Monday, September 29, 2008

I Won Some Fabric and I'm Giving Some Away!

Isn't it funny how life works - how when one door closes, another one seems to open?  That's the way I feel today.  I vowed just over one month ago not to buy fabric, etc., for a year.  Today I found out that I'm a winner in a Fall Fabric Giveaway by Quilting Arts' own Pokey Bolton!  I enjoy reading her blog to see what's going on at Quilting Arts and Paper Cloth Scissors magazines.  Recently she asked readers to guess what she was doing on her vacation, tell about their favorite artists' book, and also tell what retreats and quilt shows they'd attended during this year.  I sent in the e-mails and was one of 15 winners!

The cool thing about the fabric is that Pokey herself painted, dyed, stamped it.  It's all one of a kind.  I'll have to plan a special project for this!  I know what you're thinking - I already have way too much fabric, and yes, I do!  But I didn't buy this, so I guess I haven't broken my pledge.  I'll take a picture of the fabric as soon as I get it, probably in a week or so!

I didn't get upstairs to my studio today, but I did work on my applique circles.  Tomorrow I'm planning to work on two new projects though.   One will be a  batik project and the other will be entitled, "Beer Garden."  I'll post my progress tomorrow.

In celebration of my fabric bonanza, I've decided to have my own giveaway.  Professional organizers always say that when you bring something new into your house, you need to get rid of something else.  So that's what I'm going to do...

Comment to this post by Monday, October 6, at 12 midnight CDT and I'll randomly select one winner to receive a selection of fall fabrics and an autographed copy of my book, Fabric Photo Play.  Good luck to all.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Subscribe by E-Mail!

I just added a new feature to my blog - you can subscribe via e-mail.  Just enter your e-mail address on the right side of the blog and you'll get new posts sent to you automatically.  Hope you'll subscribe!  I'm so pleased my readers are multiplying!  I started tracking the numbers and I now have readers in 11 countries!  That makes me happy!  Keep reading and I'll keep posting!  I'm now officially addicted to Blogging!

I Flunked Geometry

Not really; I actually did well in Geometry.  My high school Geometry teacher taught me Physics a couple of years later.  She was the one who suggested I go into Engineering in the first place, which was a good career choice for me before I had kids.  The quilting bug hadn't hit me yet.

But "I Flunked Geometry" seemed like good title for this little quilt.  It's 8.5" by 11" and the fabric is all hand dyed by me.  I did this earlier today while my hubby was at the golf course.  He golfs, I sew - a match made in Heaven!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What Defines an "Art Quilter"

I happened across this link on another blog and found it quite interesting; check it out.  Let me know what you think.  

Sometimes when you read an article, it goes in one ear and immediately out the other.  Now in my late 40's, this phenomenon is happening to me more and more frequently.  However, every once in a while, you read something that sticks in your brain and wallows around for a lengthy amount of time.  In fact, sometimes you can't get it out of your head even if you really try - kind of like getting a song stuck in your head.

This is one of those instances.  In fact, it's been rather life changing for me, in a way.  Okay, not LIFE CHANGING, really, just making me look at my quilting in a different way.  Sometime ago I remember reading an article in Quilter's Newsletter Magazine about what famous quilters call themselves: are they quilters, art quilters, artists?  At the time I thought the entire subject was a bit silly - what does it matter?  What really matters is the work one produces, whether they are bed quilts or quilts to hang on the wall or even jackets or purses.  When people ask me if I work outside the home, I always have said, "No, I quilt."  But maybe I need to view myself a bit differently.

Friday, September 26, 2008

An Art Quilt a Day...

I started this piece yesterday and finished it today - a quickie.  It's another attempt to artfully use some of my stash.  Click on the picture to enlarge so you can see my vertical quilting, inspired by the work I saw last weekend on Furman's campus.  My husband said it reminds him of the ocean floor going up to the sky.  He also likes it better upside down from this view, the ocean floor being the purple and blue end.  I need a title for it - any ideas?  Please let me know.  I think this may be the beginning of a series.  I have some leftover pre-cut diamonds somewhere in my studio - they may make up the next one.

While pulling fabric for this piece, I found the coolest piece of fabric!  It was a half yard of a gorgeous print - I don't even know where or when I got it, but I can't wait to use more of it.

An update on a previous project:  I'm still appliqueing away on the vintage circle quilt, made from the hexagon blocks.  I've finished 10 circles - only 40 something to go!

