Thursday, December 31, 2009

Just enough

snow to make it look pretty. The snow storm working its way up the east coast pretty much fizzled out by the time it got to CT and we only got about two inches. It did cover the ground and trees and gave a clean fresh look to everything outdoors. I got some much needed grocery shopping (tired of Christmas leftovers) done early in the morning before the snow and I stayed in all day and finished the quilting on my latest quilt. I've sewn down half of the facing and may finish tomorrow. Unfortunately I have to take the Christmas decorations down. The unpleasant part of doing all that decorating is that it all has to be undone. I wish I had some little elves to help, but it's just me. So my New Year's Day will be spent taking down, packing up and putting away. Then Monday I will buy some very unChristmasy flowers in yellow or pink or blue for my kitchen table to fill the void.I wish you all a happy, healthy, productive and creative New Year.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Happiness Is.....

more Storage!While my son was home for Christmas I had him empty the bookcase in his room. He lives on the opposite coast from me and he only comes home at Christmas. I usually go out there twice a year and of course we phone and email. I wish he didn't live so far away. My studio is overflowing with fabric, since I keep dyeing more and I didn't see why I needed to keep old college, law school and other books there when I could put that space to good use.

I plan to empty out the bookcases in my studio, cull the quilting books and probably give at least half of them away. That will free up space for fabric storage. He also emptied out his closet and brought a large haul to Good Will. There will go rolled quilts, rolls of PFD fabric and rolls of quilt batting.

Here's that good guy, Kurt, with his sweetie, Katie. I forgot to take pictures all weekend, but I grabbed the camera just as they were getting ready to leave on Saturday. It was so good to have them here even if it was such a short time. They both have the bluest of eyes, which came out red-eye in the picture. I tried to fix it, but the fix was not that successful.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

When I moved to this house 8 years ago I had to decide how to put a Christmas tree in my very small living room, or parlor as one friend calls it. I have 9 foot ceilings and I didn't want a table tree. So I bought this very skinny, yet tall, artificial tree, called a pencil tree in the trade. I loaded it up with 1,200 tiny white lights and lots of ornaments that are either silver, gold or white.

Fortunately the weather has cooperated and my son arrived safely and on time yesterday from Portland, OR. His girlfriend comes from her parents' home in SC this evening and my sister from Long Island tomorrow. So my small family will be together for Christmas. I hope you get to spend the holidays with those you love and I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ho, Ho, Ho

Continuing to show you some of the things I've made over the years, here are three little pillows. The Santas were "cheater" panels. Everything was printed on the fabric, including the border,which I chose to flange. I outline quilted all around each motif in the center. These Santas came as a set of four and I gave the other two away. The center pillow was cross stitch emboidered. I think the pattern came from Family Circle magazine, a great source for craft patterns way back when.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunset Over Snowy Roofs

The weather man said that we were going to get a LOT of snow.When I got up yesterday morning they were saying that it would start about 9 AM, continue all day into the night and into early today. So I canceled my much coveted 2:45 Saturday hair appointment even though I desperately need a haircut and color. I didn't want to be on the road with all that snow and Christmas shoppers. Fortunately he said he could squeeze me in on Tuesday morning, so I may look more human by Christmas.

Well it didn't start snowing until 9 PM and it was over when I got up this morning. The TV guy said we got 9 inches, but I don't buy it. It looks like 4 to 6 inches to me, although it did blow around a lot. I went to church this morning with no trouble. The roads were very clear, but it sure was cold and blustery.

