Winter Warmth

Old York street light with Sennelier watercolour | Whims And Fancies

 

Lately, my head has been full of plans for the future and a growing list of things to accomplish, matched only by my lackluster state of mind.  A few months ago, I took a photo of a street light while exploring the old city of York, and have wanted to paint this ever since.

On Tuesday, as I finally made myself put the paint-loaded brush to paper, the ease came back.  Painting the weathered stones and the walls was quite cathartic, and the warm light became the proverbial beacon.

 

Thank You for keeping me going with your lovely supportive words and personal emails sharing memories evoked by my work.

 

 

Tule Elk at Point Reyes | Whims And Fancies

 

More photos from Pt. Reyes on A Day At The Sea Post

 

A few weeks ago we went back to Point Reyes National Seashore.  On our way back, we came across these Tule elks grazing right by the roadside. They were introduced back after their extirpation from this region in the 1850s.  Warms my heart to see them back in their natural habitat.

 

 

Tule elks at Point Reyes | Whims And Fancies

 

Last rays of the setting sun

 

Harvest Hat Knitting Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

I made a pair of mitts for my friend Kris before.  It was about time I made this matching hat for her.  This hat, along with a few other things made it out there on Monday.  She loves it and said the hat snuggles her ears too.  Perfect!

 

 

Lego Harry Potter Quilt Patterns | Whims And Fancies

 

About the quilt in the Playing In The Rain post

 

I was happy to finish my Patronus quilt in July.  This Lego Harry Potter quilt is now keeping me warm during the winter nights.  I love reading my book snuggled under it with a mug of hot chocolate made lovingly by my husband.

 

Whims And Fancies patterns have raised a wonderful sum of approximately $1400 through different fundraisers this year.  That sum does not include the money I donated/will donate from the pattern sales.  Thank You so much for donating and purchasing the patterns.

 

 

Yosemite | Whims And Fancies

 

Yosemite And I – A post about why I love it there so much

 
We haven’t had much rain or snow here this year.  Instead, our beautiful California has been burning from north to south.  Snow-covered landscape has been scarce this year, as has the winter rain.

 

Colonial House quilt pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Post about a holiday in Kings Canyon inspired wall hanging

Pattern on Craftsy and Etsy

 

That photo I took of Yosemite reminded me of sitting by a large stone fireplace, sipping on a warm drink after a wonderful day out in the snow.  The parks here have common rooms with warm fires in large stone fireplaces.  We will not be going to the Sierra mountains this year, but that won’t stop me dreaming of my favourite place.

 

 

Black And White Sewing | Whims And Fancies

 

 

At home, looking out of the window at the bare trees and at the bookshelves beside the window gave me an idea for a small sewing project.

 

The time has come for my holiday hibernation away from the computer.  This year with everything that has been going on, I will need this time to gather myself more than ever.  Time to bask in the warmth that old man winter brings to me.  This comes in the guise of admiring my favourite star clusters during the long winter nights,  and walks wearing my favourite woolens during the days. 

Inside the home, long hours of video game playing with my husband has become a tradition.  I love to paint in the soft winter sunlight.  Ink and paper adventures await me, along with the prospect of a warm beverage, fireside and kitty cuddles. 

 

Happy Holidays, everyone!  I wish you a warm and safe holiday season full of wonder and magic!

-Soma

 

I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  They are great for inspiration, please pay a visit to some of them.

 

Make Art

Make Art - Feather Quill quilt pattern with ink bottle | Whims And Fancies

 

Quill Pen on Etsy and Craftsy

 

I love to play with many things, and it all starts with sketching a concept.  Even with all the electronic devices available at my fingertips, ink, pen and paper are still my favourite tools, and not just for painting.  When I am playing a musical instrument, I quite often scribble on my sheet music too.  I have a very difficult time passing up on pens and inks, resulting in a drawer full of ink bottles accompanied by wooden calligraphy pens, glass pens, fountain pens and quill pens.

