Thursday, January 31, 2013


This is why I'm not finishing my marbleized piece.....lately my attention has been so divided...what with trips to see our darling grandson, car races, household chores, year end business paperwork...and so it goes.

Don't get me wrong...I'm not complaining....just making excuses why it's taken me a week to make a 11" x 11" piece!!!

So today I decided that my sourdough starter was long overdue to be 'fed' you can see, very few bubbles appear on the surface....meaning unless it gets more flour/ will die.  So, rather then throwing out some of the starter (in order to make room to add the flour/water) I used a portion to make bread.

Normally the surface of the starter is full of air bubbles.

 Sorry for the out of focus photo...but of course once the dough has risen and punched down....there was no chance of a 'second take.'
 Normally I make free form rustic style loaves....but I decided to try to use the dough to make sandwich bread instead.  Years ago a roommate gave me this Pullman loaf pan from her father's bakery.  It's a very heavy tin...with a lid that slides over the achieve a flat top loaf.

Here's the less than attractive loaf.....the amount of dough I made wasn't enough to fill the pan properly so perfection in shape wasn't a result but the taste was super.

Sometimes I can be so one dimensional.....wanting only to spend time in the studio....which doesn't make for a very well rounded person.  Guess I'll be more well rounded after consuming heavily buttered slices of warm bread!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I couldn't wait to pick up a needle last night after being away from home for several days....

While I was gone....magic happened......(don't we wish that was the way things worked??)  Anyway, the beading is now complete, and the piece has been basted to black fabric (featuring a tiny grayish print) that has been backed with batting.

Here's a close on the photo to get a better view.  So.....what's next?? I think a little hand embroidery is necessary to support the weight of the beads, which will keep the fabric layers together.  Hope to show you more tomorrow....

Monday, January 28, 2013


'The husband' is and always has been a car nut....he loves them....actually anything with an engine makes him happy.  A guy thing for sure.

I must be over-exposed to this subject because I noticed this 'car mouse' at a quilt shop when I should have been looking at the bolts and bolts of fabric!
 So, every year at the end of crazy (mostly men) flock to Daytona Beach, FL for the Rolex 24 Hour LeMans race.  Yes, you read that right....24 hours....and that means non-stop driving.  What is particularly irritating to someone like me who is dragged along, is that the darn thing doesn't begin till 3:30 PM. on a Saturday....meaning half of the race is in the dark.  Even in FL it's chilly (and often darn right COLD) when the sun goes down with the wind whipping off the ocean.  And really??  24 hours?? Wayyyy toooo long for this gal!  Fortunately, we don't stay all night but our time at the track is sizable since of course one needs to arrive the day before to view practice sessions etc. 
 So I try to amuse myself people watching and just plain taking it all in. This race is a clone of the very famous 24 Hour LeMans (France) race which was made even more well known in the 1971 movie, LeMans, starring Steve McQueen.  A huge ferris wheel is an icon at that race track and not to be outdone.....the Daytona International Speedway has one too.

 Camera toting guys stroll the garage area....where EVERYTHING is branded...seriously....I don't think there's anything left that isn't sponsored!
 Not only does one watch the race......many spectators are hooked up to scanners to monitor driver to pit conversations, plus the announcers non-stop chatter. There are loud speakers but even if you are standing beneath one...the cars are soooo loud you can't hear a word anyone is saying.
"Body" parts......and as beat up as these cars get...having extra parts are necessary.  There are various 'classes' of cars that all run in at the same time....some are capable of traveling much faster than others...which makes the race more interesting.
We cheer for Porsches....and one of the drivers of this car is Patrick of the few Americans drivers.

 Someone who may be less than interested in the actual race (her first name is Mary) might be wandering around and spot this lovely floral display in used tires.  
 ......and a youngster fishing while riding on a skate board along the lake's boardwalk.
 ......and drivers all suited up.
 .....and a display of vintage VW's.  Believe it or not.....the Porsche was born out of a VW!!
So.....that's how I spent the last couple of days.....and why my projects are not advancing!  I wish I could say that this will be the last race I have to attend this year......sadly.....that isn't so.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Oh my....working with this marbleized fabric in its whole cloth form is really making me work!  No matter what I seem to do, I end up taking it off several times before hitting on something that works.

Perhaps using it as patches would be a better choice, but now I'm even more determined to see what I can do with it in its current state.  Obviously, if I were a machine quilter....that alone would pop the pattern and be quite nice....  Ah hummm, that's another reason to conquer that technique....maybe some day!  

In the meantime.....I've now alternated small white bugle beads with seed beads around the pumpkin embroidery.  Then I filled a section in with more seed beads.  BLEEP.....bleep....

So, off they came and instead I started stacking and stitching clumps of seed beads.  This may be the answer, though a few won't cut it.....I see a lot of stitching ahead of me.

This sure doesn't seem like a lot to show for nearly a week's work...but then, the amount of time lately that I've had to devote to it is fairly slim.  Sometimes that's gives me a chance to do some 'virtual designing'......  

