Sunday, December 2, 2018

Snowman Assemblyline

For the past several years I have had a ladies Christmas luncheon for my non-quilting friends at my home. I love to do it and I also get to share my holiday decorating. This year I will have 15 guests and I decided that it would be fun to have little party favors at each place.

These are my cute (if I do say so myself) little snowman.

They are constructed on a Trader Joe's chocolate bar. The body is felt, big beads for the eyes, nose, and buttons, fleece for the hat and scarf. The noses were made by fusing two pieces of orange fabric together and cutting them into triangles. The only sewing was on the hats, which I sewed into tubes, then gathered at the top with embroidery floss, while adding a jingle bell and snipping the top into a pom-pom.
They were fun to make and I did  do them assembly line style. I wrapped the felt around each bar and held it together with double side tape. Then I did the hats, then the beads, then the scarves and lastly the noses. I added the rosy cheeks with a small paintbrush and real powdered blush from my cosmetics stash.

LeeAnna asked what would happen if the candy was taken out. I just tried one and the bar slid right out with no damage to the snowman. It also made it very light weight and would be cute as a tree ornament.

Feel free to copy and have a great Christmas season!

I am linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Friday, November 30, 2018


Last Sunday was the opening reception for my solo show at the Gunn Memorial Library in Washington, CT. I sent out a lot of postcards and passed the word as best as I could, but I wasn't sure how many people would attend. I was responsible for providing the refreshments and I didn't how many people to buy for. Would I get 10 or would I get 50. I was pleased to get a very nice turnout. It was hard to count because the show was spread out along the stairwell (called the Stairwell Gallery) and in the big room upstairs. The reception was in a different room, where no art was hung. The room was in the older section of the library and it was beautiful with a gorgeous mural on the coffered ceiling and stunning woodwork and trim. You can see more pictures on their website.

This was the front of the library and the room where the reception was held. However these doors were locked and guests had to enter through the lower level (the newer part of the library), then work their way up the Stairwell Gallery, then into the upper room then into the reception room. It worked out very well.

My friend, Sheila took all my pictures and this is just a small part of the 
Stairwell Gallery. The space demanded that they be small quilts and I had 13 small quilts.

I turned out to be the perfect place for my box people because guests could get up very close to it and see the details. It garnered a lot of attention.

Cathy and her husband had purchased my political statement quilt last year and were interested in this one, In the Gorge. This was in the upstairs room.

It was also a good place for my Sunday Morning Suns. I'm explaining some of my techniques. It was interesting to see what non-fiber people thought of my work. 

Terry, Mary, and Cathy.

It turned out that I had the right amount of food, somewhat demolished here, but I bought way too much wine. Oh, well, with the holidays approaching I know it won't go to waste.

Nancy, Mike and Ruthie

Rose Mary, Donna, and Mary Ellen Note the beautiful stained glass window.

Pat, Terry, and Fran

Ruthie, me, June and Joan

I wish I had taken pictures of my big quilts, but I was too busy mingling. I had 5 large quilts.

I don't know why I was such a nervous wreck about this, but I am glad it was well received and glad that it is behind me.The show will be up through Jan. 5, so if you are in the area, please stop in. 

I am linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Simple Pleasures

Last weekend was the official start of the holiday season in these parts. The Garden Club of Danbury puts on their annual Holiday Luncheon, in which a big name floral designer demonstrates his or her art. This year it was Wolfgang Thom from NYC, very charming and talented. He made eight arrangements that were then raffled off. I did not win one, boo hoo. The club also has a Tasty Treat table and a Boutique table, selling all kinds of holiday decorations, all made by members.

I was smitten by this adorable altered book angel, made by club member, Pat Watson. She is made from a vintage hymn book. I thought that she would be perfect on my small hall table and she is. Notice her curls which are made from magazine pages.

I'm not starting my decorating until next week, after my show opening, but I had to put her out early. She does make me smile.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

On TV Again

I received an email last night from CBS Sunday Morning telling me that they would be using one of my suns again in their annual Food and Drink show that they always do around Thanksgiving. I had done one that was food related, but that was not the one they used. Instead it was one of my favorites that was all hand embroidered and took forever to do.

