Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year (and Good-Bye to 2010)

I have been doing a lot of thinking about the coming year and where I hope to go with my art over the past few days- thankfully, away from work.  I can look back at 2010 and know that I did consistently work at my art, although the work isn't as cohesive or unified as I would like.  But I've done some pieces I'm happy with, and others that will just be added to the crap quota, and that's ok.

A lot of people on the Quiltart list are choosing a word for the year- one to inspire and perhaps provide direction.  I'm thinking my word will be FOCUS: on the creative process, on staying healthy, and choosing to concentrate on all the positives in life rather than dwell on the irritations we are have.  I want to take my time and do more thinking about my art rather than jumping in with the first or second idea that strikes me.  I suspect I will produce fewer works this year, but I'm hoping they will be better, and more representative of my voice.  You'll be hearing more about that, and sharing in my journey and work.

I have a lot to be grateful for this year.  I'm 22.9 pounds lighter than I was a year ago- I've rediscovered the fun of shopping for clothes.  I'm making a habit of exercising and eating healthy- although I will say it is a good thing dark chocolate in moderation is now considered healthy!  I have an absolutely adorable granddaughter far away, two grandchildren here, and loving family even if we are all spread across the country.  And if I don't say so myself, I look pretty good for someone who's only days away from turning 60.

I'm thankful for doors the world wide web has opened up to me.  I have friends I've never met in person, but we share common bonds.  I'm connected to the fiber arts world in ways that would not have been possible even ten years ago.

I wish you a blessed 2011, full of family, creativity, and whatever brings joy to your heart.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


because it's the kind of day where you don't want to be outside.  We haven't been hammered with 3 feet (yet!) like the folks on the east coast, but I still have no desire to venture outside except to shovel the back patio occasionally.  Our chihuahua objects strongly to going outside in the cold, and absolutely refuses to  walk in the snow- so the shoveling is for her.  At least then I can throw her outside without guilt!!

Here's our table at the moment--

The storm is supposed to stick around until Friday- glad I'm off work the rest of the week.  I started on my IT! piece yesterday, and I'll be down in the studio all afternoon.  I may even forego my workout today, that's how much I don't want to drive!

I'm thinking I am changing what I'm doing- I'm just not that happy with what I have so far.  So I'm off on another idea that involves playing with Google Earth, something I like to do anyway.  Dinner is already taken care of, I have a big pot of chili in my new enamelware Dutch oven.  The oven will help keep the house warm, and the smell is heavenly!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wishing You the Blessings of Christmas

Merry Christmas, may it be filled the joys of family and the love of the Savior!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's Gonna be a White Christmas

Here's the view out my back patio, 6 am this morning.

Even with the warming temperatures predicted for the rest of the week, I'd bet we'll still have plenty of the white stuff- it continued to snow until mid-afternoon!

I'm counting the days until I can hide in my studio and forget about work!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Quiet before the Storm

I'm not referring to the weather, although it does look gray, gloomy and menacing outside.  It is the hour before the family start arriving for our annual Christmas party.  The house is clean (smells of Pinesol, even), the salad that is my contribution is ready, and Christmas music is on the stereo.  It is my rather eclectic mix, to be sure- to DJ's chagrin.  I have everything from Transiberian Orchestra to medieval Christmas carols, and lots in between.  I can only take so much of the stuff you hear all day on the radio this time of year.

And I have been sewing- the stockings I started last year are done and hanging by the fireplace!

I am dressed, and admittedly feeling rather pleased with the new skinnier me- even found some jeans that fit great and show it off!  If I have to hit my sixth decade shortly, I can do it looking good.

I have also been doing some preliminary work on my last IT! piece.  I've done some playing in PSE with the filters, and done some sketching.  Still haven't decided which direction I'll go, but I'm not stressing- I'll have time off the week between Christmas and New Year's, and the reveal isn't until mid-January.  Plenty of time to think and ponder before jumping in with the fabric.

If there's one advantage to getting older, it's learning that the holidays aren't worth stressing out over.  I do the best I can with the time and budget I have, and just try to enjoy the season.  It sure beats the alternative!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December Dash

Yes, it's begun- and it's at least some of the reason I haven't posted much lately.  But so far, I've managed to keep my equilibrium and notd become hysterical over what I'm not getting done, since there is always some of that with our schedules.

I have sent two boxes off- and it's actually fiber related.  I finished Christmas stockings for both sons and their families/significant others, and shipped them Friday.   The box that went to Chicago also had a completed memory quilt made for my son's girlfriend.  They've seen the picture, and said they love them both.

The stockings are based on ones my mother and aunt made for our families when I was a kid.  They just glued the felt pieces on the stockings.  I'm guessing that glue no longer exists, because the one I found (specifically for felt, mind you) was clearly not going to hold the pieces on.  So I stitched around them too, and quite liked the effect it gave.  I also did some beading, another thing my mother did not do!

I realized I forgot to post our last photo for the Interpret This challenge- so here it is.

