"I do believe in an everyday sort of magic...the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we're alone." Charles de Lint

Friday, March 16, 2018

Six-Story Rainbow

I love this six-story rainbow installation by Megan Geckler.  You can check out more pictures here...and I recommend the "how did they do that" video at the end of the article. I want to be one of her helpers!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Artsy Vibe

Once of the realizations I came to during one of my recent wakeful nights was to get a little more artsy with my quilt series. I'm not the best quilt maker...especially piecing and machine quilting so I need to rely more on creative techniques and embellishments. I need to take the best of what I learned from my year long Folt Bolt projects and apply the techniques to these quilts.

I'm actually kind of chuckling as I write this.  I have just admitted that I'm not the best quilt maker....but I've chosen to do a quilt series as a focal point for my show.  What was I thinking???

One of the next quilts in the series is a 10 inch square and will be in a purple scheme. I found the inspiration I needed on Pinterest and got a good start this morning.

I am trying not to be too literal....but still giving a nod to trees on each one.  I thought the design of this small quilt by Ruan Robertson resembled a row of trees. When I saw it the first thing I thought of was that the square shapes in the middle could be different greens...and "attached" rather than pieced in. I could work my Kaffe stripe into the rows at the bottom.

I jumped right in.

I had two coordinating Kaffe stripes I alternated with some purples to create the bottom panel. I used the quilt as you go method...sewing the wonky strips right onto the batting. Although it wasn't needed....I still ended up adding a little top stitching after to define the rows of tree trunks even more.

I didn't want raw edge fused squares....but I took advantage of some hand dyed fabric I already had fusible webbing on one side and turned the edges and created some little (cheating) applique squares.  The orange strip will be used on one of the other quilts.

I finger pressed the folds then carefully tack them with the tip of my iron.  If you touch the webbing...it sticks instantly and really messes up your iron.  Once it was tacked I could flip it over and press it better on the non stick paper backing I had saved.  It won't stick to that "release" paper....it peals right off.

I did get some glue on the iron...but it came right off by rubbing it with a dryer sheet while the iron was hot.  I think that might clean off any gunk on your iron....it works like a dream. I learned that in my fusing class.

The nice thing about this technique is that each little square has a little exposed fusible webbing on the back.  This will allow me to fuse/tack them in place. 

They will still need to be stitched on but a little lose edge will give it some dimension. I'll have to play around with that....I may even add a button here and there.  I decided to add in a few of the mini striped batik squares for variety and texture. I like that every quilt in the series will have some of the same fabric elements making it more cohesive: The Kaffe stripes, the Moda Grunge polka dots, and the striped batik.  
This is where I left it....I actually think I like it. (the greens aren't as bright as they look in this picture)  I need to quilt the top purple panel then figure out the arrangement and how I'm going to attach the squares.  I think it has a fun...artsy...collage type vibe....just what I was going for!  

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Nothing is Certain

"Trust the wait. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything is possible."  Mandy Hale 

I had a great conversation with a friend today about the whole notion of "bittersweet"...things that are both good and bad. She had asked me how I felt about my upcoming show and I responded by saying it was either the best thing for me to be doing....or the worst. Truth is....it's both...it's bittersweet.  

It's bitter because I wake up many mornings with dozens of things to do and sometimes the chores or the outings take over and the creative projects get pushed to the side. I do, after all, have a deadline looming over me. It's bitter because I'm a fly by the seat of my pants kind of artist and I make mistakes and use the trial and error method...often having to back peddle...or even start over.  It's bitter because then I second guess myself and lose confidence. It's bitter because thinking about it all keeps me awake at night. It's bitter because I have too many things I want to try so get distracted and side tracked....and sometimes all I want to do is work on a puzzle.

But...it's also sweet because I love a challenge. I enjoy making an image I have in my mind turn into something I can hold in my hand or hang on the wall.  It's sweet because I love playing with paper and fabric....and beads and buttons.  

