Sunday, April 23, 2017


working on projects continues

I'm nearly done with the quilting of this piece -- which is a good thing, since the entry deadline for it is May 1 -- just a week away

then there is this piece

when I had the idea to do this piece about 3 weeks ago, I hoped to have it done in time for that same May 1 deadline

uh -- not so much

for one thing, I just couldn't manage the time well enough between other things to get it all done

for another, I have never done a piece that involved a person since I began using the new technique, and it was a lot more complex thank I envisioned

I will finish this, but clearly not in time for the show I originally wanted to enter it in, but I think a show will present itself for entering this

and since this piece does have a future show in the summer, I have returned to working on this at the design wall

at the current rate, I should be able to get the rest of this ready to stitch this week!

I decided that the biggest mailbox needed a raised flag to be added to it, so I did that this week

there is not a lot of contrast between the mailboxes and the sky, but once I add the silk organza and do the quilting there will be

there are a couple of other pieces in the queue to be quilted, but I should get to this one before too long

and this week I started working on a piece for a show titled "Life Along the Rio Grande"  with a November 2017 deadline

when I first got the invitation to enter, I couldn't figure out why Colorado artists were being invited to participate in a show that has to do with the Rio Grande

I admit, my geography knowledge is not the best for places I've never actually been to -- so I had to go and do some research to discover that the headwaters of the Rio Grande are right here in Colorado

here's the map -- the sort of "paint by number" guide for this piece which will be the first one I've done for a show that has a very defined size requirement -- the full size map is actually for a piece slightly larger than the finished size needs to be so I know I'll have something that is big enough

and this is the color version

this piece may also be the first of a new series of pieces under the loose title "Reflections"

this week's utilitarian sewing involved making new cushions for the love seat in the living room

the original filling in the cushions had been discarded a while back, and some previously used eggshell foam had been substituted in the original covers

until Benson decided that the foam was "magically delicious" and in about 10 minutes while I was doing something out in the garage made an enormous shredded foam mess all over the living room

he wasn't interested in the upholstery fabric that was over the foam (thank goodness!), just the foam -- who knows what goes on in a dog's mind?!

but because he left the fabric alone, and because this was a project I knew I was going to do anyway (that foam was only a temporary fix from the beginning), I already had the new thicker foam on hand that I intended to use for new cushions, creating a pattern to cover the new cushions wasn't hard -- same shape, just thicker

I had not, however, figured out what the new upholstery fabric was going to be, so these newly covered new foam cushions are covered with fabric pieces that were from a couple of sheets that had outlived their usefulness as sheets (the outside edges remain structurally usable after the center is shot).  Those cotton covers can just stay on them when I reupholster the rest of the piece and there will be a double cover over the foam

since I did this Benson hasn't touched them --- wondering still what was so tasty about that eggshell!

early in the week I did a one day workshop about silk screening

I last did silk screening about 40 years ago, and things have changed --- A LOT!

the amount of work that I was able to do in one day would have taken a lot longer back then

all of which has me thinking about the possibility of using this technique on some of my art

so I came home from class and ordered a new issue of the Dick Blick catalog so I can look into ordering some supplies --- that should be fun

while I was in class, Benson had to watch dad

which meant he was worn out at the end of the day

not sure what he was dreaming about when I took this picture

maybe the taste of those foam cushions!!

Sunday, April 09, 2017

not the finest moment

there has not been much getting done this week

there was some stitching on this, which is moving along well -- if slowly

and all of the face of the dog is done and I'm now moving downward on the shoulders

I got all of the signs done and started putting in the figures at the bottom of this one and it just did nothing for me

so there was a good deal of ripping out -- both of sewing and knitting and remaking of hats -- I do like the contrast better, but the jury is out on this one for now

and then there is this

I love the fabric (even though I did not love working with it as it is slippery and doesn't take well to any attempt to press it to turn up hems or edges)

and I loved the picture on the pattern -- and I did the dreaded measuring to figure out what size would fit

or not

put in the hem and put it on me and it doesn't fit

not a happy camper --- not sure what I'm doing with it next --- perhaps paint rags

and perhaps this was not a week that I should have been trying to work on clothing, as it has been one of those weeks I'd like to not have had

after months of tests the doctor still has no explanation for why my gut is in an uproar, the latest suggestion is to eliminate gluten (and a number of other things) from my diet to see if that helps

putting this kind of restrictions on what I can put in my mouth and asking me to keep track of every little bit has pretty much put me over the edge into making life awful for everyone around me as well as myself

the little kid in me that I can usually keep in check is back to feeling starved and it's making me want to either kick and scream or to just retreat into a cave

this better be worth it

Sunday, April 02, 2017

cranking out projects

an actual finished project!

