Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

All Kinds of Good Stuff

A great big welcome to all the folks coming here from SewCalGal’s tutorial and Fun Friday Giveaway! I enjoyed doing the tutorial on quilting marbled fabric, especially thanks to SewCalGal’s sponsoring the Free Motion challenge this year. Hopefully you’ll leave comments about what you might do with the marbled fabric. What I want to announce today is a new part of the website and blog, for those of use who use – or have used marbled fabrics – in your quilting and assorted sewing projects.

When we first started our website (back in 1997….and a few changes along the way as we learned a whole lot!), we had part of the site to show off people’s projects who used the fabric in their quilts. We’d like to start that again. If you check here, you will see some of the very early quilts I did that used marbled fabrics. When I first started using the fabrics, after we began to learn in 1992, I pretty much put everything with black. I was rather afraid of color at that point. One cyber friend who paid us a visit back in 2002 said, “Let me take a fat quarter and see what I can do with it,” and a week later she came back with a completely quilted piece of fabric. Oh my, it was gorgeous.

That’s what started me actually quilting the fabric. It took a while to get the speed and rhythm down for the free motion and the stippling, but it made such an impression on the appearance of the fabric. At the time we were just making fabric and selling it, not really paying attention to the actual quilting of it. Along the way, several artists bought some and began to incorporate it into their quilts. Kathy Nida used some in one of her first quilts that got accepted into a show, in 1999. To this day I love looking very carefully through her work to see remnants of fabrics she’s purchased from us.

A Study in Flesh by Kathy Nida

We’re on a mission to have people use marbling in their artwork. Send us a picture of how you use the fabric, whether you actually quilt the fabric or just use it in a more traditional manner. We’ll get you up with credit on both a blog page, as well as the web gallery.

Good lick with the giveaway – the fabrics are really quite pretty – and I want to see what you do. Plus….I’m doing a newsletter within the next week, so be sure to sign up to receive the monthly missive, and we always give away some fabric each month. Use the box on the upper right. Check out Ebay and Etsy as other sources for marbled fabrics, and you can always order direct from us.

Happy quilting!

Reconnecting with Friends

We just finished a fabulous dinner and conversation with an old friend we had lost touch with some 15 or so years ago. Ann and I both taught in Phoenix in the late 70s and early 80s. We called hereafter her wedding to tell her a math job was waiting for her. We saw her first chIld, Ryan, at a few weeks old. Then there was Tyler and Evan, and finally Kate. She moved to Maryland, and we shortly followed.  We worked together for a commercial learning center, and then she headed west and we went back to Vermont.

Tonight we reconnected and ended up sharing math stories. Turns out we became exactly the same kind of  math teacher….crazy, willing to do weird things, sing….in short, whatever it took to help kids learn math. Ann ordered a gift basket a few months back, and I was thrilled to realize it was my old friend….after trying to google anything I could remember about her family to try and find her again.

Ann got me first interested in quilting back in Maryland, and maybe next year we’ll be able to meet up at Road2 California. All I do know is that this evening was magical, seeing grown kids and grandchildren and having great conversation. Ann, thanks for a great evening,my friend!

Monday Marketing


 Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness…..and I could go on! What an amazing four days of art we just had….and we did quite a bit of marketing along the way. We just returend from Road 2 California – my first large quilt show since Market in 2003, and hubby’s first large quilt show. Two days of amazing quilts (photos to follow this week, after I get myself reoriented to basic life here….), plus a day at the Getty Museum – and coping with I-405….interesting experience there……

One of the best things I did in preparation for the show was bring three really great fat quarters with me, just in case someone was “interested” in seeing marbled fabric. One fat quarter went to the “quilt royalty” that was at the show, and one went to Susan Else, the guest artist – she will definitely have something different to use in her sculptures.

It was really helpful as we were looking at some of the cool tools to pull out the actual fabric and ask questions very specific to its use. This was particularly true at the Pellon booth, as we were talking we began to realize that if we are to take our fiber work to the next level, we need to seriously consider what is used in between the layers. We looked at embroidery machines, as I really would like to include some machine embroidery in the new pieces, and we had a fascinating discussion with the Brother people that could potentially lead to some licensing opportunities.