One day, the sight of a quill pen and a bottle of ink on my table sparked the idea of a Make-Art-themed wall hanging.  This quill pen and ink bottle is the first in a series of Make Art quilt patterns, available on Etsy and Craftsy.

 

That also got me thinking about the myriad ways of making art.  Many thanks to the makers of these blocks for letting me share some of them here.

 

 

Piano Quilt Pattern. Block made by carwashcat101 | Whims And Fancies

Piano by carwashcat101

Piano Quilt Pattern. Block made by carwashcat101 | Whims And Fancies

Piano by carwashcat101

 

Music is a very powerful and emotional form of art.  It has definitely played a big part in my life, which prompted me to make a whole set of musical instrument quilt patterns. carwashcat101 shared these photos of the beautiful pianos she made from my pattern.  She plans to make another one in green.

 

 

Music Notes Quilt Pattern. Block made by featheredneststudio | Whims And Fancies

Music Notes by featheredneststudio

Music Notes Quilt Pattern. Blocks made by craftyquilter | Whims And Fancies

Music Notes by craftyquilter

 

The musicians fill music notes with emotion as they bring the notes to life through their instruments.   Music Notes was one of the very first patterns I wrote.  featheredneststudio and craftyquilter made these wonderful blocks from it.

 

 

FREADOM Read Books Quilt Pattern. Wall hanging made by Elizabeth Plantz | Whims And Fancies

Freadom by Elizabeth Plantz

FREADOM Read Books Quilt Pattern. Wall hanging made by Elizabeth Plantz | Whims And Fancies

Freadom by Elizabeth Plantz

 

Where would I be without books!  So much power tucked away between pages artfully written by the authors.  Elizabeth Plantz, a member of the ALA biblioquilters,  made these two wall hangings for an auction using the FREADOM pattern. That auction raised $620 in scholarship funds from the sale of the minis.

 

 

Bear Cub Quilt Pattern. Pillow made by Elisabeth | Whims And Fancies

Bear Cub by Elisabeth

Autumn Leaves Quilt Pattern. Table runner made by Elisabeth | Whims And Fancies

Leaves by Elisabeth

 

Nature herself makes art all the time, always unique, a constant source of inspiration.  Elisabeth’s bear cub is definitely one of a kind, as is her Autumn Leaves table runner.

 

 

SLR Camera Quilt Pattern. Block made by scrapmaster01 | Whims And Fancies

Camera by scrapmaster01

SLR Camera Quilt Pattern. Wall hanging made by fabricker | Whims And Fancies

Camera by fabricker

 

I can’t even begin to express my feelings about photography in words.  It is an intrinsic part of me now.  As cameras have become more ubiquitous, we use them to make art everyday while capturing life around us.  Scrapmaster01 and fabricker made these amazing cameras using my Fields On Camera pattern.

 

 

Make Art - Feather Quill quilt pattern with ink bottle | Whims And Fancies

 

Quill Pen on Etsy and Craftsy

 

These examples of creativity got me excited about designing the Make Art quilt patterns.   I am very happy with this first one.  This quill pen quilt pattern makes a 6″ x 12″ block and is fairly easy to sew.  It is now available on my Etsy and Craftsy stores.  I think it would make a wonderful gift for an artist in your life.

All the other patterns are available on my shop.

Art is all around us, a force that magically moves us, and emotionally affects us.  This pattern is just the beginning, and I can’t wait to share more with you.

-Soma

 

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!

 

Firefighter’s Drive

Firefighter Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Firefighter Quilt Pattern on Etsy and Craftsy

 

I feel exceptionally lucky to be able to sit here at my desk today, writing this post.  As you have probably heard, last week California was burning to ashes.  After working in the garden last Sunday morning, we spent a quiet day at home since my broken toes are still healing.  As we were getting ready for bed, the wind started howling around us.  I had an umbrella shading one of our gardenias.  We went outside to remove it and then we smelled it, that all too familiar wildfire smell in the air.

 

Firefighter Embroidery Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Firefighter Embroidery Pattern on Etsy and Craftsy

 

We went to sleep wondering where the fire was.  Next morning, as I sat down to work, I noticed the sun.