Friday, January 25, 2013


Well....I'm feeling better today....I stopped venting.....really, what's the point?

So, I've scatter stitched small black beads along the dyed lines which seems just right. I'm still pondering about the heavy pumpkin color embroidery lines.  They add another dimension/layer but they aren't really 'incorporated' into the design.  Something I preach about all the time to students......especially in regard to beading......don't just plunk beads down (in this case its embroidery) just to be adding needs to be integrated into the design.

I'm going to try to save it for now because this marbleized fabric tends to show  needle holes....maybe I can still make this work...  Let's see what happens....

Thursday, January 24, 2013


I think I'm going to be venting a bit today......and have pretty much figured out the reason for my frustration.  We all experience it I know....too little time!

I just returned from the first of 4 trips that will take place in the next 30 I am looking forward to them, but the lack of substantial studio time is making me itchy.  My projects have consisted of small pieces that can be accomplished within several days.  Really....there's nothing wrong with that and I enjoyed making every one.... I'm not.  I'm forcing myself to make something small for time's sake and this current one is nothing but a big fat failure.  Okay, sure it will probably get better and so what if it doesn't??

So, what I need is a big challenging project.....and time to get one started....I'm reminding will happen soon and then I'll be venting about that!!!
Cotton fabric that I marbleized at a Fiber Junkies mini retreat

 After cutting off a small hunk (Remember....I'm doing small pieces so I have a feeling of accomplishment??)  The edges have been frayed...not a look I often undertake.  Materials have been gathered....without a clue what to do when them.  I made a conscious decision to try to add one unexpected color...but then again...maybe not.

 Using a combination of seed and bugle beads, I started to follow the black lines.....this is all the further I got before I knew it wasn't the right off they came.
Some hand embroidery has been added and ripped out and added again.  And there is sits for more inspiration.  I rarely have 'artist block'.....maybe I do need these trips?  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Back in 2006, I received a call from my friend Ami Simms who had an idea.  Ami's Mom had Alzheimer's, one of approximately 5.4 million Americans suffer from this (currently) incurable disease.  Ami wanted to do something about it.....need I say more?  But there is so much more to tell. 

Ami's idea to launch an exhibit to bring awareness about Alzheimer's grew into The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative, a grassroots charity whose efforts have now raised more than $883,000.  Those funds are directed to the original goal of raising awareness and a secondary goal of funding research, that grew from Ami's incredible vision and quilters everywhere who supported it.  

Ami, the organization's Executive Director has just made a major announcement which you can read here.  Sometime in 2013, it's likely the the $1,000,000 mark for Alzheimer's research will be reached.  Given this accomplishment and with more than 13,000 quilts donated, this will be the last year of fund raising and we will celebrate it's success.  Please read more about this remarkable organization and Ami's super human dedication at the link provided above. 

So let's look back a bit.  I was immediately on board when Ami called and volunteered to help.  The 'little exhibit' Ami talked about grew into a major exhibit of 52 quilts - Alzheimer's - Forgetting Piece by Piece.  It traveled for something like 5 or 6 years, after which most artists (myself included) donated their quilt for auction at AAQI.  This exhibit also grew into a book and now a CD which can be purchased here.

Here's the quilt I made which was inspired by my own Mother's Alzheimer's.  Even when her doctor gave her the diagnosis, she refused to accept the inevitable.  Instead she told the doctor that "she didn't see any signs of this Alzheimer's that he was talking about, and when & if she did....she'd do something about it."  Denial is very common with Alzheimer's patients (and yes even for some family members.)  When my Mom experienced a noticeable memory problem....she'd declare......I'm having a brain cramp!  Thus this quilt was born.....

 Lost time.....enuff said!

Whether or not you saw this exhibit in person, consider owning a copy of this heartfelt grouping of quilts and their stories. can help us achieve our next goal, ONE MILLION DOLLARS!! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Once the main focal bead has been was time to move onto some secondary designs....  This piece was screaming to be made.....and I couldn't slow down the pace!

 Often it's easier for me to alernate between incorporating the hand embroidery motifs and adding additional beading.  Some of the embroidery had to be removed and replaced with larger stitches in order to make them more visible.  If you look closely between these two will discover where that took place.

AGATE  7" X 5.5"
Artist resist dyed and felted wool, embellished with hand embroidery,
 an agate slice and beads.

Monday, January 21, 2013


The feedback I receive regarding my resist dyed felted wool/beading combination is fun to read.  It sounds like many of you are encouraged to give it a try!!  

One factor to keep in mind when using resist hand-dyed wool is how much energy the fabric already brings to the piece.  The fuzzy texture adds more complexity.  Then....adding beadwork is another layer.  Balancing each is necessary in order to obtain a cohesive successful product.

 Personally, I love the soft/hard integration....  The challenge often comes in selecting the right scale, value, & color contrast in the materials.  At least it does for me since once I'm in my studio...nothing short of fire can get me out....and besides, shopping here in the mountains is so limited.

I purchased a bunch of agate slices recently and am itching to use some...hoping I can find a good match with my felt. 
This stone could have better contrast but I'm hoping the beadwork will help to frame and set it off....cause I'm going for it!

