Sunday, February 09, 2014


The theme for my February book page for the Purple Swap of the Fibre Fever group was 
My inspiration was Steampunk artist, Mike Savad.
Thank you, Mike!

I began by creating a patchwork block with a variety of batiks that I believed would 
compliment the brass and gold of the gears and keys that I purchased on Amazon
Then I got out my Paintsticks.
I used my swirl stencil, but I had to create stencils for the clock ovals. Once the paint had set, I added Roman and Arabic numerals to the clock and the large swirl using a fine point permanent Sharpie.

After embellishing the clock with gold beads, a variety of gears, and a random trinket that I had lying around, I added a piece of silk organza ribbon in hopes of creating the look of steal pipes.
Well over 20 years ago, my mother gave me a box of old buttons. 
It's always like a treasure hunt whenever I pull this box off the shelf. This time, I came across the coolest button that looked like a little cup. I attached it, stringing gold beads through the button holes. After  a few more gears and keys were added, I finished the edges with the button hole stitch.

On the back of each block I create for this swap,  I create a block in Photoshop that includes the block theme, the date and place it was created, and my signature that I have scanned into my computer. 
I print this on V V Print washable cotton fabric sheets which you can find here.

The completed block was happily received by Catherine in Australia. 
My March block is underway. 
The theme is "Doors and Gates" and will eventually find its way to Finland!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Learning Something New...

We've all heard the expression, "You learn something new every day." 
This year, with much hesitation, I joined the Purple Swap in the Fibre Fever Group. After joining, I actually tried to get out of it, but one of the members convinced me to give it a try. Monthly, the group swaps 6" fiber art pages. I had NEVER made an art card or page....ever! Each person in the group chooses a theme for the pages they will receive.

The person I was to make a page for this month was Anne in Germany. Her theme was "My Favorite Book." Being an avid reader, choosing one favorite book was almost impossible. How could I possibly choose one? After much deliberation, I chose Paulo Coehlo's book, The Alchemist. The decision was made simply because it is the only book that I have read three times.
For inspiration, I searched the internet for images of The Alchemist. When I saw this, the composition and colors grabbed me. 
Thank you, Kurt Hirsch (RekTruk) whose work can be seen on

Here is my translation into fiber. I began by choosing several batiks. I used PaintStiks to achieve the look of stones or mounds in the sand and the halo around the moon. The moon is an appliqued circle surrounded by beads. I finished it off with some French Knots around his turban and machine stitching on his cape for detail.

The theme I chose is "Driven to Abstraction."  My first thoughts were of my love of abstract art. I wondered if I could come up with some catchy wording for my theme. Driven to Abstraction.....I liked it. 
When I received my first page from Maureen in Australia, I giggled at the idea of a person that had been driven to abstraction. How appropriate, however unintended, for a single mother of eleven.
After its arrival, I studied it for a while, and, honestly, it just made me laugh. 
How often have I felt like this picture?
Maureen could not have encapsulated this idea more appropriately!

I'm looking forward to next month. The theme I must work on is "Steampunk." 
This ought to be fun!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Sand Castles

So, my friends know that although I've been making quilts for over 30 years, I don't do the quilting part. Here's my quilting history. The first quilt I ever made, I hand-pieced and hand-quilted because I believed that I should understand how it was done before machines took over. I hand-quilted one other wall hanging, and then I was done.
I made a few quilts for my kids back in the day and machine quilted them...stitch in the ditch, simple straight lines, nothing more.

Then I discovered long-arm quilters. What a relief! Now I could do what I love the most...piece quilt tops. Well, I got to a certain point where I was cranking out more tops than I could afford to send out to be quilted, so I was in a bind. At the coaxing of a friend, about a year ago I started quilting my own very small pieces...small wall hangings. I've wrestled with wanting to learn free motion quilting, even took a class, but have never practiced enough to feel comfortable with it.
In July, I decided to make the Toes in the Sand quilt designed by Jaybird Quilts. I thought to myself...Ok, this is it. You're going to quilt this one. I figured that I could handle one strip at a time. I searched YouTube for "quilt as you go without sashing" and found lots of videos to show me the way and off I went.

A month later, I was finished and it's currently hanging in 
which now has an online shop. 
Check it out HERE
I made so many mistakes, but I love it anyway. I was initially fascinated with the idea of a pieced triangular block. I went with pastel-ish batiks on a sand colored background and named the quilt, "Sand Castles."

No free motion here. I sat and did a ton of needle down, presser foot up, and nauseam.
Will I ever do this again? Who knows. I'm closer to my goal of quilting my own work than I was several months I'll take it and be happy!

