Friday, January 30, 2015


It all started with a coat of paint. We decided to start re-doing some of the rooms upstairs, one being a guest room.   This is one of my favorite rooms and the one my daughter and her hubby stay in when they come to visit. 
 It took ten samples of different paint colors applied in 5 different areas of the room. I almost didn't have to paint as I had a "patchwork" quilt effect. We finally doctored up this color with a little more white to give it a very subtle look. We ran out of paint by the time we reached the bathroom and thought uh...oh...what are we to do, since we mixed this ourselves, but Lowes was able to match a paint chip perfectly a "whew" moment.
 This room has always had a beautiful, but old fashioned and small 4-poster double bed that my mother had when she first married. Time to update to a queen size. We started with an "old looking" but new iron bed with a very deep mattress. Some might need a ladder to climb aboard. Finding a comforter was a challenge, brought home at least 6 huge and heavy ones. We were looking for something that would work with walls and drapes and not overpower.
 I found two I liked, especially the beige one which had great texture, got it in a full/queen size. I find when I have to buy the combination size it doesn't always work and in this case with a deeper mattress, it was way too short, so back to Belks - and no king size and also NOT  carrying it anymore. They called several Belks in the Asheville area - no luck. I asked for the number for two Belks in SC about an hour away and started calling when I got home. As luck would have it, Spartanburg had it so I made the long trek down there the following day.
 In the meantime, on the lookout for bed skirt fabric, drapery fabric, shams and pillow fabric.
I love stripes and try to bring them in when I can. I found a really nice one that worked with the spread - it's much more subtle than it looks in the picture, the blue matches the wall.
 Onto drapery fabric - the one hanging was a soft water color effect - beautiful and just the type of fabric I love, but no pop and the room was already very subtle. I still bought it as it was the best choice so far - got what was left on the roll so there was no cutting which means I can return it - store policy).
 And then I found another fabric - even better as it was more lively and at Joannes also (with a 60% off sale going on) so I bought the roll of that. There was only 9 yards left but that would just make it. You can see the roll on the foot of the bed.
And on to my mother's old rocker. She received this as a birthday present when she was a little girl. She would have been 95 this year, had she lived, so I estimate the chair to be 80+ years old. That is the last thing I'll cover when I see how everything else is going.
So I'm up to my neck with drapery fabric, bed skirt fabric, pillows, shams, and sheers fabric and a cover for another bench in the room. You know what I'll be doing this Super Bowl Weekend (along with eating pizza).
Hope you all have a great weekend.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Through the Leaves

I've been finishing up samples from former workshops. They are 3/4 finished so little has to be done and they work up into nice little pieces. If our PTA group exhibits at Pisgah again this year, this type of piece fits well. I used to teach several workshops in machine needlelace; this was one of them. In this workshop, students did machine lace inside appliques of medium size; this was one of the steps in the process. 
 It needed something in the center so I added a silkscreen of a tree - I'm so predictable.
 The screen itself was a little fuzzy in areas so the print was not super clear - I liked that effect.
 I used a screen which filled a good portion of the center.
 It needed more so I went back with gold metallic paintsticks and Lumiere paint to highlight areas of the tree. I also used a black, very fine Pigma pen to outline some of the tree. The leaves were machine appliquéd and the entire piece - free motion quilted.
 I decided to mount this piece on burlap and wrap it around a 16" x 20" canvas. I liked the
roughness" of the burlap as it worked well with the organic feel of the leaves.
 It was wrapped and stapled to the back of the canvas and then covered with a fabric to make a nice, clean finish. Picture frame wire was added for hanging purposes.
And the finished piece.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I Woke up this Morning

and looked outside to see this. 
 This is in my front yard. We do live in a small subdivision @ 14 houses and lots of property so we're not on top of each other.
 This whole area was a pathway for the deer which they still use and live in the woods across from us.
 But it's always a thrill to see these beautiful creatures...
 and one of the many reasons why I love living here.
Hope you're having a good day and getting to spend time in your studio.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Lots of Show and Tell - PTA and Others

I've done a lot of teaching over the years and the best part is always the wonderful students you meet and get to work with. It's even more rewarding when they follow up and send you a picture of their finished piece. My Layered Naturescapes is a popular workshop and one I love to teach, for several reasons; there are lots of different techniques to try and each student works on their own idea. You have a room full of creativity pouring into these pieces, each unique and each so wonderful. 
 Phyllis Tarrant took my workshop at NC Symposium this year and sent me a pic;  I love the finished piece.  She started with a base fabric, fused appliqués on base, added another layer of painted organza and more appliqué. Some of the appliques were toned down by the overlay of organza giving the piece a feeling of depth. She added a pop of blue which was a great idea. Congratulations Phyllis, you did a wonderful job and I know you're going to really enjoy this lovely piece of art.
 At PTA yesterday, Barbara show us a collage she had in an 8x10 mat. She found the most perfect frame at Michaels.  I'm always amazed at the effect a frame or some type of framing/mounting can have on our work.
 Leigh Anne was given a big hunk of gorgeous Japanese fabric.
 The back is more beautiful than the front  - what to do with it, maybe a small kimono shape quilt was suggested. It sounds good to me
 Kate does the most amazing things with marbled fabric. She originally didn't like the overall color and took some watered down house paint to brush over the top.
 I think she did this after she quilted it as you can see where the paint caught in and around the very tiny circle stitching giving it a lovely look. It's a brave thing to do and it paid off! Kate also does a lot of framing and mounting of her pieces which she did to this one - such a nice presentation.
 My daughter recently bought a kit to make a quilt. Mind you, she doesn't sew, or own a machine so you know what she REALLY meant when she said she wanted to make this quilt. I also made throw pillows to go with it and think I need to finish this for her before the pillows wear out. This is the top and will post more when I quilt it.
The prints are darling and someone at our PTA meeting commented that it looked like vintage apron material and I thought - Yes, I could see my Nana wearing something made out of one of these prints.
It's always fun to see what others are up to.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Very Special Quilt