By staying in all day yesterday, I finished all my gift wrapping and some household chores and I was rewarded with this gorgeous sunset today.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

One More Christmas Quilt

In 1995 when I was in a guild to which I no longer belong, I was in charge of Block of the Month. A pattern was published in the Newsletter, members made the blocks and took them to a meeting, then a drawing was held and one lucky person got enough to make a quilt. Although this was a fairly easy block to piece, I think that people were scared away by the number of pieces and we didn't get that many entrants. So we broke it up into two or three sets of four and I was lucky enough to win one set that included my own block. I used this setting to get the most out of my four blocks and designed the holly and bow corners to applique on. I machine pieced the whole thing with the walking foot, going a quarter inch away from the seam lines, mimicking hand quilting. I quilted "in the ditch" around all the little green triangles.
My block is on the right hand side. I made a little chart for the back label showing who made each block. This quilt hangs in my upstairs hallway, right outside my studio.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Cards

I made some of my Christmas cards this year, 32, to be exact. I used the embossed velvet I blogged about here and two different stamps, depending on whether they were for friends or family. They were difficult to photograph because I couldn't pin them up on my design wall so I had to shoot them from above while they were flat on the table.
I got the card blanks from and they were just what I needed with a three inch opening for the velvet. They were harder to make than you might think, since I was working from the back and the velvet was slippery and slithery. I don't think I got one of them in the right way on the first try. Sometimes it took two or three tries. They all got mailed out earlier in the week. I hope this doesn't sound terrible, but I only sent them to people who I thought would appreciate them. The rest got some very pretty store bought cards. I sent out about 75 cards altogether.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Luncheon

I belong to a wonderful group of quilters, the Scrapbag Quilt Artists, that meets weekly at members' homes. At one time we numbered 25 or so, but sadly our membership has dwindled, mostly due to people moving away. We have seven who are here year round and two who go away for the winter. Eight were in residence today for our annual potluck luncheon at my home. It's my favorite way to entertain. Since my house was already gussied up for the season, all I had to do was set the table, and this year I made a ham. All appetizers, side dishes and desserts were made by members and we truly had a scrumptious repast.

Here we are enjoying dessert. My dining room is so small that I couldn't back up enough to get everyone in the picture. I should have taken another shot from the other side.

Sometimes a small group is preferable. We could all sit at the same table and participate in the conversation. Sharing the holidays with family and friends is always so rewarding. I hope you all have a delightful holiday season, wherever you are and however you celebrate.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Santa Quilt

Several years ago, 1993 to be exact, I went to a guild meeting and someone brought in a Santa quilt for Show and Tell that I fell in love with. Can you tell that I'm very fond of Santas? I asked her what the pattern was and then went out and purchased "I Remember Santa Skating on Mistletoe Pond". I liked the fact that his bag was made of a quilt design. Everything was fused down and outlined with a satin stitch, through all the layers, so the only free motion quilting left to do was in the background. I was new to FM quilting, so that was a good thing.

This quilt hangs over the couch in my family room, which is decorated mostly with Santas, including a small tree that has only Santa ornaments.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Star Quilt

Here's the first of three Christmas quilts that I have made. This feathered star quilt was made in 1992 when I was still making traditional quilts. Although I only make art quilts now, this is one of my favorite quilts. It is hanging here over the fireplace mantel in my family room. It really is perfectly square. It flops away from the wall a little at the top because the sleeve is too short and I was too lazy to make another one. I'll have to go put a piece of tape behind it.

I not only made traditional quilts back then, I hand quilted them. I used metallic gold thread on this. I no longer hand quilt, neither being physically able nor having the desire to. I love machine quilting.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Another Santa

This cutie pie was made about 10 or 12 years ago, long after I had started quilting. It was made from a pattern in one of the quilting magazines and even though I had an abundance of Christmas decorations, I just had to make it. His coat is pieced and unlike the Santa I showed yesterday, by then I had loads of reds, tans, and greens in my stash. His beard is made of wool roving.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Memories

I should tell you first that I do a LOT of decorating at Christmas. I like to think that it's tasteful and not over done, but I do put out a lot of things. I also put away a lot of things to make room for them. Being a person who has always sewn and done crafts, a lot of my things are hand made and it's a trip down memory lane getting them out every year. I thought I would show you one a day for the next few days.