I collected a lot of business cards, as there was either a really interesting tool or embellishment I want to share. Hardly any book dealers, which is why I may need to consider Market this year or next. Speaking of books….I got home to about 300 emails, one of which was a request for photos to be in a book. That’s definitely a follow-through for this week. Renewed my Quilt Show membership so I can keep up with what’s happening in the field.

Interesting marketing observations. One company with really interesting hand-painted fabric doesn’t have a website. They only sell at shows. They don’t want to photograph fabric so people can see exactly what they are going to buy. I understand that; that’s precisely why there are some online venues that won’t take us, because they feel the need to photograph every piece of fabric. That’s why we sell on eBay and Etsy – what you see is what you get. We have a note on our ordering page on our website about why there aren’t pictures. We don’t get many orders off the website, but that’s okay, because we have other venues. No hand-marbled fabrics at the show, but there was a booth with commercial marbled fabric; nice line of fabric, much more subtle than what has been released by major companies in the last few years. Lots of quilts made up – using a stained glass approach – using the marbled fabric. Interesting to see.

Some booths had absolutely no information, beyond a business card with only an email. I tried making notes, but I figured there’s no way I’d be sharing that information. No web presence, and no pictures allowed to let people know what was available. Hopefully they make enough doing shows to make it worth their while. We couldn’t do that; the press of making fabric for our Seattle trip is enough.

It’s probably the most fun to put names and faces to cyber contacts and to ooh and aah at the gorgeous artwork. We went through the quilts twice, making sure we didn’t miss anything, and trying to find time to just enjoy the quality workmanship. I wouldnt have been able to take this amount of time had I not been retired…..

And after all that, as I was perusing and cleaning out emails, I stumbled across this older email that I hadn’t read, from resident web guru Suzan. I know there are more applications to marketing than meets the eye, but since we artists rely on our hands to make our art, this seems interesting food for thought. A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design.

Stay tuned – lots of pictures in the works!!!

Top Ten Tuesday


Slow start to reading on the web this week – lots of sewing of my own, a couple of major projects in the works, and the beginning of marbling about 400 fat quarters….going to be a couple of busy months!

From MAD MAgazine this week comes their take on Person of the Year – The Molester….

And…if you still need a few last minute gifts, MAD presents the Tweety Bird Smoke Alarm……

If you are watching TV on line, you no doubt have seen (countless times…) the commercials for Omni Heat and Columbia Sportswear. Cool Hunting has a brief ad showing the inner workings of this heated clothing. The company is also using the “Ice Man,” Wim Hof. This guy actually can control his body temperature and do things most of us consider nuts. He’s quite the spokesperson.

Now here’s a project for you chess lovers...”When a Bobbin is Just a Pawn.” Really clever! I just think this is so cool!

Like many of us, I came to art quilting via several other craft routes, primarily crewel embroidery in the seventies. I did several Erica Wilson designs, and I loved everything she created. I was saddened to here of her passing, as she was pretty incredible – the NYTimes calling her the Julia Child of embroidery.

Andrea Mohin, NYTimes

From The Best Article Every Day comes 5 Things You Should Stop Doing in 2012. Perfect for this time of year.

I’ve been fairly grinch-like this season, just objecting to all the crass commercialism, but I do think this lights-video is one of the classier ones over the last few years. Amazing the technology – and more so the actual set-up of the lights on the house……

And this last is worth an additional three – a really gorgeous short movie by Sharon Wright called Change for a Dollar……perfect for this holiday season.

Have a wonderful holiday and may you have peace and blessings throughout the new year!

The Events in Tucson….

The cosmos is seriously out of whack and crying today.

I got home from school on Friday and sat down to read my email and Facebook, the daily practice in this computer age. I had an email from Gabrielle Giffords inviting me to an even called Congress on Your Corner. During this past election season I had helped walk the streets for our Democratic candidates, especially a new School Superintendent, passing out literature for Gabby, as she’s known to supporters here. I looked at this email, and the political science person in me said, cool. This is the way we are supposed to meet and talk to our congress-persons.

I contemplated getting hubby to go over, as I would like to meet Gabrielle Giffords some day. I wanted to tell her to hold strong against the rhetoric that is coming from the new Congress and for her to continue to represent us as best as she could, while maintaining her values. I also wanted to tell her I was disappointed that some of her ads in the last campaign were objectionable. I wanted her to be above the mud-slinging, but I recognize the inevitability of having to counter her opponent. Still, the idealistic part of me that worships this flag and Constitution want our public servants to be that and not politicians.

