Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I spent such an inspiring day today with 3 incredibly talented fiber artists. My head is spinning with new ideas.

Nancy Bruce dyes anything that stands still. She never tires of experimenting with new products, techniques, and materials. Can you believe this lovely box began as a humble $1.00 satin box? She used a color wash spray dye to transform the fabric and then spent hours embellishing the top with her hand-dyed ribbons, buttons that she 'rusted' to look like antique copper, and beads. Awesome.

Nancy did a demo of this product which knocked my socks off. I've always claimed I wasn't interested in dyeing my own fabrics....I prefer to avoid the mess, the chemicals, and frankly, the hassle. Well.......this stuff may just change my mind. I'll be posting some process shots tomorrow.....so for now......

here's a look at a 'before' and 'after' treatment. Color Wash is water-soluble and works best on polyester-type fabrics (not silk which is a surprise.) It needs to be heat set.

The piece on the right is dyed interfacing. The piece on the left is a section of that piece after Nancy applied a heat gun to its surface. Who'd have thunk? Nancy experiments more than anyone I know......I would never even think of using a heat gun!

I loved this texture....though the photo doesn't do it justice. It's an over-dyed square of inexpensive 'craft' felt which was treated with bursts from a heat gun to achieve the almost lace like appearance. Nancy advises to work outside and perhaps even wear a dust mask as the fumes from the burned polyester may not only be smelly, but harmful as well.

Like I said, she dyes everything......various types of ribbons and laces are transformed by her techniques.

More photos to follow......

Monday, June 29, 2009


I've been working on a commission.....and enjoying the process. The wall quilt will coordinate with this bedroom's decor and will replace the picture.

This detail of the machine embroidery on the quilt provided an inkling of an idea for my design.

Originally I thought about making an Amish style quilt since the owners didn't want the piece to be too busy.

But, sometimes even solid fabrics can be visually heavy, so I opted for what I hope will illustrate their love of the outdoors, and complement the patchwork and curves of the bed quilt. There will be three panels, featuring machine appliqued leaves. The background is a non-bleached muslin......unfortunately most of my photos make it appear darker.

4-patch unit strips will be placed between the panels. Here I simply cut out a few tea-dyed muslin squares (finished size 1") and positioned them in place to double check the visual impact.

Almost done......colors more true in the photo.

Top is finished......now the machine quilting begins. I can handle straight stitching...no problem, but this free-motion stuff is NOT something I've ever conquered or frankly, like to do. I'm not having fun doing the background quilting in the leaf panels.....but if I'm not too embarrassed with the results, will post a photo upon completion.

Friday, June 26, 2009


The North Carolina Arboretum does a very good job of supporting local artists. The birdhouses on display in the education building are fabulous. They are made from repurposed materials and are for sale, prices running from around $150 - $300.

I LOVED them.....sadly, because of the wind gusts we experience from time to time on our mountain, I couldn't justify bringing one home with me......

Enjoy the clever designs......

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Here are a few photos of quilts from my exhibit, "Viewed With A Smile", now hanging at the WNC Arboretum in Asheville, through Aug. 3rd.

The photos are clickable if you wish to enlarge them.

"But Doctor!" - this piece is a spoof of us quilters....this poor dear had to get help for her obsessive, compulsive, fabriholic ways. The cartoon bubble says...."But Doctor, you said to get a hobby!"

Smiles can be generated in lots of ways......when you think of your best friend.....doesn't that make you smile? The piece illustrates how I use beads in a supporting role for my quilts. Here bugle beads vibrate around the hearts while the seed bead spiral, X's & O's, and the lettering provide additional design elements as well as sparkle and texture.

When using beads for lettering, I often choose matte seed beads. The dull surface is easier to read than the sparkle of silver lined beads.

Anyone reading my blog is probably aware of my love affair with wool felt (and now bamboo/rayon felt). This wall quilt reflects my new mountain surroundings....the fall colors are nothing short of spectacular. A beading technique I developed that I call 'spiral' is used to outline the center rectangle, while 'bead applique' attaches the wool leaves in the border which adds detail to the 3-D leaves.

