Monday, December 30, 2013

Red Jacket Progress

You may remember me talking about this jacket a while back.  I was hoping to have it finished for the Christmas season, but obviously that didn't happen.  I did manage to finish all those French knots during a binge TV session of The Big C.  I watched four whole seasons on two snowed-in days, but that's as far as I got.  I did sew the two back sections together and the fronts to the back.  Then Christmas festivities and house guests intervened.

Speaking of house guests, my sister was here from Long Island for a few days and my son, Kurt, and his girl friend, Katie, were here from Portland, OR.  It was great to have them here.  I do see my sister fairly often, but I do wish she lived closer. She drove home yesterday. I see my son and his sweetie just a couple times a year. Portland is much too far away. I drove them to the train station today which they were taking into NYC to spend some time and then take another train to the airport.

Tomorrow (New Year's Eve) and Wednesday (New Year's Day) I have no commitments.  I am going nowhere, which suits me just fine.  I will spend the time taking down all my Christmas decorations and putting all those Santas away for a nice long nap.

Then I will be free to work in my studio.  The first project in line will be to finish this jacket.  Although I have no place special to wear it, I will enter it into the Woman's Club Arts and Crafts competition in February.

Jacket front

Jacket back

French knot details
Now I have to add the collar, facings, sleeves and lining.  Wish me luck!  I'll show the results when finished.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I'm wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy, creative 2014.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Exciting News

Several weeks ago I was contacted by Nancy Samotis, an art constant for health care facilities asking if two of my big works, Emerald City and Fiesta were available for sale. She was going to present them to the powers that be at the Yale Maternal Fetal Center, a place for women with difficult pregnancies.
She told me that she would let me know the outcome of the meeting after Thanksgiving.  Since I hadn't heard from her, I surmised that they must have gone with something else so I was surprised and delighted yesterday when I received her email telling me that they thought that my Emerald City would be perfect for the waiting area where all clinical patients enter.

I am so excited to be having a piece of mine hanging in a public place. It will be my first. This piece is the last of my "city" series and I have had good luck with them.  Three have sold, one was a second place winner at Houston and one traveled for three years with the Art Quilt Town and Country exhibit that was first shown at the IQA show in Houston.

Emerald City  45" x 46"
I had dyed forty yards of fabric for this quilt. Needless to say that I have a lot of green left over and am currently working on another green quilt in a very different style. 

I am linking up with Off the Wall Fridays.  Please check it out and see what everyone is up to.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I won!

One of the nice things that I like about blogging is "meeting" new people and having "blog buddies".  These are people whose blogs I visit and leave comments and they do the same on mine.  I will probably never meet most of these people in person, since most live so far away.  Some are even overseas, although I did connect with one in Arizona a few years ago.

One of my blog buddies is Linda McLaughlin. I visit her blog, Thru Linda's Eyes,  every day because she posts a beautiful picture every day.  No text, just great photography.  She also has another blog, Notes From Studio B, that she posts to about once a week about her quilt art and sewing projects.  She does fabulous work and also has daily sewing projects that are always interesting and inspiring.

A couple of weeks ago she had a contest.  If you left a comment on her blog during a certain period you would be eligible for a calendar of her photography and I won.  I was thrilled. It came in the mail the other day and it is gorgeous!  She had it made by Mac so it is very professional looking.  Each month has a stunning photo (sometimes two or three) pertaining to that month. It will have a place of honor in my studio where I can see it everyday and thoroughly enjoy it.  Thank you, Linda!

This is the cover of the calendar.  Yesterday's post was another picture of frost.  I told her that she takes the best frost pictures.

The Last New Santa for 2013

I clear everything off of my baker's rack for Christmas to make room for some standing Santas. Isn't he silly looking and cute?  I like his plaid arms and skinny legs.  I guess that this Santa didn't eat a lot of cookies. My bakers rack is not crowded with Santas.  I retired an older china Santa to make room for this new guy.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Cookie Santa

On the way to Kennebunkport last week we stopped at Stonewall Kitchen, know for their scrumptious jams and preserves and other goodies.  Of course it was all decked out for the holidays and I found this sugar cookie Santa made of glass. And that's the last of the new ornaments.  Come back tomorrow for a new standing Santa.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Santa Goes to London

Again I found this charmer with Santa peeking out from a red phone booth in the Gump's catalog when I returned home from my trip.