Not bad......I think this will work.  Though I need to be careful about the weight.  The felt is only 6.5" x 5.5" so it can't carry too much.

I'm so in love with attaching this type of stone to my work.....and am happy that one of my workshop at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in February will feature this technique!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Milestones....we all have them in our lives.  Sometimes the anticipation is more than the actual event.  Although I didn't realize it at the time, but I was so lucky growing up along side of a twin sister.  We doubled our anticipation of such things as becoming a teen, turning 16 and getting a driver's license, turning 18 in Wisconsin which meant we could go to the beer bars where so often girls danced together to the really fast songs.  My sister and I LOVED the song 'Lariat'....played by a local band.  I can still see us spinning around and around the dance floor!  By the time we were 21 we were living in different cities but there was that shared milestone to celebrate if only via the phone.  Luckily, I was able to share the happiness of my niece's birth soon after Susan was born....and go it goes.

None of these milestones made me feel old......not even turning 40 or 50 or even 60 (which sadly was without my sister who I'm sure was there in spirit.)  But today...yikes.....our son turns 40!!!!!  Now that definitely gets my attention.....

"The husband" has been spending hours scanning our slides to document & save the images digitally. Here's a few...if only for my enjoyment......  We were only blessed with one child and happily he was an adorable, energetic, smart little fellow who has grown up with these same traits.  We couldn't be more proud of him.

I also have to jump in and comment on the last of his 3 photos.....anyone reading this blog knows I'm a total hotel snob.....maybe this is the reason why....too much rustic tent camping in my early years!!!

This final one is a photo of our grandson with our lovely DIL, Kelly.  His appearance in our lives is a milestone that energized me.....rather than making me feel old!!  I'm amazed at the similarity of these two 'boys' in my life. 

Friday, January 18, 2013


I didn't expect to have time to work on this piece but yesterday our Fiber Junkies (small group) had to abort our planned wet felting day due to weather. Two hours after starting out from home....I returned....disappointed BUT SAFE!

Pine Needles # 3
10" x 9"
Artist hand dyed & felted wool, marbleized sheer, embellished
with pine needles & embroidery floss.

This piece isn't quite complete.....nor terribly successful in my opinion.  My original concept here and here was for a starker appearance than the piece ended up.  Perhaps it was that extra time I had.....allowing me to use every last pine needle I collected?

It will be finished with a felted wool backing and a blanket stitched hand dyed embroidery floss along the edges which will set off the motifs much better than it looks now.  Yup! beads.  Maybe that's why I'm not totally crazy about this piece.  It probably would benefit from framing as well....if nothing more than to protect the surface from dust....but I'm if anyone wants to do that...visit my blogshop in a day or so and it will be available at a really reasonable price.

This probably should have waited till it is totally finished before posting but since I missed "Off The Wall Friday" last week.....I wanted to show up today!

P.S. - I did finish it this morning....see I must go out and shovel the snow that fell last night......available for purchase.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


After shuffling my stack of potential layouts and was time to simply commit and get the needle flying....

The photo is poor quality again.....seriously......6 days and counting with fog/rain/rain/rain/rain.  I really shouldn't complain because there is now a winter storm warning....rain will turn to ice then snow...yuck.  I need natural light to get a good photo in my studio since there are so few reflective surfaces.  I work in a loft area = wood beams, tongue & grove ceiling, and even a stone wall!

You'll still get the idea though of how it's progressed.  The hand dyed felted background has been stabilized, marbleized sheer fabric was hand stitched in place and the addition of the pine needles has begun......  The overall impact so far is not what I was hoping for.....hoping as I move along it will improve!! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Did I mention my life is going to be a bit crazy for many upcoming weeks......??? Ya, I did.....and I thank you all for hanging with me....waiting for quality sewing related posts!!

 Fast, small projects are going to be all I can tackle for here's some materials I've pulled.  These are all the pine needles that remain which I blogged about recently.
Because the number of needles are limited, I decided to add another design element in addition to the hand-dyed felted wool I created for the background.

Seriously, you can't imagine the pile of fabrics hauled out to audition....finally settling on a piece of sheer fabric that I marbleized during a Fiber Junkies mini retreat this summer. what????
Maybe this??  Let's see what happens.....

Sorry for the inconsistent color in my photos.  We are on the 6th day of solid rainfall.....dark skies, fog.....difficult lighting for my already too dark studio.....

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


On the street where they live.......I definitely left my heart in San Francisco.....

Isn't this just how you picture homes in San Francisco??  
 ....and on one of those streets.....our darling grandson, Raiden is charming everyone he meets....
Our disappointment over the Packer loss to the 49er's on Saturday was easily overcome.

Now it's time to get back into the swing of things at home where it's been raining for several days straight.  All the creeks and rivers are flooded, mud slide warning abound, & thick fog comes and goes.  A perfect excuse to hunker down with some fabric.....oh....after the laundry is done, groceries are purchased, paperwork complete....if you play, you must pay!