I began playing with wool felt while developing a workshop project for one of my quilting cruises. The cruise was on the Mississippi Queen from New Orleans to Memphis. Keeping in mind the history of these ships and the time they originally traveled, I got to thinking about Penny Rugs. One thing led to another, and soon I added my personal style to that early 1900 table top decoration. Buttons and beads are often featured in my updated 'rugs'.....turned wall quilts.

All these beading techniques can be found in my various books....see right side bar for details.

I hope you've enjoyed this peak.....if you live in the area, remember the Arboretum offers free parking on Tuesdays.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Today was hanging day for my solo exhibit," Viewed With A Smile", at WNC Arboretum in Asheville. It will run through Aug. 3rd.

I'll post some more specific photos in the days to come, but if you want an immediate look at some of the quilts, my buddy Judy Simmons stopped by with her family just as we were finished and she's posted some pictures on her blog.

The Arboretum is such a serene and beautiful place to visit, especially now with everything in full bloom.

This water feature could lull anyone to sleep with it's sound.

Quilt exhibits at the Arboretum are coordinated through the Asheville Quilt Guild. The space is located in two inside hallways, in the upper level of the main educational building, rather than one of their many window filled atrium which could fade the quilts.

This view shows my seasonal series of a white oak tree that grew in front of our river house in Wisconsin. I had always displayed them individually by season, so it was great to be able to view them as a group.

Monday, June 22, 2009


I'm kinda stalling about posting my current project because it's a commission, therefore I'll wait until I'm finished and the 'buyer' approves. I'm always a little less confident when I move back into making traditional quilts (even if the design/setting is my creation).....esp. when it will be beadless! I am documenting the progress and will post soon.

In the meantime, I'll share some of the yard art we found on an antique outing yesterday. Our drought must be officially over by now as we are getting tons of rain, followed by hours of nice warm, sunny weather, then more rain, which means things are growing here like we were in a rain forest.

This has brought our attention to our many planting areas.....and we decided a few more pieces of yard art would help balance all that green.

We can get a lot of wind up here......and I mean serious gusts of wind......so we must take that into consideration. I loved this fellow......sadly it was way too big, and of course way more than we wanted to spend.

'The husband' has some strange ideas about what he considers appropriate yard art......he voted for this.....I voted....no way!

I'm a big fan of re-purposing things.......not just because it's good to recycle but because I enjoy the creativity involved. This sea turtle got a second look from both of us, but the subject wasn't fitting with our mountain living.

TA-DA.......this is what we agreed on..... Since there isn't much surface material for the wind to catch, we think this was a good option.......the globe part actually rotates with the wind...though we must first remove the rust that is right now preventing movement!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Look at this good stuff.......I'm not going to pass by thrift shops or Goodwill in the future!

There were two beaded pillows in excellent condition that were still for sale at an incredible price of $20 each! The beads cost far more than that!

This screen was one of several that was decorated by a local artist and part of the auction items.

Did I say everything was for sale?!? Yes, even this very clever valance made from men's ties. I wish the huband's 'man cave' was a suitable setting for this type of window treatment....I loved it.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Frugal Design Home

Our small fiber group (PTA) participated in the the Frugal Design Home which is a community based project whose funds support several non-profit groups. A select home is furnished/decorated soley from items obtained from thrift and resale stores, or other donations. Tickets for a tour of the home are available for a 3 day period where all the contents are sold. Some items created by local artists are auctioned, others are priced and the profits all go to a good cause. This brand new home is located in a new subdivision in Hendersonville.

When our group of 9 arrived about 1:00 PM on the first day, I'm guessing that 60% of the items had already been purchased and boy where there bargains. Most items must stay in the home until the end of the open house for obvious reasons.....I was blown away by the quality of the items displayed....not to mention the low, low prices assigned! I wonder why I never see things like this when I go to thrift stores!! Guess I'm not shopping in the right places.....