The time frame of the event just wasn’t going to work for us. Doctor appointment in the morning, weekend errands to run, and the event was on the other side of the city. We got home for lunch and checked Facebook to find Tucson was now right up there with Columbine, Ft. Hood, Oklahoma City and Dallas. We were glued to the television set for the rest of the day. Friends from Vermont who know me and know I do tend to be politically active called to make sure I hadn’t gone grocery shopping. Ironically when we moved to Tucson, that had been our grocery, we had banked there, and now one of our favorite restaurants, Beyond Bread, had opened up on that corner. We wondered how they would handle the increase in traffic.

The social media aspect was very evident to me. I was watching the news channels, and two hours after the shooting there didn’t seem to be enough information. I was hungry for more. What was her condition? Who was the shooter? Who else was hurt? I even turned to Fox News to see what I could hear. And then I remembered I was on Twitter, although not regularly.

Twitter was certainly active. To my amazement I saw how quickly news could travel. I read that Gabrielle Giffords had died, and I felt a punch to the stomach. Why did this keep  happening in this country? Then I read about Sarah Palin’s “gun sights” on her webpage that had suddenly disappeared from cyberspace. I posted on Facebook that there had been tweets she had died. I was frustrated with the local stations for not confirming, for not giving us more information.After all, it had been on Twitter…how could we not know? Then I stopped reading Twitter, concentrated on Facebook, and channel-surfed for information.

The difference between now and 1963 with the media is dramatic. Then we waited patiently for news. We were glued to our TV sets as long as possible. It was the first assassination to be televised. We as a nation were stunned, regardless of our political leanings. Then when Jack Ruby was murdered live before our eyes, we wondered what else could possibly happen to us as a nation. Now we watch scenes over and over, becoming immune to the shock visually, but still heart-stunned.

All this time I’m thinking, this was only a matter of time before some nutcase pulled a gun and started firing. I hoped whomever it was wasn’t Hispanic. That would have been the match to the fuse here in Tucson. I must congratulate the news outlets here in Tucson. As much as I was frustrated, they held the course, let us know only when things were confirmed, kept their cool, no rhetoric beyond their own sadness. They cautioned us to listen closely for confirmed reports. NRP had to retract that Giffords was dead. The news conference at the hospital gave us hope, and at the same time sucker-punched us again when we heard a nine-year-old girl had died.

All of this is inexcusable, but that was a very cruel joke. Then later in the evening we learn Christine-Taylor Green was a 9/11 baby, interested in politics, and had just been elected to her student council. She was there with a neighbor to meet the Congresswoman. At times like this you wonder about God.

One of our most respected judges in this crazy state died. Judge Roll went to mass as he usually did and then decided to stop by to say hi to his friend the Congresswoman. At times like this you wonder about God.

An up-and-coming congressional aide trying to bring democracy to the streets and people of Tucson was doing his job and was gunned down. He was 30. At times like this you wonder about God.

Three others are dead, names and no background. Six are still injured. Who are they, what about their lives? And what about the “second gunman,” another person of interest? Is he a second gunman? Was he the mastermind? So many questions and no answers….

Tomorrow will be an interesting day at my high school, the flash-point for an Arizona state bill on ethnic studies, targeting a program at my specific high school. How will the students react to all this? I know many will say “let’s just shoot the bastard.” And it will be up to me and the other educators to convince them that violence doesn’t solve anything – to students who already live with violence in their lives as they cope with an inner city environment. It will be up to me to get them to listen to facts before they make judgments, to try and listen to all sides before they jump to conclusions. It will be up to me to convince them that they really do need algebra in their lives, in the midst of all this tragedy.

And it will be up to me to show them sadness and coping. That I can cry, not because I knew them, but because this hurts us all. Not because I dislike what is happening to the United States, but because I know the amazing potential that we can be if we work at it together, unified in heart and soul.

Monday Marketing – An Art Fair Checklist

This is a guest post from Moshe Mikanovsky, who has written a couple of posts for FineArtViews about preparing for an art fair. It has loads of great information in it, so enjoy! And then, check out Fine Art Views – great information.

My First Art Fair Checklist

by Moshe Mikanovsky

This article is by Moshe Mikanovsky, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews.  You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.

