Thursday, February 28, 2019


We look forward to the annual Bluegrass First Class Festival held in Asheville, NC every February.  We've been attending ever since we moved to the mountains in 2006 and have worked our way up to reserved first row seating.  A true treat for anyone attending any live music event.
 A mixture of new groups and ones that have played this venue every year come to entertain.  Besides not having to travel far for us to attend, the small showroom makes this long weekend intimate and so enjoyable.  The only negative that continues from year to year is the unpredictable February weather which impacts us since we travel back and forth from home.

However, it's totally worth the tense travel time on I40 getting to see my all time favorite group....The Seldom Scene which has been going strong since 1971.
One of the newcomers to Bluegrass is Carolina Blue.....and they are a local group from Bevard, NC.  We saw them several years ago and oh my...they took the house down this time.  New groups can take awhile to find their voice.....and they sure have!

Besides loving their music, I'm totally enamored with their new album cover....wondering if any of you followers recognize what it's portraying??  Shout out if you do.....I noticed it immediately.
 This is an event like no other since it's held indoors...most bluegrass festivals are outdoors.  Everywhere and I mean everywhere in this large hotel complex you'll find pickin' and singing.  There's even a small stage set up just off the hotel's lobby.
 Doors to hotel rooms are often left open for folks to jump in with their instruments for impromptu playing.  In fact the hallways are often so crowded with folks standing to peer into these rooms, it can be difficult to pass through.  All good!!!
I love how the organizers help perpetuate new generations of Bluegrass musicians....they invited this 6 year old boy on stage during one of the short breaks to play his fiddle.  Heartwarming!!

Next year will be the 25th anniversary of this festival......we can't wait.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019


My adventures into notebook cover making continues........
I returned home from my recent Arizona 'girlfriend' art camp with numerous eco-printed wool pieces.  Funny how strongly they were calling me to be turned into book covers.
It was a bit more challenging to work with this denser material.  Not surprising, I found it so much easier to create in a larger format, rather than the 
4 1/2" x 3 1/4" mini books.
Some of my large collection of Ultra-suede scraps I've been hoarding for years were utilized for the spines, flap trim, and tie closures. I done yet? Perhaps my indigo-dyed wool fabrics are waving at me.

Monday, February 25, 2019


My wet felting wool supplies are now packed up as I shift my attention to making notebook covers.
Here's a look at one of the newest bowls that will be added to my inventory for sale.  My generous SIL gave me a nice collection of sea glass she'd gathered in her younger days along the shores of Lake Michigan where she grew up.  I've found them to be the perfect accent for these organic vessels.
The recent dive into making mini-notebook covers led me to eyeing a stack of felted wool fabrics that had been altered during the many Fiber Junkies play days.  This one features painted pine needle impressions.  The spine was made from an ice-dyed piece of bamboo/rayon felt.
This winter the FJ's worked with paint quite a lot.....printing fabrics with all sorts of tools and techniques.  As is often the case, I work with felted wool....which can be challenging due to the texture of the material. The marbled appearance of two of them was derived from a shaving cream printing session we had a couple of months ago.

Next I'll be digging into my stash of eco-printed felted wool....hoping I can find some pieces suitable for covers!

Friday, February 22, 2019


An upcoming event has had my mind digging deep for an idea for small gifts to share with the participants.  My pal Kate has been making and selling outstanding one-of-a-kind book covers for mini and small composition books that utilize many of the small fabric pieces made during our Fiber Junkies meetings. 

Happily she gifted me one and while using it the other day I had that 'ta-da' moment.  Yup, I have lots of small unique altered fabrics too and decided to try create a few of my own.  Kate's are more elaborate but for starters, I'm pleased with my attempts.

Since I love working with wool and my stack of altered felted wool is extensive, my next goal will be to see how that fabric translates to book covers.  Stay tuned.

Linking to:  Nina-Marie's Off The Wall Friday and Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


Well after creating a couple of wet felted votive candle holders last week, I had to pause.  So silly really.....I got my first shingles shot which left my upper left arm so darn sore it took several days to comfortably use it again.  I'm now back dispersing soapy water all over my studio!

Yes, I am a sissy......

Several of these can be used as a votive holder....the 'skin' is thin enough for the light to penetrate....the remainder are simply fun little vessels to be used in numerous ways....think dried flower, or fitted a small water filled glass to display live flowers.  Heck, one doesn't need to fill them at all.....just display and admire.

Thursday, February 14, 2019


Our Fiber Junkies gathering this month was held at Gen's house. We all have different styles and preferred interests, inspiring each other to grow artistically.
 Denny (left) and Kate (right) have been making Bonnie Hunter mystery quilts.  We all know that if 10 quilters made the same pattern, they'd all look different....this sure is a good example.  Same exact pattern, different fabric/color choices! 
 Kate has been digging into her impressively large stash and has made another striking donation quilt.  She loves to piece and is not only fast at that task...she's very nice she shares her talent with those in need. 
 Susan has been on a roll working on table runners.  She has a knack for working with unusual color and pattern combinations.  It's impressive to see what she can do working on this small scale. 

 Most of the group worked with gel plate printing designs.  Here's one Susan made.
 Denny did some overlay printing on previously altered fabric. She took this design from an old photo that had meaning to her, transferred it to a silk screen, and printed full and smaller sections of the motif using various colors of fabric paint.
 Here's a shot of Susan's gel plate....just simple washers and string provided great designs.  
 Judy used a brick stencil to over-print a previously altered piece of cloth.
Another gel plate that featured a great design prior to printing.
I spent much of my time working with iron-on clear vinyl to make some temporary silk screens.
Gen....smiling as always....had a novel project.  She got out her very large machine quilted sample book and in honor of upcoming Valentine's Day...she painted the hearts.
What a clever way to repurpose samples.....

