December 27, 2007

More Creativity Starters

Christmas flew by with our kids visiting us from Ohio and California. Little Betty Boop (Boston Terrier) is here for a visit, too. She's a sweetie and it's nice having two Bostons in the house. I will blog more later on our holiday excursions to see the National tree at the White House and the Smithsonian museums on Christmas Eve. I still have to download and edit my pics first. I had a little quiet time last night while watching our new HD TV that our kids got us for Christmas. I made a few ATCs (Artist Trading Cards). I always call them Creativity Starters that jump start my creative muse.

December 17, 2007

Silk Fusion

Silk Fusion I
Silk Fusion II
This weekend, my Art Theory Group met at The Artful Quilter in Centreville. We had a class on how to make silk fusion. Wow! So much fun and so many possibilities. We used hand-painted silk fibers, screening, textile medium, dish soap and water. I plan to incorporate these into some art quilts. The fibers separate with the dish soap/water solution and then fuse or meld together with the textile medium so you have one solid piece. My creative muse is really wanting to work at the moment, but I have to make some drapes for the guest room and finish shopping today. Maybe if I get all my work done, I can reward myself with some play time.

I've been Tagged!

I've been tagged by Debi.

Here are the simple rules:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.

2. Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird.

3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).

4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

Here are my random facts:

1. I use to work and teach in a quilt shop before I moved to Virginia.

2. I have moved 21 times in 34 years of marriage...mostly military moves.

3. I am a vegetarian.

4. I graduated from the same high school and grew up in the same town as former President Bill Clinton--no, I didn't know him...he was older.

5. My artwork is published in 1,000 Artists' Trading Cards by Patricia Bolton.

6. I love Boston Terriers and I have one named Emma Mariah Michelle.

7. I belong to a wonderful group of friends and we call ourselves "Quilt Monkeys".

I tag the following people:

Susan C.

Please visit these wonderful artists blogs.

December 8, 2007

Wool Star Ornament Tutorial

Wool Star Ornament

Here is a little tutorial I whipped up so you can make this star. It's so easy and so much fun to make. It's a great project to put in a zip loc bag and take with you to work on during your lunch hour or while watching TV. Just be careful to keep all the buttons and beads away from little ones and that includes family pets. I am including the star pattern I drew, but you can easily trace any star or make your own. Please leave a comment if you like it. Enjoy!

My star measures about 5 1/2"

Cut out the paper star and pin to two layers of wool

Cut out the two layers. Now you have two wool stars.

Bling Time

Gather various buttons (nice if you have vintage ones) and beads to "try out" in the middle of the star. When you have the ones you want, then sew them on (stitching through only the top layer). Be sure to cluster the buttons (overlap) for a more dimensional look. I decided to use these light aqua colors because they remind me of the ocean. But use whatever color you want of beads and buttons. You could even add a charm.
At this point, it's all play and you can go crazy adding the bling.

After stitching the bling in the middle, pin the two layers together, lining up the edges. Don't worry if the edges aren't perfect, they will sort of meld together as you stitch. Choose a color of pearle cotton size 8. I like to keep it the same color as the wool.

Using a buttonhole stitch, start at the top and leave room to insert a ribbon for hanging. Stitch almost to the end, removing pins as you go. When you are almost done, lightly stuff the star with bits of batting. Don't make it too puffy! Less is more in this case. Finish stitching around the edges and insert a ribbon for hanging. Stitch the top closed. You are done!

December 6, 2007

Studio Cat & Snow

Hi! My name is Taylor and I love being a studio cat.

I know you probably have seen these pictures of Taylor already, but she is just so sweet and beautiful that I had to blog about her today. She must have been a model in her past life because she loves to pose for the camera. In the first picture, she is looking at a photo of our son with his puppy. (Taylor use to belong to Matt and then we adopted her). In the third picture, she is posing beside a thread painting I did of her. In case you haven't seen her make an art quilt, go here.

Thanks for those of you who asked about Emma...she is fine today. Yesterday was her first time to see snow! She loved it, jumped in it, wanted to roll in it, got a snow beard and chased the blowing snow. I had to make her come inside because it was cold (for Virginia)! Here is a picture of her:

Emma's first snow!

