Wednesday, December 23, 2009


SO many ideas swimming around in my head as my hands are busy preparing for the holiday. The start of a new year is so exciting and I can feel it - so many ideas to carry out as things slow down and the year begins. I can't wait to get started. I have been blogging here for almost a year and although I have not succeeded in posting even almost every day - it has most definitely kept me inching down a creative path...

Happy Holidays to all!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Little Birds are Back

These three sat on my bedside table for a night, waiting to be stitched up to hold the stuffing in...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Projects

I am busy working on Christmas gifts and projects and really enjoying it. Not much to post because they are all a secret! This little scrappy circle ended up as a favorite today. It may end up stitched to something later on...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

the Bluebird

I washed and dried this one last week and it sat. Had the realization that it has been a long time since I have included this step of washing, thinking these little quilts were too fragile to wash. Maybe it was the mixing of fabrics that made me nervous of washing and uneven shrinkage. But I think I prefer them washed and a bit raggedy - like they have been around for awhile - even if they haven't.

Today I worked on it for just a few minutes and then photographed it. It's amazing how different something can look through a photograph. When I lay it on a table or hold it at arm's length to look at it I can still see the clutter of my sewing room, the laundry to be put away, or the other unfinished projects lying around the room. Seeing it on its own with edges contained - I think I can see it a bit better. I think I am coming closer to getting thread onto a quilt in a way that reflects the way I would draw with pencil and paper.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Shell Circle Circle

I began the binding process on this today. I cut it into a circle. Not sure what it will turn out to be - but looking forward to carrying it around and hand-stitching on it a bit before calling it done. I am also secretly plotting what to paint next to give it this aged, been buried in the dirt quality that I think I am liking.

It's slow-going on all projects right now. I have lost focus a bit, but still working things around in my head, laying things out, sewing things up, thinking in circles...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I was liking this thing less and less the more I worked on it. I machine stitched into the green/blue fabric with a radial kind of plan. It had a crispness or cleanness or something that I really did not like. The color choice was wrong, lots of things. Whatever the problems I decided to use it to revisit something I had done a few years ago on a piece that I gave away. I completed all the stitching and then dampened the entire thing with water and painted it with diluted Setacolor transparent fabric paint in a brown/rust color. Let it air dry - skipped the ironing step of setting the paint - and then washed it in just water and dried it. Now it looks like I accidentally buried it in the yard for a year or so and then dug it up. Much better.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wood Block + Paint

Just SO restless today. Have some time to sew and can't seem to focus on any of the projects I have going. Finally decided to get the paints out and print some bits of fabric with the little scrap bin woodblock.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Night and Day

Worked on this last night right before going to bed. I thought this block was called "night and day". But I like to make the lights and darks rather close in value so that the pattern disappears and reappears. A dark fabric in one block might represent a light triangle against a darker fabric in another block.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

End of October Sewing

This is what I was up to the last few weeks - an eagle and a penguin - done just in time. The eagle wings were worn until bedtime and the penguin costume was worn for maybe two minutes - but I wasn't too surprised.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

On Break

Not much sewing or blogging done lately - but thoroughly enjoyed a fall break this past long weekend with my big boy home from school a few days and house guests and family gathering, walks outside and cider making. Some ideas bumping around in my head - thinking things through until I have a chance to carry them out. Smallest boy on possibly permanent nap strike - which eliminates my most favorite sewing time - but I will work it out somehow. Just managed to almost squeeze out two halloween costumes at the last minute - one still needs to be finished.

Photo is of a wood scrap I found in Dad's wood shop a few weekends ago. A perfect little circle woodblock from the scrap bin. Looking forward to trying to print some fabric with it...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wing Repair

I put binding on my current quilt project this past weekend and got excited that it was moving along. I had been thinking of trying to draw/stitch a bird on it. I made a sketch and then tried to re-sketch it onto the quilt and then just went for it - following my sketchy pencil marks on the fabric with free-motion machine stitches. Sometimes just going for it works better for me than over planning - but this time, not so much. Then that awful thing happened of I knew it wasn't right but I just kept going and stitching more and more trying to correct it. Mostly the proportions are off, the little bird is too tall, not plump like I intended - so I have cut this wing to try and correct what I have done, push out his edges and widen him up a bit. I already added stitches to his belly - pushing it out a little. I am hoping I can repair it without covering the whole bird - I do like the eye.


