Sketchbook – July 2017

Sketchbook 2017 - Beach Huts Watercolour | Whims And Fancies


Beach Huts At Sunset


After a fairly rough summer, my husband and I were able to take a long holiday to recharge and finally celebrate our 25th anniversary, which was in July.  Considering it is September and I have not shared the sketchbook pages from July yet, it became an easy choice, besting all the finishes and WIP-s I amassed during that time.  I have been experimenting with different watercolours alongside markers and exploring new subject matter as well.

We have been having heatwaves, which might explain why my sketchbook is filled with cold weather paintings.  I started the July sketches with the colourful beach huts of Northumberland basking in the sunset colours by the cool water.



Sketchbook 2017 - Dance Copic Marker | Whims And Fancies




Dance is not a theme that comes easily to me, so I picked it specially to push myself a little.  I started sketching the figures and slowly it became a dream sequence.  I am not much into poetry, but there are a few poets that I like.   The words of W. B. Yeats seemed to befit this piece, so I added them with a silver pen.  I did take the liberty to change the context a little.


Sketchbook 2017 - Birch Trees In Snow Schmincke Horadam Watercolour | Whims And Fancies


Birch Trees In The Snow


I love walking in the snow.  Everything gets so quiet that you can almost hear yourself breathe.  The white birch tree grove standing tall invites me to explore a little further into the woods.


Sketchbook 2017 - Dala Horse Winsor Newton Ink Painting | Whims And Fancies


Dala Horse


This was another experimental piece.  I was going to paint a folk-art piece, but the painting had a different intention.  My Dala horse decided to take on the grunge colours instead.


Sketchbook 2017 - Bridge Daniel Smith Perylene Green Watercolour | Whims And Fancies


The Bridge


My Pride And Prejudice friends will recognise this bridge, I am sure of it. My personal addition was the Willow Tree.  Perylene Green is one of my favourite colours, and the colour was perfect for this scene. 


Sketchbook 2017 - Windmills Sennelier Watercolour | Whims And Fancies


Windmills From Sweden


When we travelled across Sweden, we came across an area dotted with windmills, relics from days gone by.  It really pleases me that they are protected and hopefully will continue to stand tall for many a year to come.


Sketchbook 2017 - Canoe Prismacolour Marker And Copic Marker | Whims And Fancies


La Belle Discordia


If I had a canoe, I imagine it would have its own mind and take me places where I dare not go.  The idea for the painting came from the canoes I saw in Lake District, England.


Previous Sketchbook Pages

June 2017


Squares Plus Grid WIP | Whims And Fancies


On the sewing side, I am continuing to finish a few WIP-s.  This mini is almost finished, only the binding needs to be stitched on.  I enjoy hand stitching the binding, so hopefully, now that things have settled down here a little, I will be able to work on it while listening to a favourite story.

I am glad to have these distractions given the current situation everywhere.  Hopefully you are able to enjoy a bit of creative time too.

Stay safe,


I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  Please pay a visit to some of them, they are a lot of fun!


Comments (18)

Chasing The Shadow – Eclipse 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017 Diamond Ring | Whims And Fancies


Diamond Ring – heralding Totality


Today I want to share something with you that is extremely special to me – our eclipse journey which I started planning two years ago.  It was two years ago that I called the hotel in the tiny little town of John Day, Oregon to reserve a room for the two of us for last weekend.  John Day lay in the path of totality, so we wouldn’t have to drive any further once we got there to see the total solar eclipse.



Solar Eclipse 2017 Baily's Beads | Whims And Fancies


Baily’s Beads – Sunlight rushing in between moon’s craters


This was our first total solar eclipse.  I have photographed a couple of partial ones before, but those were nothing compared to the sun being completely obscured by the moon.  I knew I had to capture this event with my camera and telescope. 

So, on Friday afternoon we started our 592-mile / 10-hour journey northbound to chase the moon’s shadow for the first time in our lives.  We both love to drive, and the scenery was fabulous.  At any other time, I would have stopped and taken a LOT of photos along the way, but my mind was focused on one and only one thing this time.


Solar Eclipse 2017 Baily's Beads With Prominence | Whims And Fancies


Close up of Baily’s Beads – bright sunlight filtering through the rough edges of the craters on the moon

Solar Prominences – Activity on the solar surface shown in red


I knew going in that I would be able to either view and enjoy the eclipse or take photos.  I chose photos.  Totality would last only 2 minutes at our location and I had to finish taking a series of photos within that time.  Immediately after, the solar filter would need to be placed back in front of the telescope before the sun would emerge again, so my eyes and my optics would not be left permanently damaged.


