Sunday, March 31, 2013


Happy Easter everyone......

There weren't any Easter baskets in this household today.....however we have a very thoughtful neighbor who presented these yummy treats to us.  BUT WAIT....they aren't people food....nope....instead these are doggie treats!
Here's our Sooty with her Easter beggin' face!
 Here's Sooty nearly removing fingers as she enthusiastically gobbles one.
Here's Sooty trying to vacuum up every tidbit.
......and here's Nali, our son's black lab on Easter day 2004.  She's the reason 'the husband' has coveted a lab for years and years.  We often 'dog sat' Nali and had fun doing 'art theraphy' with her as she 'finger painted sheets of blank paper in our basement...which were ultimately framed!!  Among many other notable activities, we also took her to a paint your own pottery shop where she imprinted her paws on coffee cups.  In this photo, she had fun finding Easter eggs filled with dog treats!  

Hope you and yours are enjoying and treasuring this day as well.

Saturday, March 30, 2013


Sadly, the quilt world has lost one of their brightest stars.  My buddy, the well known Jacobean Applique artist, Pat Campbell of Richardson, TX passed away recently. Bonnie Browning of the American Quilters Society has posted sonme details and a wonderful it here.

She will be missed!!!

Friday, March 29, 2013


Yup....I changed the orientation of this piece again.....a true perk of working with these types of materials!  AND....fringe was added to the first I beaded the length of strands to even out the bottom edge but on second look, I decided to go back and play off the quirky unevenness of the felted wool.

MY STARS   5" x 6"
Artist resist dyed felted wool, hand embroidered and bead embellished.
Ready to hang or frame.

AVAILABLE HERE   sorry it's now SOLD!

I'm linking to Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday...check it out.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Because it's STILL snowing.....I'm NOT kidding either.....
the weather has allowed me to hunker down and get a lot of hand stitching accomplished.

In addition to the hand embroidery in the green sections, plus the beaded row surrounding the stars, the black background has been filled in with alternating rows of bugle/seed combinations and what I call 'washer/nut' motifs.

Next comes the finishing.....perhaps some fringe at the bottom edge...wherever that will be.  I've changed the orientation of the piece once already...from horizontal to vertical so let's see what happens......

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


The day we all dread......sewing machine failure.....has arrived.  The problem with needing a repair around here is distance....the closest repair guy for my machine is 3 hrs. round trip away.  AND.....a long wait......  So my activities will be geared toward handwork till I get this figured out.

 Of course I turned to the standby pile of resist dyed felted wool that I created a year ago.  I'm down to my last 3 pieces.  This is another tiny one.....about 6" sq.
 I've begun embellishing with some simple chicken hen embroidery type stitching in the green section.  Followed by a row of raised seed beads around the stars.  
The 'perfect' color beads in my stash are fairly uneven in size so this task is a tad frustrating as I need to resort the beads I pick up, trying to find uniformity which allows the rows of beads to sit better.

We are on our 2nd day of non-stop snow so since getting out of the house isn't happening today....I should be able to make nice progress....stay tuned.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


The project currently demanding my attention can't be revealed for awhile yet.....and don't you just hate when you read this type of disclaimer on a blog?  Ya gotta ask....'well then, why are you teasing us?' this case it's not because the project itself is a big's more about the fact that it's an upcoming bear with me.

However, a trick I often use to maintain the postion of my design when the final layout is on my design wall might be helpful to you.  Fusing, especially raw edge fusing, is not a technique utilized very often in my work.  However, the ability to view and position applique motifs on a design wall before fusing does have a welcome appeal!

But....dang...once you have everything just how you want's difficult to move an entire quilt top to the pressing station.  If straight pins are used to 'tack' the motifs in place...half the time the pins end up getting secured to the flannel, the other half fall off.'s what I do....  I use a 2" x 5" small, heavy flat iron to heat set the designs in place while they are still on the wall.  'The husband' recycled it to me ages ago after I had mentioned my little Clover one (about 1" in length) was too small & lightweight for this task.

It works like a champ.....the motifs are secured enough to transport the entire piece to my ironing board for a final pressing with losing any of the design elements in the process!

Friday, March 22, 2013


Fastening agate slices to my fiber work has consumed me lately......
Bead jewelry artists often highlight cabacons or other stones in their work very succesfully.  This isn't a technique that has interested me much since I rarely wear jewelry.  The aging process has turned me into a cheap date....I'm allergic to any sort of metal touching my skin.

However, my fingers were itching to stitch and none of my ongoing projects were in need of

...this little pin was born.  Instead of working on felted wool as I normally do, a heavy weight, non-fusible stabilizer was used instead.  It's the white you see in this photo....the embellished agate was placed on grey felted wool for photography purposes only. 
 This is how the back looked......  The stabilizer was cut about 1/4" - 1/2" larger than the agate.  The agate was temporarily attached to the stabilizer with a small amount of glue, then permanently secured with the beads.