This little Beefeater Santa holding a Christmas was bought across the pond.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Santa Plays the Bagpipe

When I am traveling I try to find Santas that are indicative of that area.  I have a Santa from Arizona who is wearing cowboy boots and hat and is holding a wreath made from Prickly Pear cactus, a Santa from Bar Harbor, Maine who is in a fishing boat complete with Christmas tree and seagull, a brown skinned Santa from Hawaii wearing shorts, Hawaiian shirt and playing a ukulele, and a few others that I showed you last year. 
 When I was in Edinburgh this fall I looked all over for a kilt-wearing Santa, even going into two Christmas shops to no avail.  When I got back home there he was in the Gump's catalog, a little more that I wanted to spend, but he is perfect!  Don't you agree?
Come back tomorrow for more new finds.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Here Comes Santa Claus

Here's another of my new Santas.  I like the gold micro beading trim on his robe.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ho, ho, ho

If you follow my blog, you will know that I have huge collection of Santa ornaments.  If fact I have one big tree in the family room that's dedicated to Santa.  I try to only buy glass Santas now and look for the different or unusual each year.  The tree is big, so there's always room for one more (or two or three).  so for the next few days I will introduce you to my new Santas.

Here is a golfing Santa.  Even though I don't play golf, I found him hard to resist with his golfing knickers, plaid sweater vest and sparkly golf clubs.

Come back tomorrow and meet someone else.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Prelude

This past weekend was spent with three good friends in Kennebunkport, Maine for their pre-Christmas celebration, called Prelude.  This small quintessential New England town of less than 3,500 residents comes alive for this annual event that draws over 60,000 visitors.
After the tree lighting ceremony Friday night.  Notice the lobster holding a star  at the top.

Aside from tourism, this is a fishing village with lobster being its main catch.  But for this season the whole town gets ready for Christmas with every building decorated with white lights and greenery.  Even the bridge joining Kennebunk to Kennebunkport is draped with pine swags and red bows.  The telephone poles are wrapped with garlands and red ribbons.  There are shops galore and for a mega-shopper like me it was heaven. HGTV rated it as the second best Christmas town in the country.

We loved this display in the small lobby of simple bare trees and white lights.  Hard to photograph day or night, but it was stunning.

We stayed at a fabulous new hotel, The Boat House.  It has been restaurant for many years, but the new owners did a complete renovation and added twelve guest rooms and suites.  We absolutely loved it for its convenience, being right in the middle of town and walkable to almost everything, the wonderful accommodations and its fantastic restaurant.  It was very hard to get a reservation at the restaurant, but if you were a hotel guest you had a guaranteed reservation.  Since the town was so jam packed and reservations at any restaurant were almost impossible to get, we ate at David's both nights and had scrumptious meals.

This was the view from one of the windows in our room.  The lighted tree was on the deck below that was part of the restaurant.

A different view from our hotel. We liked the hotel so much that we reserved rooms for next year.  Once the word gets out I'm sure it will be impossible to get a reservation.

There were so many activities scheduled: tree lighting ceremonies both Friday and Saturday evenings with beautiful accapella singing from the High School choir. Saturday night we walked to the local monastery for Christmas carols with everyone holding a white lit candle. We went to the craft fair at the local consolidated school and picked up some treasures.

How abut this Christmas tree that was made of lobster traps, buoys, and fresh greens! That's Maxine, Sheila and me.  Claire was taking the picture.

The entrance to the restaurant where we had luch just before leaving to go home on Sunday.

Claire, Maxine and Sheila having out last hurrah (lobster rolls, a nice glass of wine and decadent desserts) at this lovely dining establishment with great water views.

Everyone was in a Christmas mood and many people, including me, were wearing Christmas hats.  You could buy them quite inexpensively in town and many were hand made.  On Saturday afternoon there was a hat parade and we were rushing to get to another event and I didn't get any pictures.

Here's my hat, actually a headband, that I bought, now perched on a my Santa doll. The store had so many that it was hard to choose.  There were Christmas trees, Santas, snowmen, Christmas packages, and so much more.  The sparkly mistletoe on the wire made it a little hard  to wear because it kept bobbing around as I walked, but I had a lot of fun with it.

We were very lucky with the weather.  Although it was cold it didn't snow or rain except for a brief sprinkle Friday evening at the tree lighting.  We were dressed very warmly with fleece, long johns  and down coats so we were just fine. We woke up this morning here in CT to roads and walkways coated with ice.  Thank goodness that didn't happen to us on the way home. All in all it was a wonderful, magical weekend and we are looking forward to next year.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Post Card

A friend is celebrating a milestone birthday soon and I made this fabric postcard for her.  She doesn't read my blog so I'm safe posting it. I'll pop it in the mail in a few days with a first class stamp wishing her a very happy birthday.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Radio City Music Hall

Yesterday a few of my cohorts and I took the train into the City to see the Christmas Spectacular.  I saw it when I was newly married with my late hubby and the in-laws (almost fifty years ago) then about 10 years ago with a date and then yesterday.  It's something you only need to see about every ten years because it doesn't change much.  Now they have added some 3-D film sections, which the kids love.  My favorite parts are always the Rockettes dressed as reindeer (the opening number), the Parade of the Tin Soldiers with its amazing precision, and the living Nativity scene with the live camels and donkey, so beautiful and touching.