However they cropped it and stretched it into an oval to fit on the rectangular screen. This is what people saw:

And this is the picture I sent them.

I'm not sure why they thought that this related to a segment about Tater Tots (very interesting, by the way), but I'm not complaining and I'm glad that they used my piece.  So if you record it, as I do, look for my sun.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Solo Show

I am having a solo show coming up very soon. When I agreed to do this well over a year ago I never thought about it being Thanksgiving weekend, so it's going to be a very busy time for me. I will hang the show the day before Thanksgiving (thank goodness that I don't have to cook) and the reception will be on Sunday, November 25 1-3 PM.

So if you are all full of turkey and looking for something to do the Sunday after, please stop by, have a glass of wine and say hello. I'd love to see you there.

Here are the important facts:
The show will actually come down on Jan. 6.

Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road (at Route47)
Washington, CT
860 868-7586

I should say that Washington is the quintessential New England small town with charming boutiques, antique galleries and eateries. If it's not too cold or snowy, it's a great place to walk around. It is also the home of The Gunnery, a well known prep school.

I am linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Friday, November 9, 2018

New Work

The Fairfield County section of SAQA is putting on a show in April. The theme chosen is Garden Party and I knew immediately what I wanted to do. I have a ton of rose pictures, not from my garden, but from rose gardens I have visited.

I was pleased with the way Luscious Lilies turned out. That was done to save an uninspiring quilt, but this time I would do it as its main purpose. I had some lovely ice dyed fabrics left from another piece and had just enough to do the background for this one.

This is 17 inches square and will be put onto a 20 inch black canvas. Although it is not due until April, I won't be here so I have to turn it in ahead of time.

I took my photos into Photoshop and put the Posterize filter on them, giving them more of a painterly look.

The background is quilted in a leaf and floral design.

I like the way the quilting shows on the back.

I had a rose left over so I made it into my label. I'm calling it "I Never Promised You".
I'm sure you can figure out where that came from.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

New Thimble Ornaments

When my dear friend, Maxine, found out that I was doing a small sewing themed tree for Festival of Trees she offered me these adorable little mice ornaments that she said she was no longer using.

This tiny lady is only 5/8" high. She will have to go near the top of the tree.

This charming trio is a little bigger ranging from 1 1/4" to 1 3/4". They, like the one above, are also dated Hallmark collectibles from the 1990's. They look like they are handprinted. They were not meant to be tree ornaments so I will have to find a way to wire them onto the tree. 

So thank you, Maxine. Now I am really going to try to win the tree back, but if I don't win it, it will surely make someone smile.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Festival of Trees

I hope you don't think I am rushing the season, but I'm going to talk about Christmas Trees. Each year the Festival of Trees is the major fund raiser for Ann's Place in Danbury, CT. Ann's Place "provides help and hope to individuals and their loved ones living with cancer with a host of free professional services aimed at improving their quality of life during and after cancer". You can read more about the Festival here.

There are usually about 100 trees there from 9 feet tall to table top and everything in-between. Some of the trees are decorated by professional decorators, some are sponsored by businesses and some are donated by individuals, like me.

I have an extensive collection of thimbles of all kind, sterling silver, gold, vintage advertising, and kitchey travel thimbles. Several years ago I decided to make a thimble tree and I displayed it for many years in my former home. In this house I really didn't have a good place to display it, so I decided to donate it to the Festival.

I took all the ornamenst off, including the garland, and redecorated it. I needed to make more garland and I wanted to add some little white lights, which it did not have before. Notice the handmade quilted tree skirt.

I made 7 1/2 yards of garland using 3/16" satin ribbon and vintage shirt buttons, mostly white. I tapered one end of the ribbon to a sharply angled point and put Fray-check on it. That stiffened it so that I could use it as a needle to thread the buttons.

These 4 ornaments were part of a series of Alice in Wonderland, each sitting on a thimble.They were made by Hallmark and are dated, a new one each year.

The above four were also by Hallmark and dated. Again, a new one each year. I was so sorry when they stopped making them. 
You really should click on the pictures to get a bigger view and see some of the amazing detail on these ornaments.