This will be a pleasure to work on in the midst of winter!  I love all the greens, and it has such a serence atmosphere about it.  I've decided I want to get back to trying to abstract, so I've been running ideas through my head.  The December pieces won't be posted until mid-January thankfully- so I have time to sketch, maybe even play with my watercolors to come up with a design.

And I'm thinking about what I want to accomplish with my art in 2011.  The Interpret This group will be ending, but I will be working with three other members during the year.  The way we are setting it up, we'll each be working from our own choice of inspiration, and are only committing to four pieces.  I'm glad I've kept up with the monthly pieces for a year, but I knew I couldn't do it again.  I want the time to be able to put more thought into my work, and with my schedule I need more than a month.  I also want time to finish some UFO's that have been taking up too much space in the studio for too long.

And, what would the holidays be without baking?  With me watching calories, I won't be doing a lot of traditional baking.  But I am trying some revised recipes that I can eat guilt free.  I just took a cheesecake out of the oven- it's intended for a work party tomorrow.  It uses nonfat yogurt and Splenda instead of cream cheese and sugar.  If it works, I'll post the recipe- it came out to less than 200 calories per serving!

Monday, December 06, 2010


is officially here at our household.  The tree is up, the decorations are on the fireplace and walls- I think I just have to dig out the Christmas music CD's.  Best of all, it was a gorgeous weekend- warm enough that I could be outside cleaning my car without a coat.  We'll see how long that lasts!!

I am starting to make plans for my fiber work next year.  Fewer pieces, more focused and cohesive.  I'm thinking I will start with one design strategy and stick with it through the year.  I'm hoping to sprinkle some UFO's and pieces requested by family in there too- that should help the brain cells recuperate!  And, I'm taking a weeklong dyeing workshop from Carol Soderlund in August.

Probably the best bit going on in my life right now is the weight loss- it continues, and I feel like I've made changes in my eating that I can stick with.  I'm down a pant size, and those aren't tight.  It feels really good, and it's nice to have clothes shopping be fun again!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Somewhat Eccentric- My Charming Engflish Cottage!

I have actually completed a realistic piece!  This is my latest Interpret This! piece, and I'm pretty happy with it.  My perspective on part of it (the steps) is a bit off, but everything else looks like I wanted it to.  No question what this is!

I had a lot of time to think while I was making this.  I did enjoy the process, but kept wondering- is this really ME?  Is this the art that only I can make?  By the end of the month, I'd pretty much decided it isn't.  I'm glad I met the challenge of proving to myself that I can do a realistic piece reasonably well, and I'm sure it would improve with more practice and time.  But it's just that- a fun piece, not something pulled from my guts or psyche.  And that's really what I want to do.  I just am still figuring out how to get there.

Fun pieces have their place, and I'm sure this won't be my last one.  I have several UFO's I hope to finish next year that I'd put in that category, or the "traditional bed quilt" category.  But I'd also like to have a cohesive body of work that just says 'me.'

I do think there are some hints in this one.  I didn't realize how much saturated colors dominate my stash until I went for fabric for the red bricks.  I knew they were a pretty dulled red in the photo, and even eliminated my original choice because (even I) could tell it was way too saturated.  I thought I'd done a good job of toning it down- until I got the brick wall mostly constructed.  Bottom line, my stash of de-saturated fabrics is woefully lacking.  But apparently the use of saturated colors is part of my voice, since I got a couple of comments to that effect on the IT! blog.  It's a starting point!

I think I've learned that I need to pay attention to the details, even on an abstract piece.  I was thrilled to hear that I'd successfully portrayed sunlight and shadows on the big tree/bush.  I sure tried, and I'm glad it came off.  I loved making the smaller plants, using variegated and multiple thread colors.  How good are these??

So the journey continues, I keep doing the work.  At some point I hope to look back and be able to say "That's MY voice speaking."

And thanks for reading my musings and thoughts!  If you haven't already seen it, there's more photos of the piece on the IT! blog.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

November Reveals

have started on the Interpret This! blog.  There's already some wonderful work posted, mine will be up tomorrow morning.  And I'll have more to say about that tomorrow night!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Crazy Friday

No, I did not get up in the middle of the night to fight with shoppers over deals.  I just got done putting something in the crockpot for dinner, then I'm down to the studio to work on my IT! piece for a couple of hours.  Then I head up to Salt Lake to Sidney's house.  Today we are quilting Cory's (middle son's girlfriend) memory quilt on Sidney's Handiquilter with the computerized stitcher.  We already picked out the pattern, I can't wait to see how this is all done.  I do know I love the idea of having a totally done quilt in a matter of a few hours. Pictures on the process tonight!!

I will probably stop at some stores on the way up- how can I resist? (Hey, I'm down almost 15 pounds and a pant size, and even the smaller size is loose!) We'll see how traffic is, since today is also the BYU-Utah game, in Salt Lake.

Thanksgiving here was pretty quiet and laid back- we went out, since only three of us were home.  DJ's sister met us at the restaurant, a buffet.  I thoroughly enjoyed skipping the hassle of cooking- but the food wasn't as good as ours, of course, and their turkey was downright disgusting- a processed turkey roll.  So I opted for broiled chicken and roast beef, much better.  There was lots of salad, and even some of the vegetables were not bad.  I waited til I got homed for dessert- my less than 200 calorie chocolate cheesecake.  Yum!!

