Tuesday, April 30, 2013


This post is being written with a bit of apprehension because it's the very last piece from my stack of resist dyed felted wool.  Oh ya....I gotta make more....however this isn't a process that can be easily accomplished without a significant amount of equipment and supplies, which I don't personally own.  (But I plan to!)

It's been so comforting to know when I needed handwork....that within an hour of auditioning beads/threads I could have needle in hand! Naturally, that was only the beginning...a lot of thought and experimenting regarding the surface design was required.  Often that meant a lot starting - stopping - removing - and finally restarting.

Okay, okay.....so for awhile I'll be exploring other ideas, but I will come back to this exciting medium soon.

 Here's the piece before pressing/trimming the edges and stabilizing.

 Now with some embroidery.

 And a little more.....it may be difficult to see the black X's....so check out the detail below.

LINES  12" X 8" © 2013
Artist resist dyed felted wool, hand embroidered and bead embellished.
Ready to hang or frame.

Sunday, April 28, 2013


One of our favorite activities is attending live Bluegrass music events.  We've heard about the Thursday night 'jam' at Zuma's Coffee House in Marshall, NC for a long time.  As is usually the case, travel time in the mountains is twice or more longer than the actual distance would normally require since there are no direct routes.

However, we finally made the trek and had an enjoyable evening.

 Zuma's is a small place....so get there early if you plan to come.  Everyone appeared to know each other but were very welcoming of newcomers.  The musicians played up front by the windows....and in the tiny space between where the tables began....energetic folks tapped their heels and swung their arms as they danced with great big smiles on their faces.  So fun to watch...
Besides every kind of coffee/tea drink you can think of....their sandwiches are modestly priced and quite good.
  Bobby Hicks is the headliner on these Thursday events.   An iconic Bluegrass fiddler who still can play with the best of them.
Another charming part of these types of casual events is seeing the next generation get an opportunity to play before a live crowd.

So, if you are ever in Marshall, NC, stop in and enjoy Zuma's.

Friday, April 26, 2013


REACHING HIGH 5.5" x 6.5"  © 2013
Artist resist dyed felted wool, hand embroidered & bead embellished.

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been playing around with beading techniques that provide interesting dimension in my work.  This little dome does just that....it adds visual height but doesn't overpower.  I'm looking forward to sharing them in a new workshop I'm developing.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Despite an over-committed schedule which should settle down shortly, I have managed to squeeze out some stitching time.  I've been wanting to incorporate into my work, some of the 3-D beading techniques that I've been experimenting with.

 This small, about 7" square, resist dyed felted wool piece seemed like a good starting place!
 Out came the beads and other supplies....
 And the beading began....
....so far...this is what I have.  The circular sections of ruffles will be one of the new techniques I'm featuring in my new 3-D beading workshop.

Stay tuned....I'm hoping I can complete this piece in the next few days....

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Well......once again, I'm indebted to another talented friend who gave up an entire day to teach me how to make a pine needle basket.  I gotta admit, my hands are a tad achy tonight....a surprise since I'm accustomed to long hours working with my hands!

 Here's one of Lynn's fabulous baskets....  YUP.....if you have a sharp eye you have already noticed the beautiful blue agate slice in the base.  Does it get any better than this??
 This basket was a feast for the eye featuring black walnut slices embedded into the open woven work design.
Look at the perfection of the stitching....oh my......
Lynn provided excellent and patient guidance but being modest, she gives credit to her first instructor, Judy Mofield Mallow.  This book is very inspiring and instructive.  It's available here, along with all the supplies one needs to create their own masterpiece.  Be sure to visit the gallery to truly get inspired!
Here's a short summary of the process.  First, I was able to select one of the many prepared 'centers' from Lynn's inventory.  If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I'm crazy about using agate slices in my work....so I was in heaven!
Another possibility to incorporate was a black walnut slice.

 .......or the Betel nut slice which was sandwiched between resin. Twine or other stitching material is threaded through the holes as the pine needles and nut become one. 

The Southern Pine needles were soaked in hot water (to kill any bugs) and to make them more pliable.  Next, the thick ends needed to be stripped from the pine needles.  This little wooden gadget made the job easier....but it was still somewhat time consuming.
 Once the needles were prepared, they were rolled in a towel to keep them moist and straight.
 Now, the fun begins.....   We started with 3 'strands' of pine needle units...often containing 3 individual 'needles'.  Artificial sinew is used to wrap the needles into a coil as it travels through the holes of the resin covered agate slice.  Additional pine needles are slid into the coil after every 2 wraps of the sinew.
 Round and round it goes.....keeping the tension tight is important as is keeping the wrapping stitches uniform around the pine needle coil....all in all it took about 2 1/2 hrs. to get to this point.  But....who's in a hurry?  Well, I like immediate gratification but you can't rush it, especially during the learning process.
Soon I was ready to manipulate the coil vertically and it began to look like a basket!
......Ta Da.....here's my very own Southern Pine Needle Basket which measures a mere 4.5" x 3".  I love it.....        Thank you Lynn for your generosity!