I have a very dear friend, Barbara who lives in Marietta, Georgia. I've known her for over 25 years; she was one of the first quilters I met upon moving there in 1987. She was an art teacher and long ago turned her talent towards art quilts.   
Barbara was married to LD. I never could remember what the initials stood for but it was an unusual name and LD seemed to suit him better. LD died last year from Alzheimers. Barbara was his caretaker; he was able to be at home during the final hours which was comforting to her and her children.  I remember LD so well - a very kind and gentle man who loved wearing caps and t-shirts - his favorite outfit. I don't think I ever saw him in anything else (except at his daughter's wedding).  He had an extensive collection of caps and wore a different one everyday.  Barbara decided to make a quilt using his favorite ones.
It hangs in a place in her home where she can see it all the time, reminding her of the sweet man who wore them.
I've seen a lot of this kind of memorabilia type quilt - I really loved this one with the machine stitching around the caps, the masculine feel and interesting sashings. I thought it was a wonderful quilt and tribute to LD.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Shimmering Forest finished

I've been grabbing moments to finish up projects - things that don't involve a big investment of time . Some things I feel so-so about;  some might develop into something better - this was one of them. I don't know if I'll do it again but it was fun to try and a very different look for me. A while back my Fiber Junkies group enjoyed a day of playing with a technique developed by Judy Coates Perez.
 These are the beginnings of my piece.
 There was lots of layering with paper and paint.
An image was drawn on top and filled in with a different color paint. The piece itself is quite stiff. I usually like a softer feel to my pieces - one of the beauties of working with fabric, but this was an interesting way to work and I'm happy with the results.
   I did bind the piece using an organza, but since I was mounting it on another piece of fabric, the binding was brought to the back but not turned under and stitched.

 I did paint the organza with a light wash of Dye-na-Flow paint which dries quickly.
 I cut a piece of black fabric - @ 2" larger all around and mounted the piece in the center. Using a monofilament thread, I stitched in the ditch all around to secure it to the black fabric.
 The stretcher bars were 15" square and the piece only 14" square. There was to be a 1/2" edge of black all around the piece. This was a little tricky as I was working from the back and had to keep it centered so all the black edges were even.
 I then attached a piece of black fabric to the back - hand stitching it to the edge. I put the label on before attaching the back, the wire went on last. This was time consuming but it does make a nice finished back.
And the finished piece I will call "Shimmering Forest" because it really does shimmer! I have to say it feels good to be back in my studio even if only to be finishing up some things. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wrapping up the Holidays

It had been an incredibly busy month, even more than the usual holiday craziness. It was great fun but I'm not sorry it's over, time to get back in my studio and I can hardly wait. My granddaughter and daughter were here for 10 days - keeping up with a 2 year old is an experience. 
She loves helping in the kitchen or at least eating the sprinkles. Our baking day yielded some interesting cookies caked thick with icing and other various and sundry things.  
Christmas morning brought the usual excitement only a child can bring. One of Audrey's presents was a fairy costume, left unwrapped and the first thing she saw. On it went and stayed on during every waking minute - for many days I might add.  She also loved wearing her some high heels and a pocketbook to complete the look.
My husband is a woodworker and made this for her. It turned out great and I've been so anxious to share it on my blog but feared my daughter might see it. Whenever I was feeling a little overwhelmed or tired, I went downstairs to visit it which brought an instant smile to my face. It's a combination of maple and walnut woods left natural.
I helped with all the finer details like the mane, tail and harness. My husband had a small plaque made to attach on the underneath part giving the date and whom it was from. I'm hoping it will be a family heirloom - my husband did a great job.
As luck would have it, I was able to find a large plastic bag for wrapping it...
and Christmas morning, Audrey loved it.
On to my birthday which is the end of December; my husband and 2 children managed to throw a surprise party for me - quite a shock. My daughter lured me out of the house all afternoon by taking me to a movie and then a massage. The arrangement was to have everyone park in a nearby cul du sac (throwing off any suspicion of lots of cars when we got home); my son went back and forth picking up people to bring to our house.
It was a wonderful night, the food great and the guest list - so many good friends.
My little fairy showed up and sang me Happy Birthday.
My 2 best guys - husband John and son Mike scurried like crazy to get things done before I got home.
My amazing daughter organized the whole party ....
and even my wonderful friend - Mary, came over early to help with everything.
Even though "no gifts" were stated, Mary made me this beautiful piece of art - all hand and needle felted. This picture doesn't do it justice but I'm hoping she'll go into more detail on her blog. I so appreciate the love and effort that went into making this wonderful piece.
And onto the Clean Up....Once my daughter had left and the dust had settled, time to pack up until next year - a monumental job.
My hallway before...
and my granddaughter loves to say a "naked baby". It does feel so terribly bare so I guess I'll just have to spend more time in my studio. I've been trying to finish up some small pieces in hopes of our PTA group exhibiting at the Pisgah Inn once again this coming year. I also want to start making some pieces using the many photos I took while in Ireland - so that's my New Year's resolution and I'm sticking to it by hook or by crook.  ( - :
I wish you all a very Happy New Year and may 2015 bring you good health and lots of wonderful time in your studio or wherever your favorite place is.
Til next time...