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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Announcement: I'm Published!

I've been writing for a L-O-N-G time: letters, journals, diaries, poetry and more. Even as a child, I had a spark inside that I hoped would ignite someday. I loved the tactile experience of writing with assorted pens and pencils on assorted types of paper. I worked over emotions and experiences on paper. In the past six years, I decided to become more serious about writing fiction and non-fiction and invested in the art (like I have with sewing and quilting). I took classes and am a member of a local writing group for the sake of critique, inspiration and accountability. My ear has become more keen to the stories that are happening around us, whether something overheard or a conversation in which we are personally engaged. The bottom line is: there's so many stories to tell!!

I'm very pleased to announce that my dreams have come true!

My first published fiction short story, "The Menace", now appears in the following anthology available for purchase as an eBook or paperback from

Let me know if you purchase the book. Share it with your friends and family.
As an author, I want to know what you think.

"This is a unique collection of stories about loss: loss of life, loss of friends, loss of family, and even loss of mind. If you've read any of these stories already, you'll know they come in all colors, from the highly invigorating to the completely morbid. They'll make you laugh and (most likely) make you cry." (from

24 Authors, 24 Stories...

The Authors

Almari Randall
Eileen Herbert-Goodall
Patsy Collins
Geni J. White
Josh Schwartzkopf
L. S. Hicks
Julia Proud
Justin Kern
Jill Hand
Stephanie Buosi
Cathleen Townsend
M T Ingoldby
Manuel Royal
Joanie Chevalier
Julie Alexander Johnson
Donna Migliaccio
Emmanuel Okom
Benjamin Logan Miller
Adam Baxter
David R. Grigg
Molly Thynes
Samantha Morales
Scott Richie
EN Heim

Author Bios:

Author Links:

My Tribute to Paris

I was inspired by the photographs of the Eiffel Tower after the terrorist attacks on November 13. On one side, I thread painted the Tower on a background of red, white and blue, on a neutral white and gray background fabric, which I then attached to blue and white fabric featuring French script. I felt the tippy-top of the Tower needed "bling", so I added a large red translucent button.

On the other side, I made a machine-embroidered applique of a dove of peace, set this on a blue and green fabric, and used this rectangle to make a pocket. 

I made a lining of gray and white fabric with two pockets. The entire bag is lined with an interfacing to give it shape, and the bottom two corners are boxed. I used a zipper closure at the top and attached a poly-web strap to complete a handbag of my own design. I used "scraps" and fat quarters of fabrics from my stash, including the button! I only had to buy the strap. It measures 9" x 11".

I am sorry that these attacks are happening all around the world. I pray for peace and personally work toward international and intercultural understanding in the belief that when we come to know one another as people, we will be less likely to use violence against one another's countries. May it be so.

Connecting with other creative people like you via these bloglinks:

Sew Fresh Quilts                                 Quilting is more fun than Housework               

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Still Stitching & Creating

It's been awhile, but I'm still creating. Creations include the following:

I made these zipped bags with scraps. See the tutorial at: Pink Stitches

After mastering Pink Stitches' method for putting in zippers and boxing corners, I developed my own clutch based on the sizes of more scraps:

Then I had another bunch of scraps that I had tea-dyed and made into another bag with no zipper and no boxed corners:

Creating is fun! I made these bags, and more, in the past two weeks.

Happy stitching!

Linking up:

Sew Fresh Quilts                      Quilting is more fun than Housework                     WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Sew Happy Together

Hen & Chicks

One of my VERY FAVORITE SONGS in the 1960s (so long ago!) was "So Happy Together" by the Turtles (1967, when I was...oh, let's not go there). I wore out the little 45 record that I had. I still love the tune. (Don't know the song? Listen and watch here, vintage 1967: Turtles singing "So Happy Together" ). Looking at their "outfits" and  antics during this "live performance" should make any quilter creative, LOL.

Out of that random memory and inspiration came this machine applique and embroidery design on a 5" x 5" square:

I also created this machine embroidered and appliqued 5" x 5" label for a baby quilt made by my sister :
The nice thing about making appliques is that I can use all sorts of little scraps that I already have saved for this purpose (and other creative endeavors).

New Design

A Modern Quilt Guild friend showed a few of us how to make this design using scraps of batiks:

The lighting isn't good for the photo, but in spite of this I think you'll notice that there's not enough fabric color contrast to set off those leaves. It's not finished, however, so I'm thinking about perking it up with some threads and maybe some beads.  Measurements: 11" x 29", about wall-hanging or small table runner size. I've got more leaves to set into other projects, so this serves as a good test.


Linking up with you via:

Sew Fresh Quilts    Quilting is more fun than Housework    WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Watercolor Quilt Class & Outdoor Quilting

Last week I took a local class taught by a local mother and daughter team: Making a Watercolor Quilt. Probably the hardest part is choosing colors that move from dark to light which is a good exercise for quilting in general:

The project starts with 2" squares cut from strips and scraps.

I tried laying out a background scene that might suggest: foreground, water, bushes, sky.
I stitched them together. Here they're displayed on a green pillow, but they are not part of that pillow. The piece is small, measuring 14" x 14". What will it become?

Now I must decide what I will put on top of this to make a true watercolor-type of scene. There isn't enough contrast because I didn't receive the supply list before the class which was frustrating. So I drove home and scrambled to select fabrics from my stash in less than 30 minutes! For that reason, I didn't have enough contrasting fabrics. Fortunately another participant shared some of her squares with me. 

All in all, the project is easy. I've been saving up 1.5" squares of scraps for several years and had considered making a "Postage Stamp" quilt top, but I might change that to a watercolor top. Such small squares will become even smaller in the process of stitching them together, so the gradations of color will be more subtle and require more of them, I think.