OK, I'll admit it...I adore my pets! They help me be more creative and they really love my least they say they do. : )

December 4, 2007


This is a new ATC that I made for the Wednesday Challenge for the Stampers Corner group at Yahoo. We were given an image to download and our challenge was to make something using the image. I made an ATC using Christmas card stock by Basic Grey. I used colored pencil to make her lips and the rose a bit more red like the holly berries on the paper. Every Wednesday we will have a new challenge. This is a great group if anyone wants to join...I have learned so many techniques from this group. Techniques you can also use on fabrics! Hooray!

I haven't posted in the last few days because I have been closely watching our little sick Boston Terrier. She had a bad "digestive"problem and after a visit to the vet and medication and a change in her food, she is much better. I was really scared for a few days as it occurred on the weekend. I felt like I did when our kids got sick as babies. (As I am writing this, she is running figure 8's in my studio and playing with her dog purse. ) It turns out that some canned food (Iams Puppy) that we used as a top dressing was the culprit of her digestive woes. Emma is so sweet! She was such a hit at the vet's office. The techs (and even doctors) came out to the reception area to play with her. We were the last appointment of the day so this was possible. One tech even laid on the floor to play with Emma. Something I found out at the visit...don't feed your puppy Beneful dog food by Purina...Emma's vet says it has lots of dyes in it and isn't healthy for your dog. They have to dye the food to make it look like peas and carrots. She is on a special diet right now to get her system regulated and then we will switch to a better food. Boston Terriers have a very sensitive digestive system. We used the Beneful because the breeder had fed it to her and sent some home with her. We always try to be so careful with Emma...every morning I wake up and see Emma is like Christmas morning to me. : ) Oh, and did I mention that she "acquired" her two new Christmas toys? I just had to give them to her now...just like when our kids use to get sick...I would go out and buy them toys and books to make them feel better. : )

November 27, 2007

Back to my Art

Wool Felted leaves

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We ate way too much food, but it was delicious! No turkeys were harmed...we had a vegetarian meal.

Here is a new challenge you might be interested in joining: Take It Further. It's a fiber art sort of challenge. I just joined and hopefully it will inspire my creative muse to do more. It will be something to look forward to for the new year.
The "wool felted leaves" is part of a class assignment I did in a class I took from Jane LaFazio. We were to create something from felted wool. This will probably be a pin cushion. It is hand stitched...whew...took me forever and I was a bit rusty. The class is now over, but I still have two more projects to complete.

Susan, in answer to where I am from....Yes, I am a Buckeye, too! Go Bucks!

November 22, 2007

Happy T-Day! A recipe to share

Fast & Easy Cinnamon Buns (my version)
Happy Thanksgiving! I just found a fantastic recipe for cinnamon buns this morning that is sooooooooooo quick and easy and sooooooo delicious that I thought I would share my version with you. It is all made in the same dish.

1-Dish Cinnamon Swirl

cooking spray
1 1/2 c all -purpose flour
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt
2 envelopes Fleischmann's RapidRise Yeast (make sure it is rapid rise) (Yes, 2 is correct)
2/3 c very warm milk (I heated it in the microwave for a few seconds)
2 T butter, melted (I used unsalted butter)
2 T corn oil (I used Canola oil)
1 lg egg (from a vegetarian fed chicken, of course)
Cinnamon Mixture:
3 T butter melted
3/4 c light or dark brown sugar (I used dark brown--mine was lumpy so I heated it a few seconds in the microwave and it softened it)
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 c powdered sugar
1-2 T milk
1 T butter, melted
1/2 t vanilla extract
Mix batter ingredients together in a pre-sprayed 8x8" baking dish. Let rest for 10 min. (I used a spoon to mix it) Combine cinnamon mixture in a small bowl by mixing with fork. Top batter evenly with cinnamon mixture. Using fingers, poke topping thoroughly into batter.

Bake by placing in a cold oven; set temperature to 350 degrees F; bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned and firm in center. (It will look lumpy by now) Cool 10 min. Drizzle icing over warm cake. Delicious yeast cinnamon rolls. I cut into squares and as you can see, we ate two already. Yummy! Have a great T-Day! (I found the recipe at the Fleischmann's website).