This little Santa pillow always makes me smile. It was a pattern from Family Circle and made in 1970 or '71 before the quilting craze overtook the country. It was VERY hard to find cotton calico. To get the green for his mittens and gold for this belt, I had to buy two dinner napkins and cut them up. The black calico for the boots was a real challenge and I don't remember where I found that garish black with pink flowers, but now I love it. His beard and face were made from a cotton/poly blend, cotton being hard to come by.
He has certainly stood the test of time and although he's terribly out of style, I still like him.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Finally I have something new to show. I've talked about this macro project before, a challenge done for the Fiber Artists of the North East (FANE) that meets monthly with Jane Davila as our mentor. We were to take a Macro shot of anything with our camera. For those of you who don't know, a macro shot is a setting on most digital cameras where you can take a very close up picture. Then we were to use that photo as inspiration for a quilt, any size. Here is my finished product, Feather Study. Please click on each picture to see more detail.

Here is the photo I started with, a grayish white feather on bright turquoise fabric.

I cropped the photo to make it square, then took it into Photshop and changed the picture to four different colorways. Changing the color just changed the background color, but when I used the Posterize filter, it brought out many under colors in the white/gray feather. I printed out each altered photo to about 8 inches square onto fabric and pieced them together. I liked the secondary pattern that emerged when I rotated the 4 pieces to sew them together.

Then I heavily machine quilted it, changing threads many times to match the color in the photo. I enjoyed this process immensely and want to do some more.
There were some fascinating pieces shown last night , using many different techniques. I know, I know I should have had my camera, but once again I left it home.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Today was poinsettia distribution day for the Woman's Club of Danbury/New Fairfield, of which I am a member.  It is our only fundraiser and we sold about $45,000 worth of the plants, giving us a profit of around $25,000-$30,000, all of which is given away to local charities and for scholarships to local high school students.  All the plants are pre-sold. We start taking orders in September and they were picked up and delivered today. The Police Athletic League lets us use their building and this is what it looked like after about half of the orders were taken away.

The different sizes and varieties of poinsettias sold.

To make this quilt related, here's one I made a few years ago for a guild challenge.  We were to use a traditional quilt pattern in a nontraditional way.  This block is called "Puss in the Corner" and it features my dearly departed cat, Stormy.  She was a very sweet little kitty and hardly ever did anything naughty, except at Christmas when she loved to chase the fallen plant leaves and bat them around until they were in crumbles all over the floor.  I titled this one, "I'm Sorry".  The cat is thread painted on fused fabric and the floor is also fused, no piecing involved. I definitely need help with perspective!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Thursday my sister and I went to her daughter Lauren's house for Thanksgiving. My niece is a wonderful cook and I am still recovering from eating all that scrumptious food. Although she has a small house, she is a fabulous hostess and decorates her home to the hilt. Here is her table before we got it all messed up.

Here's my sister, Ruth, and me enjoying a glass of wine before dinner.

And to make me feel REALLY old here is my darling great, great nephew, Owen. But somehow that doesn't sound quite as bad as my sister being a great grandmother!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Embossing velvet

I started embossing the velvet that I'm going to use in my Christmas cards. I think lime green snowflakes are rather cool and so unexpected. I only bought a quarter yard of this fabric and I've already used some so I may have to switch to another color.

This burgundy velvet embosses a lovely silver. For some reason I couldn't get a clear picture.

This is another one of my new stamps, rather fun I think. This dark red embosses to dark green.

And one more lime green this time with yet another of the new stamps. This will probably find its way to a postcard.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I know that I have much for which I am grateful.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Throwing in the Towel

I hate to admit defeat, but I have decided not to do the Make Art Every Day challenge. I do try to be creative and productive every day, but it's not always something that I can photograph and put on my blog. Yesterday's attempt at "paper cloth" was disastrous. To speed up the drying, I clipped it to a hanger and let it dry that way instead of letting it dry flat. Well, it curled up and wrinkled up and ironing it down didn't help much. So I fused it to a sheet of Peltex which gave me a piece that is much too thick for a bookmark. I'm not going any further with it. Too much time wasted.

