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Sunday, October 24, 2010

"Oh, the places you'll go"

Dr Seuss was a big favorite at my house when I was little. My dad would read the stories and have these wonderful voices for all of the characters. Memories, those special little joys that pop into the mind every now and than when you least expect them to. My son received 'Oh, the places you'll go" for a graduation gift from a dear neighbor. It's about a boy starting of on a Great Journey, fresh and excited about his latest adventure. Well today we are going to take an adventure to some places I have found lately that inspire me....

Stephanie Forsyth, who is always inspiring to me, has the blog "The Fiber Nation" lately she has started adding video tutorials to her blog. This one on making angelina beads is great. I've made beads from fabric before but not angelina, so that will be fun to try. She also has a free BOM going so be sure to check it out as well.

I was recently sent a link to Janet McTavish's(Karen McTavish's mom) latest project "Peace Labyrinth." This is just an amazing project. She is trying to create a three dimensional labyrinth of quilts. People will be able to walk the labyrinth at quilt shows. You can watch a short video that tells about the project, and/or read more about it here. I think anything that shows how we are all 'more alike than different' is worthwhile.

I have been hearing a lot about zentangle recently. I don't know a great deal about it but now I am intrigued. I get an email update from a site called Chica and Jo. They have really fun ideas for parties, holidays, gifts etc. Not necessarily quilting or even sewing for that matter, but I find their ideas refreshing. Good site for things to do with kids, or for kids. They posted a photo of a 'zentangled' (is that a word?) pumpkin that you just have to see.

The last post I came across has nothing to do with quilting or sewing but is something women everywhere need to embrace. It has statistics that are frightening and we need to change this. Be sure to watch the links at the bottom of the post if you have time. They are very powerful. Mary's blog is "View from the Seat" and is a very well written post about National Fat Free Talk Week.

Have a creative day everyone

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Common Thread

The Textile Center in Minneapolis has a show every January called A Common Thread. If you are a member of the Textile Center you can submit work for this show. The photo submissions and information had to be submitted by the first week in October. Whew! I made it in time. Last year was the first year I entered something. It was a very small piece, I don't have the exact measurements handy but it was about the size of a piece of computer paper. I was very surprised when the check came in the mail because my piece had sold. I am hoping for a wonderful surprise again this year, but even if it doesn't sell, I am proud of myself for pushing past the fear factor and entering the show. Here is a photo of last years piece.

That fear quotient holds me back a little more than I would like, but considering how new I am to this whole fiber art experience, I do OK. It's easy to be confident when you have done something for a long time and you know you are good at it. At this point in my career I wonder if I should hold back until I learn more, if it is even worth the trouble. But than I sit back, really look at what I have done, and say "How will you learn more if you don't keep trying!" and "Of course it is worth trying!" I can see growth in my work with each piece I finish. Some may be baby steps, some lateral steps, and occasionally some feel like giant leaps, but each is progress in one form or another. I don't have any set type of art that I do. I am still experimenting at this point. I like to try everything, which makes for slower progress at times but it makes this journey richer and full of adventure.

This is a photo of the piece I submitted. The frame measures about 23" x 19." I shibori dyed, overdyed, beaded, hand quilted, and used swarovski crystals and other embellishments. I than framed the piece. I like this one. So, if it doesn't sell I am fine with that too. It is called 'Sunspots." A big thank you to Nancy Eha, I learned how to do much of the beading techniques from her book called "Bead Creative Art Quilts" Her explanations are very clear with lot's of beautiful photos.

I will also be changing my profile photo soon. I changed my photo on facebook, but it isn't a great photo of me, so I'm hoping to get a better one soon for my blog.
Have a creative day

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I've been trying to learn a little more about adding beads to my quilts. I have a book by Nancy Eha called Bead Creative Art Quilts (if you go to this link you can enlarge a photo of the beaded coil from the book, it is stunning). Beaded coils add dimension and texture to a quilt so that is one of the techniques I have been trying. They're kind of fun, it's relaxing to sit and work on this project.
Nancy's book has so many wonderful photos, when my eyes need a rest from beading I page through her book again trying to decide what to try next.
I'm not sure what I did to make the color so different in these two photos. They are both the same quilt. It's really about half way between the two. I did take the photos in the evening so the light wasn't the best. Maybe I used the flash on one and not the other.
Have a Creative day

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Play Ball!