November 20, 2007

New Quilt---Beach Bird

Little Beach Bird
This one is "Little Beach Bird". It is from a photograph I took while at the beach this year. These little guys are so hard to photograph because they move so quickly. It is suppose to be sort of whimsical, not too realistic.
We had a very busy weekend...we shopped for a larger dining room table and we found one! It opens up to 102" (two leaves) which is too large for my dining room, but with one leaf, it is perfect to seat 8. We are having all our kids here for Christmas and we want to sit comfortably at the table. We put the old one in our kitchen dining area and it is great there. The good news is, we can use the chairs from our old set for the new table.

Our new table without the leaves

As you can see, we had to put our wicker chair in the dining room out of Emma's reach...she decided she would love to chew the legs on this one. So, we have to use baby gates to keep her out of here. Hopefully, when she gets all her teeth, she will stop the chewing and we can put the chair back in the family room. The chair is from Pier I and the dining table is from IKEA.

Table runner

Table runner, detail

This is the table runner you see on my table. I made it when I worked at the quilt shop in Ohio. It is a pattern by Ginger Sanchez, "Antique Pomegranates". The runner is all hand stitched using hand dyed wools. The background is linen. I used a lot of patterns when I worked at the shop. We bought the patterns and materials and made the samples for the shop and taught classes. I miss those days.

November 17, 2007

Quilt Collage

Quilted Collage 1
Detail 1
Detail 2
Here is my challenge quilt for my art theory group. The background has torn, painted paper towel, polymer buttons that I made, skeleton leaves, painted cheesecloth, sheer fabrics and batiks. If you click on the pictures, they should enlarge so you can see it better. It really was hard to photograph due to the "I need better lighting in my studio" factor (hint to hubby). The polymer clay buttons are fun to make. I machine quilted it and zig-zagged the edges. (I even got out my Janome 9000 when my Bernina was being snobby about stitching on the edge). What do you think? I do appreciate your comments!

Cuteness Attack & new Tutorial alert

Maya & Barley
This is Maya (the little one) and Barley. They are our Boxer grand-dogs. Aren't they cute? Maya is about 2 months old in this picture, Barley is about 10 months old. So sweet! Maya taught Emma to walk down the stairs at the house in Columbus, but here at home, she still won't walk down the stairs. She can jump up on a stool but, nope, no stairs. She can go up them, but then she's stuck.
I am suppose to be working on an art challenge quilt for my art theory group tomorrow. I will post some pictures of it when it is finished today. I have lots of quiet time today...hubby was still up at 6 am working on the computer (work things) when Emma woke me up for her morning routine. We were suppose to do some Christmas shopping today. I want to get a larger dining room table since we are having all the kids here for Christmas, but then you have to buy chairs...I did notice in the latest Martha Stewart Living mag, that one of the Christmas dining lay-outs showed a beautiful table and most of the chairs did not match. What's wrong with that, you ask? It's perfectly fine to do's just how I was raised in the good old South...all dinnerware had to match, all napkins, silverware, chairs, etc. Not so today! I'm trying to change.
Our TV is flat-lining intermittently when we are watching a really good movie. Guess it's time to get one of those "new" TVs. We rented "Mr. Brooks" last night. I fell asleep in part of is a really disturbing, sad, sick-o NOT rent it (that's my advice). What a waste of $! I also heard this morning that there is a new children's movie coming out based on a book written by an atheist where the heroine is trying to kill God. Check it out for yourself: It's the Golden Compass. I would not want my children or grandchildren (if I had any) or grand dogs to see such a movie, nor would I support it with my $. That's my opinion because I love God.
Now if you want to see a really scary movie, it's Vacancy. We rented that one last weekend. It's an on-the-edge-of-your-seat-movie. But just a movie and definitely Not for kids.
Thinking of Christmas and the holidays, I am writing a little tutorial today to make a wool-felted star. So, check back later and I will post a picture of it and you will love how much fun it is to make. It is all hand stitching and embroidery but you can also make it on the machine. Thanks for listening today!

November 14, 2007

Quilt-Little Bird

I decided my Little Bird quilt from the previous post needed some leaves on the trees. Here it is, I think it is done. Yes, it's done... "Do things better & do them done!"...Aby Garvey. I found Aby's website by accident yesterday and she has some great tips on it. I may order her book...she is a productivity expert & organizer. I like the things she says about they procrastinate because they know they can't make it perfect or it doesn't get done at all. I know that fits me to a T! So, I want to "Do it Done"! Check out her has lots of organizing tips and there is a newsletter.