Sunday, April 21, 2013


I'll agree with you.....this is a measly amount to post about....but, like I mentioned yesterday, my over scheduled day-to-day life is encroaching upon my studio world.

But, even 30 minutes here and there feeds the creative spirit!  I was in need of a small hostess gift for someone who would appreciate a hand made item, so I dug out the small felted balls I made recently.  They were paired with acorn caps, fitted with thin loops of thread to allow them to hang if desired.  Cute, yes???

Saturday, April 20, 2013


I've been on the road teaching......believe me...not all gigs are equal!  I'd teach until my teeth started falling out from old age if I could have this experience on every job!

The trip began with a lecture and workshop for the Island Quilters, on John's Island, SC.....just outside of Charleston.  This group was every bit as friendly and hospitable as their reputation....and wonderful cooks too!

I was so busy, unfortunately I don't have a single photo to share with you....my bad as I saw beautiful examples of their work!

 My hostess was a friend which made the trip doubly wonderful.  Views like this off her pier are only in my dreams.....
 The beach is a walkable distance, it was difficult not to turn pea green with envy.
 Kate's daughter will be married at their home in a few weeks so we spent a fun day organizing the many (many, many many) details that are involved in hosting a wedding.  Of course we 'thought' we could get about 10 times more accomplished than we did...though we didn't slack off at all.  

This bundle of tissue paper.......
 .....turns into this charming pom pom after separating the layers....another task that wasn't nearly as quick as we expected.
 Some were strung on a ribbon garland.....
 .....and frankly, a lot more fussy to fluff out than the larger ones....
 However, certainly worth the effort.
Don't ya just love them??

My spring schedule continues to be hectic for another couple of weeks.....preventing me from spending a lot of time working on new projects.  But, I'm trying to use every spare minute and will share soon.

Hang in here with me......

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Back in February, I took an 'art camp' trip to the Phoenix area where three of us met up in a friend's home.  I can't tell you what a nice break the sunny, warm AZ weather was in the midst of winter...not to mention how great it was to indulge in quilt talk for 3 days!
One day we played around with mono printing....here some of our masterpieces are drying.
This piece is one of mine that spoke to me.
We agreed to do a 12" square challenge....deadline is our 2014 'art camp'.  Ya, I know....but I'm NOT a procrastinator.....  I hope Nan and Sue don't read this cause it will spoil the surprise....but oh well...it's done and I wanna share it with you.  RULES:  12" square & 75% must be any of the mono print fabric.

I decided to turn my challenge into a door sign for Nan's studio.  After searching the internet for an appropriate font, I printed this cactus font onto commercial fabric.
 After stabilizing my background piece which had been printed on lightweight burlap type fabric, the text section was fused in place, along with two cactus images.
 No surprise here....the beads came out.....  BUT...I didn't like how the cactus looked so I took the bugle beads off.
 .....and replaced them with stacks of seed beads.
 Here's the finished piece.  The smaller catus was treated with long threads.  It's backed simply with another piece of my mono printed fabric, the edges are frayed and the layers are held together with random big stitching.

Now I await our gathering in 2014......

Sunday, April 14, 2013


It must be strawberry season somewhere.....surely not here in Western NC......but all those displays of fresh strawberries in our groceries stores finally called me....

 ....and a yummy strawberry pie, which marries fresh strawberries and a sweetened/lemony cream cheese layer, was the result.
I SHOULD have stopped after the 1st photo......but noooooo I went on to make a strawberry glaze.....to use up the leftover crushed strawberries.

A. Crushing the fruit colored the glaze in an unflattering way in my humble opinion.
B. I made too much so rather than waste any.....I kept pouring.....thus I'm guessing I may have a soggy crust as the excess seeps in down the edges.

No worries....I taste tested each step......it will be delicious, if not as pretty as I'd desire!

Hope you are enjoying a beautiful spring day wherever you may be.....

Saturday, April 13, 2013


How fortunate can I be??  I have THE BEST friends....EVER!!

 Look what arrived in the mail from my long time friend Helen who claimed she needed to down size her stash......
 AND...look what these boxes were filled with.....stacks and stacks of batiks.....luscious, inspirational, and beautiful pieces!
She claimed many were printed 'off registration'.....oh dear....will that stop me from using it....NEVER.  Actually, my style of work benefits from prints with less precision.  I'm super, super grateful....thank you dear friend.

 In the same mail, another friend, Sheila, sent a very special piece of fabric that had been hand dyed by a mutual friend who we both have in our prayers. 

This photo doesn't do it justice.....as it's darker than it appears.  I knew in a nano second after opening the envelope, what I wanted to do with it to honor and celebrate the life of our friend.
 I've been saving these 5 stones for a long time....perhaps I'll use just three to signify Judi, Sheila, and myself.
This batik (which was nearly on the top of the stack in the 2nd box I opened) is the perfect companion fabric.  Though I want to jump right in, I know I need to be thoughtful and take my time with this very special project.

Quilting has been such a positive addition to my life.....and the friends that I've made along the quilting highway will always be precious to me.  Give your friend a hug today, even if it's a virtual one!!