Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from my home to yours. In whatever way you celebrate, I wish you joy and the many blessings the season brings. May your New Year be filled with happy and creative moments and good health.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Fiber Junkies - Hooray

It's that time of year - lots of gatherings with special friends. My Fiber Junkies certainly fits that bill, such special and talented ladies whose friendship I value so much. There are only 6 of us and we do manage to have buckets of fun as well as creating and experimenting each time we meet. 
Our annual holiday party was at Gens this year. 
Gen had a beautiful table and we all brought some yummy things to share. I particularly loved the centerpiece made with popcorn, cranberries and a candle - how clever!
Denny who has been absent due to a family medical situation always brought the Yule cake which was lavish and delicious. Kate took over the job this year and created a delicious sponge jelly roll cake filled with whip cream, chocolate glaze and colorful holly.
Gen had these very clever napkins which she made and unfolded into a half circle to use and then folded back to a tree. Gen let me borrow one so I can make some for my table. I thought these could be made in a variety of prints for different seasons - flowers for summer, autumn colors etc.
This is what they look like when unfolded...
and the various folds
to wind up as a tree.
We had so much bubbly even some pretty blue which was quite yummy!
The whole day was delightful but by far the best part is our gift exchange. Since there are so few of us, we decided several years ago to do a gift for each person. Knowing and working with each other so closely, we know each other's styles which makes it even more fun. Mary is a wonderful felter and doing more and more very intricate things. She made each of us a small bowl, picking the one she thought was most suited to what we love. Mary knows I love polka dots and here's mine. It's wonderful and it will sit in my studio where I spend the most time and want to be surrounded by my favorite things.
Kate made covers for these little notebooks; all the fabric was made by Kate.
and a place for a pen inside. It's already in my purse as this will be used constantly.
Val made us small rice-lavender heat bags which I've already used for my sore shoulders. Val made all the fabric and then screened designs on top. Not only is it functional but beautiful and smells so nice with the additional lavender.
Gen who is probably the best knitter I know...Seriously...this woman can make anything! She knitted us all scarves which are gorgeous, each one a little different. Well, it's been quite warm here but friday night in Asheville with the wind chill - it was 10 degrees. We were out and about and guess who was wearing this beautiful new scarf and loving it!
I made note cards using sky fabric I photographed and printed on fabric as a background. I also had lots of photos of trees I've taken over the years. I made them into small silk screens and screened them onto the background and adhered them to notecards.
Every gift was so thoughtful and useful, so like this group. In counting my blessings this year, this wonderful group of ladies is at the top of my list.
Hope your holidays are happy and bright, the countdown is on...

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Very Merry PTA Christmas

Our wonderful annual PTA Christmas party took place last week at my home. I am a little behind in posting as the next morning I left for Atlanta, came back late monday and running ever since but it was a great gathering and worthy of sharing. 
 The house was clean - no dust bunnies in sight - appetizers out....
 table set...
 and everyone arriving ready to eat, drink and be merry.
 Everyone outdid themselves with the dishes they brought to share, so delicious!
 And luckily we were able to squeeeeeze everyone around the table.
 I did run out of chairs but someone brought some folding ones.
 And then onto afternoon activities. One of the most fun things we do is our white elephant. One person's trash is another person's treasure. Sometimes you really luck out and pick something nice but often it is taken by the next person in line.
 Tons of presents all shapes and sizes. We all had our numbers and eagerly awaiting our turn.
 Mary got a beautiful scarf and since I was right after her, I had the option to take hers or pick from the pile of presents. Well since I wear scarfs and loved the color - Boo on me but I took the scarf from Mary allowing her to pick something else.
 Gen seems like a happy camper.
 Janice loved the package bow and put it in her hair. She also opened a big bin of yarn which our resident knitter - Barbara, quickly took!
 Mary is working on her second go-round.
 Like I said sometimes you get lucky and get something really cute...
 like Linda...
 and Cathy.
But sometimes you have it taken away. Oh Dear - a new smock for Linda.
Hope your holidays are going well and you're taking time to smell the Holly. I'm trying my best to find those moments.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Christmas Pillows

I haven't had much time in the studio with holidays, shopping, company but I did manage to squeeze in some sewing time over the Thanksgiving holidays. Actually, my daughter Jill, wanted Christmas pillows in plaid which were impossible to find. I knew I had seen many plaid fabrics at some of the chain sewing stores nearby so I suggested we take a look. Pillows can be time consuming but if you keep them simple - no binding, piping or fancy inserts etc., it's basically 4 seams. Well, we decided to make a flap back so a little more work but this makes the insert removable and the pillow cover washable.