I started reading the news, and shock took over me.  While sleeping Napa got lucky, the same wind that we heard the night before spread the fire across the mountains to the West and ravaged the city of Santa Rosa.

 

Northern California Wildfire Napa County | Whims And Fancies

 

This was the view just outside my window

 

I love fire.  I make excellent campfires, BUT I also have great respect for fire, a reverence if you will.  

Having lived in southern California where October is wildfire season, wildfires themselves are not new to me.  I have gotten ready for evacuation once before.  We have seen smoky skies and  burning hills more times than I care to remember.  We have camped under a red sun looming overhead, but it’s different.  Seeing this right outside our home still makes me very nervous.

 

Northern California Wildfire Sun | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Tuesday, as I saw smoke growing on the west side where the fire was closest to our home, I started packing.  Soon thereafter we got notification that the very north end of our street had received evacuation orders.  A young man wearing a particle mask was going from door to door, making sure we were aware of the notice.

 

Napa California Wildfire Sunlight | Whims And Fancies

Charlie has taken the colour of Quinacridone Gold from the wildfire sunlight

 

The hardest part is that if you do need to evacuate, you don’t know what you will come back to.  I started with the kitties’ supplies, their boxes, food.  Then came the necessary items for us and after that, a box of would-be-nice-to-save things.  On Wednesday, I packed a few more things ignoring the throbbing in my broken toes.  Whole place reduced to 2 boxes.

 

Napa California Wildfire Map | Whims And Fancies

Fire burning on both sides

 

All of us are ever so thankful to our First Responders.   They worked around the clock, shift after shift, 80 hours straight without any sleep to keep the fires away from us.   When the wind died down they made progress, only for the wind to return again the next day.

We got help.  All the neighbouring states, and states as far away as Florida, South Carolina, Indiana, New York and Alaska came to our rescue.  13 states in total.  We also got help from Canada and Australia.  The National Guard, police, firefighters – everyone pitched in stop the insatiable fire from raging across the state.  Our heroes!!

 

Thank You First Responders! Firefighter Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Our city was saved thanks to these wonderful people. After multiple wind advisories, we finally got a respite on Saturday. On Sunday the evacuation orders were also lifted for our Northern neighbour, the city of Calistoga, our usual weekend haunt.  A bit of blue sky even showed up. The streets were still quite empty, but signs of life were returning slowly: A couple of children playing outside, a group of teenagers walking together, a few open restaurants.

 

Elsewhere however, others didn’t fare as well.  First Responders saved quite a few homes, but a great many were destroyed.  Nothing was left of entire neighbourhoods except for fireplace chimneys and foundations. 

I learned that the line between the destroyed and the saved homes was called the Line of Sorrow.

 

Love Our First Responders! Firefighter Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Everyone showed extraordinary compassion.  That’s the thing about humanity.  We saw the worst of it last week, and we also keep on seeing the best of it alongside.

Well wishes continued to pour in.  Neighbours checked on each other like the young man who came by our place, while people offered their places to the evacuees.  Multiple animal rescue areas opened up for both large and small animals.  These are only a few examples.  The number of volunteers and donations in goods were at max capacity.

Businesses started collecting donations, and we gladly stepped up.  However, I wanted to do a bit more.

 

Firefighter Quilt Pattern / Firefighter Embroidery Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Firefighter Quilt Pattern on Etsy and Craftsy

Firefighter Embroidery Pattern on Etsy and Craftsy

 

So, on Monday, I started drawing these Firefighter pictures.  That was followed by creating the pattern and writing the pattern file, testing and making the block, along with making the necessary edits, all in the last 3 days.  Every time I wanted to stop and rest, I kept myself going thinking about the firefighters who didn’t give up.

 

Firefighter Quilt Pattern

It is my 12″ Firefighter quilt pattern.  I included instructions to make the block without fire for easier piecing.  I am sure any child or adult who gets wide eyed by firetrucks will love it!

I would really love it if you purchase this pattern from my Etsy and Craftsy shops.