All in all, I have a lot to be thankful for.  I plan on enjoying the rest of the long weekend- sewing, relaxing, maybe even a trip to the gym in there.  I hope your Thanksgiving was full of family, friends, good cheer, and gratitude.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Snow and Cold--

is what we woke up to today.  After a lot of it has melted off, here's the view up our street towards the mountains.

It has been a weird year for foliage.  Most of the trees are bare, but a few are still hanging on to their leaves.  I love the fall colors against the white snow!!

The kids and grandpa went out back and made a snowman.  He's all dolled up in bright colors!!

It's a good day to stay inside.  I've been working on my IT! piece- after almost deciding to hold off finishing this one and do something else.  This afternoon, we are all going to see the latest Harry Potter movie, and we have a nice pot roast in the crock pot.  It's a short week at work- so right now, life is looking good.  Stay warm- or if you are fortunate to enough to be in the Southern Hemisphere this time of year, enjoy the warmth!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Musings and a Teaser

Not much blogging going on here- there hasn't been a lot to blog about.  But I am well into this month's Interpret This piece, and so far relatively happy with where it is going.  This photo really does lend itself to interpretation on a number of levels.  So here's your sneak peek at a very small part--

I have my background parts down, now on to the myriad detailing.  I think I will end up doing more stitching before I sandwich this than I will quilting.  It feels good to be so far along early in the month!!

Our WAQ group met yesterday, and got to hear all about Houston from Suzanne who spent four days there.  All the winners were traditional quilts- a switch.  And nothing new or exciting.  Some vendors were peddling items that were ridiculously expensive for what they were.  Don't know if I'll ever make it to Houston, but it would be nice to make it to the Long Beach show one day.

I've been thinking a lot about what I want to do next year with my art.  After listening to Suzanne, I just think more and more that I need to forget about classes and just do the work.  I'm even starting to question book purchases- I looked at Gloria Loughman's new book yesterday, and didn't buy it.  It was beautifully done, but had no real new information in it.  I have enough resources at hand, I just need to do the work!  I'd also like to finish several UFO's that I have, and both my sons have made specific requests.  Plenty to think about as I head into the new year, with a milestone birthday very close on the horizon.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

While it lasts. . .

I'm enjoying our decidedly not-November weather.  It was in the high 60's-low 70's yesterday and today, so both days I've taken the dog out for a walk.  Today we went up the canyon and hiked for an hour or so.  It feels great!!  And it's all supposed to change come Monday- drat.

I have been working on my IT design.  Once I started drawing patterns, I realized none of my grays were large enough.  So I hit the LQS this morning, and managed to find a couple that I think will work.  A sign of the times, this is a shop that has been around for years- the selection of fabrics seems smaller.  I was glad to find something I can make work, because gray clearly is not a big color this year.

I'm also continuing to knit on the sock, although not as much as before.  I'm to the boring part- knitting in rib up the leg until I run out of yarn.  But I'll get there!

Well, the picture isn't from today- but this is a look at where we hiked this afternoon. 

 The trees are barer than in this photo, and most of the color is gone- the mountain is pretty much shades of brown that we'll live with for the next several months.  But the views from the top of the mountain (hill?) we climbed to is still spectacular.

 They've started gating the campground that where the trailhead is located, so I had to climb through the gate.  The nice thing is that nobody else was there, so Shiloh got to run off-leash the whole time.  Hopefully it means she's worn out!!

The weight continues to come off- last time I checked, almost ten pounds.  I do my 'official' weigh-in on Monday mornings, so we'll see.  I've found the best motivator for me to get some activity in each day- the added number of calories I can eat!  It makes the hour at the gym doable.

Maybe with my extra hour tonight I can get more work done on my piece.  We'll see- later!

Monday, November 01, 2010

November Challenge Photo

We got our photo for November, a cottage door in England--

I really like the soothing palette in this one- the greens, touch of red, and the soft grays.  I think I will have fun with this one.  I've already done some playing in PSE, and have some options that I think are doable.

That's what it always comes down to for me- can I pull it off in the short time frame?  I'm just counting down the years until I'm no longer working full time and can really dedicate more hours to my art.  One day. . . 

The other thing I'm working through- do I try to do something more realistic, or abstract the photo?  Right now, I'm leaning towards more realistic, maybe because this photo has some commonalities to a couple of other realistic quilts I've done.  I'll think on that a few more days, though.

I can't believe it is November.  I think we are just going to go out for Thanksgiving- I just don't feel like cooking the huge meal for a small group, which is what we will be.  And since DH and I never agree on when the turkey is done, we will also avoid the annual turkey war.  I'll just make a couple of low cal desserts to have when we return home, and be done with it.  Works for me!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


What a nice switch- a weekend with no deadlines or pressures looming.  It's been one of those gray days that just makes me want to curl up inside- so I did, except for the curling up part.  I spent the morning cleaning up and organizing the studio, which sorely needed it.  I did run out and get a few groceries, and also got a larger three drawer storage unit for my little fabric bits.  The collection had long since outgrown the small three drawer unit, which replaced three shoeboxes!