Happy Birthday, Matt!

Today is a very special's our son's birthday! Happy Birthday, Matt! He should return today from military duty, so I'm sure it will be a great b-day. He's a good son and good-looking, too.

November 12, 2007

Compassion for Animals

On Nov. 7, a group of religious leaders, members of congress and others met in Washington DC on Capitol Hill to sign a proclamation for the kindness to animals. You can read the proclamation and sign it on line here. Please help to prevent cruelty to animals. They hope to get a million signatures. I have been concerned since reading and hearing about the recent Virginia Puppy Mills sting, not to mention the dog fighting. How awful what was found in my own state...dogs that had never been out of their cages, no human love, no treats...just treated like machines. Finally, something will be done with all of our help. So, please read it and sign it on line and past the link on to everyone you know that loves a pet. If you don't have a pet, you are missing out on unconditional love...the best kind.
OK, that is my plea for this morning. I'm off to stitch some quilts. (or paint, glue, melt, emboss, or...maybe some shrinky dink charms today).

November 9, 2007

New Work...Little Bird

Little Bird

Yesterday, I had internet problems and could not log on, thus no blog or email! I had to call Verizon and first talk to a robot (a polite one) stating my problem. Then, a polite tech lady who had me crawling under the computer and running up to the third floor to check computers there and back under the desk, unplugging and plugging. Nothing worked, so she dispatched a repair person to my door. I was impressed to say the least and who do they send??? A Verizon lady who also owns a Boston Terrier! (I bet Verizon knows I have one...I wonder about those electronic "boxes" with the blinking lights I have in each room.) Anyway, Emma loved her and must have known she was a Boston lover, too. Oh, and the Verizon lady just took one look at my router and installed a new one and everything works faster. She was so nice and friendly unlike the Verizon man who installed our equipment when we moved in. She even said, "nice set-up" for my studio. I am sure there are some who see my room and eyebrows shoot up, and I can see they are looking for the nearest exit! Only other quilters, mixed-media and stamping lovers can relate to "I must fill every square inch of space...oh, there's a 12" x 12" spot...more fabric can go there". It is amazing how much you can pack into a room, but we might need it, right?

OK, I digress, here is the real reason for my post: I finished my Little Bird quilt for my Art Explorations class I am taking from Jane LaFazio. If you want to explore art quilt possibilities in a fun format, this is the class for you! I am behind in my lessons (sorry, Jane) but it's about all I think of lately. Jane's class has my artist's muse working again. I already have so many bird sketches; and I have photographed lots of beach birds and plan to make applique or fabric paintings. Jane has it as one of her lessons, so that was cool. Little Bird is 8" x 8", one of the smaller ones I have made. It gave me a chance to do some FMQ, which I love to do. I don't know if I will add anything else...I had thought about some embellishments but I may do another one just for that. After I had quilted this one, I sort of like the simplicity of it and it looks nice on my studio yellow walls. I used my hand-dyed fabrics, the blue on the bird and the green grass. Happy Emma

November 5, 2007

Tutorial for using Foil Tape

This ATC was made using silver Foil HVAC tape found at the hardware store. The tape has a peel off backing which makes it great for artwork. This one has the look of old pewter or tarnished silver. I also made the Christmas card below.
Here is a tutorial of how I got the above effects on the tape.
The supplies I use are Staz-On ink pads in Saddle Brown and Olive Green, Apple Barrel Meadow green acrylic paint, Adirondack Alcohol inks in Denim and Bottle, a embossing plate, the foil 2" HVAC tape found in hardware stores, felt pads to apply inks and paint and cardstock.
Some of the supplies
First, cut the desired length of tape and peel the backing. Place it on a piece of cardstock (this gives it strength and holds the embossing better). Emboss in a machine (I use my Big Shot) or rub the foil face down on the embossing plate. Apply Staz-On ink pad direct to foil to get the desired colors. Wipe away ink until you like the look. You can always add more later. Work quickly before it dries. I used Olive Green and Saddle Brown. Using this method, the foil will change color, but remain shiny. I used Olive Green for the Christmas card.