I am starting a new quilt for a juried show that has a "received by" deadline of January 30, but since I am going away on the 21, my deadline is the 18th. I'm also going to make my own Christmas cards this year and my card blanks have not arrived, nor have I embossed my velvet. And then of course there are the holidays with all the decorating, shopping, wrapping, entertaining, etc. There's something to be said for quitting while you're ahead.

I will do as I have been doing before the challenge, posting when I have something new to show or news to share. I had been posting a couple of times a week and I hope to continue in that manner. Now onto my new quilt!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Make Art Every Day, Day 15

I was reading Cindy Green's blog and she made some very nice bookmarks out of "paper cloth".  I thought it looked like a fun idea, so I fooled around with it today. I had heard someone talking awhile back about how to make it, but couldn't find the directions anywhere so I just winged it.  I knew it involved starting with a layer of muslin and adding layers of paper with watered down white glue.  I started with a printed muslin to give it more texture and layered different colored tissue papers and two printed tissue papers.  Then I threw in two strips of cheap lace.  That lime green was a last minute find and in this picture it looks very dominant, so I will do lots of stitching all over it with a green thread to tie it all together and keep things in place.  Tune in tomorrow to see the bookmarks.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Make Art Every Day, Day 14

Today's entry is another tease or sneak peak. I belong to a group of SAQA members that meet monthly under the tutelage of Jane Davila. We've done several challenges over the last couple of years and this is the current one, due at the December meeting. We were to take a Macro photograph (very close up) of something and then make a quilt inspired by that photo. I'll show you the whole thing after the reveal, but for now here are a couple of shots of the stitching, lots of stitching.  A detail of the detail, if you will.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Make Art Every Day, Day 13

Another day with no pictures. Although I will do some sewing tonight, I was out today watching someone else be creative, very creative. I went to the annual Holiday Luncheon put on by the Danbury Garden Club. The speaker was Chris Giftos, the former head florist and events planner for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. If you ever went to the museum and saw the fabulous, enormous floral arrangements in the niches in the grand hall and at the information desk, that was his job for 30 years. He made seven incredible arrangements while regaling us with stories from his past. He certainly mingled with the rich and the famous and yet he was charming, funny, and unpretentious. His was a true rags to riches story. A Greek immigrant, he worked his way up from making deliveries for a small neighborhood florist, graduating to better shops and jobs, then to a Madison Ave. shop and ultimately to the museum, learning the jobs by the seat of his pants. I'm sure his talent and appeal had a lot to do with it.
The arrangements he made were raffled off, but I didn't win anything. I should have had my camera with me. Oh, well......

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Make Art Every Day, Day 12

This is just a sneak peak, or a tease, of my finally finished rusted quilt. I just wanted to show a little of the hand stitching on the rust-dyed fabric, the wiggly strip piecing and the Dupioni silk. The whole quilt measures about 30" w x 40"h. This section is about 4" x 6".
I had a bit of a disaster last night. I put the trimmed quilt up on my design wall and saw that I had a little rippling or bacon edges, so I spritzed it with water, just around the edges, then put a hot iron to it to flatten those edges down. Unfortunately one of my dark rust colored hand-dyed fabrics bled onto the light blue next to it (not the medium blue in the picture). Argh!! Much screaming and many bad words! Since this quilt is full of rusty splotches anyway, I'm trying to decide if I should leave it and let people think it was intentional, or cut 2 1/2 inches off that side of the quilt. And, yes, it does lay very flat right now.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Make Art Every Day, Day 11

If you saw yesterday's anemic dandelion postcard, you probably think this is not made by the same person.  I like this one so much better and someone will probably get it as a birthday card. I was going to make it my usual 4" x 6" size, but thought it needed something else and added the orange striped border, bringing it up to 5" x 7".