After it was all clean, I made a holster for one of the other massage therapists at Shannon's work.  She wanted purple, she got a deep purple hand dye on Kona.  Worked great.  I also got laundry done.  But mostly, I just enjoyed  being.

After a lovely dinner at Mimi's Cafe (grilled salmon on a yummy salad with low fat citrus vinaigrette), we are back home.  Everyone else is out, we are being the grinches of Halloween and ignoring the doorbell.  Thankfully, the wet weather meant not many are out- so not a lot of ringing.  After I finish this, I think I'll pick up my knitting and watch the USC-Oregon game, apparently two teams without a defense.

As for my weight loss adventure, it is moving along well.  I've taken off eight pounds last time I checked, and am rather enjoying tracking all my food.  I've learned that reducing calories is a lot easier if you don't eat a lot of carbs, so hunger has not really been an issue.  I'm either walking the dog or exercising at the gym about four days a week.  It's been a no-stress way to do this, and I'm glad it's working.  I even got into some jeans today that hadn't fit in over a year.

All in all, a nice couple of days.  Hope your weekend was relaxing too!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Lava Lamp

Well, I was still working on it the night before my reveal time- but I got it in under the wire.  I even got to bed at my usual time, not the middle of the night!!

This is my piece for the October Interpret This! challenge.  A perfect storm of the muse deciding to take a vacation and a crisis at work left me feeling adrift and totally uncreative.  A nudge from my daughter (who saw something in the picture I'd overlooked), and I managed to come up with this.  It's 12 inches in diameter- I knew I couldn't manage anything even remotely large!!

The background is a piece I rusted recently, and added tea to get the lovely gray tones.  The 'lamp' is from one batik that I fussy cut to get the different colors and values.  The 'lamp' and the background were constructed separately, the background quilted and then the lamp appliqued.  I finished the edge with satin stitching and couched yarn.

Given the sad state  of my creative muse right now, I'm pretty happy with this one.  I captured a piece of the photo that I liked, and love how the colors in the lamp and the rusted background play off each other.  I'm really glad I don't have any projects I have to work on this weekend.  I think I'm going to give the studio a good cleaning and organizing- and hopefully Ms. Muse will decide it's time to return home.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Brain Dead

That about describes how I am feeling.  I'm sure getting two hours of sleep Thursday night has something to do with it, but I have been feeling singularly uninspired for awhile.  I did some work on my IT! piece today, but I still don't have a definite idea of where I'm going with it.  Right now I'm praying for a miracle in that department.

The one fiber thing that has been going well is knitting- something that is ideally suited to those brain dead times.  I am so happy with how my sock is coming along! I am past the heel, and now just knitting up the leg- I'll just keep at it til I run out of yarn, since I only bought two skeins.  These will go great with jeans this winter!

I just can't believe how easy this has been on the two circular needles.  I purposely  bought two different kinds, and that has turned out to be a good decision.  So now I'll just keep knitting up the leg with a 2 X 2 ribbing till the yarn runs out.  Look what you started, Judy!  My family is already thinking they will be getting socks for Christmas.  And I know my next pair will be wilder, both the yarn and the stitch patterning.  Size two needles turns out to be not so bad when you're only knitting on sixty stitches.

Well, hopefully I'll have something quilty to post later this week.  Right now I think I need some more catch-up sleep!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I've knitted since a neighbor taught me when I was a teenager.  I may go years without making anything now, but every once in awhile I get the urge to feel the needles in my hands.  One thing I have never done, however, is socks.  I hate knitting on double pointed needles, and as far as I knew, that was the only way.

A couple of weeks ago, I learded that assumption was wrong.  My cyber-friend Judy turned me onto several webpages that show how to knit seamless socks on two circular needles.  Now that I can manage!

I got the yarn, and got some needles- sizes 2 and 3.  I guarantee I have never knit anything on needles that small!!  Then I started trying the special cast-on with two needles.  It didn't sound that hard, and had some similarities to another invisible cast-on I've done.  I tried, and tried.  No luck.  I found a youtube video showing both the knitting and the cast-on.  The first was a great help, answered one question I had that the webpages didn't.  The cast-on video, not so much.  So I went back  to the pages Judy sent me.  Once I thought I had it, and started knitting.  I dropped stitches all over the place, it drove me nuts.  And where was my nice purl ridge between the needles?

I read the instructions again, and tried one more time.  Success!!  The stitches stayed put on the needles, and I had a lovely purl ridge.  Yahoo!  So I started knitting and increasing.  I even had a lovely toe that was starting to cover my toes.  I thought I was on  my way.

Then I looked closer at the piece on my needles.  It was starting to look like a Chinese pagoda roof.  Obviously I was increasing more than four stitches every other round.  