this is the snap shot I took with my cell phone right after I took the last stitch in the binding

I did this small (9"x9") piece to submit to Quilting Arts magazine for their Rooster challenge, so this week it will get a final pressing and some photos taken with the studio camera

this piece is done too, and I'm pretty happy with how it came out

and when I set up the photo studio for the rooster, I'll photograph this one too

stitching continues on the columbine piece

the stitching in the white portion (the center petals) of the flowers is done, so now it's on to the purple petals

at the design wall, the work on the dog is coming along nicely

it's amazing how each day's additions make it come more alive

may title this one "Lady Sings the Blues"

the applique work on this piece is complete

this feels like one of those "did I do that?" moments

can't wait to see how this looks with the layer of silk and the quilting!

and since the hand work is done on the mailboxes, it's right in to the next piece!

I'm creating this piece (smaller, about 24"x18") specifically for a show titled Threads of Resistance and it's moving right along

this week's utilitarian sewing is a bit more complex than the pencil bag I put together for Mr Cute!

during several shopping trips where I was looking for some new blouses to wear with blue jeans or light weight capri pants when I go to class I was completely unable to find anything I was happy with

for one thing, the blouses were (select one or more per item) too sheer, too short, too ugly (who puts these colors together!?) or not cut in a way that fits my 66 year old lumpy body

for another thing, they are poorly made (can ANYONE clip a thread?!) and cost more than they are worth

sure, I can still get a $6 t-shirt at Walmart, but I wanted something more

so, after spending a lot of time shopping on Etsy for blouse patterns that were what I really want, and purchased a couple (okay -- bought 3 got 1 free), and then made a trip to the fabric store for materials

this is the beginning of the stitching on the first blouse

it's been YEARS since I've made anything more complicated than an apron or a pair of pajama bottoms, so it's taking a bit of thinking to get back in the swing of this, but I have positive thoughts about how this is going to come out ----- and some more fabric for the other patterns!

when I go to the studio, Benson comes with me and hangs out

on Friday, when I came out of the studio to head back upstairs, this is what I saw on the bottom step

toys (a bird house, a liberty ball and a bee hive) neatly lined up in a row -- nice job Benson!

wonder if I can train him to pick up other things and line them up

probably not!

Friday, March 31, 2017


Hi folks!

I've been here in the studio with mom since the end of January, and this morning she is letting me write the all important blog post (I'm not real sure why it's important, but mom says it is, and we know that Mom Rules!)

We've had a very busy week here

Last Thursday I got visitors

These two little dogs are my cousins or something like that -- and they came to stay here with me and mom and dad while their mommy and daddy (and Mr Cute) went to someplace called California

(which seemed to mean lots of pictures of them around water and bridges and stuff I really don't understand)

While my cousins were here, we played together a lot, we had the "daily chase" as mom calls it where we would run from the kitchen through the living room and mom's office, then down the hall back to living room until mom would yell "All Dogs Out" and open the back door to send us outside to continue our chase.

After the chase and our dinner, we could all nap on the couch (mom is still muttering something about the bad planning of dark furniture and blonde dogs for some reason)

Mom says we all got really silly, but the only silly picture she got was of me because I fell asleep this way (really mom, do we have to show this one?!)

Anyway, it was fun to have company, and I would be okay with having them visit again.

So for now it's back to normal here in the studio.

Mom is making art, and I'm keeping an eye on everything.

And mom will be back to blog the next time!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

progress is being made......

I'm serving as the co-curator for an upcoming SAQA show titled Under the Western Sun.  The show opens at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum the end of April, then will travel to New Mexico and Salt Lake City.

I've been the curator for shows before, but let me tell you, the whole business of TRAVELING a show is a whole other kettle of fish.

For instance, about three times the paperwork!! (And it's well know that wrangling artists can be like herding cats)

I have managed to get some work done in the studio, however.

The stitching of the flowers has begun on this piece

I've been doing some hand embroidered grasses and weeds on the surface of this piece, and it is now ready to be cut and finished --- whoo hooo!

I've started adding the shadows and the mailboxes to this piece, and I'm pretty please with how it looks
Work at the design wall on the dog continues too --- this one amazes me every time I work on it

This is the design idea for a small piece (9 inches by 9 inches) that is for a call for entries from the Quilting Arts magazine.  I don't think this one will take very long to put together!

