Saturday, February 28, 2009


One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.
A. A. Milne

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
Albert Einstein

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.
Arthur Koestler

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly.
Buckminster Fuller

All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
Pablo Picasso

Friday, February 27, 2009

Inspiration Found!

The beginning of 6 inches of snow yesterday, and hours for commuters to get home from work.

I have to admit that blogging has brought on a new inspiration for me. Checking out my friends blogs each day and seeing how much they get done is very encouraging. And it's sort of that inspiration you feel when leaving a Minnesota Contemporary Quilters meeting, but by the time you get home it's late at night and it's time to hit the sack because you are sleepy from all the pizza after the meeting. By checking out their blogs I can get inspiration from my friends any time of the day!

I machine quilted that blue and white wallhanging. If I don't machine quilt everyday any skill I master goes down the drain fast. (Now that my bathroom sink drain works I can use that analogy). These two photos are the back, which is a muslin. I think I want to use paintsticks to color in the different sections. The back can possible become the new front.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hopefully this week will go better than last week!

I've been pretty good lately about using sewing to relieve stress. Usually it creates stress. Just plugging away at it is what has helped the most. On monday we had Roto rooter come out to fix my bathroom drain and the rooter roto'd right through the pipe and we had black sewage water cascade from the 2nd floor all the way down to the basement, with lovely waterfall all over the kitchen stove and the cupboards with food in them. 80 yo cast-iron pipes aren't what they used to be! Of course my anxiety-filled self thought this was very traumatic and it took a couple days for me to feel 'normal' again. (What is normal, anyhow?)

I mailed my bark cards, and also made a 2nd bark piece that I made into a wallhanging. Although the bark piece looks good, I put a back on it and discovered that heat 'n bond LITE is worthless. I'm very pleased with how it looks and I'm going to bring it to MCQ tonight.

I took a picture of all 6 cards together. Mine is the lower left corner.

Upper left corner is Marianne Bishops of Quincy MA. She used several techniques which resulted in a card that looks and feels like real bark. She's 'the one' who has never met me but sent me over 1,500 perfectly cut 1-1/4" squares of different fabric for my Almond Joy quilt!

Upper middle "Quaking Aspen" Franki Kohler of Oakland CA is white felt and dryer lint!

Upper right corner is from Bonnie Sabel of Vancouver WA. She used a few techniques that include cheesecloth, elmers glue and freshly ground coffee grounds!

Lower left corner is mine, my technique is posted at

Lower middle is from Karen Musgrave of Naperville IL and she used raw edge applique.

Lower right corner is from Catherine Sorenson of Guttenberg IA, she used a brown fabric for the background that she painted and then felted wool felted on top with machine quilting.

I am so pleased with this trade. I had an idea how I was going to make mine with a certain product that I bought years ago, but after procrastinating for months because I couldn't find the stuff I had to figure out something else. I am very happy that it went that way because I love the bark cards I made. They were really fun. So fun I made two and kept one for the wallhanging. It is 15" wide and 17" long.

Now if I could figure out how to frame those 6 postcards together, I'd like to do that.

Back in January I put together these old blue and white blocks that a Boise Quilt Group had done for me years ago. They didn't fit together and none of the lines are straight. I had a tough time trying straighten them out when I was pin-basting it and then gave up. I'm machine quilting on it for a little practice. Along the while of doing that I'm discovering how badly my machine's tension is off and I'm trying to tweak it along the way.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Postmark'd Art Elements Exchange: Bark

In Postmark'd Art our Elements postcard exchange is probably all done except for me...late as usual.
We're all suppose to make a 12 x 12" block of "Bark" and then cut it into 6 postcards, mailing 5 and keeping one for ourself.
So far I've made my original block, which is more like 15x15" (I didn't know how much shrinkage I'd get with stitching so I started out bigger and ended up with hardly any shrinkage due to stitchage.

The first picture is a closeup, before I used stiffener on it so it would be soft tree bark. The flash lightened it up too much.

The second picture is after I put stiffener on it, realized it was too sticky to work with and still have texture. I got really frustrated so I rinsed the stiffener out and just let it dry. The coloring in this picture is more the true color.

Today I'm going to try to figure out what I want to do next...maybe wet it again and throw it in the dryer for more fuzzy effect, try some stiffener again or just cut it into postcards right now, take care of the edges and get them mailed off and be done with it.
Only the shadow knows....cuz I certainly don't! :-D

Does it look like tree bark?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Don't put a face in your book, put a book in your ear!

To my wollef (opposite of fellow) cave dwellers:
I did some laundry today!
And to all my non-wollef cave dwellers who do not get the cryptic message:
My apologies! You had to be there.

Linda Dixon, someone I knew from Boise Idaho, always had great advice and ideas for quilting. One of them was listening to books on tape while sewing. She went on and on about how great it was. My thought was: Yeah, that's nice, I'll try that some day.
Over 10 years later, I finally tried it, and it is amazing! I didn't even get mad when I had to rip something out. Any quilting frustration can't access the brain when the brain is busy being entertained!
Who knew?
(Linda knew)

I take the books on tape or cd out of the library...right now I've got Catch 22 going. I was already thinking of going over Mark Twain's next, and then Sarah Gannett suggested Twain tonight so that cemented that thought. When I'm done with Twain I'll pick Sarahs brain again for more suggestions.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Just sketches...

I thought by working on old unfinished projects that I would get 'lots of stuff done'. That doesn't seem to be working. I've worked on many of them but I haven't even completely finished one thing yet! edit: Uh-oh, i just remembered I did finish one thing, a tote bag. Still, that's not much for a months work!

I get frustrated easily; just because the project is partly done doesn't mean that the remaining work is quick or easy. It's just partly done because I was bored or frustrated with it after I started it, just as I am today.

Many people give their UFO's away but I've had a ratpack attitude along with some weird psychological problem that makes me feel pressure that I should finish things no matter when I started them, even if I don't like them, don't want them, or think they're pointless.

Another thought I have is that they represent part of the artistic journey. I feel like if I never make art there is no way my art skills can get better. Only by continually creating will I hone my skills.

You know that story about the two groups of ceramic potters? The one that divided them into two groups; one group was to work hard to make one perfect vase. The other group was to make as many vases as they could, as fast as they can. In the end, the group that had to make many had made better vases than the group that made one perfect pot. Practice makes perfect!
So the more art I do, the better I'll get.

So that's just another thing that adds to this negative feeling that I have to finish's part of the process so do it over and over, dang it all!

I have one creative process I really enjoy, but never seem to find time for. I love to listen to the radio and hear a song that I feel like interpreting, right at that moment, into something. I've made some postcards like that.
But when it comes to those song postcards, I don't feel the need to finish it grandly. It's like sketching an's just a sketch, except made from fabric and embellishments. It was just fun to do.
We don't treasure our sketches, we don't worry about them being done...we just get the idea down and maybe the planning.

So I just tonight decided that some of my old projects are 'just sketches'. They were only a part of the design and creative process; they were a step in learning. They don't need to be finished, they don't need to even be in my house. They did what they were suppose to do: get me to where I am today.
Tomorrow I am going to go through them and make a pile to go out the door...the Textile Center Garage Sale Benefit will be getting them. I may not be able to give up of all of them yet, but just embracing this thought process is a huge leap for me.

Exhale deeply. Out with the old. Breathe in deeply. In with the new.