So I ripped it all out, and  cast on again- this time I got it right the first time.  I know I will have to count stitches every round, to make sure I'm not messing up again.  And, I've made my life easier by relaxing the cables on my needles.  I had no idea that running them a few times through boiling water would make such a difference!

Other than that, my fiber life has been a bust.  I rusted some scarves, and am not thrilled with how they turned out.  I keep thinking about my IT! piece, and trying to figure what I'll do.  I think I know, but I can't say I'm excited about it.  Even doing some research on the photo didn't help me.  It all feels so BLAH!!

I've been here before, and know it will pass eventually.  In the meantime, I'm glad I have something else to occupy my hands- and hopefully cover my feet!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Not much to blog about-

I haven't been doing much with fiber or dyes, despite the fact my next IT! piece needs to be finished in a couple of weeks.  I have a meeting with my WAQ friends today- we are checking out a new independent fabric store in Salt Lake.  I hear they have lovely rayon batiks.  And, there's a yarn store next door, so I'm sure we'll wander in there too.  We're enjoying a bit of Indian summer weather, so it should be a nice day.

And, I've stuck to my 'regimen' for almost two weeks.  Funny, but logging every bit of food you eat means I'm not thinking about it much.  I haven't felt deprived, and I'm not eliminating any foods- just making choices based on calorie counts.  I sure hope this works, after losing three pounds I seem to be stalling a bit.  But, I've no intentions of stopping it, it is becoming just a part of my daily routine.

Hopefully later this weekend I'll actually have some fiber or quilty content to post.  I do have some scarves marinating in rust and tannin, those should be washed out this weekend.  Now I'm off to Salt Lake--

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Slowly. . .

I'm getting back to 'normal' after ten days away from work and my other routines.  Today I've been playing some in the studio.  I got the edges zigzagged around this little piece I finished while I was in Florida--

I knew I'd need something to work on while I was there, so I threw together this little piece figuring I'd do the handwork.  Call it a sample or test piece for my 12 by 12 group for 'Prairie'- it's loosely based on a photo of prairie grasses.  The 12 by 12 piece will be similar, with different fabrics.  And it won't be hand embroidered!  I'll use this one in a demo for my Surface Design group meeting in November on how to mount and mat small fiber pieces.

A new product came up on a couple of my fiber lists- Decolourant Plus.  I saw an ad for it from Quilting Arts online, I think, and it piqued my curiosity.  When list members were offered a free sample to try, I jumped on it.  First I tried it on two notoriously difficult colors to discharge- turquoise and fuschia.  Here's the results-

This was an already-quilted sample.  I applied the Decolourant with a foam roller using a light touch, I didn't want it in the 'valleys' created by the quilting.  The bottom part is with just the Decolourant, the top part is with the Decolourant Plus, which adds a color in addition to discharging the fabric.  I got a Deep Purple color.  I rather like how that looks, I'm not too crazy about the discharge with just the Decolourant on turquoise.  Here's a closer up look at that--

Then I tried both of them on a scrap of fuschia fabric, using a thermofax screen and a stamp.  I like the effect on the fuschia better--

You can definitely see the discharge effect on the flip side of the purple.  I for one like being able to deposit a specific color if I want, I think I will be trying this some more.

A couple of people have done this just with sunlight.  We don't have any of that right now, it has been cloudy and rainy all week.  So I now have two different black fabrics with Decolourant on them, sitting under a heat lamp.  If nothing else, it will dry it quicker- and maybe I'll luck out and it will discharge too.

On a not-fabric related note- I think I mentioned recently that I've finally joined the bandwagon and bought myself an iPod.  It's turning out that I don't listen to music much on it, but I do lots of other things!  I found a free app called 'Lose it' that a number of reviews said was very helpful for losing weight.  It's nothing but a food diary and database of calorie and nutrient counts, but it's amazing the difference it can make when you track that.  One week into it, and I've lost a pound and a half.  I'm taking this slow and easy, and not making huge changes to the way I eat anyway.  I guess I'm lucky in that I don't much like junk or fast foods, and I love fresh fruits and veggies.  We'll see, but I'm hopeful I can keep this up and be at my goal weight next March.

And now I'm off to try something I've sworn for years I'd never do- knit socks!  Judy convinced me that it is fun, it can be done without double pointed needles (which I hate)- so I got some yarn and size 3 circular needles.  First step is to figure out the toe-up cast-on- you'll know my progress (or lack thereof) later this weekend!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

I'm Back. . .

I got back from Florida late last night- I never did get to posting at all.  It was a nice, relaxing ten days, and wonderful to see Michelle for her first birthday.  Obviously, she has changed considerably from the one month old I saw on my last trip there!

Her birthday party was in a park- and it was hot and humid, Florida at it's best.  She looked adorable!!

She has the most amazing big, dark brown eyes with lashes anyone (female, at least) would kill for.  Daddy is already planning how he will handle the onslaught of boys!

We only went out to eat one night while I was there- the night before I left.  Sean had told me about a place a friend introduced him to, Ella's Folk Art Cafe.  It was wonderful!  There is all kinds of eclectic art outside and inside the restaurant- I loved this horse sculpture at the front entrance.  If you find yourself in Tampa, I highly recommend this place.