 I also had a silkscreen of some pine boughs which seemed to work well in the corner. There will be some other smaller, fancy pillows in front covering up a large area so I thought putting the design in the corner would allow it to show.
 I did a mirror image on the pillows as they'll be on 2 chairs next to each other.
 I used Lumiere paint which has a high metallic content to screen the images.
 I made the flap deep enough so I wouldn't need buttons or snaps to keep it closed...
and the plaids don't match but we didn't have enough fabric to get a match....AND it is in the back...AND they are only out for a short time....AND...I know enough excuses....but they are cute from the front!
We had enough small pieces to make this very small pillow which is filled with pine needles. I save our Christmas tree from the year before out in the compost pile - a little separated from the rest When the needles dry out, I try and gather them. They make fabulous little pillows and the pine needle smell lasts for years - a fun project.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Quilt Show

I recently had the great fun of being invited to do a segment for one of the episodes for The Quilt Show, hosted by Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. The show can be viewed via computer and with a subscription. However, when a new show is aired, there is a week when it is free for viewing by following a link. My episode is to air tomorrow - November 23. For non-subscribers, it will air free between November 29 and December 6. Click on the button above right (The Quilt Show) and the link should come up.The Quilt Show travels around the country seeking out quilt artists with interesting techniques or work to share. Most shows are divided into 2 segments - 45 mins with one artist and the last 15 mins with another. I'm in the 15 mins of fame category ( - : and am paired with an extraordinary artist - Susan Lutz so I hope you'll watch.
When the Quilt Show came to Asheville, they were invited to film at the Governors mansion which is not a mansion but a lovely home with beautiful views. The morning episode was filmed out on the deck as the sun was still rising and we were facing west;  the morning still cool to be outside.
 It was such an interesting experience to see the many people involved behind the scenes.
 It was also amazing to see how long it took to film a 15 minute segment. This is the gal doing the morning 15 mins and she was working with Ricky Tims.
 Part of the segment includes a demo of a technique and samples of your work.
 Here I am with alex and Ricky.
 In the afternoon with the sun moving west, the deck got to hot and too bright for filming so we moved indoors.
 One of the things I truly loved about the show was the different venues for each show. It is also quite laid back both in filming and interaction between the artist and host - no scripts, just a general idea of what's to be done during your segment. It gave the show a very spontaneous feel and I enjoyed that approach.
The 15 mins segment is with either Alex or Ricky. I had done an episode of Simply Quilts with Alex years ago and loved working with her, so I was very happy to be paired with her again. We had a great connection and it was a wonderful experience. The show airs tomorrow, the 23 for subscribers. For non-subscribers, tune in between November 29 and December 6. Click on the button above right (The Quilt Show) and the link should come up.
Thanks for watching.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

You Can't Get Good Help These Days

My group - Fiber Junkies met at my home this past week to play with the technique of collage. My 2 cats Molly and Fraggle love to be where I am, often in my studio and usually don't mind when girlfriends are around. I thought it would be fun to let them supervise and be part of our day. 
They were in charge of supplies, but Molly took it too seriously and wouldn't let anyone near them...
and Fraggle totally fell down on the job and went to sleep, so I had to gently fire them and then it was full steam ahead.
Everyone in this group is the epitome of generosity. I'm always a little nervous when they walk through the front door...Uh...are you staying for a week or more? I'm thinking - No just the day and thought we needed lots of stuff. This is for 5 people - WOW!
We spread ourselves out making it easier to see all we had to work with. Notice the glasses of bubbly which seem to help with the creative process.
Val brought each of us an 8x8 canvas. It was a perfect size for working on and stiff enough to serve as a good substrate. There were other good backings to use, light weight unmounted canvas; I've used single weave 7 oz. for a lot of things, drapery samples, or just plain muslin. All worked well but it was interesting to try the canvas.
We used a variety of materials for the actual collage part from hand made paper, dyed sheers, papers treated with citra solv, fabrics, tulle, lace, buttons. The wonderful thing about being in a group is the creative energy. We all help each other with feedback and input. It makes it that much more fun.
Val was working with mostly paper,  a little fabric and paint. She used an acrylic medium to adhere the pieces in place.
Kate found this painted sheer and this is so Kate - kind of beachy, blues and greens. She will use this as an overlay with some interesting materials underneath. I'm anxious to see the finished piece.
Gen was working with ripped paper turning this
into this, almost finished and a lovely piece.
Kate was also working on trapping silk flowers under a layer of sheer fabric. She started with a sheer on top of a patterned fabric, layered the silk flowers and held them in place with a sparkly sheer - a very pretty effect.
I was using some old tea bags (lower right), sheers, handmade paper and a leaf transfer - a process I do on silk using real leaves and image transfer paper. I also had an old silkscreen done on a sheer of a page from my mother's autograph book from the 1930s. One of the things I love about this process is that you can use bits and pieces so effectively. As quilters we/I tend to save every little piece of fabric etc thinking someday I'll find a place for this, Well...someday has arrived!
Here's Val's finished piece - Amazing as always. Mary is always so productive but was coming down with a cold at the time and just not feeling right, but she got lots of ideas to bring home.
Gen showed us some painted dryer sheets and we decided one of our meetings has to be devoted to painting on sheer materials - anything that is sheer including paper, fabric...whatever.
Kate got the ball rolling. She pulled this out of her pocket - some toilet tissue which had a nice design on it - perfect for painting. We had a big laugh over that.
Our 6th member Denny has not been able to be with us as she's caring for her daughter who had a stroke. Our thoughts and love are always with her and Denny if you're reading this...We miss you!