And I have something HUGE to celebrate today!  I've officially been on this "green" journey for one month!  And though I've been tempted a few times, so far so good.  Last week I even had to go to Hancock's Fabric to buy some corkscrew upholstery  pins to take to my daughter at Furman to pin a storage thingy under her mattress.  I had to walk through the entire store to get to said pins.  I took a deep breath, held my head high, and kept my eyes straight in front of me.  I wouldn't let myself even glimpse at fabric.  I paid my bill of $2.38 and got out of there successfully.  Yay me!

Some friends think I'm absolutely batty for even attempting this - I can understand why.  One of the best things about being a quilter is collecting fabric.  And I know some think we shouldn't stop spending when the economy is in dire trouble.  But I think we all need to think about our own finances first and foremost.  The rest will hopefully fall into place. We hope!!

We woke up before 5 to sirens and lots of smoke this morning - I knew something big had happened nearby.  When I was running some errands with my mom later in the morning, I saw what it was.  A nearby apartment complex had a huge fire.  Eight units were destroyed, leaving many homeless.  Several minor injuries were reported, though luckily none serious.  God bless those people!  

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Falling Leaves

In honor of the wonderful cool weather we're experiencing here in Alabama this week, I thought it appropriate to post a picture of one of my Funky Little Art Quilts, "Leaves Don't Fall, They Are Pushed."  I read an article some time ago (not sure what, when, or where) that stated that leaves don't actually fall off trees in the Fall.  They are pushed off by little buds that will eventually turn into the leaves of the next Spring.  Hence the title.  Don't forget - you can click on any photo in the blog to make it bigger.

I taught two classes in Funky Little Art Quilts last year for the Birmingham Quilters Guild.  We all had a great time making these itty bitty quilts (only 6 by 8 inches!).  They're very freeing, plus quick and easy.  Loads of FUN!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Scrappy Bowl

My challenge for today was to pull out my HUGE scrap bin and make something.  I've had the book, It's A Wrap, for a bit and have been wanting to try the techniques.  When I bought the book, I also bought the cotton clothesline that goes with it.  The method is fairly straightforward: wrapping strips of fabric around the clothesline, coiling the wrapped clothesline, then zigzagging around the coil.  The tips given in the book were most helpful, and any lopsidedness of the bowl is my fault!  It looked a bit better before I took it from a flat piece to a bowl with raised sides, so maybe I should stick with coasters, place mats, and trivets instead of bowls.  I do love the scrappy mix of fabrics and colors.  These little pieces would make great Christmas gifts.  The only problem is that I didn't make a dent in the scrap bin!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Star Quilt

I've had some requests to post pictures of the quilt that didn't make it into the Quilts=Art=Quilts show.  So here it is!  The star is three dimensional, as you can see from the bottom photo.  It's made from a base of black felt with scraps of cotton, silk, and wool and silk roving machine felted into the surface.  The star is mounted on a circular quilt which has been heavily quilted.  And even though it didn't make the cut for this show, maybe there's hope in another one!

Furman University Weekend

I've been away a few days for a fun packed weekend at Furman University for Family Weekend.  My younger daughter is a freshman there.  This was our first time to see her since she moved away from home.  It's a bit far to come home very often and it was good to see how happy she is there.  Furman had lots of activities for family and friends of student over the weekend.  On Friday, we toured Cliffs Cottage, a Southern Living home that was recently built on the campus to showcase sustainable home building.  It was, of course, gorgeous!  From the rain chains (instead of downspouts) and the bamboo flooring to the recycled water bottle bathroom counters, it was jam packed with eco-friendly ideas.  I could have moved right in, except there wasn't a room I could use for my sewing studio.  Oh well...
After the house tour, my hubby and I went to the art building where there was to be a "textile" exhibit.  I was a bit apprehensive.  The word "textile" could indicate so many things!  I really thought it might be something I had no interest in.  BUT NO!  It was ART QUILTS!  It was a one woman show by Terry Jarrard-Dimond of Clemson, SC.  I loved her work!  It was contemporary and graphic, with dense machine quilting.  I took lots of photos, but I'm hesitant to post any without her permission.  I've haven't been able to find a website for her.  If anyone knows how to contact her, let me know!

Friday night, we ate dinner with our daughter and her friends at the DH (dining hall), before attending a Band Extravaganza - an hour long concert by the Furman Marching Band, complete with disco ball and other cool effects.  What fun, especially since our daughter plays clarinet in said band!