My sewing room/studio is finally clean. It has been close for weeks - but it was tidy enough that it was so much easier to sew and always much more fun to pop in and sew for a bit than to pop in and finish the cleaning. This is as clean as it has ever been and ever, ever will be. I hope I can keep it looking this way for at least a little while.

The tour: Photo 1) My computer/printer area. I just put the quilt over the computer table yesterday. I love the height and size of the table but the table itself did not blend well with the other items in the room - it wasn't very cozy - but I think the thrift store quilt turned tablecloth does the trick. The armoire has large drawers that now hold current projects in trays and boxes. I can slide something out and work on it and then put it away. Photo 2) My little sewing nook. This is a tiny little awkward space that leads towards the window. The light is really nice here. My ironing board just fits in there next to my sewing machine table. I have only hit my head in a bad way on that roof line edge of the ceiling two times - it brought me to my knees - but it hasn't happened lately. Photo 3) My storage hutch and the boys' craft table corner. The hutch holds tons of supplies and still isn't full - it was a good find. One side of the bottom holds all the boys' stuff for coloring, cutting, gluing, stamping - whatever. I really wanted a space in here for them to sit with me.

The weather is definitely turning towards more hours indoors. I think I got this little room ready just in time.

Friday, October 9, 2009

No So Portable

I began machine quilting this and couldn't stop. I like the solid line of the machine stitch. I just can't get my hand stitches that close together - it looks more like a dotted line, and the textures get too busy. I used a bath towel as batting on this because I like the relief that happens with the machine stitching. When it's done it has a nice weight to it that hangs well. It raining and raining here - so a bit more time inside on the machine. I also had another who really wanted to be in the photo today - or his race car did anyway.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I "framed" two of the neutral blocks with a dark brown border + a few bits of lighter browns. The darkest color was a thrift store find - men's cotton printed shirt. I am experimenting with a visual frame on this. Also wanting to get one example of these neutral pieced blocks ready for some quilting. I can only sit in front of the machine for so long - it's time to have something more portable ready for fall trips to the playground and sitting on the patio. My sweet old goldie was relaxing this morning in my natural lighting photo spot - so her head became part of the photo. She just wouldn't budge for even a second. The rain is coming and she knows we will have to close the door soon...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tiny Caterpillar Craftsperson

Outside first thing this morning I discovered this bunch of fallen shingle oak leaves in the grass with a lovely little row of perfect circles. On the other side was a teeny tiny caterpillar - he's lying next to the leaf in the photo. Amazing little designer...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sugar Maple Quilt Update

Not quite finished with this one yet, but it so matched up with our morning outdoors I decided to post an update on it. I hand quilted the center leaf area and white surrounding them, then machine quilted the brown border with my new walking foot. I started this quilt as the leaves were just popping out and now they are falling down. I think it is now destined to become a pillow cover. Actual size is about 26" square.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Current Projects

I have been busy getting my big boy off to a good start in kindergarten and getting used to a new routine with my little guy at home. I think we are finally settling into it all. I did have a chance yesterday to finally spend a bit of time in the sewing room on the little circles and shells piece above. I was liking it less and less and then I attached the sea blue surrounding it and I am liking it again - I think I can work from this - I think I have a plan now. I like the thread curls - want to somehow keep that. All the center stitches are a bit busy - so I may still try some painting on this one to pull some thing forward and push some things back.

I am also simmering an idea of neutral patchwork as a canvas for other things - and having fun piecing some neutrals from my stash...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Blue Feather

I have been wanting to try this for awhile - the idea has been in my head and I finally had the chance to create this one. I think there will be more of these feathers. A perfect use of the tiny striped bits of cloth Grandma gave me - and Grandma loved birds. It was windy outside when I took the photo and it wanted to blow away - just like the real thing...