It's sweet because each misstep teaches me something and I love that lightbulb moment when I figure something out or end up with something I actually like....or at least don't hate. It's sweet because making things with my hands brings me joy. 

I have a vision in my mind....but I'm still not sure if I'll get there....but I'll probably get close enough to be just fine. "When nothing is certain....anything is possible." 

One thing is certain....there will be buttons....how can there not be!  

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Little Nugget

I can't write a post today without commenting on the blizzard.  It's been snowing all day...and it's still going strong....we could get 18-20 inches.  I got out in it a couple times....trying to find some little nugget of joy in a March blizzard....the 3rd big storm in just a few weeks. 

The teal house across the street was just lovely peeking through the trees....looked like it belonged on a post card.  You can't see it...but there were white Christmas lights on the pine tree twinkling in the snow. Ahhhhh....my nugget.

I got the binding done on the red quilt today.  I still haven't tacked on the stripe and I'm mulling over a little embellishment.  It has a good vibe in person....vibrant and happy.

Monday, March 12, 2018


I had been looking for this one puzzle piece for several days. It was pretty straight forward...just dark blue with white buttons. As I got closer to the end I was worried it was missing.  Sure enough when I finished this afternoon it was nowhere to be found.  Shoot! 

But later in the day I picked up the box there it was....Phew! I loved this puzzle!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Good Progress

I made good progress on my red quilt in the last couple of days.  I decided to stitch a simple grid on the bottom....a welcome contrast to the leaves and loops on the top. 
I wanted the stripe fabric to be a simple band of color going the length of the quilt...I made it separately and quilted it with a little nod to wood grain. In the end I will top stitch it to the piece which will add dimension.                                                                            
I stitched simple geometric swirls for quilt block panel. I'll bind it in the next couple of days. Slow and steady....but good progress was made.

Saturday, March 10, 2018


This "Story of the Day" made me chuckle.....I've never thought about "LIFE" this way. Sometimes I feel like my life has a life of its own.

When I'm drowning in fabric, fibers, and catalog pages...."my life" IS grinning and waving its arms with excitement. I might as well enjoy the ride.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Spring Catalog

I've been playing with Gudrun's World catalog pages....this time from last years spring issue which was filled with lots of watercolor images and bright happy colors. I made this little quilt strip last week which may be too busy....but my favorite little moment is the little folded triangle peeking out at the top left. You can barely see it.....but it got me thinking.

So I started playing with triangles and came up with this little piece this afternoon. There's a fine line between too busy...and just right.....so I'll let it sit for a while.

I worked on a piece of stabilizer....tacking with just a touch of glue...then stitching the units as I went.

And I made a really big mess. 

I think there's potential.....if nothing else I'm having fun.

I don't know what it is about this hot scheme...but I'm so drawn to the oranges, yellows, and pinks right now.  The next one will be in cool blues and greens....I love them too!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Snow Day

Today is a snow day....but it's also International Women's Day celebrating the accomplishments of women all over the world. I love that women seem to be rallying...getting more and more of a voice. I think our future will be better because of it.  

On a lighter note....I had to laugh when I read this...it describes me in way too many ways:

"Yes, I'm a woman, I push doors that clearly say PULL. I laugh harder when I try to explain why I'm laughing. I walk into a room and forget why I was there. I count on my fingers in math. I hide pain from my loved ones. I say it is a long story when it's really not. I cry a lot more than you think I do. I care about people who don't care about me. I try to do things before the microwave beeps. I listen to you even when you don't listen to me. A hug will always help. Yes, I am a woman." author unknown

We got coating of wet heavy snow overnight and it clung to the trees and bushes. It's lovely....but I'm ready for it not to be snowing anymore. But a snow day is a good day to work on the puzzle.

This particular puzzle has been a lot of fun....the detail is pretty special. My grandmother had a pair of stork scissors and my mom had the tomato pin cushion....I recognize so many of the items.  I'm at the point where every time I sit down I can find pieces with very little effort. So I don't sit for very long....I like to stretch out the end.   