And this week I learned of a call for entries that is titled Life Along the Rio Grande.  I've started doing some research for this piece, and admit my knowledge of geography in the state I grew up in is pretty limited to places I've actually been.  I learned in my research that the headwaters of the Rio Grande River is right here in Colorado -- cool!

Now and then I do a utilitarian sewing project.  Mr Cute likes to draw and color when he is traveling in the car, but in warm weather, crayons are a bad idea.  The solution to that issue is the new colored pencils that are in plastic sleeves and don't even require sharpening, they just roll up like mechanical pencils. 

And of course a new box of colored pencils means they need a snappy new pencil bag -- we know what the fate of the cardboard box is!

Mr Cute had picked out this fat quarter fabric when he went to the fabric store with me last fall.  I was happy to make this (LINED!) zippered bag for him (and the zipper came out of my stash of random sewing supplies -- cool)

And no blog post is complete without a picture of the canine member of the household!  Mr Benson got a BarkBox in the mail this week (these come once a month and are full of toys and treats to keep him entertained for a month) --- this squeaky bouncy ball is a real hit --- he takes it to the top of the basement stairs and drops it down so he can go after it --- over and over again!   What a character!!

Monday, March 13, 2017

getting back to "normal"

I'm healing, and slowly adding more activity

and learning some new ways to do some things -- like using a chair in the kitchen to sit down and put things away in bottom cabinets or scoop dog food out of the container instead of bending over (which puts more pressure on those little blood vessels in my nose)

it's a slow process (and I'm already impatient with it!!)

there has been some real progress on projects in the last week, however

the columbine piece is ready for the stitching, and I'm pretty pleased with the way it looks


I've been doing the stitching on this piece

there is a layer of silk over the top of this that I am stitching through right now

the plan is to finish stitching the background, cut away the silk that is over the wheel, then stitch or paint the tall grass over the top of the wheel and the bottom edge of the piece

so far so good

which means it's time to start working on the "map" for the big piece

the background for the mail boxes is coming along nicely too -- it's been worked down far enough now that you can actually see the outline of the boxes

one of the days that Benson and I went walking, it felt like we were in a cut from the Alfred Hitchcock movie "The Birds"

the bare trees in our neighborhood were full of robins!  I had never seen (or heard) so many robins in one place

I know sighting one robin is supposed to mean spring is coming --- not so sure what a huge flock means

Benson thinks working in the studio is all about him hanging out with mom --- with the occasional posing for a photo op!

he has a new friend that he met on Wednesday -- the lady that runs the service we hired to come and pick up the yard each week so I don't have to do that (more avoidance of activities that require me to repeatedly bend over!)

on the whole, we all had a better week last week!

Sunday, March 05, 2017

learning to be flexible

when I wrote last week's blog, I had big plans to finish a couple of pieces and to be deep into another new piece

sometimes making plans is just a waste of time

because on Monday morning I ended up taking an ambulance ride to the Emergency Room to have a nose bleed taken care of

which also meant I was instructed to take it easy, not bend over, no lifting, no stairs, etc., etc., etc.

so some of the things I wanted to get done just didn't happen

this morning I can say I am slowly recovering -- the packing in my nose was removed on Thursday and a liberal dose of silver nitrate was applied to cauterize the area and I'm to continue on restricted activity this week then I can slowly work my way back to "normal" (like we have any idea what "normal" is!)

this is what I had been working on until "the incident"

the beginning of the background for the columbines

and this week I got the call for entries from the International Quilt Festival (the Houston Quilt Show) that includes a category titled "In Full Bloom" , which it would be good to enter something in -- but there's one tiny issue -- I had not planned for this piece to be as big as that category requires -- and since the flowers are all done but the background is not, I might be able to change it so it is


I need to think about that and about being able to get all of that done by the entry deadline of April 12

 quite a bit of time was spent this week doing hand work, so the sky for the mailbox piece is coming along nicely

this is the first piece I've done that includes so much color in the sky, so it feels a bit odd -- hopefully it will look good when it's finished

Benson has had a tough week, watching over mom -- which requires a lot of sleeping on the couch!

we ended the week on a lot more fun note when Mr Cute and his parents arrived to watch the CSU basketball and share dinner with us last night -- and we let them take over our kitchen and create dinner for us, which I greatly appreciated -- nice to have such great kids!!

hoping for a better week this week