To get the pewter or tarnished look of silver like in the ATC apply a thin coat of the acrylic paint after embossing. Wipe away until it only looks dull like the picture below.
After using acrylic paint on the foil
Then apply the alcohol inks to the felt pad. I use a few drops of each color, then a few drops of the blending solution. I then dab the ink onto the foil until I get the look I desire. You then wipe it off until you like the look. You can apply more ink or less until it looks like old pewter or tarnished silver.

After using the alcohol inks and wiping the surface

I like to put another coat of the acrylic on, wiping it very gently to get a thin coat. Cut them up, use a punch, glue, whatever, to make ATCs and cards. Have fun! Below are some of the samples before I made cards from them.

November 2, 2007

Free Spirit Quilt

This is a picture of my new quilt to be. I bought these 5" quilt squares this past summer from a quilt shop in North Carolina. They are all of the "Fresh Air" line by Moda. I just love the colors. This will be a lap quilt when it is all done. As you can see, there is a mix of blues, reds, oranges, pinks and browns. I am calling this my "Free Spirit Gypsy Quilt". Yes, I did plan a pattern to stitch them together...but it soon became a free spirit and we bonded. The once planned border will now be the binding. I will attempt to fire up my HQ16 (shock!) to quilt it. Stay tuned for final details.

October 29, 2007

Race For The Rescues in California

Traci with Betty Boop (left), Andrea & Van

A pooped-out Betty Boop

Just thought I'd add a few after the race pictures. I heard that Betty Boop and Van (the yellow lab) slept all the way home. They are "bff" dogs. Traci & Betty walked this 5k (see previous post) with her team at work to help support the rescues and displaced animals affected by the fires. She lives in Santa Monica. Go Betty!! I'm proud of you!

October 27, 2007

Betty Boop and her First 5k

Betty Boop
This is a picture of Betty Boop, my daughter's Boston Terrier. She is such a sweetheart. As you can see, she is brindle color and Emma is more black & white. Tomorrow, Betty will walk in The Rescue Train 5k in California with her mom and dad. This is part of the Race for the Rescues effort to help homeless pets. Donations are especially needed now for the displaced animals during the fires in CA. ( Traci has her own page for donations to their effort.) Please watch this video. It is so cute! (Be sure to catch the shot of the three legged dog in the first part of the video.)
I'm just proud of them for doing this! : )

October 24, 2007

Painted & Stitched Portraits

Taylor & Taylor

I finished the painting and the stitching. I stitched the outline on the machine using black thread. I like using the Golden only takes a tiny drop to go a long way. Now, I have to decide what fabric background to put them on and then I will probably add some hand stitching or beads. I thought the pose of Taylor beside her portrait was cute. She seemed to like it. Now she is asleep...probably dreaming about being a blue cat.

October 23, 2007




These are the two drawings I did of Emma and Taylor on canvas. They are ready to paint and stitch. This is part of a class assignment I am taking from Jane LaFazio at She has some awesome work on her website ...check it out. I'm totally loving this class because I love to use mixed media in my work. I decided to use Emma & Taylor as my models...just because I think they are so cute. Now, let's see if I can finish the two quilts and still have a resemblance of the originals.

For those of you that read my post of Oct. 17, Cover Up, and were curious, the famous person was Bill Clinton. (This is my only quilt to actually finish from QSDS). LOL!

I just joined a art quilt theory group at my local quilt shop. Most of them have been meeting for years and do awesome work. I sort of squeezed in and am really glad to be part of the group.

I'm off to paint! It is suppose to rain a bit here today! Yippee!!

October 19, 2007

Move Those Cubes! (Again?)

view of Emma by my desk and oh, the cubes, too!

Taylor under the machine

HQ16 in background, design table on the right

Bookshelves of fabric. The green wooden boxes are from IKEA and hold my rubber stamps and ink pads. Fabric needs to be stamped, sometimes.

OK, I did it again...I re-arranged my studio in the process of cleaning it. I decided to "open it up" again and these are the pictures of the after. I moved my cubes (I love those cubes!) If you notice, two of the main ingredients for a successful studio are: Emma, the Boston Terrier and Taylor, the cat. Emma loves her own little bed in the studio. Taylor prefers sleeping on any available quilt or fabric. Of course she is a cat and that is that! I have more tweaking to do, such as where to put my thread, etc., but now I have a class at the LQS to attend so I'm out of here.

P.S. Thanks for the comments on my blog! Wish I could email all of you.