We also drove to Maine this afternoon....I love the view out the top of the studio window....especially in the late afternoon light. Happy snow day....and happy International Women's Day!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Red One

I started the 4th quilt in my series...the red one. I'm tweaking and changing fabrics a bit as I go....still working on the whole "vibe." This one is going to be 16 x 20....so I wanted a larger band of quilt blocks as a focal point. It's still very much a work in progress....but this is the basic idea.  Once I get it done I'll back track and finish the other three I've got started....then head to the other end of the spectrum...the purples. Slow and steady. I just found this new Kaffe Fasett stripe....I love the scheme and it tones down all the red and orange. I have an "out of the box" idea I might try on this one.....we'll see.  
I got brave and tried a little free motion quilting on the top orange panel....random and somewhat wonky leaves and loops.  I haven't done this in a while...and I'm not all that great at it...but I think it's OK. I didn't dare practice...I just jumped in. If I had practiced I probably would have convinced myself I couldn't' do it and chickened out.  I'm working on this one from the top down....so if I messed up the quilting I could have started over.  
There are a few places I could have filled in a little better....but in the end I can still add some loops here and there if needed.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Little Green Guy...

I love it when something unexpected presents itself in my day that brings me a lot of joy. Today it was this little green guy sound asleep on a fabulous rainbow bed posted on my friend Tracie's Facebook page.

It's a sweet little creation by her grandson, Five....I love everything about it! Way to go Five! (His name is as creative as he is.)

Sleep well little green guy!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Rainbow Order

More rainbow wool circles ready to go....I may not need them all but I'll figure that out as I go. Some of the circles will be needle felted.

Last May I wrote about an article called "The Indisputable Joy of Things Arranged in Rainbow Order"....which was about a book called The Encyclopedia of Rainbows by Julie Seabrook Ream. You can read that post here.

Thanks to my good friend Becky....I now own the book. What a delight!
 You know me well Becky...thank you!

Sunday, March 4, 2018


I started this piece more than a year ago.  It was supposed to be a swirl....but there's not enough swirl for it to actually be a swirl. Does that make sense? One way it looks like a "G"...another a backwards "e".....oops.

I'm going to try and reinvent it....if it works I'll put it in the show.  I've pulled some felt and wool to cut up and will add more buttons and beads to fill it in. I'm going to turn all these circles into a circle! It's pretty hard to for a circle not to look like a circle....it just might work.

Saturday, March 3, 2018


I'm quite fond of rituals...and it's become a ritual to change up the bulletin board in the studio when I change the calendar page. I find a few things in my stash or rearrange things to honor the color scheme in 5ftinf's table arrangement. For March Philippa featured pink tulips and purple hyacinth....a refreshing sign of spring. 

This new ritual takes just a few minutes and it gives me a chance to celebrate color, someone's art or just a little snippet.  This time I'm featuring one of my favorite Connie watercolors. This is just a copy....but it's one of my treasures and it goes nicely with the calendar page.

The other little cut-out is from a Papyrus greeting card.

Little rituals like this are a perfect example of my joyful puttering! 

Friday, March 2, 2018

Spectrums of Color

A version of this project has been in my head for years (mostly done in paper) but I finally took some time yesterday to play around with how it might work with fabric. The inspiration comes from a couple of different places...which I'll share at some point soon.

It's a little rough...this is just a  small prototype but I'm pretty excited about the possibilities. My upcoming show will feature color spectrums and this project concept fits in perfectly.

The best part about it are the side views.

When you look at it from one angle you see the cool colors.....

...and when you look at if from the other angle you see the warm colors.  
Isn't that fun!

I was just winging it...not really sure if it would work. This photo is several steps in....but I'll try and review what I did.