 

Firefighter Embroidery Pattern

For those of you who want to do a bit of hand sewing, I have a Firefighter embroidery pattern for you too.  Sadly, I ran out of time to stitch a sample, but the pattern is colour coded and has suggested stitches.  You can get that from my Etsy and Craftsy shops too.

 

I will donate all proceeds from both patterns to the Firefighters Fund. 

 

Heroes are not born, they are made.

 

Lets help these heroes a little further.

Thank You!!
-Soma

 

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!

 

Scottish Penguin Glen

Scottish Penguin In A Kilt Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

On Monday I sat down very decisively to work on something happy.  Meet the newest member of my penguin fold – a little Scottish penguin named Glen.  When I shared the initial sketch, Kris asked what a penguin keeps in his sporran.  As I was sewing, I thought of a little story.

 

Glen had always loved wearing his kilt, but the other little penguins made fun of him.  Instead of changing himself to fit in with the others, he spent his days roaming the hills and dales alone, having his own adventures.  Although he was happy to go about on his own,  he sometimes wished he had a friend with him.  During one of his excursions, he found a new hill.  As he walked up the hill slowly – he was a little penguin after all – it started getting colder and darker.  Rain clouds covered the sun and very soon, strong gusts of wind started blowing him all over the place. 

 

Scotland | Whims And Fancies

 

He hurried up the hillside and found an old broken ruin there.  The hill was in a remote area and the entrances to the ruin were all overgrown with brambles.  He took a little knife out of his sporran to clear a path so he could get in without spoiling his clothes.  As he was cutting the brambles, something pink plopped down along with a few Thistle flowers.  He loved Thistle.  When he bent down to pick up the flowers and put them in his little sporran, he found a small pink stone among them.  By this time, big raindrops had started pelting down on him.  He hurried into the ruin to sit inside a big stone fireplace.  There he sat, thumbing the stone and looking at the sky, waiting for the rain to let up a little.

 

Penguin Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Little Penguin Polaris on Etsy and Craftsy

 

A flash of lightning, and he suddenly found himself elsewhere, facing two other penguins.  One was dressed in woolens and the other in Viking clothing.  They were as surprised to see him as he was them.  After a little awkward introduction, Glen learned their names were Polaris and Olaf.  He also found out that they had been lonely penguins too, before they met each other. Polaris loved his matching woolens, he had quite a few sets.

 

 

Viking Penguin Olaf on Etsy and Craftsy

 

As for Olaf, not only did he love his Viking clothes, he also insisted on having horns on his helmet even though he was told Viking helmets didn’t have horns.  He thought the horns made him look very mighty and formidable.  They both welcomed Glen with open arms.

 

Scotland Thistle | Whims And Fancies

 

Polaris gave Glen a little snowflake that sparkled in the moonlight.  Olaf gave him a little fire-stone which glowed in the dark.  Glen remembered the thistles in his sporran and gave each of his new friends a thistle.  He showed them his pink stone too.  All three wondered if rain and thunder somehow activated the stone and if there were more penguins like them.   For now though, they were delighted to have found each other.  Sometimes you just have to look a little farther to find what you are looking for.

 

The photos were taken by me in Scotland.  I took the photo of the Thistles in the mountains standing outside, buffeted by wind gusts of 40 – 50 mph.  It was quite a difficult task, and I feel like I brought a little Scottish spirit home with me captured in that photo.

 

Scottish Penguin Glen Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Scottish Penguin Glen – Etsy and Craftsy

 

Glen doesn’t always like to wear his tie or his belt buckle.  So I included additional sections in the pattern for easier piecing without the tie and the belt buckle.

 

Since I always get asked about pattern links, here are links to all three penguin quilt patterns –

Scottish Penguin Glen – Etsy and CraftsyThe newest member!

Little Penguin Polaris – Etsy and Craftsy

Viking Penguin Olaf – on Etsy and Craftsy

 

Penguin Quilt Patterns | Whims And Fancies

 

They are a happy bunch, aren’t they!  I love them!

Have a crafty week,
-Soma

 

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!