Inside, there was lots more.  Close to us was the Elvis wall!

Miss Michelle was very well behaved, chewing on a piece of bread while we waited for our dinners.  

See what I mean about those eyes??

Sean had steak, Marly had chicken, but I had to try the special that night- a pork chop with pumpkin-pecan alfredo sauce, sauteed asparagus with cranberries, and mashed potato cake.  It was all absolutely wonderful.  

Afterwards, we shared a piece of chocolate chai cheesecake- it was gone before I could get a picture!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

OMG, I am miserable

Yesterday my throat got scratchy and sore, and I started sneezing.  Today I am in full blown cold mode despite taking echinacea, vitamin C, and Zicam as soon as I thought I might be coming down with something.  I'm still taking all those several times a day, in addition to OTC cold meds and Ricola cough drops.

Geeze, I hope it eases up tomorrow.  Flying is not fun with a cold, I've done it.  It's travel with a cold or forfeit my fare- and that ain't happening.  So I will keep medicating myself, drink lots of water and green tea, and hope I can stop sneezing so I don't infect the whole plane.  It would be nice if it were not a crowded flight so I can crawl into a row all by myself.
I have my iPod full of music, and some quilting podcasts I found in addition to the good old standby solitaire.  I have a book, and some hand embroidery- assuming TSA doesn't take my age 4 and under blunt nose scissors from me because they are so freaking dangerous.  Maybe I should just take a travel pillow so I can sleep!!

Here's hoping for an uneventful, fast travel day.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hard at Work. . .

and nothing to show.  I finished my Interpret This! piece yesterday.  I'm pretty happy with the results, and am thinking I may even do some more playing with the concept since I have fabric left over.  We'll see.  I'm going to try to get a couple of small pieces started today, so I can have some hand work while I'm traveling next week and while I'm in Florida.

Yes, the baby is a year old- hard to believe.  She is gorgeous, feisty, and already has a strong personality.  I ordered her some books for her birthday, and it looks like Amazon has let me down.  I thought I ordered them in plenty of time, but they haven't even shipped yet- so I'm just hoping they arrive before I return home on Oct. 2.

I leave Wednesday afternoon, so am trying to remember all the last minute stuff.  I guess if I were smart I'd write them down as I remember them, since I know my memory is chancy at best! 

So, if I get any fiber pictures I can show, I'll post before I leave.  Otherwise, you'll hear from me next in Florida!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Singular Sensations

Take a look at the Art Quilt Association website, you can see the seven juror choices for the exhibition that will be at Pacific International Quilt Festival next month.  'Reaping the Whirlwind' is in very good company!

All this has me thinking about entering the quilt in other shows- Cincinnati, maybe?  Or maybe the big one- Houston in 2011??

I'll be working to finish my Interpret This piece tomorrow and Saturday, but lots to think about while I'm quilting!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


has occupied a lot of my week- was not yesterday's semi-final between Federer and Djokovic amazing?

I also got a lot done on my Interpret This piece yesterday, but I can't show any pictures of that.  Right now I have it up on my design wall to look at for a few days.  I was thinking of adding a design twist, but now I'm not so sure.  So I'll look at if off and on this week, and make my decision by Friday.

My WAQ group got together on Friday- I may be able to quilt the memory quilt using a friend's longarm.  That would mean I could have it done in a couple of hours rather than a couple of days.  It won't happen until after I get back from Florida in October either way.

So that has been my week.  I'm playing with design ideas for a couple small pieces for a silent auction at Barnes and Noble in Grand Junction, using more rusted fabric.  I've cleaned the studio, I'm thinking about quilting designs for the Interpret This piece.  Nothing exciting here- I wish the rain would stop in New York so we can get this final underway!!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

A Long Weekend- and a Piecing Marathon

We're having a lovely long weekend- and I'm enjoying it, since much cooler weather is supposed to roll in tomorrow.  I've spent a lot of time the last couple of days in the studio, madly piecing the memory quilt.  With the addition of the narrow black bands between the blocks, it also became  an exercise in "how do I put this together?"  I did some unsewing, but not a lot, and lots of partial seams.  I could never have done this on paper ahead of time- my brain just can't do it.  I needed the blocks up on my wall where I could see them, and work the process through.  My plan that I'd sketched out on graph paper got adjusted as I pieced, but in the end it all worked.  I think the narrow black bands really add some  zing to this quilt!

Adding the black bands also took care of another potential problem- bulk created when two heavier fabrics are seamed.  Since the shirt fabrics are only sewn to the lighter-weight black fabric, bulk is practically eliminated.

We also got our next photo for Interpret This!  It's one Deb took when she was living in Indonesia in the 90's.  It also reminds me of gates I saw around homes inhabited by Europeans when I was in Africa with the Peace Corps in the early 70's.  Strip piecing immediately comes to mind, but I'm going to let it marinate for a bit.

Not too long, though- I leave for Florida on Sept. 22, so I have to finish it before then.