My great-niece, Kristen, was recently hired as a Rockette but the new hires always start in Nashville so I didn't get to see her. She is a student at the Boston Conservatory and is an incredible dancer.  I thought she would be a ballerina because she is so talented at that, but since she was a little girl her dream has always been to be a Rockette, so she is thrilled.

Here's Kristen on her opening night.  Isn't she beautiful!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Brookfield Craft Center Opening

Friday night was the opening for the big Holiday Sale at the BCC from 6 to 9 PM.  I got there a little after six and it was already mobbed and stayed so all through the evening.  We had lovely live music, wine and plenty of goodies.  It was a great night.

Here's my friend, Mary, looking at some pottery.

Just a another view of part of the crowd.

I love the way they had things displayed, often in color families.  They had painted some of the walls in bright colors which enhanced the wares. That's my "Alley View " on the wall.

This corner had some stunning green glass and my "Verdant" on the wall.

My "Recapitulation" is above an array of blue pottery.

My "To Time" was all my itself on a narrow wall just across from the check-out desk.

These little garden quilts of mine came out very blurry.  When I go back over I'll try to get a better shot.

I fell in love with these darling little sweater sets.  Alas, no one to buy them for.

I volunteered from 2 to 6 on Saturday and while we were not as mobbed as on Friday night, it was steady all day with a lot of sales.  They alway have fabulous jewelry, mostly silver and stones and some beautiful beaded Kumihimo necklaces made by my friend Barbara.

The scarf selection was amazing and I bought two: a scrumptious hand painted silk and a gorgeous silk Itajime Shibori.  I also bought a great present for my son, but I can't say what in case he reads this blog.

If you live anywhere near Brookfield, CT, please stop buy.  Everything is hand made in the USA and a lot of it from Connecticut.  You will be sure to find some great holiday gifts or something for yourself. I did both!  The sale runs through January 6 and if you go to this post, you will find the postcard that lists all the times and dates.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Why Knot?

When I was working on my red silk Dupioni quilt for the texture challenge with my FiberWorks group I thought that the section where I used the double needle and then French Knots would make a wonderful garment.  You can see the quilt here.

This is a detail of the section of the quilt with the double needle and French Knots.  I used cotton batting behind the silk to give it more body and to make the cording effect more prominent.

So I bought some more Dupioni in red, of course, and have cut out a simple jacket.  I am using the double needle again.  It is the widest one they make, I think, with the needles being about a quarter inch apart.  I put flannel behind the silk this time instead of batting.  I don't want a puffy jacket.
I am only doing the technique on one front and half of the back.  My dilemma was whether or not to make the French Knots since they take so long to do.  But I thought that they really do look nice.  Above is the result of two nights in front of the TV. You may notice that the lines of French Knots are interrupted.  I like the look  and it also means I have to do less of them. I still have more to make on this piece.

This is the fabric that I will use for the other front and half of the back.  It's an embroidered Dupioni and really is luscious in person and redder than this picture shows.  Those circles are about the size of a half dollar coin.  I can't decide which side is the right side.  I like them both. For the sleeves I will use the plain red with no tucks.

I'll show the finished jacket, but don't hold your breath.  I have such a busy schedule coming up so it may be a while.  And I have all those knots to make!

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.  Go see what everyone else is up to.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013

New Business Cards

I finally got around to making new business cards.  I loved my old ones that my niece had designed for me several years ago, but the info on them was hopelessly out of date. I kept hearing about Moo Cards and how easy they were to work with and they were right.  It's all done online with super directions and many opportunities to change your mind.  After I had it all set up and sent through I realized that I could have had a color for the background or for the print.  They had a lime green background that was the exact color as the quilt. that would have been cool, but I was too late. Maybe next time, but these should last me awhile.  I wish that I had them when I was in Houston.

I only ordered 100 because I don't want to get stuck with too many in case my info changes again.  I chose a slice of a small quilt that I like for the front and all of the cards will have this design. It doesn't look like it here,but the left side is pure white.

 I chose two different designs for the back.  This shot of one of my cabbage quilts will be on half of them

and this slice of my "Technicolor Ginkgoes"for the other half. This is also the quilt that I am currently using as the banner for my blog.

I wanted something colorful and eye catching and I think I succeeded.  What do you think?