I fused strips of fabric the same width onto muslin alternating warm and cool colors.  Next I top stitched between the strips adding another piece of muslin underneath so there would be a space or a casing between each seam to insert strips of cardboard. I went about this in a very awkward kind of way....but I discovered lots of ways to improve my technique. That's why I did a prototype on a small scale...I'm a hands on learner.

It's doesn't look like much yet....but folding it changes everything.

Because there are cardboard strips between the seams I was able to easily fold it up like a fan.  I wondered whether the binding on the ends would inhibit the folding...but it didn't....Yay! 

I pinned it onto a bulletin board....and this is how it looks from the front. I still need to figure out how to mount it and how I will finish the side edges....so I'll mull that over. Maybe the sides just need to fold under the piece....rather than out like this. On this practice one I didn't want to lose the green and the pink strips of color. On my actual piece I'll have to do some planning to have that extra piece to fold under.

My goal will be to make one that looks better from the front.  And I think I'll seam the strips rather than fuse so I have nice clean lines at the creases.
I'll put it aside for now and come up with a plan.....but I think it will involve these batiks and certainly be larger....hopefully a focal point for the show.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Circle Connection

Paul and I came up to Maine yesterday afternoon and other than a walk this morning, pausing for meals, and an evening domino game...I've been in the studio all day.  There a lot to share but it will have to wait because the very best part of my day was a blog comment and e-mail exchange with Lynne from North Carolina.

Lynne was inspired a while back by my circles and squares collage experiment and did one of her own. She used a wide variety of materials including vintage ledger paper, greeting cards, magazine pages, Gelli monoprints, and of course buttons.  I love everything about it. The scheme is fun and the random but ordered layout is so playful! Well done Lynne! Thanks for sharing!

I love interacting with other artists....I always learn something.  Lynne's piece reminded me how important the negative space is....and the ledger paper is so interesting and really makes the circles pop.  Also, the occasional simple single circle and button is a nice touch.  She also shared that when you are working with collage papers that tend to wrinkle you can lightly spray them with water to relax the paper.  I'm certainly going to try that next time!  Thanks Lynne! I love that we connected through circles!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Another Catalog Experiement

Using the squares and circles technique in this post....I played around with more pages from the Gudrun's World catalog.

This experiment was done over several days so there's a lot here....read on if you're interested.

Again I worked on stabilizer this time adhering it with matte medium.  I put a sheet of waxed paper under my work and kept picking up the piece so it wouldn't stick. For those of you who aren't familiar with stabilizer it's lightweight fabric or interfacing used for adding stability to clothing items and craft projects. It comes in all kinds of weights and stiffness. Some of it is even fusible.

The next morning I was excited  to find that it almost felt like fabric when it was dry.  So why not just use fabric you might ask?  Because it's interesting and fun to repurpose catalogs....and it's unexpected. 
Next I went to the sewing machine and added some border stitching.

I liked it pretty well....and when I auditioned some buttons I knew I wanted to take it further. I should have planned the size a little better.....oh well....next time.
I cut it to fit the top of the 4 x 4 deep canvas frame I found in my stash and started thinking of ways to deal with the sides.

Using a second piece of lightweight stabilizer I used the same technique to add catalog strips that would wrap around each side. 
Once it was dry I added stitching.

Next I stitched on the top piece using a blanket stitch.
This stitch line will perforate a line so it will fold easily to wrap around the canvas.

Since this was just an experiment...I did just a little bit of hand stitching before I adhered it to the canvas. I used heavy gel medium which is really thick like paste....it held everything in place while I wrapped it.  
I think there's potential with this technique and and I love repurposing the catalogs. I learned a few things along the way such as hand stitching is tricky....if your needle comes up in the wrong spot it leaves a hole in the paper. (doesn't happen on fabric) And with all the layers of paper and medium it's kind of hard on the wrist to pull the needle through.  If I do this again I think I'll stick with machine stitching....maybe use some of the decorative stitches and some free motion quilting.