I am doing my first art fair in a few days. Yes, I have done a lot of online marketing efforts in the past, but I felt that it was comfortable enough to hide behind a computer in the virtual world, but now it was time to get out of my comfort zone, and expose my art, and myself, to the real world. So, in the past six months I tried to exhibit in as many art shows as I could; some I got in and some not. And for this summer and the season of outdoor art fairs, I was accepted to one of the shows.

But now that I am actually in, it dawned on me that I know close to nothing about the preparations for such an undertaking. I have walked many shows and saw what other artists are doing, but from looking-at to actually doing it, there is a big difference.

So the first place I looked for information was, of course, the Internet. My searches, surprisingly enough, didn’t bring me the amount of information and blog posts that I was expecting. I am not sure why, as there are many artists who participate in hundreds of such event on a yearly basis. I did find couple of good posts, and some suggestions, mainly on art forums. I also went to an orientation meeting at the Artists’ Network, the organization that runs the show, and had a chance to learn and get many excellent tips.

Here is a quick summary of what I learned. I  hope it will help other artists who are planning to do it for the first time. I am also looking to hear from the more savvy art-fair artists about their experiences. Given the fact that I am writing it before the show, I am probably missing a few things. I will write another post after the show, and see how it will differ from this one…


*After debating how much work I should have, I opted to bring between 20-30 paintings, in different sizes. This way I hope to have enough to hang on the walls of my tent (see below), with some extra if (and when) I sell some of the work. My paintings are not very large, so I have enough room for 5-10 on each wall. Different sizes will have different price tags, catering to varied buyers’ budgets.

*One of the best pieces of advice I gotten is to keep all the art work similar. This way, the visitors will “understand” me as an artist and things will make sense to them. This made the decision on which paintings to bring easier – I picked the style I am mostly known for, and for which I am recognized, and everything that doesn’t fit this style, I am leaving behind. As much as I want to sell some of my other work, I think it will hurt my display rather than help it.

*In the same logic, I framed all my artwork in the same frame profile and color. No mix and match, just one simple black frame. Looks very sleek!

*I wanted to sell also Giclee prints, but after checking with the show organizers, I realized I can only show original paintings. I was a bit disappointed about that, but I have a plan! I will market my prints, especially those that the original artwork is on display. More details below in the Marketing section…


*The tent had to be white and 10’ x 10’. The color is very important. I have seen in the past, darker tents and the experience in them is terrible. First, they feel like a cave and on hot days it’s even worse. Moreover, the color of the tent changes the color of the art! And no one wants that, right?

*Being on a tight budget, I opted to borrow a tent from an artist friend rather than buying or renting one. If I didn’t have budget restrictions, I would probably rent one, just because it’s my first show. So I prefer to see first if I like it or not, and after that, if I decide to go to many others, to invest in a good tent.

*It was important for me to practice putting up the tent. I have about couple of hours to set everything up on the morning of the first day of the show, so I need to make sure I know what I am doing. So I asked my friend to show me how to put it together, and then I did it again at home, in my back yard.

*The last thing is preparing for rain. I hope and pray for beautiful weather on the show’s weekend, but we have to be ready for every eventuality. All tents are NOT waterproof. Their fabric is usually resistant to water, but the seams can leak. To prepare them, I have to use a seam sealer (purchased at a local Canadian Tires in the camping department). Now, I am waiting for the last minute with this… Not sure if it’s smart or not, but my plan is to seal the seams (on my friend’s tent) once I know the weather forecast.

Display system

*Here, I had the hardest time to find a way to present my artwork nicely and still on a low budget. In the end, I found on one of the forums a suggestion to use concrete enforcement wire mesh. These are sold at the hardware store (like Home Depot). I got 3 of them, each is 4’x8’. I will hang each on a wall frame using white twine. At first I thought to spray paint them white, so they will blend more with the white tent, but eventually I decided to just keep them in their original dark-gray metal color. The only thing I did was to cut their extra wire on all ends, about 2 inches on each wire. These just stick out and I’m afraid they will poke someone’s eye…

*To hang the paintings on the mesh wire, I will use S hooks. When I built the tent in my backyard, I mounted one of the meshes, and tried everything, and it works!


*There are a few things I printed for the show: Business cards (with my logo image, all contact info and websites), postcards, and a sign for the tent with my logo.