Solar Eclipse 2017 Earthshine | Whims And Fancies


Couldn’t pass up a chance of capturing the lunar surface covering the sun


We spent Sunday at the hotel.  We were lucky enough to be able to park our car right in front of our room.  The car powered my telescope’s motorized mount so it could continue to track the sun once I had everything set up and aligned correctly.  We spent the morning making sure the setup worked from that location.  The afternoon was spent rehearsing the set of exposures I would be taking.


Solar Eclipse 2017 Totality | Whims And Fancies




One last rehearsal Monday morning and I was set.  I started watching and recording the partial eclipse from the very beginning.  As the moon proceeded to cover the majority of the sun, the light started dimming quite significantly and the temperature dropped noticeably as well.  I felt a chill in the air and we experienced late twilight in the middle of an otherwise very sunny morning.  

Right then, the alarm went off on the phone to tell us to remove the solar filter and start clicking.  The race against time had begun!  It felt like the two minutes were over even before the countdown started.  I didn’t get a chance to look up at the sky, but I also knew I would be very sad if I didn’t take the photos.


Art Supply Zipper Bag | Whims And Fancies


Needless to say, I didn’t get to paint or sew much.  Before the trip, I did manage to make a small bag using the yellow newspaper fabric that my dear friend Kris sent me.  I made it to carry my tiny little paint palette and my sketchbook.  Remember the round pencil cases I made in this Sketchbook 2017 post?  Now I have a matching art supply bag.  I took them with me, but unfortunately they stayed in my backpack.  I know one of the August sketchbook entries will be of the eclipse.


Solar Eclipse 2017 | Whims And Fancies


Total Solar Eclipse – Beginning To End


My husband helped me rehearse the photography sequence more than a dozen times, and talked to curious strangers while I was setting up my telescope so I could keep my concentration.  Most importantly, he sacrificed his viewing experience to remove and replace the solar filter on time, to call the photo settings out loud and to shine a red light on the camera so I could shoot uninterrupted. 

This was my first try at taking photos of totality and I really could not have done this without him.  I wish we had a few more seconds so he could have enjoyed it a bit longer. I owe him another eclipse journey.


I anticipated this for so long, now I am a bit sad that it’s over.  As happy as I am with the photos, I also wish that I spent time experiencing the totality with my own eyes.  Shakespeare said it best –  “For man is a giddy thing and this is my conclusion“.

Thank You for listening!


I am also linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.   They are fun to visit and great source for new inspirations.


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A Day By The Ocean

Summer Sailboat Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies


I took a break last week to catch my breath a little, and it was quite nice to be able to do that.  During that time I worked on a few hand sewing finishes.  The Summer Sailboat was amongst them.  I wanted to add to the paper pieced block with hand quilting.  Large fluffy clouds are always a favourite of mine and my husband.  I started there and added on as I went along with the quilting.


A couple of months ago, we went to the Point Reyes National Seashore.  We don’t live by the ocean, but it is a very nice day trip for us.  Sadly, we only go once every few years.  We had never been to Point Reyes before, and I needed to learn my new camera that I got earlier this year.  So we decided to drive out and make a day of it.  After having a delicious seafood lunch at one of the many small seaside towns en route, we arrived at Point Reyes.


Point Reyes, California | Whims And Fancies


It was a cool, windy day.  Although a bit hazy, you could still see the bay in the distance.


Point Reyes, California | Whims And Fancies


The colour of the water makes me think of glass.  I could have stood there forever, watching the water crashing into those rocks creating frothy white foam.   Different every time!


Point Reyes, California | Whims And Fancies


The call of the ocean.  I always feel a strong pull whenever I see the vast expanse of the sea, wondering what’s on the other side.


Point Reyes, California | Whims And Fancies


The ever-present stiff gale has bent all the trees, creating a canopy.


Point Reyes, California | Whims And Fancies


There are wonderful sitting grooves on the thick branches of this lovely tree.  Sitting in one of those was like being hugged by a tree.


Point Reyes, California | Whims And Fancies


The marine mist rolled in at the end of the day.  The contrasting white of the breaking waves against the blue-grey is beautiful.


Point Reyes, California | Whims And Fancies


I love the pale and soft pastel purple, peach and cream colours of sunsets even more than the bright ones, they feel very serene and peaceful to me.  It was time to head home.