The next time I will probably use a more generous amount of stabilizer to make it easier to hold during the beading process.
 Upon completion of the beading, the stabilizer was trimmed away.  Next, Ultra-suede was hand stitched to the very edge of the stablizer to cover and protect the threads.  And finally, a pin back was glued onto the stabilizer.

I'm linking up with Nina-Marie's "Off The Wall Friday"

Thursday, March 21, 2013


I've shared stories here about the two person quilt guild my friend Francie Ginocchio and I began way back in the early 1990's.  We named ourselves "The Spritzer Sisters", an homage to our favorite adult beverage at the spritzers!

Though we've never lived close to each other.....we can pick up a conversation if we had only taken a breath....rather than having months pass.

 I was super surprised to find a package from SSF (Spritzer Sister Francie) in the mail the other day.  It was an early birthday gift....and a PERFECT one at that.  

Though I look like an old lady all hunched over in this picture.....Sooty wanted to be in the picture and the only way to keep her still was to bend over slightly and pet her head!!!  However, you can still appreciate the appropriateness of the apron. features a and white fabric, it has pockets, and really high on the positive list is the dark color....better to hide spills!

Now, isn't this just so adorable.....thank you SSF!!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


The owner of my quilt "Fallen Leaf" has graciously allowed me to share how she hung the piece.  I was thrilled to see it as this bead embellished felted wool piece is one of my favorites. 

 She wanted to highlight the piece with a special hanger and found the solution right in our own area.  N. Chris Amsler is a metal artist.  He works with copper, silver, brass....creating jewelry and this very special twig & leaf hanger.
Isn't this just perfect?!!?  Chris designed it and will gladly do commissions based on your needs.  His work can be seen in downtown Waynesville, NC on Main Street at the Artist's Co-op.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


This is a show and tell summary of our retreat....

 Kate has been making these really wonderful, cozy, and colorful lap quilts.  They are made from layers of......drum roll please......knit fabrics!*!*!  This view is a closeup so you can see the exposed seam allowance with its slit cuts that curl after washing.
 ....and here's a full view
 Each year Leigh Anne tackles the most challenging piecing projects....leaving this not-so-much piecer duly impressed!!
 Georgia Bonesteel was using a product she developed to make these crazy patch squares.  It's called Grid Grip..... It can be used to sew all sorts of quilt blocks and it makes stitching patchwork soooo much easier!
 Janice is another one of our expert piecers.....always using her artist's eye to combine just the right colors and patterns!
Barbara made not only 1 but two tops......she too loves to piece and has a knack for using just the right fabrics to make her quilts sing.

This is Barbara's second top....which I covet!!!  I'm still a sucker for those scrappy two color quilts.....

So we come to the end of our 5th annual PTA retreat.....and of course our calendars are already marked for next March when we will return to Lake Logan and to it all over again.

I've received numerous comments and personal emails...expressing your wish to have a similar experience.  Well....why don't you??  Gather some like minded out a compatible facility....even if it's someone's home and just DO IT!!

Saturday, March 16, 2013


In no particular order.....and not necessarily all's some highlights our our 3 day retreat.....and yes, I'm pooped!

Barbara has come up with a brilliant method to keep track of her batting inventory.  Once a package is opened and a portion of it is used....all of us probably just shove the remainder in the bag or fold it and stack with other batting pieces.  Then, when you need more.....ya gotta open up each one to see just how much remains....before either finding a piece the appropriate size you need or relenting and opening up another package!!

Barbara draws a diagram, with sizes on the package so she knows just what is inside which package......soooo smart....

 This year one of our treasured member, Mary Berry, was unable to attend due to illness.  So.....we decided to bombard her with cards that were signed by each of us....each and every card.  AND of course several phone calls as well.  

 One member had mistakenly left her card at home so Linda Cantrell offered to make one from fabric.  It features the view we have from our sewing studio....lots of trees surrounding Lake Logan.
 Five of us have there was lots of photo sharing and techy tips going on as well.

There is a break between our afternoon sewing time and dinner (which we don't have to prepare or clean up!!)  During this "self imposed free time", we head back to our 'house' for our annual Q & A game.

Each year we present a question or two....write down our responses and put the notes in a container.  This year it was a bread pan from the kitchen cupboard.  We take turns pulling out a slip of the answer and decide who wrote it.  The first night we had to declare 'something' we wish we'd have done.  I wanted to answer "study with Simone Beck" but I didn't think anyone would know who she I answered "go to the Culinary Institute".