* I prepared few clear acrylic free standing frames, bought at the dollar store, with some images of my prints, licensed products, commissioned work, etc.

*I made a portfolio with my CV, artist’s statement, printed articles from local press, list of printed work, images of all my licensed artwork and prints, and all other art related services I offer. I also included a blog post that details my inspiration for the style of artwork I am into. This is a full package that anyone interested can browse, and get more details about me. I could have done it also with a laptop and have my website and blog on, but no access to power supply, and a short battery time on my laptop, will make that a problem.

*I have another marketing idea I am playing with, but I am keeping it a surprise for now. If I end up using it, I will tell you all about it!

*I also got a nice guest book, can’t forget that! Good advice is to put titles on each page, directing people for the information I want them to fill – their name, email address, and comments.

Other supplies

Wow, there is so much under “other supplies”… My packing list is quite long. A few of the things I have in it are:

*Comfort – hat, sun glasses, sun block, hands sanitizer, headache medicine (hopefully I won’t need that!), water, snacks, change of clothes, high chair (don’t use a low one, better to be high to keep eye contact with potential buyers), Kleenex.

*Paperwork – sales permit, receipts pad, credit card processing paperwork (luckily, as a member of the Artists’ Network, I can use their service for Credit Card processing), some cash money, calculator, price list and price tags, pens, notebook.

*And some more: table and table cloth, trolley, bubble wrap to wrap sold paintings, duct tape, masking tape, scotch tape, scissors, cutting knife, safety pins, garbage bags, Windex and paper towels.

Did I miss anything? Probably. Quite a lot of things to arrange!

So wish me luck! And share with me your tips from your experience. And if you are in Toronto, I would love to see you at the Riverdale Art Walk.


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Top Ten from the Web

Even though I haven’t been blogging much lately, and not reading my usual blogs, I have still managed to accumulate some really interesting websites. When I go back through all the bookmarks, I am reminded about what an awesome thing the internet is. You can find just about anything, and then some. While I so enjoy the eye candy from fiber sites, there are still so many things that interest me. Here’s a mere ten for this week. I’m going to try and get back in the habit of doing this once a week.

Cabinet magazine cover

Cabinet Magazine(from the website) Cabinet is an award-winning quarterly magazine of art and culture that confounds expectations of what is typically meant by the words “art,” “culture,” and sometimes even “magazine.” Like the 17th-century cabinet of curiosities to which its name alludes, Cabinet is as interested in the margins of culture as its center. Presenting wide-ranging, multi-disciplinary content in each issue through the varied formats of regular columns, essays, interviews, and special artist projects, Cabinet‘s hybrid sensibility merges the popular appeal of an arts periodical, the visually engaging style of a design magazine, and the in-depth exploration of a scholarly journal.

Sounds like a potentially great look into today’s art and culture!

Homework shelters

Homework – Hand-Built Shelters – (from the website) features: homes, cabins, cottages, bungalows, homesteads,   sheds, shacks, huts, treehouses, bottle houses, yurts, hogans, tipis, tents, beach shacks, stilt houses, greenhouses, small houses designs, and MORE!

The sheer scope of different types of homes boggles the mind.

A Moment in Time – from the Lens project to document one moment of one day on the earth. As the site says, “make no plans for the rest of the day.” You get to look at photos from around the world, all taken at the same time on the same day – a great look at “us.”

When Graphic Artists Get Bored – a great selection of graphic art. Take a good close look – you won’t be disappointed!

Real World Math – Using Google Earth in the Math Curriculum. Oh, to use this in the classroom – and if this had only been available when I was in school! My ideal job would be a curriculum coordinator for Google Earth. I would never be off the computer!

While I have had my own blog about teaching, I occasionally read others, like this one – A Teacher’s Education. I can so relate, and if you are a teacher and any good in the classroom, you will relate, too.

Urban Homestead

Urban Homestead – since I have become very interested in sustainability and locally grown food, I found this interesting. Path to Freedom – the Original Modern Urban Homestead.

The Scribbler – be prepared to waste lots of time, because after all, you have to get good at this – scribbling, that is…who knew it could be so much fun to just doodle – no, make that scribble, and in color – and you can save them! Here’s info about how it got started. You have been warned…..