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Make Art Every Day, Day 10

I was bound and determined to use this dandelion stamp, of which I am very fond. Yesterday I tried foiling---disaster, then bleach discharge--yuck, so today I thought I'd just use it as a plain ol' stamp. I'm not thrilled with this either---too wishy, washy. (No pun intended) I like the idea; perhaps it needs more color or some beads or something. I don't want to spend anymore time on it today, as I have to get back to that rusted quilt. Maybe, maybe, I'll try something else tomorrow.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Art Every Day Month, Day 9

Sorry, no picture today. I tried to use my new dandelion stamp with foil and it was a complete mess. I'm not sure why since I have used this technique before. I'm home all day tomorrow (hooray!) so I'll try something different.

I'm still hand stitching away on my rusted quilt and am almost finished. Then I have to do some beading on it. I won't be showing it to you because I decided to enter it into one of those shows where the work cannot be previously shown. I may give you a little peek.

Tune in tomorrow. I promise to have a little something new to show.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Art Every Day Month, Day 8

Does creative planning count for my Art Every Day?  While referring readers to the Hot Potatoes website, of course I had to look around and see what was new and couldn't resist ordering these new stamps which arrived yesterday.  All kinds of ideas are swirling in my head as to how to use them.  These stamps are quite large; the snowflake (possible Christmas cards?) is three inches square.  Although they are great for velvet embossing, they are good for any kind of stamping, including foiling.

I showed the back of one so that you can see how sturdy they are.  I just love this dandelion.

I am busy making actual art, too, just nothing I can show yet.  I'm working on the hand stitching on the rusted fabric quilt.  It is very slooooow going.  I can take one or two stitches at a time and that's with using a needle grabber for pushing the needle into the fabric and again for pulling it through.  A line of stitching that would take less than a minute on the machine might take an hour by hand.  Thankfully I was able do to most of it by machine

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Art Every Day Month, Day 7

Quite awhile back I rust-dyed some of my hand-dyed blue fabric and was very pleased with the results. I incorporated it into a quilt and, again, was happy with the outcome. My problems began when I started machine quilting. No matter what thread or needle I used, the thread kept breaking. I sewed as much as I could and today I am going to start the hand stitching. I don't think that that will be easy either, but I plan to use a thicker thread and take big stitches.

I had only washed that rusted fabric by hand with regular soap. This piece of fabric here, I machine washed in very hot water with Synthropol. I experimented with the machine quilting with much better results. I purposefully sewed through the rusty parts and the thread only broke twice. I have another piece of rusted fabric and I am going to see if it's any better washed twice. I really like the look of the rusted blue and would like to do some more quilts, but only if I can solve the thread breaking problem. BTW I have sewn through plastic credit cards, plastic drinking cups, Tyvek and other weird things with no problems, which is why the rusted thing has me stumped.

I know that the quilting that I did on this piece doesn't make any sense.  I was just "doodling" with my needle.  If this had been an actual quilt, the quilting design would have been different.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Make Art Every Day, Day 6

Here's one more postcard using embossed velvet. Awhile ago I had ordered little plastic bags for storing beads. I was delighted when my small order arrived lovingly wrapped in tan tissue paper with printed dragon flies. I saved the paper knowing it would go into my art at some time. To make this piece I tore pieces of aqua tissue paper and applied them to a piece of Peltex with acrylic medium, then cut out these tiny dragonflies and applied them the same way. When all was dry I stitched the velvet down with a button hole stitch on my machine. The back of the card has hand dyed light green fabric. These postcards can go through the mail with a regular first class stamp. I have sent many and they usually arrive unscathed. If you're worried about them getting dirty, you can use clear plastic envelopes and put the stamp on the outside.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Art Every Day Month, Day 5

I'm having a busy day today so my creativity today is playing with this berry picture in PhotoShop Elements. The first picture is straight from the camera and the next three are digitally altered. I think I like the red berries the best. How about you? Click on each photo for a bigger view.