I'm having fun with my daughters' softball t-shirts. She wanted them made into a quilt. I did sew them together several years ago but didn't do the quilting....this is a long time coming, but it's finally getting finished.

It's fun to see the backs of the squares.

Still a lot to do but it should be finished soon. Hooray for my longarm. She wants the name of the team on each square. Her first t-shirt from kindergarten was a little smaller than the others so I had to add a little extra fabric to make it the same size as the other squares. They were called the strawberry shortcakes.
My meandering is not to great but hopefully will get better and better. I didn't want to spend a huge amount of time on this so I made it pretty big and found that was more difficult for me to do. Also discovered I work best left to right, and back to front. Moving the machine right to left and front to back results in crazy lines. But, I can already see some improvement there so eventually it should all come together.
Have a creative day

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Stitches from the Past

I was feeling reminiscent last night. My youngest just finished his first week of college and I was remembering back to those days when I had to grab every minute I could to be creative. At the time cross stitch and other crewel work fit for me. I could put it down and pick it up at a moments notice, and it was easily portable.
There are quite a few that I don't have photos of because they were given away or long since discarded in some manner. Here are a few of the stitches from my past that are still hanging around my house. The photos aren't the best but you'll get the idea.
This first one was cross stitched, than cut out, brushed with stiffy and a small cord was added so it could be hung. It was part of a mother's day present for my mom long ago. (It says "For my Mom" and "who has always taken the weeds with the flowers")

This is one of the first stitch projects. It is starting to show it's age and may be in the need of a good cleaning. I've always liked flowers and butterflies.

This was just added as a gift tag on something. It is done on perforated paper, cut out in the scalloped heart shape, with hole punches in the scallops. A small ribbon was added to hang it on the gift.

This was a reminder for myself when I let people give me a hard time about staying home with my kids. This piece helped me keep my focus on what was good for my family.

I made these cute tumbling bears for my daughter's room when she was a baby.

Cross Stitch and Country Crafts was the name of a magazine I received for a number of years. I really liked the beautiful designs they had. I had just finished this next one when we first moved to Minnesota. I took it to the framer, the first thing she asked was if I was entering it in the state fair. It had never occurred to me to enter the fair. We did go to the fair that year and it became very clear why she asked me that question. Everywhere I turned someone had done this same piece and entered it in the fair. Some day I hope to finish the little boy who goes along with the girl.

This next one is also a pattern from Cross Stitch and Country Crafts. It was a series of three, this one spoke to me. I really like how it was framed.

Here are a couple of whimsical ones from the years I spent so much time driving here and there we never had time to cook anything but reservations (Just kidding, we probably couldn't afford reservations than). The frame on the reservations stitch project had really faded, so I repainted it yesterday and added some varnish.

This next one was a little kit I bought. I don't remember where or who it was made by. It is hanging in my creative space to remind me to strive for those dreams even if they seem out of reach. (It says "Reach for the Stars")

I took a class a Bear Patch Quilting to learn how to do punch needle. I think this is the kit I bought for the class. I still haven't framed this one.

The last one I found is a little punch needle pattern I purchased. It says Live Simply. Always a good goal. I like the texture in the frame on this one.
I found a piece of fabric that was perfect for the strap for my 'green' bag. Some nice person was giving away their scraps at the last Minnesota Contemporary Quilters meeting. I grabbed that one perfect piece which will save me a trip to the fabric store. I'll post a photo next time. In my comments on that post I was given a link to Jenny of Elefantz blog. She has a challenge for people to see what they can re-invent from old clothing. She links to other bloggers who have taken her challenge. So if you have a few minutes jump over and see all the wonderful creations that people are making. There are some ideas you won't want to miss. The Show and Tell blog I saw about the challenge was dated August 27th.

Today's project is to put a quilt on my longarm and get busy quilting.

Do you have stitches from your past you could share? Let me know I always like to take a trip down memory lane.

Have a creative day

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Making green bags

My mom moved into a retirement community last year. She didn't have quite as much room there as she did in her two bedroom apartment. So, some choices needed to made on what to keep and what could go....
I kept a lot of the clothes she no longer needed. I held on to them until now in case she changed her mind. Now it is time to begin to re-purpose some of the clothes. I started with a jacket that caught my eye.
And a blouse, I thought would sort of match.