Quantum Learning – Visiting Auschwitz –  interesting blog. “Help build a world where everyone is valued irrespective of wealth, origin, colour or beliefs and conflicts are solved peacefully. Here you’ll learn how to do this in day to day life.”

Gray Eagles

And finally, Gray Eagles , a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the stories of World War II pilots. “The Gray Eagles Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping aviation history alive through dynamic audio-visual media created to educate and inspire those from all generations. Specifically, it is our hope that our films will encourage others to share their stories, and by doing so, build family connections, foster community, and nurture a culture of multi-generational understanding and respect.” After all, the past is prologue.

Other Top Ten Website articles:

Thoughts for a Thursday

Sunday Sampler

Top Ten Tuesday – Cool Stuff

Visual Delights

Visual Delights 2

Top Ten Tuesday – July

Top Ten Tuesday – San Diego

Top Ten Tuesday – Getting Here

Back Again…

I really can’t let this amount of time go by between posts – I miss the writing, and I miss hearing from fellow bloggers. I am SO behind in reading my blogs – trying to get them all transferred over from Blogger, but there’s this time element….School ends in four days, so things have been quite hectic here. I have a list of things to get finished before leaving for our trip, so I need to stay focused and busy.

I neglected to mention my Salmon Run was accepted into Fish Follies this year. The postmark deadline was April 25, and at 6 PM I was sending off the jpgs. Thank heavens for email entries!! Last Tuesday I sewed on the sleeve and packed it for its trip to Alaska.

Salmon Run

Salmon Run

This is some of my best quilting, and I am looking forward to finishing my Desert Heat quilt, as well as a few other projects, after the trip. Michelle, my S&B buddy, is coming over tomorrow, and we are going to work with some Texture Magic to create some new purses. Should be fun to just do some mindless sewing after such intense free motion quilting.

I have some ideas in mind for a couple of wearable garments for a potential show in October that I have been invited to. I want one of the garments to be made from thread fabric, and I have been making some piles of thread from my “bad threads” so I can start working on pieces for that. Also, when we are back from our trip, we plan on marbling in the big tray and creating some larger pieces of silk, so I have some decent yardage to work with for a floor-lenght vest I am thinking about.

In preparation for traveling, I spent some time creating a marketing postcard to take with me, as hubby and I love strolling galleries, and ya just never know….Thanks to VistaPrint , you can get things done cheaply and quickly. I have cards ready to go, and I am also working on cards for other members of our Mixed Media Arts group.

The Art of Marbling

I will be taking pens and sketchpads with me on the trip – looking forward to finding some nice tree bark and sketch away. And I want to get back to some zentangles – I enjoy doing those, and it’s been several months. Read their blog – these are really cool! Here’s a few of my favorites from last autumn…

More hopefully tomorrow – there’s been loads of amazing stuff on the web lately.

What next?

So I sent the jpgs off to the museum for this show. This was a strange entry and experience. In the past when I have entered this show, my entry is usually done way ahead of time, and the CD is in the mail early. This time I went right to the deadline, and I’m still not sure about the piece. In the past, I usually had a piece I’d started two or three years ago, let a year go by, added some more, let another year go by, and then inspiration hit and I finished the piece and felt “wow.”

This year I spent a solid week working on this, changing the theme, flipping the orientation, and really loving the quilting. Several  months ago the art group suggested changing the border from a maroon corduroy to a blue that would pull out the blue of the marbling. Well, the blue reads as a gray, and I’m not sure it works well. But my corners are mitered beautifully – and I had to redo them a couple of times, since it’s been a number of years since I did mitered corners.

I just have to wait to see if it’s accepted. The close-ups should do it, as the quilting is some of the best I have ever done, and it really adds to the piece. It is photographed well, with light from the side to accent the textures in the piece.

We shall see.....

That said, the question now becomes “what next?” I didn’t think it would be a problem, as I have two other quilt tops ready to go for quilting, and I really want to play with the new threads. But it seems to be a more global question for me. Not just what’s next for the next piece, but what’s next in building the business? How can I have items to sell up on line, as suggested in building the blogs for business? How do I set up the subscription list? How do I keep up with writing each night? And how do I keep up with improving my skills and creating art I am happy with? I need to take some time to just think about this, but when I try that, I get incredibly overwhelmed with what has to happen to build everything. There are so many things to do, and I really  don’t know where to begin.