On Saturday, my brother and his three sons joined us for a pre-game band family picnic, a quick walk around campus, and then the highlight of the weekend - the Furman vs. Delaware football game.  Furman won!  And the band was phenomenal!

Sunday we went to church with our daughter, her friends, and their parents.  Before leaving we all enjoyed a yummy breakfast out before our five hour drive home.  It was a great time!  And no, I didn't spend a dime on quilting!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Black and White with a Pop of Color

I went through a black and white phase a few years ago - couldn't get enough of it.  And I did use a lot of it making some t-shirt quilts and a pretty cool apple core quilt.  But I have TONS of it left.  I also love to hand dye my own fabric and I have a bit of a stash of that.  I designed a silhouette of a dachshund and appliqued a hand dyed doxie on a piece of black and white.  I've done a couple of these and really like them.  Can you see my fondness for doxies?  That's Mickey Blue Eyes, our dear baby.

Thinking Outside the Block

In my quest to use up my stash, I realized I've been hanging on to these vintage blocks for years.  I bought them at a "garage sale" held by the Birmingham Quilters Guild.  I think I paid $20 for them, which is amazingly inexpensive considering each block has 19 hand pieced hexagons.  Think of the time someone spent!  I have more than 50 of these!  But what to do with them?

Sewing them together was not an option - to many "in's" and "out's" for me.  I thought about appliqueing each piece on a background, but again, so many innies and outies.   Plus I want to give the wonderful fabrics a more graphic and contemporary look - the best of both worlds.

I finally decided to applique a big circle from each block onto a square background.  Now what to use for the background?  I went shopping in my stash and found four yards of muslin with the tag still pinned to it.  I have no earthly idea why I bought four yards of muslin in 2003 and never even cut into it.  This will be a good use for it, I think.

I'm using my favorite method of needleturn:
1.  On the backside of each 8" square of muslin, I traced a circle using the lid to my coffee can.
2.  I centered a hexagon block on the front of a background square, pinning it in place.
3.  Using a very heavy weight thread (like a jeans thread) I basted the circle from the back along the traced line.
4.  I trimmed out the circle about 3/16" outside the basting.
5.  I clipped away a bit of the basting thread, using my needle to turn the fabric under along the basting line and appliqueing the edge to the background.  The basting stitches make the circle a bit perforated along the edge, allowing for very easy turning under.

I think this will be a nice project, something to "take along" to bee and guild meetings.  As I get more blocks done, I'll post more photos.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pop Tab Necklace

Today's post is obviously not a quilt, but it is indeed "green."  Last month while visiting Greenville, SC, I spotted a cool necklace in the window of an art gallery.  Unfortunately the gallery was closed, so I couldn't get too close.  But I could get close enough to realize it was made from recycled pop tabs from soft drinks!  How cool is that?

Of course, like I always do, I thought, "I could make that."  Usually I don't follow through with these thoughts.  But this time I did.  I happened to have a huge collection of pop tabs saved.  Does being a quilter turn one into a hoarder?  But I digress....

So during a boring TV show, I sat and snipped pop tabs, and hooking them together.  A stack of four pop tabs makes up each link in the chain with the pretty sides out.  I made the necklace long enough to slip over my head so I wouldn't have to worry about a clasp.  It took about an hour and a half and over 150 pop tabs.  Cool, huh?

Monday, September 15, 2008



I just got a letter saying one of my quilts has been juried into a national show!!!!
I've entered a few juried shows before, but I've never had anything accepted.  A friend, Donna Leigh Jackins, gave me the entry form last month for the Quilts=Art=Quilts exhibit at the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center.  She wanted me to enter a three dimensional star quilt I recently completed.  I figured, why not?  The entry fee allowed me to enter two quilts, so I (almost randomly!) photographed another quilt and entered it, too.

Have you guessed what happened yet?  The star quilt was declined.  But they accepted the other quilt, Happy Houses!  I made the quilt top for Happy Houses at a Birmingham Quilters Guild retreat, bringing it home to do the extensive machine quilting.  It won a blue ribbon at the last BQG show.  But I never truly expected it to make it to a national show.  I'm thrilled!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Caddy for My Stuff!


I had a bee meeting earlier in the week, hosted by my friend, Patty Bischoff.  She taught us to make this cute liner to go over a plastic basket.  It has pockets both inside and out.  It was a bit complicated for me, since I'm used to making flat quilts, but it turned out well, I think.   Note the grommet for the handle to go through - very professional, I think.  Thanks, Patty, for the great lesson.

