pipes.

One night while I was waiting for my back pain to ease, I entertained myself by just looking at stuff on the internet. I discovered a place in nearby Houston that would refurbish and rewire old light fixtures.

I took them a set of sconces and a rather plaint chandelier that had been in the breakfast room. When they were finished, they replaced a set of existing sconces and I decided to take the dining room and living room chandeliers in for refurbishing.

It takes some time for all of that to happen; we had a single light bulb in both rooms—mood lighting—romantic in a way but really tough to see the clues in the crossword puzzle each morning.

The chandeliers have now been successfully rehung—the rooms are bright and cheery and I just had to brag on how pretty they are.Sylviq Weir Week 2 Mirror

Here I am trying to get the perfect shot:


Just to keep my humble, I took a photo through the mirror of a dresser (grandfather’s) looking at another mirror which served as a hat repository–and a place to check self before exiting (grandmother’s). hall20mirror-m



vision20202020full20size-mI’m always up for a challenge and the year 2020 is just too easy to envision several challenges regarding vision, or sight. This is my challenge piece 20 by 20 inches for the Vision 2020 to be shown in Australia…..if it is selected. If not, it was a fun piece.

In third grade, the state mandated vision testing for all grade school children. The chart arrived and was hung in the hallway, One by one we were called out while the rest of us waiting anxiously in the classroom whispering among ourselves worried this would be the harbinger of some terrible news or required action. I remember nearly standing on my head trying to show the direction of the legs of that E…..we were supposed to use our hand to point in the direction of the E’s legs.

The background fabric for the piece is a decorator fabric with graphic images of eye lashes, eyes and tick marks. I cut out and appliqued the rayon E’s…rayon not being a good choice of fabric type but it was the densest black I had, then hand embroidered around each letter to give a bit of color that would only be obvious up close, and then machine stitched it with a variegated black and white thread in straight lines to suggest the lines in the chart.


New Year Resolutions abound at this time of year—and a lot of them already broken. Some use a word or phrase to shape their year; I tend to do both. I tend to lean toward the list method. And ruefully the same things appear on the list each year—things like–recover the couch—–fix dining room ceiling…clean up yard….

Some of the tasks are never-ending—how can you ever stay caught up on laundry or cleaning the bathroom?

But then there is the Wisconin motto—Onward…

I think it is a great motto—looking forward, building on the past and still moving—not standing motionless paralyzed by regret or anger but going forward.

I’ve been part of a weekly photo challenge for several years. Some of the participants are expert at filters and composites and other fancy things in photoshop; others seem to live in particularly gorgeous areas with abundance of great photo ops; those are not in my skill set. One year I did try to do some fancy stuff and spent a great deal of time on it; I was rewarded by someone commenting I should have taken the time to find a better photo site…it was really hard not to look at that person’s submission with a highly critical and negative view. But I cheated myself out of not participating for the remainder of the year.

So this year—-it is Onward! and here is my photo:

Week 1 Sylvia Weir Word of the Year

This is a view of Amistad Resevoir just north of Del Rio Texas. Several rivers contribute to the Reservoir but the best known is the Rio Grande. This area is part of the Chihuahuan desert and features some of the typical vegetation but more abundantly due to the reservoir and the amount of water available. Some years the reservoir is quite low but this time it is quite high; fishing is a popular activity.

Problem Solving

Thread comes in many lovely colors and sizes of spools but I don’t always need a full cone (at $35 each) of a color. And I have a lot of smaller spools but they do not work well on the Gammill. The thread catches on the small slot intended to corral the thread from unwinding itself all over the floor.

One of my sons solved this problem. We designed a spool cap that would fit over the top of the spool and prevent catching in the slot. It worked absolutely perfectly.

Now I can use a lot of different threads and not necessarily invest in a lot of cones of thread.


A little something for Ella and Eli

My mother was a quilter and like many left behind some starts and stops, experiments and partially completed projects. I have been finishing up some of them and gifting them to her great-grandchildren.



the first one is for Ella and the teddy bears is for Eli—-a set of twins, children of one of my nephews and his lovely wife.

I have one more to quilt—the boxes are slowly being emptied and put to good use.

Blues…….Indigo batiks

It isn’t much of a secret that my favorite color is blue—in nearly form but particularly a lovely indigo color—and a purply blue heather color—the color I painted in my sewing room. Several years ago I bought two cotton bedspreads made in Indigo with the intention of making them into a lightweight summer quilt.