So rather than think about things, I sat outside tonight for the first time all season and just read. I’ll look at the goals tomorrow and see that I am another month closer to my deadline of adding $500 a month to the business and wonder how I’ll do it. Take it a day at a time….start the new quilting tomorrow on the Desert Heat piece and just see what happens.

PS – I love the Bottom Line thread – I want more to use for the backs of the quilts. But for Desert Heat, I am using a Bryte green on the back, which is a green dyed piece, and Bryte yellow and orange on the front to accent the heat. Just need to get a marker to mark my circles and then I’m ready to go – I even hand-basted this, which I rarely do.

Midnight Musings

I woke up a few times last night, thinking about this piece – mainly, was there too much quilting? I have avoided looking at it today, as I want to wait till I have better light tomorrow to really evaluate what’s going on.  I have so enjoyed quilting this – I love the Superior Threads – NOT ONCE has the thread broken, and there’s a lot of it on this piece. I need to look at the threads I have again, as I think I want to use something for the sky that just gives texture but no emphasis on the stitches. Trouble is, I do not have clear invisible thread, just smoky, and that definitely won’t work. And now that I understand about nylon as an invisible thread, I’m not even considering using the old stuff.

I may cut off about two inches, as I’m not sure about the puffiness at the very bottom – it is the bottom, and I do want the emphasis on the “fish,” and I think the extra texture will work. The big problem is the decisions to be made on the upper part that is supposed to represent more of the sunrise. Definitely less stitching, just don’t know what thread yet.

Here’s link to the original piece, with almost no quilting, and a bad border. I said in the post I would be willing to take the quilting out – which I have now done twice…..I’m looking forward to quilting tomorrow…just need to be done with a border on for pics on Saturday.

Quilting Like Crazy

Work in progress - Salmon Sunrise

There is a show I enter each year, and I have been juried in four out of four times I have entered. This year I didn’t have anything in mind, until I took out a piece of fabric and tried some thread changes. Well, all of a sudden the sunrise piece became Salmon Sunrise, as the quilting started to look like scales.

I stopped with the quilting until I went to the School of Threadology. I got help not only with threads, but  in how I do my free motion quilting. All of a sudden I was able to do all the tight quilting, and on Saturday, I spent time – about four hours, on the piece.

I wasn’t sure at one point last week that I would be able to get the piece done in time for photos and email for entry. But four hours on Saturday and three hours on Sunday convinced me I just might make the deadline.

I am really pleased with the quilting. The only concern is too much? I have over half of it quilted, and I love the bubbles. I have some decisions to make on the top half, and I think I will decrease the amount of quilting with the darker threads, as there is quite a bit of light design at the top. Maybe just a few rows, but I want the “sunrise” effect to really show through. The bubbles have worked out well.

Work in progress

As I look at the finished portions, there is an extra layer of texture that is visible when the light is right. I am going to have to rein my quilting in, as not every line has to have thread. Ths can be fish jumping from the water. I need to keep the top third less “heavy” than the bottom, watery fishy part.

This has been so relaxing. It has been a very long time since I have done this kind of art quilting. In fact, it took about 5 years for this piece to speak to me again. Initially it was just a sunrise, with a few wavy lines, but I didn’t like the way it hung on the wall – too much emptiness. I had a suggestion to change the border frame from a maroon to  blue, and use some light blue thread on the piece.  Once I started there, it just took off. The bubbles are not an original thought – I saw something similar done on quilts when I was in Utah, and that got me thinking about bubbles. It helps to break up the amount of quilting done on the marbled pattern.

All in all, an extremely productive three days of quilting – even though it took five years to get to this point.

Work in progress

5 Things I’ve Learned About Thread Play

The magic of creating thread fabric

One of the things we got to do at our conference was look at samples of thread work, particularly creating “fabric” from just threads of all kinds. Heather, fondly known as Mother Superior, had two spectacular vests created just from threads. Cindy taught us how to use Dissolve to make a sandwich of threads and then stitch over them and run water over the Dissolve, which would do just that. She made it look so easy.

Well, mine wasn’t nearly as gorgeous as this top piece – part of one of Heather’s vests. Mine is about three inches square, with loose threads all over, and barely staying together. But I did learn a great deal:

1. Don’t do your first piece with nothing but shiny threads. Those shiny threads are incredibly slippery and ease out all over the place.