This was the first outside trip for my new camera and it was a wonderful one at that.  I hope to create many more memories with it.



I set out to quilt the little wall hanging with that ocean blue colour in mind.


Summer Sailboat Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies


Summer Sailboat on Craftsy and Etsy


The finished Summer Sailboat quilted wall hanging.  There was another quilted square on the border, but it looked crowded, so I removed it in the end.  This one is my very first all hand-quilted finish.  I could have been done with it a bit sooner if I didn’t always get hung up on the stitch sizes being almost same all the time, but I am glad I took the time to work on it. 


The Summer Sailboat quilt pattern is on my Craftsy and Etsy shops should you wish to make one.  I hope you enjoyed the photos and my little finish.  I will tell you a bit more about this one and a couple of companion quilted wall hangings another day.



I am also linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.   They are fun to visit and great source for new inspirations.


Comments (38)

Playing In The Rain


Exactly a year ago last July, I set out to create a Lego Harry Potter quilt.  I love the worlds made of ink and paper and the friends I make there.  They are always there, always happy to see me. I was delighted to befriend Harry and the others within the pages of the seven books.  As I finish the journey together with them (countless number of times) and read the words “All was well”,  I imagine a happy future for all my friends, finally able to leave conflict behind them.



Lego Harry Potter | Whims And Fancies


I also love to tinker with Lego.  A few years ago, my husband got me the Lego Harry Potter video games to cheer me up and it has become a form of Patronus for me.  Afterwards as I learned how to write quilt patterns, I knew I wanted to make a Lego Harry Potter quilt – a Patronus quilt – some day.  Last year I set out to make these blocks inspired by the game.

Thank you so much for joining me over the months and for leaving lovely comments. Also, a BIG Thank You to everyone who donated to Maine Coon Adoptions, one of my favourite kitty charities. 

The donations raised a total of $550.  Words cannot express the gratitude I feel. 


My blocks for this quilt –



Hermione’s Bookshelf and Hedwig


Lego Harry Potter Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies


Weasley Box and the Deluminator


Lego Harry Potter Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies


Time Turner and Crookshanks


Lego Harry Potter Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies


Cornish Pixie and Singing Mandrake


Lego Harry Potter Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies


Spectrespecs and Flame And Flowers


Lego Harry Potter Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies


Lumos Solem and Pigwidgeon


Lego Harry Potter Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies




Lego Harry Potter Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies


The knights


Lego Harry Potter Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies






Playing In The Rain


Since I have always loved playing in the rain, I love its presence in the game.  As a child, I got in trouble a myriad times for soiling my clothes and for getting sick, but that never stopped me.  The Lego figures also run around in the castle, oblivious to it. 

I wanted the quilt to look as if I am looking at a shelf full of Hogwarts paraphernalia through the rain.  I quilted a lot of broken lines randomly coming downward with a very pale-steel-blue coloured thread.   The quilt is named Playing In The Rain.


Here is my layout of the quilt.  I used 2″ sashing for the bottom three rows, and 3″ between the dragon and the knights.  The shelf border is 2″ and then I added a 4″ outer border. 

The quilt measures a nice 66″ x 80″.  I love to take the quilt I cuddle under on the couch to bed.  It’s perfect for both.




I was not sure what backing I would use until I went to the store, where my husband pointed a leafy fabric out to me.  That instilled the idea of the Forbidden Forest.  We kept on looking and came across this fabric.  It looks a bit like looking at the trees through rain.




Then, of course, I had to take the quilt to the nearby state park to get a photo in the woods.




I am too embarrassed to mention the number of times my husband and I went to watch the first movie in the theatre.  I just had to place the quilt in one of the Alnwick Castle photos I took last year while we were there.  

The quilt represents everything I love and treasure about the story of Harry Potter – Friendship, wit, laughter, whimsy, protection, freedom, just to name a few. 


July was a hard month for us.  The irony of finishing a Patronus quilt during that time didn’t escape me.  I was glad I had Nicholas Hoopers’s music, Stephen Fry’s reading of the books and David Yate’s movies to accompany me and egg me on to finish.  I placed the last stitch on this quilt on our 25th Anniversary!


And dance your final dance

This is your final chance
To hold the one you love
You know you’ve waited long enough

So, believe
That magic works
Don’t be afraid
Of being hurt
Don’t let this magic die
The answer’s there
Oh, just look in her eyes.

Magic Works From Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire Soundtrack


All Is Well!


I am linking up with Patty on One Monthly Goal

I am also linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page

Comments (39)