Fiber Junkies meeting day is always one each of us look forward to every month....come back and see what we tackle in March.  Or click 'follow' to have posts delivered to you!

Linking to:  Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday, Sarah's Whoop Whoop Friday.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019


Torrential rains are keeping me indoors....a great opportunity to add to my inventory of wet felted votive candle holders.

Sometimes it takes making a few to get back in the rhythm....two finished and fitted with yogurt cups to help them keep their shape while drying.

Monday, February 11, 2019


Spring hasn't quite arrived yet, but our warmish weather has folks out and about in downtown Asheville, visiting galleries and shops.  Judy Simmons, my booth mate and I, gave our space a fresh face.
 We are so pleased to have some of our bigger pieces greet shoppers at Woolworth Walk Gallery.  They are displayed on railings original to the historic F. W. Woolworth building and help to welcome folks to stroll down to the lower level where our booth (#235) is located.

 Judy now has her hand-dyed scarves more conveniently displayed on a large circular rack located to the left side of the large back wall.  We are splitting that space. My side displays quilts - 2 large and 2 small, while Judy's green/blue/back/white piece is her main focal piece.
 A view of a portion of the back wall and all the rest of my work on the far right side.
Judy utilizes the left side for smaller wall art and a card rack of her lovely eco-printed greeting cards. 

Winter is always a slow sales time so we are encouraged that the mild weather may bring visitors here soon.  Of course if you see anything that strikes your eye....holler we can arrange a sale by mail order

Friday, February 8, 2019


Now back at home with all my fabrics washed, pressed, and ready to fondle.
 Interestingly, I ice-dyed some Liberty of London solid light pink fabric that I wasn't planning on using for anything else.  The three pieces on the right are the results.....amazing how well that fabric took the dye!
 Here's some unsuccessful is the 'right' side of an older tan print...I often over-dye these dated fabrics with mixed results.....the 'back' side of the fabric is where the best designs are created. But even these two bottom pieces are pretty boring. 
 Here's an ice-dyed piece of 100% wool......I sure wish the appx. 15" x 15" piece would have been bigger!
Good results on this second batch of eco-printed wool felt.  The vinegar water had now had time to develop a rust tone after we threw in a bunch of rusted items.
You can see where this same fabric in the first batch has less brown/rust tones....both are pleasing to me.

I can hardly wait till next year....hoping I continue to be invited!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019


Ice-dyeing is normally best done on warm sunny was so cold and rainy here west of Phoenix that none of the golfer were even out slamming the ball around!  We wee worried about our results.

But of course that didn't stop us.  Out come the plastic trays, wire racks, soda ash soaked fabrics, ice cubes, and MX dyes......
Once all the 'ingredients' were layered.....the tray was covered with plastic, secured with clips and left for 24 hrs.
Then the fun begins....the melted dye-water is discarded, the fabrics are rinsed, and rinsed and rinsed.  When the water runs clear they are washed, damp dried, and pressed.  We got awesome results...maybe the cold weather requiring a long and slow melt is better?!?    

That's the end of my report......Now I'm headed back to the chatter, calorie filled snacks, fabric frolic, laughter, and of course bubbly.  Sound like fun?  Grab a buddy or two and plan your own girlfriend art camp!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019


The cold and rain clouds that hung over me at Daytona Beach have followed me to Arizona!  However, that didn't deter us from enjoying our 8th annual Girlfriend Art Camp at a friend's home.  She's a snow bird, her husband is back home in MN working, so it was just us gals. 
 We started with a bit of eco-printing....using several varieties of eucalyptus
and geraniums.
 We brewed up some iron water using these rusty items to add color to our water/vinegar steam bath done in a turkey roaster.
 Various sides of dowels were used to roll our foliage laden fabrics before processing them for about 2 hours.
We use shrink wrap over the fabric which tightens as it heats, helping to keep the foliage in good contact with he fabric.
 As usual, I often work with wool, here's one of my better prints.....before the rust developed too deeply.
And a few more....
 And a view of more pieces that thrilled us.

This one wasn't wrapped tight enough, but I personally love the mysterious design.

Come back tomorrow.....we have more to show.....

Saturday, February 2, 2019


Fiber Junkies Founding member, Valerie McGaughey has gone on to set up a new FJ chapter in heaven.  We know she'll be keeping an eye on us and we'll be sending her good vibes as she continues to inspire new artists.

She was one of the first artists I met when I moved to Asheville.  Her friendship, generosity, talent, kindess, and unwavering spirit of life enriched my world beyond words.
 The FJ's only celebrate big birthdays...those that end in 0.  Val's was the beginning of our tradition of providing the birthday girl with a personalized crown and scepter to wear for the day.  

Val's artistic talent had us all in awe....ALL the time.  If we said it once, we said it a thousand time......we all wanted to share a table with Val.....hoping her talent would rub off.
Gen made all of us knitted hats for Christmas one year.....Val's joy in every single thing is evident.
As Val's health began to fail, she and her husband got a darling support dog for her.....both Skip (Mr. Val) and Halley became honorary Fiber Junkies.

Today there is a hole in my heart.....but I know it will fill with wonderful memories of Val and her kind, happy and humble spirit.