2. Don’t try to be so structured when you stitch on top of the Dissolve to hold everything together. I tend to be so linear sometimes, that when I was done, the grid holding everything together was way too noticeable.

3. Refer to your references when choosing your thread, bobbin, and tension. My lessons were not lost on me when I pulled out my reference sheet from Cindy’s class to check what to use in my bobbin (Bottom Line) with Glitter in the top, and to be sure to set my bobbin tension at a one to start.

4. Check the needle size. I can remember the very first time I worked with some metallics (not Superior’s) – I had no idea a) the thread had to come off the spool a certain way, and b) I had to use a larger needle. I do now, and it was flawless.

5. I need to let my inner artist loose. Try something with lots of different threads on top of the Dissolve – like trying some bobbin work – which I’ve only done twice, and I do plan on doing lots more.

Welcome to My New Home!!

Thanks for joining me here, as I move everything over from Blogspot and Blogger. I have learned that I don’t own my content on Blogger, and I want to protect my work and images, so now I have my own new home, thanks to Suzan at Saltwater Systems and WordPress. Please follow along on these adventures. I have LOADS of art-related posts coming as a result of a busy March and April.

Suzan and I decided in November to treat ourselves to the School of Threadology, hosted by Superior Threads. We spent the next few months in anticipation, never realizing what an absolutely AMAZING time we would have. These three days in April are the BEST education I have had in my art career, and by far the best educational conference I’ve attended (and there have been many!).

There were so many wonderful moments, and I will just do a lot of blog posts with wonderful art quilts, and lots of Japanese philosophy (kaizen – continuous improvement) which permeates everything Bob and Heather Purcell do at Superior Threads.

I’ll start with the first morning, and a tour of the warehouse, where we had our own labeled boxes for easy shopping (better than a candy store!).

A Candy Store of Thread!!

Cindy Needham was our first instructor, and does she do amazingly beautiful work. She quilts on silk (yummy), as well as on antique linens. I’ll let her work speak for itself. Be sure to click on the pic and see some of her incredible detailed quilting.

Purple Silk with Threadwork

More Amazing Threadwork - look clasely....

Another look at the Purple Silk

Look at the exquisite stitching.

Closeup of Stitching

Another close-up of stitching

Pearl work

This doesn’t even begin to scratch the beauty we were exposed to. Many, many more quilts and closeups of thread work to come. Truly an amazing experience!

Cupids, Cupcakes, and Champagne

Nice way to start for Valentine’s Day! We were driving around yesterday, trying to find a small art gathering we had gotten an invitation to, called “Cupids, Cupcakes, and Champagne.” They did have quite a spread. This was a group of 13 artists who set up in the parking lot and offices of an interior design firm to sell their wares. It was done very well, and located close enough to the main street to get drive-by traffic. Not a lot of parking, but I think people would go out of their way to park and walk back to the group.

Our small mixed media group has talked about finding venues for our work, as opposed to doing the show circuit. We are doing our first show on March 6th, which will be the first for most of the members of the group. It will be interesting to see how we all do, how each of us does, and overall how the event goes.

So here’s shots of Cupids, Cupcakes, and Champagne.

Another Convert to the Coven of Quilting…..

Michelle and I manage to complement each other so well – we really are the Sarcasm Twins. Every time we hit the quilt store, Michelle ends up spending money – well, so do I but a lot less…most times….except for the time I bought a whole bolt……

Anyway, after our first foray together, making fabric bowls a year ago, we decided to go to Strippers’ Club, and Michelle REALLY caught the quilting bug. So Monday nights are “learn to quilt” night at my place. Learning to use the rotary cutter, she started in on her first quilt. Lots of laughter and sarcasm and helpful hints (at least I think they’re helpful) – and I even got some work done.

Use the design wall to see how strips are working out, and then careful lessons in pressing – not ironing…..ask me how I know the difference – this new quilt I think will not have stretched at all….

…and a finished product! One block down and 19 to go….stay tuned for more next week….another convert to the world of fabric stashes!

Speaking of stashes – I need 140 strips for the new quilt class in one more week, so I have been ransacking my stash for a scrappy look to this new quilt – behold the 80 strips I have cut so far….and lots more to go through……

ass="level-0" value="113">Tim Gunn
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