I love the embroidery details and the colors of this jacket but the sleeves were a little worn and the jacket itself was too short for me. I've been wanting to make a Miranda Day Bag by Lazy Girl Designs. Here is the bag I made.

I had a handle on the bag but the color wasn't quite right. I need to find a better color for the strap. I want a long strap rather than a short purchased handle, I think I will be more likely to use it that way. I added quite a lot of quilting to the body of the bag, so it took longer to make than I expected. I really like how it turned out.

My daughter wants one too, I think I have enough of the embroidered fabric left. She thought I could mix her's with a blue or green from the embroidery. I may have to purchase a matching color of fabric but the main body of it will be from her Grandma's closet. Isn't that a fun way to re-purpose clothing.

Have a creative day

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Piecing,piecing and more piecing!

Trying to finish up many half finished projects this summer. Here is a photo of the quilt I told you about in a previous post, (found at the back of the spare bedroom closet.) This was a block of the month from JoAnn Fabrics quite a few years ago. I finished piecing this one a week ago. I think it is called A Year At Home. Here is a link to some they have at JoAnn's now, Meadows in Bloom looks cute.

This next one was a free pattern last year on Nancy Rink's website. It is called Building Blocks. She made hers with all hand dyed fabrics that really were gorgeous. I wasn't sure about some of the fabrics I chose when I started, but I like how it looks now that it is complete. I just finished this about an hour ago. Her free design for this year can be found here. It's called Galactic Explosion.

I have two other quilt tops complete already and two more that are almost finished. As soon as they are done I will have to get myself to a quilt shop for some serious investment in backing material. After those are quilted it will be time to get back to art quilts. I'm glad I like to wear different hats when it comes to sewing, quilting, crafts etc. I never get bored.

Have a creative day

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The winner!

My husband wants me to start buying lottery tickets! I keep winning!

I left a comment on Craftside blog and won a book. I'm just thrilled for more than one reason. First, I love the book, it is Susan Stein's newest book called The Complete Photo Guide to Textile Art.
If you click the book title it takes you to the Craftside post that talks about the book. (If you scroll down you will find Susan's other books) The photos in the book are phenomenal and the instructions are very clear. Detailed step-by-step instructions for more than 40 techniques with over 500 color formats. It is just inspiring to thumb through the book and drool over the photos.

Finding the Craftside blog is the second reason I am thrilled. She tells about many new books for a variety of art forms. There are videos on her blog, you can subscribe to her blog and get a newsletter in your inbox. I discovered 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun! by Carla Sonheim. I am not very confident in my drawing skills. I would like to improve and make some whole cloth quilts, that are drawn and painted by me. So, I bought this book and started a drawing journal with the 'lab' exercises in this book.

My first exercise was to quickly draw 30 cats. Next I pick a couple of favorites and expand on them by adding the medium of my choice. I think this will be fun. Here are my quickly sketched cats.

I started a journal about 15 years ago with some photos I like. I tried re-creating the photos with fabric and stitches. I only made about 10 pages before life got in the way and it fell by the wayside. I think I will continue this journal too. I may take it in a little different direction now as it was mostly handwork, it was easily portable, which I needed at that time in my life. The little stitched piece I entered in The Foot in the Door exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art was from this journal. Here are a few of my beginning pages where I was just trying to write my comments about the different landscapes.

Friday, July 16, 2010


I've been taking some time off to rejuvenate myself. I looked up rejuvenate just to make sure that was the word I'm looking for in this situation. The first definition is 'to restore to youthful vigor.' I'm not sure I will be able to go that far but I did need some time off to restore myself at least to my 1980's vigor.

I've been working on my house the last few months. We found in the past that moving has helped us get rid of the 'stuff' we tend to accumulate around us, frankly it is mostly un-needed for our lives. We have lived in this home longer than any other, about 12 years longer, so the 'stuff' was getting out of control. Of course my crafting, quilting, scrapbooking, art, etc is the area least in control. You never know when you might need that.... This is the mentality that gets me into this predicament. It's actually not as bad as I make it sound for now. If we downsize at some point, which is likely, than I will have to make some hard choices.