You know the drill, I couldn't buy anything to make it.  I used yardage I bought in Paducah last spring at Eleanor Burn's tent sale.  Everything there was $4 per yard!  The navy with green splotches is a Kaffe Fasset woven.  I didn't want to use up my batting, so it's filled with white felt that has been hanging around my studio for a year or so.  I'm planning to use it for my hand sewing supplies, keeping them corralled when I'm stitching in the den or on the deck.

What did I do when I finished?  I made another one!  It was fun, but I think two is enough!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Blueberry photo

A Future Quilt!

Isn't this a gorgeous photo.  My daughter and her boyfriend spent Labor Day weekend in the North Carolina mountains with his grandparents.  They hiked and picked wild blueberries.  The grandmother even made them blueberry pancakes - yum yum!

My daughter, Emily, is an amateur photographer.  Her camera goes everywhere with her.  I love the fabulous colors in the blueberries and the leaves.  I can almost taste the fruit!  Yes, when I finish up some UFO's I'm going to interpret the photo in an art quilt.  I'll keep you posted here on my progress.

It's Saturday evening, and you know what that means here in Alabama: College Football!  My hubby and I (along with the four dogs) are watching Auburn vs. Miss. St.  I have a pot of chili on the stove, ready to be topped with sour cream (light, of course) and grated cheddar cheese.  Then for dessert, I made banana pudding.  

And yes, I've made it over two weeks without buying anything for my quilting!  Yeah, me!  

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Silk Waste Flower

Silk Waste Flower

I think today deserves a bright, cheery image.  The green background is silk waste. It came in a bag of goodies I bought earlier this year at the AQS show in Paducah...before I started my current "NO BUY" plan.  I used my embellishing machine to machine felt the flower image onto the silk waste - pretty cool, I think.

I had my first real temptation this weekend.  While at the grocery store, I walked down the magazine aisle.  Yes...there were quilt magazines!  Ones I hadn't read!  I increased my speed and tried not to look.  I resisted!  Later that evening, I pulled an old quilt magazine out of a box.  I spent the next several hours reading it cover to cover.  The funny thing is, I don't even remember reading it before.  What fun I had!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mojito Mama

Before I get too far along in my blogging journey, I felt I must introduce you to my muse, Mojito Mama.  I bought this simple wooden dress form a couple of years ago at a thrift store.  I painted her in a graphic leaf motif using acrylic paints, topping her off with a coat of varnish.  I gave her popsicle stick arms with mojito bottle cap hands.  For her face, I used a face rubber stamp on muslin, stuffing it a bit with fiberfil.  I cut the bottom from a soda can and then cut the remaining sides in slits to giver her some hair.  I glued the fabric fabric face in the soda can bottom, adding pop top earring for some style.  A girl's got to have some cool earrings!  

Recycling Men's Shirts

As recent empty nesters, my husband, Mark and I have been cleaning out closets.  I know, not the most romantic way to spend our new togetherness time, but we really want to downsize our "stuff" with out downsizing our home.  Our goal is to get more organized so our house will be easier to maintain.

He had a pile of shirts ready to be sent to a nearby charity.  Yes, I dug through and pulled out several for my quilting adventures! 

It's amazing how much fabric is in a man's shirt.  I'm using a small square ruler (I think it's 4 or 5 inches).  There are so many quilt patterns using squares as a starting point, so I thought that would be a great way to start.  In just minutes I made a few sample blocks. 

This will make a great masculine quilt, I think.  One fabulous aspect of the shirting fabric is that they've been laundered so much, making them SUPER SOFT.  And they were throw-away shirts, at that.  And don't worry, I left plenty of shirts for the charity!    

Monday, September 1, 2008

Making use of old neckties

A few years ago, my husband's office held an "Ugly Tie" Contest.  Everyone brought in an ugly tie from their past.  And I do mean UGLY!  There were some doozies!  A vote was held to determine the ugliest of them all.

Then came the real fun, for me at least.  The ties were passed on to me to make an art quilt.  I chose to use various New York beauty blocks.  After taking apart each tie, I carefully fused the fabric to fusible interfacing before paper piecing each block.  I did add some cotton fabric here and there so the quilt would be a good size.

Don't you just love it?  It just goes to show you, even the ugliest fabrics can be part of a beautiful quilt.  Have you made a quilt with neckties?  Send me you photos, tips, and stories!