I've got some pieces of fabric and a scarf rusting away, too.  Maybe I can get some small pieces done too???

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Therapy Sewing

That's what Rayna Gillman calls it anyway, and I concur- even though what I'll be doing is a bit different than what she does.  I'm finally making some headway on a gift quilt for my son's girlfriend.  I'm using competition shirts from her father, who did triathlons (I think).  I new experience for me, but I think it will turn out well.  I had to figure out what to back the shirt fabric with (woven fusible interfacing), and then cut the shirts up and figure out a design.  I now have the blocks up on my design wall, and it met the intended recipient's approval.  I'm glad she likes bright colors, because this one just screams at you.  Apparently competition biking shirts don't come in muted or pastel colors!

So here's what I have-

I'm figuring it will be 40-something inches by 50 something inches- a good size lap quilt to curl up with in the miserable Chicago winters.

This fabric is heavy enough that I've decided to have 3/4" black sashing between the blocks- that should help keep the bulk down. 

I didn't count the number of shirts I used, I just know the scraps I have left are fairly small in size.  I have some extra in case I run into an issue and need some, but other than that, they are in pieces.  I also found out that synthetic fabric dulls a rotary blade really quickly, and my large cutting mat needs to be replaced soon.  I've worn grooves in it over the years.

I'm hoping I'll have the energy to put in an hour or two after work on this.  All the hard work is done, as long as I work from my design wall I shouldn't screw up adding the sashing.  We'll see.  I don't have any projects I have to get done until the next photo for Interpret This!, and that doesn't post until mid-week.

Time to get started on the Sunday night get ready for work-week chores, like ironing.  Hope your week is a good one!

Friday, August 27, 2010

August Reveals Start Today!

The reveals for August on Interpret This! started this morning, and since it was my picture this month, my quilt is first up.  So here it is, Buildings and Bridges--

If you want to know what my thinking was in making this piece, head on over to the Interpret This! blog.  There's also some detail shots of all the quilting I did.  I'm finding it pretty hilarious that someone (me!) who was quilting-aversive six or seven years ago now does all her own, and uses it as an important part of the overall design.  I can't imagine leaving it to someone else now!

I'm really looking forward to seeing what others did with the photo- some of the hints this month have been intriguing.

I hope to get some work done on another project that won't involve  lot of design brainpower, but I really need to get it done.  And I'll be in the dyepots a bit this weekend.  Sigh- so many projects, so little time.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mental Health Day

That's what I took off from work today- spent all of it in the studio, finishing my IT! piece.  It will post tomorrow at 7 am.

The rest of the day was spent downloading my CD's to this laptop.  I have finally joined the rest of the world and bought an iPod Touch.  I figure I can use it for my calendar, since my work phone is due for an upgrade and I won't be replacing it with a smart phone like I have now.

I bought an 8 gig Touch- plenty of room, I figured, and besides, it's what I had the budget for.  Today I learned how much music I have in CD's- almost 6.5 gigs.  And I am not a music junkie!  I have wide-ranging tastes, but I don't buy a lot.  How can I have so much???

I have another quilt project to work on this weekend, and some onesies to dye for a friend.  So I'll be spending more therapy time in the studio!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Over The Moon!!

  Reap the Whirlwind, 2010 
By Beverly Hart

Can I just say I am excited beyond belief??  Not only did my wholecloth pieced Reap the Whirlwind get juried into AQuA's special exhibit at PIQF, the juror chose it for the image on the postcard!!  I've been doing a happy dance since last night when I found out, I'm surprised I slept at all!

AQuA is a fairly large group, with lots of very talented artists.  To have my piece chosen for the card is absolutely incredible to me.

Here's a detail shot-

It rather boggles my mind that the quilting is what makes this piece, and I actually enjoyed doing it.  Two years ago, I'd have been stressed beyond belief.  Just goes to show, it's all about the practice, practice, practice.  That, and making all those pieces for the crap quota.

It has  been a GOOD weekend on the quilt front!  I got started on the quilting for my IT! piece, and get this news!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


No, not sleeping- but in the zone creatively.  I spent probably twelve hours in the studio yesterday, only coming out occasionally to refuel or move some clothes from the washer to the dryer.  My IT! piece is now sandwiched, and I'll be working on the quilting today.

As usual, what I thought I would do isn't exactly what I ended up doing.  Some of what I've been thinking about the past two months is there.  But the fabrics I thought I'd use (the ones I screenprinted in Grand Junction) just didn't work.  So here's what did end up in the quilt---

The two piles on the right are the ones I used.  the two on the left are ones I thought I'd use, and didn't.  The green one on the left I even overdyed with a pale shade of red to knock the vivid green back a notch or two.  That part worked, but the fabric still didn't work in the piece.  So I solved the issue of value with  thread.

This has been a fun adventure.  I found batiks in my stash I'd forgotten I have!

I will also be on edge today, waiting to hear from my friends in Grand Junction what the juror (Melody Randol) has to say about my wind turbines piece.