I've been going through our rooms one at a time, cleaning, deciding the best arrangement for how we use the room now, and most importantly putting things in a give away box. The craft, quilting, art area is where I have the most trouble with things sticking to my hands rather than tumbling into the give-away box. Last week, I dug to the back of the closet in the spare bedroom and found a quilt I had begun about 10 years ago. At first I thought it would be a perfect give-away because it isn't even a pattern I especially like anymore. But, it stuck to my fingers like glue. In the back of my mind something was telling me, you need this for practice! So, I took apart those first three blocks I had finished some ten years ago and re-pieced them, finished the other blocks, added borders and now I have a perfect quilt to continue building my skills on my longarm. I also have one less pile of stuff in my closet. When I am finished I can give the quilt to someone who needs it and may even appreciate the warmth it provides. This is why it takes me so long to thoroughly clean my house. Eventually I will finish that last room, look around and realize, I need to start all over again!

I just added around 35 postcards to my slideshows. Remember you can click on one of the cards and go to the picasa album if you would rather see them one at a time. You can also enlarge them when you go to the album. Hope I didn't miss any!

Have a creative day!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Minnesota Quilt Show

This week St Cloud, Minnesota is hosting the Minnesota Quilt Show, "Quilting in the Quarry"
I have only entered the show twice before this year, one quilt each of the past two years(pictured above). For some reason I went a little overboard this time. I have four quilts in the show.

The first is with Minnesota Contemporary Quilters. The theme this year was Melange a Trois. I just posted about this quilt recently, it is my Cathedral Quilt.

The next two are with SAQA Minnesota. One is the quilt I made for the rust dye competition, since mine wasn't selected for that exhibit I tried the SAQA exhibit instead. I used a fabric I had shibori dyed, the red circle with the blue and yellow on the outside. I than used an old fashioned popcorn popper, the kind you would use over an open flame. I rusted the center of the dyed fabric. I painted the petals with shiva paintsticks. And, there you have a Moulin Rouge Sunflower. This is one of my favorites.

The second is Grape Harvest and is a combination of photo transfer on fabric and metal, and using metal for the first time on a quilt. I used recycled diet coke cans and Arizona Iced Tea cans. I prefer the diet coke cans as the metal is thinner and easier to manipulate. This was a fun quilt to make.

The final quilt is in the non-judged portion of the Minnesota Quilters Exhibits. This is the first quilt I have completed on my longarm that has given me hope that I might actually be able to call myself a longarm quilter one day. I have new wheels for the back of my machine that have made a huge difference in the amount of control I have. I'm still not very good at sewing straight lines, maybe my next purchase to add to my machine will be the electric channel locks. The thing I like about the Innova is you don't have to be able to afford everything at once. It is easy to add on to the machine. The photo isn't the best since I am not used to taking pictures to show off the quilting. Maybe by the time I figure out how to take good photos, I will be at the point where I will not mind showing the details of my quilting.

Hope you get a chance to go to the show. The quilts are always inspiring.
Have a creative day

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Postmark'd Art Postcards

I finished another piece before it is due!! Am I becoming organized!! Can't be!! This last set of postcards is due to be mailed by May 30th and today is the 27th. Wouldn't that be great if I can make this a habit....

These cards were started a while ago. The background is bleached with a bleach pen to look like a Chinese lattice. It began with a plain brown cotton. I love the color it turned from the bleach.

Some shapes, cut with the Cricut, were added. At the time I thought I liked the starkness of the white against the lattice. After looking at them for a month or two a change was made and I painted them.

The Kanji word means health. I know I have a mix of cultures in this card, but working with what I had available, I thought they mixed well together.

I visited my mom yesterday, which is a 4 hour drive each way. Her birthday was last week so I purchased some books on CD for her to listen to. I also bought one for myself to listen to on the drive. Mine is called The Quilter's Homecoming by Jennifer Chiaverini. I listened to six and a half of the disks while driving. There are nine altogether. I love historical books about the everyday life of women. It is not quite as much about quilting as I expected but it is a good story. I was at the half-price bookstore so it was only $8, which seemed good for a 9 disk story. Most of the books my mom likes are not longer being published so they are easier to find at used book stores. Maybe I can give mine for a raffle prize at Contemporary Quilters once I have heard it all.

Have a Creative Day