The next night we were to supply the names of two people we would like to have dinner with.... one male, the other female (living or dead). It was fascinating to hear the answers.....several wished they could have spent time with one of their ancestors, other's chose a comedian, or in my case - female - Judge Judy and male - Michael Connelly (author of Harry Bosh detective books.)

To add to the fun.....we collected all our notes and sent them in Mary's get well cards. Her task will be to figure out who was who.....a daunting one for sure.

Other years our questions ranged from "bucket list", "what one thing others don't know about you", and one year we brought baby and high school photos and we had to pick out who was who.  Really funnnnn!!!!  Often we have great ideas for next years' questions but by the time the retreat rolls around we've forgotten.  SO....since I'm the organizer of the retreat (I guess all my experience hosting quilting cruises and tours has qualified me for the job).....I got wise and have written them down and placed in our file for next year!!
During this time, snacks and beverages are served.....the first night we discovered the glass charms we use to identify each other's glasses had been left in our sewing room.  So this creative bunch made their own identifiers.  I thought a close up of some of the options might be fun for you to see.
After dinner we come back to our 'house' and play whatever games members have brought.  Sometimes that requires working in teams....other times not.  We are definitely a creative group but also a competitive one as well which makes for much excitement.

Friday, March 15, 2013


From one year to the next, we anxiously await our annual 3 day PTA (Professional Textile Artists) fiber group's retreat.  It's held at Lake Logan Retreat Center in Canton, NC.  The gathering never fails to provide a great opportunity for creativity, fun, & to solidify our friendship. 

Because concentrating on anything that requires too much thinking, several of us usually pool our fabrics and each make a similar scrap quilt.  We come with fabrics cutout and a layout of the project, plus all the other trappings required to make a quilt top.
 This may be difficult to believe.....but we arrive at 9:30.....and my very first patches weren't stitched together until 10:59 AM.  Seriously, you'd think we 10 gals hadn't seen each other in years, rather than only a mere 4 weeks.....  So, it takes time for all of us to settle down and get our projects underway.

Here's are foursome set up.....
 At the end of the 3 days.....Kate, Judy, Gen and I all had our tops pieced.
.....and we have Linda Cantrell to thank......this year she decided not to make a specific project.  Instead, she became the 'presser' and 'go for' for the entire group!!  So she spend a LOT of time slaving over a hot iron!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


There's very little free time this the final embellishing of the agate slice is not moving along too quickly....but then again...this isn't something a gal can rush......stay tuned.....

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


.....we left off yesterday with a nearly completed layout..... I think I have the balance of scale and color appropriate for my design.
....and the beading to attach the agate slice begins.  Notice how the beads stacks echo the teeth of a zipper.... it will be further embellished......

I'm anxious to finish....but life can be busy at times.....hope to post the finished piece in a few days.

Monday, March 11, 2013


A new project is underway and I have our son and wonderful DIL to thank for the color inspiration.  They lived in Portland, OR for a number of years which I suspect is behind the development of their personal color scheme.

I rarely work with a lot with greens, greys, & charcoal colors.  Not to mention lime greens!  But I love their decorating style, which is soothing and yet modern and fun. 

 So when I was searching for the right combination to create a small felted wool wall piece to highlight this beautiful agate slice....I found myself being influenced by the kids!

 A 'Woolfelt' heather gray 80/20 blend from National NonWoven's was my choice for the background.  The finished size was marked on my stabilizer which was then thread basted to the material.  Having a size reference (the thread basting) visible on the front of the fabric is helpful during the design process.

  A pile of potential felt was gathered.
......and some cutting and auditioning began....
.....and continued..... let's see where this takes me......

Sunday, March 10, 2013


We (mostly 'the husband') are celebrating the year anniversary of the adoption of Sooty, our energetic, personality filled black lab.  It is also our wedding anniversary.....hey, most gals probably receive candy, flowers, jewelry or other typical romantic goodies on that special date.  I was astonished last year to learn 'we' had adopted a dog!  I wish I could say I was thrilled at the time.....but truthfully, I wasn't. But, now she's grown on me.

 "The husband" volunteer's every week for Sarge's pet rescue, taking photos of dogs/cats at the county animal shelter that he then posts for adoption on the Internet.

It's common practice to bring your pet back to Sarge's for a visit on the anniversary of their adoption....which we dutifully did. 
 Sooty also was treated to a favorite treat which will keep her busy for hours.  Hummmmm....what's wrong with this picture?  Hey....there's no special treat for Mary.....I guess I should be thankful that I didn't receive a bone too!
 I can almost hear her chomping on the bone....even though she's in the man cave, two floors away from my studio where I'm hiding out!
Cute, no??  I guess we'll keep her!