So now I'm off for coffee and some breakfast, then back down to the studio.  Housework?  What's that???

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I'm Excited. . .

about this article that ran in the Grand Junction Sentinel this weekend!  Thank you, Sherida!!!

Springville Art Museum- Again!

I have more quilts to post from the museum show- at least it's quilty content, since I don't have anything of my own to post!

I really liked this one by Marilyn Fashbaugh.  She's a member of the Utah Surface Design Group.  I like the varation in scale, and the movemnt implied by all those little pieces flying about.

This small piece fascinated me.  The artist used actual sisal twine- you can see it exposed towards the top.  It winds its way through the whole piece, hidden under a layer of transparent fabric.

What not to like about a big, red strawberry in the summertime?  

Another Surface Design Group member did this lovely little study of one of the red rock canyons of Utah.

I have enough photos from the show for one more post, so I'll save the rest for then.

I finally have the fabrics picked out for my Interpret This August piece.  The ones I thought would work- didn't.  Interestingly, I ended up with mostly batiks, with a couple of my hand dyes.

I have thought a lot about this one, while I finished the construction on Reap the Wind.  I don't want something representational.  What drew me to the photo in the first place was the shapes- the straight lines of the buildings against the curves of the arches under the bridge.  I'm trying to focus on those, and not worry about what colors are in the photo, or will my quilt 'look' like the photo.  This is not necessarily an easy process for me, since I've long thought Jane Sassaman was describing me when she talks about the "tragically literal."

I also need to spend some time dyeing- a friend is having a second grandson shortly, and I promised to dye some onesies.  (I'll be getting some gorgeously embellished socks for my granddaughter in exchange!)  And I'll be leaving for ten days in Florida in a little over a month- a last chance to enjoy some heat before winter hits!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Reap the Wind

That's the title I chose for this quilt- it just seemed to fit.  It's from the Old Testament, the book of Hosea: "They sow the wind, and they reap the whirlwind."  

I'm not going to post the front of the quilt here until after the jurying process in Grand Junction a week from tomorrow.  I've got to find a box wide enough for it- I don't want to roll it up tightly, or fold it.  

I will show the back, however.  

Less than stellar hand dyes are perfect for backs and sleeves.  I pieced the back with several value gradations I did on Kona cloth several years ago.  The sleeve is a piece that was just ok.  I even used a hand dye for the label, although I really can't remember when or how I did it.

You can see the trapunto better on the back than the front. I don't know if I'd do trapunto with paint again, I can see the possibility of issues if this quilt is rolled or folded for any length of time.  I'm glad I learned how to do it, though.

I think I can leave the label out for the jurying process- I'll just pin some fabric over my name and address (which I've blurred for the blog post!).

All in all, I'm very pleased with this quilt.  I've got some more hand dyes I want to try doing a whole cloth with, sometime in the future.

Monday, August 09, 2010

More from Springville Art Museum Show

One of the reasons I wanted to go to the museum on Friday was to see a trunk show.  The museum scheduled six quilters to come and talk about their work for half an hour each, and one of them was my friend Sandra from Moab.  She didn't talk about her work, but brought many of her collection of antique quilts.  I didn't realize how extensive her collection has gotten until she started talking about it!  Sandra is one of two certified quilt appraisers in Utah, so she knows her stuff.

Sandra is also an attorney, so speaking to an audience is familiar turf for her.  She looked and sounded very comfortable, and kept our interest the entire time.  Too bad this picture from the beginning of her lecture was more focused on the ladies in front of me!

I also took a couple of pictures of quilts that caught my eye- I thought this tone on tone was lovely in a low key kind of way-

And how could I resist red and green, especially when the green is limey?  

You can see more of Sandra's own work on her blog.  She's also got a blog about her antique quilts and appraisal business- the link to that is on this blog also.

Now I'm off to read my copy of the latest Quilting Arts magazine.  Later!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Springville Art Museum Quilt Show

Today I managed to sneak a couple of hours from quilting my wholecloth to go see the annual quilt show at a nearby art museum.  This is a very traditional area when it comes to quilts, so I go in the hopes there will be a few art quilts, or at least some quilts with extra punch.  And this year I wasn't looking at the awards wondering how the judges came up with that decision- the quilts that had ribbons, I thought deserved them.

This beauty got Best of Show.  Unbelivably, it is both hand pieced and quilted- I think it's a Jinny Beyer design.  I can't even fathom working that way- I'd never get anything done!!

This one is my favorite color combination.  I love the bold design!

This was a small piece, only about 12 by 12.  But I liked the wonky design, color, and embellishments.

I absolutely loved this one, based on a child's watercolor painting.  What a canvas for lots of quilted texture!!

I've got more, but I'll save them for a future post.

On the home front, I washed out the rust dyed raw silk last night.  I'm very happy with how it turned out-now I just need to find a pattern that will work with it.

I don't know if I will get anymore quilting done tomorrow- it is a busy day.  But I hope I can get the little bit I have let done on Sunday, so I can get this one faced and shipped off to Susan in Grand Junction.  I still have my IT! quilt to get done this month!!