There are several Christmas thimbles that I made into ornaments. I'm only showing two.

There are also several of these cute snowman spools that I wired to the tree. I used to place them at the bottom of the tree, but thought they were better as ornaments.  They are fairly heavy so I had to wire them on securely so as not to bend the branches down. There is another spool tree with green thread. You can see bit of it peeking out on the right side.

I made a few of these cute little angels out of everyday thimbles. They had different colors of hair.

Also several little spools wound with red or green embroidery floss.

This little fellow sits at the base of the tree. How cute is he?? Again made by Hallmark and called Threadbear. They only made them for two years. The other one is white with a patriotic theme. He's staying in my studio.

And the icing on top is this little angel ornament holding a candle. I put a glob of hot glue in the thimble and impaled it on the candle. It is an antique, sterling silver child's thimble, very small.

I'm calling my tree Sewer's Delight. I'm really sorry to see it go, but I made a commitment. If you live anywhere near Danbury, you can go to the Festival, Nov. 16-18 and bid on my tree. Wouldn't it look cute in your studio? 

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Simple Pleasures

My dearly departed husband has been gone for eighteen years. When he was alive he could do most anything, but had the patience of a three year old, so if something needed doing around the house I would do it, if I possibly could. I hung shelves and window treatments and traverse curtain rods, but I was afraid of using power tools, especially a drill. I'm not sure why. So if a hole needed to be started to hang that plant hanger from the ceiling or shelf bracket I would get out my trusty ice pick. Actually it came to our marriage with my husband and it was old then. It had originally been painted and although most of the paint had worn off, it worked just fine.

When I moved to this house after he died I took a nice Makita drill with boxes of bits, a little saber saw and of course the trusty ice pick. I made window treatments on boards, screwed them to a board and put up the shelf brackets with a drill to start the hole. Magic!! What I had been missing.

Fast forward to today. Now I mostly use them to make hanging rods for my quilts. I am getting ready for a solo show (more about that in another post), so the tools came out again.

On the left is a terrific little portable vise, so handy for holding my rods as I cut them to size and drill a very small hole in each end to start the screw eyes. You will notice the aforementioned ice pick in the foreground. I still use it to turn the screw eyes to their desired tightness. You may also notice that my temporary workshop is the top of the washer and dryer in my laundry room, a perfect place with electrical outlets and easy clean up with the newspapers on top. What more could I ask for?

Friday, October 19, 2018

Sunday Morning Suns

I finally got my Sunday Morning suns together into a quilt. You may remember how I made these suns as part of a challenge to do 8" square blocks, following prompts from my fiber group. There were prompts such as using a grid, using metallic, use something you've never used before, make something abstract, etc.

I had a lot of fun making my suns and sent photos of eight of them to the CBS Sunday Morning show. The person in charge said that she loved them, but so far they have only used one, the grid one on the lower left corner of the quilt. I am going to send the picture of the whole quilt to them. We'll see how that goes.

Quilting it was a challenge. First I just stitched in the ditch on all the seams holding it together. I did that on my Bernina. It needed much more to keep the suns from sagging. I then used my Sweet Sixteen which allowed me to keep the quilt mostly flat, important because of that metal one in the upper right hand corner. I quilted around each sun, echoing the shapes. Then it was back to my Bernina to do some more with the walking foot, again to keep the faces from sagging (we certainly don't want sagging faces!)

Here you can see how I did the free-motion echo quilting. The concentric circles were done with the walking foot

This one done the same way.

This one was my big problem. With all the maneuvering I had to do to with the walking-foot stitching on the Bernina, the metal rays kept bending up and down. I didn't know how much bending they would allow before breaking. Maybe I'm a slow learner, but 90% of the way through I decided to tape those rays down with making tape. Much better!

A good quilting friend showed me how to do this piped binding. It really is magical and calls for no hand sewing. I also like that little extra pop of color. Thank you, Barbara! And here you can see how I quilted the border with free-motion suns and stars. That was fun to do on my Sweet Sixteen.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday. Go see what some talented artists are up to.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Simple Pleasures

Glass pumpkins on the mantel.