I've linked up again with Off the Wall Friday.  Go see what everyone's up to.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Flower Garden Makeover

You may remember this flower garden quilt that I made awhile ago.  I thought I was finished with it. The little quiltlets had been quilted with just batting, no backing, so that when I put them on the big quilted background they just stuck.  I then pinned them down and sewed around the outside of each one with a straight machine stitch.  I thought it looked great.  But as I took it to a couple of quilt groups for show and tell and rolled it around the pool noodle for transport, the little quiltlets started to sag. I couldn't have them sagging while hanging at a show.  Hey, there's enough sagging going on around here, I don't need saggy quilts, too, so I spent two nights of TV time unpicking the stitches and removing them.  It really wasn't too much of a job.

Today I will fuse each little quilt back onto the background and stitch them on again. Hmm, do you think fusible would work on my sags?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Holiday Sale

I'm sorry to be away from the blog for so long.  I seem to have been very busy since my return from Houston.  One of the things that kept me busy was making some small pieces for the annual sale at the Brookfield Craft Center.  This is the first year that I will be participating and I am delighted to be among the fabulous artists who will showcase their work.
It has aways been my go-to place for finding unique handmade Christmas gifts.  There will be scarves of all kinds, pottery, glass, metal, wood, jewelry, fiber, paper, and more.  I will have several small art quilts mounted on canvas.

I plan to be at the preview and artist's reception, so if you are in the area please stop by.  If you can't make the reception, the sale will be on all through the holiday season.  If you go you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


I am back from Houston and the International Quilt Festival where I had two quilts juried into "Quilts, A World of Beauty".  I had been notified ahead of time that one of them was an award winner, but I didn't know until the Awards Ceremony on Tuesday evening that Brown Planet, a Collaboration was a third place winner in its category, Art Quilts Abstract, large.

If you follow my blog, you will recognize this as the quit that I made in collaboration with Kathy Loomis, an excellent award winner quilter.  You can read more about it here where she wrote about it on her blog. I wish that she could have been at the show to share the excitement, but she was unable to attend.

Emerald City had also been juried into the show.  Although it was not a winner I was very pleased that it had been accepted and to have it hanging in such good company.

Another of the many exhibits there was "In the Eye of the Quilter" in which quilters entered photographs that they had taken. I entered the maximum number of three that were allowed and thought that they had been rejected since I never heard from them.  So I was surprised and delighted to see two of my photos in the exhibit. Both of them had been taken on my recent trip to Hawaii.  The first is of an African Tulip Tree and the second is the bark of the Rainbow Eucalyptus.

The quilt festival is an amazing experience!  I have been many times, but each time I am in awe of the impressive amount of quilts and the incredible talent displayed.  I was honored to have my quilts hanging among them.  The show runs from Wednesday evening, with a preview night, though Sunday afternoon.  Last year there were over 60,000 attendees from all over the world. Classes on numerous topics start on Monday and they are always well attended.  I find that it takes all my time to view all the quilts and see some of the vendors and I don't take classes anymore, although I have in the past. It is an exhilarating and exhausting experience and I'm glad to be home and back in my studio planning what I might have for next year.

I'm linking this post to Off the Wall Friday.  Hop on over to see what everyone else is doing.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Putting the Garden to Bed

We have had a most spectacular fall here in CT, warm sunny days and cool crisp nights with hardly any rain. Just like Camelot!  But all good things must come to an end.  Although we have had a couple of light frosts, we haven't had a hard freeze so many things are still blooming. I wanted to take advantage of this nice day to empty some of the big containers on my deck.  I had already cut back most of the perennials last week.  There were some rewards for the job.

This was one of them.  This hydrangea bush is the best I've ever had.  It is a small shrub, not meant to get big, but it is covered with blooms all summer long. They start as a pale pink, then turn to mauve and then finally to this gorgeous russet.  I picked a bunch to put on my kitchen table and I could have picked many more.

This was another.  I planted several Knockout Roses in the ground this year and one in a big container on the deck. It had gotten quite leggy and it fell over when my Hibiscus tree fell over onto it. The Hibiscus tree was finished for the season and I got rid of it, but I pruned the rose way back and put it in a corner of the deck where I hope it will winter over. I was able to pick enough roses to make this pretty bouquet for the coffee table in the family room.

The herbs in the containers still look great, so I will leave them.  My 2 Sun Gold cherry tomato plants look terrible but are still producing enough to give me few tomatoes every day, so they will stay for now, too.  Someone forgot to tell my lavender that it is autumn, since it's blooming its fool head off. That will stay for the winter anyway since it is a perennial. 

I'm getting tired of watering, weeding, pruning, and fertilizing, but I know that next Spring I'll be ready to start all over again. One of the joys of gardening is having the next season to look forward to.