By the way, this was a very fun quilt to construct. You should try it!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Summer Recap - One

September is almost over, 
and I realized that I have not posted in three months. I hardly remember what I did this summer. 
It feels like a crazy vapor.
I will try over the next few posts to recap these last few months, because I was not idle.

On the 4th of July, my niece's husband, a chef, threw a surprise baby shower for her at the restaurant. When I say surprise, I seriously mean it was a surprise for everyone. We all found out one week before. My sister and I spent a whole day making a diaper cake, washcloth lollipops, sock flowers, and little paper diapers filled with candy.
I had a week to throw together a baby quilt. I dove into my stash and found a pile of Moda's Kashmir IV collection. Who knows how long I've had that. I tried to dress it up a bit will a little "Bluebird of Happiness" in the center. I think I finished the binding the night before the shower. Whew!

While browsing through some blogs I follow, I came across Bijou Lovely's post on the X Plus quilt. I absolutely fell in love with her version of this design. Although she includes a link to a tutorial for this quilt, the original design is, I believe, is from Zen Chic.

The quilt is quite simple to construct and a lot of fun!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summer, at last!

It has been exactly one month since I have posted here. 
For those of us who have children still at home, we all know that May/June can be crazy months. The school year is ending, final projects need to be finished, the kids want to get together with their friends before the summer begins, there are parties to attend, final exams, and the list goes on and on.
As a home-school parent, I have the added responsibility of making sure that the children's portfolios are ready for the school district. Evaluations were on Monday, so we are all letting out a huge sigh of relief.
Yes, summer, at last!!!

It's not that I haven't found time for sewing, it's just that putting thoughts coherently in a blog post was simply not going to happen. My mind was in way too many places at once.Getting to sit at my machine at all was my daily Zen moment.
I had fun making another pillow cover for an Intro to Paper-piecing class and managed to get another gift done for my
Two done...three to go!

When Masha was the first to add her name to my Pay-It-Forward list, she commented that she would like to receive something with white daisies. I went to the internet and searched for fabric and was excited to find this. How perfect!

I made a mini wall hanging and quilted a big daisy on it. It made its way to Russia, and I think 
she was happy. 
I had a lot of solid and tone-on-tone fabrics left over from my Tumbling Block quilt and a drawer full of Kaffe fabric, so I pulled out a Judy Niemeyer pattern called "Waterfalls." I threw in a Happiness is...Peanuts zig zag fabric and went to work.

This was the result.

Well, it's hard for me to believe that June is already coming to an end. I don't even want to think that I have two months of summer before the school year begins again. I know how months fly by these days. It almost feels like a blink, and they're gone.
For now, I will simply try to breathe, be in the moment, and enjoy each day!

Sunday, May 26, 2013


I subscribe to a magazine called  Art in America. 
Sometimes, I will see a work that grabs me. Something about it...
this was about the color, space, and contrast.
I wanted to recreate it in fabric.

The artist is Rico Gatson. I decided to look him up and was surprised at what I discovered about this picture. It appears to be a photograph taken in a gallery. 

This is a sculpture called Magic Stick #15. Behind this is a series of painted wood panels called 
Untitled (Collective Power).

The oddest thing is that no matter how hard I looked, I couldn't find the section in the magazine anywhere in this photograph. Even if I tried to imagine the camera at different angles, I still couldn't find it.
Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed making this wall hanging. I used only Fossil Fern fabric from Benartex which I felt lent itself nicely to the design..

I found more pictures of Rico's entire exhibition and am inspired to explore this more deeply.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Phoenix

So here I was with three circles ready to assemble. Although I could have chosen to inset the circles, I decided to applique each one, starting with the center and working my way out.
I knew I would have more control over the 18 points if I did it this way.
When the cartwheels were finished, I started thinking about background fabric. 
This one was a possibility but...

you know how it is....I just couldn't live with it. I ended up with a fabric that I had initially
thought I wanted, and I was happy.

Then, I set out to choose a border. I designed a paper-pieced border, sixteen pieces, and sewed them all.
When I put the pieces next to the quilt, I was horrified. What was I thinking???? 
It was terrible!
I couldn't waste the time I had spent putting the border pieces together, so I arranged them, 
appliqued several circles onto it, quilted it, and.......
there you go!
I'm calling it "Throwing Stones."

When that relative fiasco was over, I decided that this quilt truly needed something very simple to surround it. 
I choose fabric that would pull out the three central colors and finished it.
The Phoenix is done!

Now, off to Barbara Persing for quilting. Yay!!