Sunday, December 27, 2020

I'm Calling It....

We weren't quite sure about a White many varying weather reports and living in the mountains makes it more unpredictable.....but we did have snow...not a tremendous amount but enough to call it a White Christmas. 
The mountain peaks are usually covered but not too much here...and along with the snow comes the cold...
and in this case, we were down into the teens....It's supposed to get warmer so we  can expect some melting which is good for the roads.
This is our vegetable garden (on right)...waiting patiently for some seedlings to pop through.
But it sure is pretty...
Hope you had a wonderful Christmas day...and however you chose to spend it.....I've heard a lot of unusual and creative ways for getting together.
We were alone but my daughter zoomed on Christmas Eve, Christmas morning and afternoon so it helped a lot...but I really missed the hugs. I've heard that said over and over... missing the hugs...I guess we humans need that kind of fills our heart and soothes the medicine I know.
 As we approach the New Year, I wish you all peace, love and a new appreciation for what we have. May this be a good year for all of filled with many happy moments with people we care about and hugs....LOTS of hugs...Til next year....please be safe and healthy and 

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Moda Hearts and Feathers....DONE....FINALLY1

Those of you who have followed my blog, know I go on a retreat every year with my PTA fiber group...this is a project from years past. My friends Mary, Kate and I always do the same project so we can  swap fabric, compare notes and just have fun watching each other's progress. I might add, I ALWAYS finish last....Theirs have been done, hung or sold for years and after having had mine packed up and ready to quilt for SOOO many years, I ran out of excuses for finishing it. Not enough time, been out and about too much...just wasn't true so I dragged it out with semi-enthusiasm and got to work. 
 It's not that I dislike the quilt, I love the fabric...I just don't like working on large pieces...too hard for me to maneuver..I also love to do free motion work - especially feathers, but with a tremor in my hand, it does get jerky and my feathers can take on a pointed look...not very pretty.
But I was determined to have my way about this, pointy feathers or not. I used a very sheer non woven fabric (actually soil separator cloth from Home Depot) to draw the pattern onto, lay it over the quilt and with a blue marking pen, trace over the marked design which leaks through to the fabric. (More on this cloth later)
 I free motion quilt in a hoop, always worked the best for me and being able to hold onto the hoop gives my shaky hand some leverage.

 Oh and....The cloth I use for transferring is a "fabric like material" I happened onto in Home Depot. It's called soil separator cloth and used to line large pipes to prevent soil from seeping into the inside of the pipe.  It resembles pattern duplicating material but @ 1/10th the price. It's very sheer, non-woven and when you write on it with a blue marker, the markings seep through to the quilt underneath. 

So.... I am pleased that I stayed with it .....and finished it....and got my feathers ......and luckily, not too many pointy a happy ending.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Deck the Halls......

With so much time on my hands this year and not going anywhere, ... I decided to redo some things for the holidays....granted no one will be here except my hubby and son....but I do like to decorate and after 14 years in this house, the old look was dated and shabby....I was ready.  

I wasn't sure what I wanted but liked the idea of being in a forest with pinecones, snow covered berries etc...and that is what I wound up working with. The garland only came in 6 foot lengths and somewhat stiff so it was a challenge to get it on the bannister...lots of wiring....I also added the bows, pinecones, twigs etc with to repeat it next year...don't know how I'll do it but I'll worry bout that later. I was happy with the results and put it up early so we have a long time to enjoy it.
Leftovers went here....

and the mantel....
I have a frosted pencil tree which is my Santa tree....every Santa is different and originally did it for my granddaughter who is 8 and loves it. Unfortunately she won't get to see it this year....

I have a tree in my studio....
some Charlie Brown trees
and a Woodland tree (my favorite)....
which my cat Fraggle loves as he feels he's King of the Forest amongst all the critters.
It was a lot of work but putting them up early was a plus and we've been enjoying them....don't even want to think about packing up all this stuff ugh!.....but in the meantime....Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Christmas Magic

I made a quick little piece to put in my Woolworth gallery space...should have been there weeks ago...but just didn't happen...
It's a smaller piece 17"W x 21.5"H so will fit most anywhere. The "comma strokes remind me of my old tole painting days. The appliques are all buttonhole or blanket stitched with a rayon decorative thread, machine quilted and has a binding (as opposed to a facing.)