Speared headed by member Georgia Bonesteel, our group created this denim quilt....made from thrift store blue jeans and bandannas donated by a local Hendersonville store. There was already a good bid for the piece. I know I blogged about the making of the quilt.....but darn if I could find it when I looked just now. I've been having some computer issues after downloading the newest Safari update.......so I decided to get this posted while I actually was able to log onto Blogger.

A local artist painted this small desk.....it too was part of the auction pieces. I apologize for not knowing the artists name.....in an effort to not be wasteful, I recycled the booklet I was given when I departed so they could pass it along to someone else......I should have retained it to acknowledge this lovely work.

We all thought this was so clever....turning bird cages into tables by adding glass tops!!

More photos tomorrow......I'm heading to my workspace to get some stitching done.....

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Now that my air travel has been completed, and my bag got delivered to my house yesterday afternoon, I'm looking forward to my next trip to Tennessee Quilt Fest, July 16-18th. I'll be teaching 3 workshops and a noon lecture on Thursday......click on the above link to register.

Last night I attended the monthly Asheville Quilt Guild meeting. Anita Heady, our speaker shared her numerous and innovative methods of creating string quilts.

Many of her samples were unquilted, which allowed members to examine the stabilizing technique she uses. As you can see, the designs vary far beyond what we typically think of string quilts.

So....what's this? Would you believe this fashion blunder by a nationally known instructor who happen to be sitting next to me. We struggled to keep our giggling under control when she first noticed her mismatched socks!! To keep her embarrassment to a minimum, I'll keep her name to myself...... We quilters can be so focused on our quilts.....that other daily ho-hum tasks become secondary......I'm still grinning....

Monday, June 15, 2009


I know you must be sick of my travel drama.......I am too........my return home started out so good.....but I was almost denied boarding on the flight to Asheville.......seems USAirways had no record of my ticket. United and USAirways sure don't seem to play well together.

AND THEN..........yup.....you guessed it.......my bag didn't come.......I beyond annoyed. Tomorrow the sun will come out......

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Antique shopping is a past time I enjoy......and I keep my eye out for yard art. I've never seen anything like this. My guess is you'd have to live in an area with low winds.....cause these items would surely shatter if blown over.

So....what the heck is this? Upon close examination, they appear to be created from old glass bowls, vases, and vessels, glued together. Interesting concept, no??

I'm bracing myself for another day of travel drama as I travel back home from Portland, OR. They are not allowing any online check ins for my 6:00 AM flight tomorrow morning....worse yet, the airline will not explain why.........sigh......


My last few posts are so self serving....really....I don't know why anyone is still reading my blog! But in case you still are.....here's the latest on my missing bag.

Nah.....I can't go into all the details......my head will explode due to sheer frustration over the stupidity, incompetence, and just plain laziness of both USAirways and United employees. What ever happened to pride in doing a good job?

I wish I could report the persons who left my bag unattended!!

Nope....it's not here....

Well, I can guarantee I had to move heaven and earth to get people from passing the buck rather then going out and LOOKING for my bag. I almost considered giving a good belt strapping to some of them.

Alas....Cliff.....my hero!! Now after being well into the 3rd day w/o my bags and literally hours on the phone I realized the only way my bag was coming direct to Eugene, OR from Denver (where I guessed it had been sitting) was on the first of only 2 flights into Eugene today. So we went out to the airport to see what comes off that plane. The United agents swore it was impossible that my bag would be on it because United had NOT been given the bag from USAirways....it wasn't scanned into their system, therefore they were positive they didn't have it.

But......oh my.......wrong again.......it was on the plane after all......

Fat lot of good all this 'rushing' for an expedited bag did........but......finally I have clean undies and another lesson in learning to be a personal advocate and in my quest to be less stressed.

Good night all.......sweet dreams......