Friday Morning Quote

My son and I walked down the front steps Friday morning to find patches of mushrooms in the mulch. As we looked at them together he said, "The tops look just like fabric - you could put them in a quilt and no one would ever know."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hand Appliqué

I follow artist Jude Hill's blog and am in awe of her hand appliqué. So a little while back when she posted this - it not only appealed to the quilter in me, but the graphic designer as well - hand appliquéd typography! - and really wonderfully done. I have been wanting to try Jude's technique of drawing a line on both fabrics and stitching something down. This little block printed elephant was looking at me from the pile today - and so I drew a circle around him and then on a background fabric and went to work - hoping a simple shape would be a good place to start. I had to tear out part of it at the end and correct the circle shape, it was difficult to keep the curve smooth - but I like the technique. Now what to make with this little elephant...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Thread Sketch and New Old Blue Hutch

I took a break from tidying/trashing my sewing room to sew a bit on the machine and thread sketch this little piece. So relaxing. Added some little shell shapes in with the regular circle obsession. I think I may end up painting on it a bit...

Also - more on the tidying of the sewing room: Having all of my fabric remnants in the sewing room staring at me every day proved not to be all that inspirational - more just overwhelming. So I moved them to a closet - probably where I had moved them from - but put them in there in a more organized way. I also found an old blue hutch at a yard sale a few weeks ago and just got it completely moved into the sewing room. Moved my boys' art and craft table into my sewing room so we can all hang out together and my stuff AND their stuff fits into the hutch. It's almost done - I hope to post photos of the tidy new and improved sewing room/studio soon...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Maple Leaf with Circles

I used the same free-motion circles I have been using lately. with some circles cut-out. I drew the teeny tiny brown circles with permanent marker. The leaf print was done with a real maple leaf and archival ink directly onto fabric. The top layer of fabric was a very loose weave, so embroidering the little flower shapes pulled the top layer of fabric open to reveal the colored fabric beneath.

Geleta's Birds and Basket

I made these birds and basket for a new little friend of ours. I used the bird ornament pattern from Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. I enlarged the original pattern 120% to make the two larger birds. I made them out of denim (+decorative machine stitching) for the top halves and two layers of cotton stitched together for the bottom halves to make them durable enough to be used as toys instead of ornaments. I didn't have a pattern for the basket, but it worked out okay anyway. I always love making the little birds...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

White Fern Finish

I have been looking through the fabric my Grandma gave me again - in a constant effort to organize and use the materials I have and the materials I love - I can't use them if I can't find them. (That's another story - to be continued later...) So - the green and white fabric (from Grandma's collection) I used to finish this is fragile - but works perfectly as a wispy edge.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ball for Baby Jack

I recently made this little soft ball with ribbon tags for my sweet little nephew Jack. I used this pattern with canvas and repurposed denim. It was a quick project. My 5 year old said, "It's like it's old - but it's new." That's exactly what I like about it...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I am busy finishing several gift projects that are all going well, and I hope to post photos of them soon. We are also just busy with summer - visiting friends and family, swimming, playing, trying to relax a bit.

I have been playing around more and more with the freehand machine stitches. Such a soothing activity when it is going well. The small piece above is about 4" wide. Not sure about the black thread, maybe too contrasty - but excited that it looks almost like a drawing. Funny that a scribble from a sewing machine can look so much like my scribbles from a pencil when guided by the same hand. Maybe graphite colored thread next time...

Friday, June 26, 2009

I really, really, really like circles...

This is a detail of a new one, playing with some fabric I painted awhile back in green and blue (the background dots). I like the loose weave of the top layer, the beige - although I need to be a bit more careful not to pull things too loose with the embroidery details. I still really really like to make this free-motion stitching circle pattern - then so fun to cut out the circles...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Quilt On Vacation

We are back from a week long vacation in Canada with good friends. My little maple leaf quilt went with me - and I made a bit of progress on it - although you cannot tell from this photo - maybe taken the first day there. I hope to start posting more often soon...

Thursday, June 4, 2009


I had been wanting to try a sheer fabric with contrasting threads all visible - this is what came of it. The "Connected" quilt had several areas where the dark threads were visible through the white shirt fabrics - crazy threads caught between the layers. I had to see what would happen if I did this intentionally...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

White Fern

This little fern was becoming lost in all the texture after I began quilting. I wanted to make it pop - but it didn't feel right to add color to the fern - so the background got some green - permanent markers - lots of tiny circles...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

the Plants

Having trouble keeping up with the amount of inspiration I am finding right outside our door...