Go check out the pretty decorations in downtown Asheville where you'll be outside and socially distancing and then pop into Woolworth on Hayworth Street to see all the magic created by the many wonderful artists who have work in that gallery.


Sunday, December 6, 2020

My Clever Sister in Law

My sister in law - Mary is a very talented sewer, quilter and has also mastered the embroidery machine. She crochets beautifully and even does Karaoke with me (after some wine).
I got a wonderful surprise the other day when I opened a huge envelope to find this - such a clever idea...which of course she embroidered on a towel....and I'm the lucky recipient.
She knows me too well...

Thanks Mary Simmons Neill (on right)'re the best. And now,  not only will I enjoy looking at this but also practicing the art of using a cork screw!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you all a Happy and healthy Thanksgiving ...

 This year will will be one for the history books, but no matter what it looks like, or how you choose to celebrate....may it be filled with love....Stay safe...!

Saturday, November 21, 2020


As creative people, I think we all wonder about odd things that others may not give a second thought those little cups that come with laundry detergent and dryer sheets and oh yes....big candy bags that are empty. Surely there must be a good way to recycle them into something useful and cute.
Our pal Kate Weston from our PTA group headed up the annual retreat the last 2 years and came up with prizes for everyone....Well they were all wonderful, but secretly I know that mine was really the best. Kate took an empty Twizzler bag, laminated it with a laminate appropriate for fabric and made it into a pouch for carrying thread, scissors etc. 
It even had a zipper.....
and was quilted....and the cute! How clever is this....I could even see these as a cute bag for a younger person....just put a long strap on it.....
And the best HAVE to eat all the candy before you use the bag!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Craggy Trees & a Great Tip!

We are in my favorite "tree season". As much as I love the fall and the beautiful color of trees, I truly love "naked" trees for the wonderful configurations you see.

I especially love the craggy trees. There is a place on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NC called Craggy Gardens. They have a wonderful hiking trail and lots of these trees with all the lichen and moss and stubby branches. They are so interesting. They are great subject matter for someone who does machine or hand embroidery ....what a field day they would have....

Maybe one of these days I will attempt to duplicate this...I especially like the upper right and left views as they are close in and you can get a lot of detail with thread, paint etc. There are also some beautiful color variations you can see in these very subtle pictures.

So here is a cool little tip which I've published in years past....I have used this so many times. Often a photograph is hard to break down into specific colors....especially those involving nature. The website CSS Drive Image to Colors Palette Generator will do that for you. Above you see my photo (below left) which has been uploaded to their click on a button and within seconds, they break your photo down for you AND in different cool is that. The official site is  Give it a try.

I think I would start with a digital image as a base and go from there...perhaps several of the same image printed on very different fabrics and layer them on top of each other, cutting away different parts on each layer. This is a technique I learned from the very gifted fiber artist Pat Mink.

Might be a cool way to start the New Year - 2021 which I think I can vouch for every person reading this....We Are So Ready For!!

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Into the Woods

I started this piece a while ago. I found some fabrics I had created using deconstructive screen printing and other techniques. I really like working in a block formation which allows me to highlight some of the surface design techniques.
This piece also has some commercial fabric such as batiks. I find it hard to mix the 2 sometimes (commercial and deconstructive) as both have so much energy and tend to compete with each other but this time, I was able to get a good mix.
I laid it out to see where tweaking was needed. I laid paper patterns on top but think it's too much.

  The little strip of fabric (above, bottom) needed a little something so I added some stamping.....very subtle.
  The mushrooms on the fabric above were created with the process of deconstructive screen printing. Mushrooms can be hard to find and only certain times of the year. When I do see them, I pick as many as I can and get to work. They do make for such an interesting print.
Some printing with dyes and sponges on the small strip. Many of these fabrics I've had; It's a nice surprise when I come upon some that work so well together...especially a commercial with a hand dye.
I love to do hand stitching using 2 strands of DMC embroidery floss and you can always find a color that works from their large selection of colors. The ferns - another piece of deconstructive fabric has free motion machine quilting around the edges.
And what to name it....sometimes a name will just hit you and sometimes you have to think and think on it....I looked at this and thought of the days when I was a young child and living with my Aunt Cathy in upstate NY....She had 173 acres and lots of woods...My cousin and I would love to go into the woods and explore. We loved the stream that ran through it and the squishy ferns and moss under our feet....Think I just found a name...."Into the Woods".