The fabric is somewhat gauzy making it a bit stretchy and more than a bit difficult to quilt—and then I chose a lovely warm cranberry red thread for the quilting. That thread disappeared into the fabric and it seemed to take forever to get it quilted.

But now it is done and is in the queue to be bound—the hardest part of that is the trimming.



One of the fun news articles this past week—-and don’t we all appreciate something nice….has been about a woman who bought an unfinished embroidery project at an estate sale and enlisted others to complete it. I have a similar project but haven’t enlisted anyone to to work on it besides myself.


It is a set of beautifully embroidered state birds. Someone decided to paint the outlines of the states in an off color white–at first I thought they had mended the blocks but after looking at a few more, I discovered some state outlines. Ohio is not that remarkable a shape–but Texas is.

First I had to trim up the edges to make them all reasonably uniform sized.img_2671-m

Then I had to calculate the pieces to make these into square-ish blocks AND figure out img_2673-mhow to cut those pieces using the rulers I had.img_2674-m

Adding all those corners took some time but now all the blocks have been cornered and are awaiting joining to their neighbors. I am not putting them any particular order although I thought about putting all the cardinals together somewhere.img_2676-m

Final challenge will be the quilting; how to not overwhelm that beautiful embroidery will be something I will have to think about a bit. That will occupy my mind while I am doing the rather mundane part of trimming (again) and stitching together.img_2678-mimg_2679-m


Indigo from India

Several years ago I bought two lovely large cotton batik indigo pieces in Colorado. It was my plan to quilt them together so as to have a double sided light weight quilt for summer nights.

I decided I wanted to use flannel as the batting; and as I have been diligently working on the quilt tops that have accumulated over the years—I’m not fond of basting===clean off the dining room table, put down popsicle sticks to mark the centers, tape and pin and roll—but with a long arm–basting is now a breeze—or actually not needed except at the edges.

I loaded up the bottom, smoothed out the flannel lining and put on the top layer.

Now what?

I had planned to use a deep warmish cranberry red as the thread—thought about doing fancy custom work—and then realized it would not be very visible so why go to all that work.

Pantograph it was.

Each row takes about 15 minutes to complete. I finished up three rows; my back is not happy doing all this standing–and came back to it the next day—–but——the laser light did not work.

Turned everything off and then back on again–still no luck. Called the dealer—I needed a new laser light–and it would be easy to install.

Laser light arrived yesterday.

Installed without a hitch—I did need to use the flashlight to see where the hex fit on the side.

I am now back up and running. Did three more rows and quit for the day—maybe tomorrow will be another two or three rows—I think there are about 6 rows left.


and here is a detail of the stitching


Designing one or two things

My mother, like many quilters, had a lot of unfinished projects, starts of projects, sample blocks, partially cut out quilts. I have been working diligently to complete some of these projects, to make something out of those samples and bits and pieces.

This is one of the–four small tulip blocks along with some half square triangles.


then there is a challenge (that I created) in the local fiber art group

This one is inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe’s use of abstraction to display her emotions


and a new project—bees on flowers. I used beeswax to batik a grunge green; I’ve made the bees—free embroidered on wash-away and a light green sheer; now to do the flowers.


here are the bees in process


and a closeup of the finished bee


UFOs in the land of fiber

Starting a new project is always fun and exciting—and maybe like others, I suffer from the ‘my ambitions and ideas are bigger than my hands can finish’ syndrome.

I have always had more than one project going, trying to pair an older one with a newer one to keep up the excitement and interest. But two years ago, I stumbled upon the American patchwork UFO Quilt challenge.

First you pull out the old projects—I had already done that and put them in boxes and labeled and made a list. Then you choose twelve and fill in a sheet from one to twelve. If you are really brave, you post it on their facebook site.

Then each month, a number is pulled and that is the project you work on for the month. Sometimes you think–oh, no, why did I put that on the list—but once started, it gets easier. I haven’t finished all the projects I listed–as some took a lot more time than I thought they would—and work was especially busy—and I like to have them completed–stitched, quilted, bound, and photo’ed.

And of course, one of the guilds I belong to decided on the same challenge—but they had to be different—so that meant EIGHTEEN projects.

I can say the stack of quilt tops is diminishing; the project boxes are emptying—but I seem to e adding new projects along the way—but trying very hard to show restraint.

Here are two from this year—one was quilted and the other finished into a top and put into the to be quilted pile.


this was a round robin; it started with the center camel batik from Africa


left over strip pieces from a workshop with Nancy Crow

and here is a closeup of the quilting