Quilting Outdoors

My previous post featured a wrestling match with a queen-size quilt on my domestic machine. I decided to pull the "monster" and machine outdoors to our backyard to create "ambiance", so here's my "room with a view" (and running hens who were napping in a flower bed nearby, hoping I'd offer them something to nibble):


Linking up with you via:
Sew Fresh Quilts                   Quilting is more fun than Housework            WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced                 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Free-Motion Wrestling!! and Thread Painting Experiement

Perhaps you have this same situation: quilt tops that need to be quilted. The dilemma: how to quilt them. I'd love to use a long-arm machine, but don't own one. I'd love to RENT a long-arm machine, but that's a two hour drive away. So it's time to take matters into my own hands, literally, by going "domestic," as in use my home "domestic" machine. Of course, it has turned into a wrestling match. It didn't look anything like Leah Day, believe me.
Safety-pinned and ready to whirl
I pulled out the quilt I began making for my husband back in 2007. I had it sandwiched and pinned, ready to quilt. My domestic machine does not have its own cabinet, so I use an acrylic table attachment when quilting. It's small. When machine quilting on a domestic machine, it helps to have a level surface to help support the weight and size of the quilt while quilting it. It's ridiculous, but here's what I did:
The QUEEN-SIZE quilt sandwich is on the dining room table. I decided to use the living-room throw pillows to prop the weight of the quilt up to almost the level of the acrylic table attachment. The pillows would also, in theory, be soft on the table surface and slide easily as needed in maneuvering the quilt. Clumsy, but I'm desperate.

The dining room chairs are substantially built, but they're not the right height to wrestle with this monster. Add throw pillows and practically fall off the chair.

Now I have to learn how to work with the speed and rhythm of the machine. Result? Skipped stitches, uneven stitch lengths.

The thread is also important. I used King Tut cotton in the top and The Finishing Touch polyester thread in the bobbin. Result? Broken threads...un-sew...restart...broken threads...repeat. I won't show you THAT ugly photo.

I think the bottom line for quilting on my domestic machine is to use its high speed, which is scary at first, and then the other key is: don't swirl too quickly (skipped stitches, broken threads).

I like swirling, but I think many of my swirls end up looking like velociraptors from the Jurassic Park movie. (Speaking of velociraptors, have you ever noticed that they move around and act distinctly like chickens?? If you're a chicken-lover, you'll notice it!)

I'm not done with this "monster" yet. I've imperfectly completed about a third of it. I figured that it's better to get this done so we can use and celebrate the love we share. Since it's for our use, who cares if it's not perfect?? I won't let the "quilt-police" examine it. And someday, when my children inherit it and realize it's not their style or colors, they can donate it to a quilt museum where the caption will read: "Had this quilter lost her mind??!!"

Thread Painting Experiment

During the local quilt show last week, I attended a presentation about thread painting. Of course I had to go home and try it.
My first attempt: a cup and saucer. I drew a crude picture with a Frixion pen. I used a light stabilizer behind the top fabric (an old cotton sheet) and machine embroidery thread, neither of which were thick enough for this project. I believe she recommended a thread weight of 30, but I currently don't have any. I hooped it on a wooden hand-embroidery hoop.

My second attempt: Thick, wash-away stabilizer, a layer of old cotton sheet sandwiched between the stabilizer and top fabric, raw-edge applique fabric scraps for tree trunk, tree roots and branches and leaves, multiple layers of that machine embroidery thread and varied colors. I used the wooden hand-embroidery hoop again and I suspect that it wasn't tight enough, since the fabric is rumpled or gathered. I might try my machine embroidery hoop next time and purchase some thick thread to try this out in the future.

Linking up with other creative ones like you at:

Sew Fresh Quilts           WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced          Quilting is more fun than Housework

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Eye Candy & Inspiration from a local Quilt Show

There's a group of quilters in town, Pioneer Quilters, who have been meeting in a traditional quilting bee-style for 40 years!! They demonstrate how to hand quilt and share the joy of our art and craft. If you hit the hyperlink I've provided, you can see some of their work over the past two years. I have some photos to share from this year's show in Eugene, Oregon (sorry I didn't touch up the photos so that you'd see their actual colors and brilliance):

"She Flies with Fish"

"She Flies With Fish" by Sharon Rogers

A Tribute to Laurel Burch
The show program says the following about this quilt:
"Size: 72" x 72"
This panel runs horizontal instead of vertical, so there was a bit more of a challenge when piecing it. I was inspired by Karla Alexander's book 'Dynamic Quilts with Easy Curves'...If I am not following a pattern, I work from the center out and add blocks, rows and borders according to what I see fits."

"Fireworks in Grandma's Garden"  (great name!)

"Fireworks in Grandma's Garden" by Robin Fouquette
The show program says the following about this quilt:
"Size 62" x 62"
Inspired by Mickey DePres book 'Pieced Hexies'. The quilt is hand-pieced, including the entire background, then machine quilted. After the quilting, pastel chalk was applied and finally Swarovski crystals were added to create the 'fireworks.' Received Honorable Mention at the Denver International Show, 2nd Place at the NW Quilt Expo and 2nd Place Viewers Choice at the Emerald Valley Quilters 2014 Quilt Show."

"Stars Over Marcola"

"Stars Over Marcola" by Diane Scott (Quilted by Lisa B. Wilson)
This clothesline is too cute!! (I still actually use one myself whenever I can.)
I love the detail of this quilt. The church windows look like stained glass.
Program Description:
"Size 63" x 63"
This folk-style quilt depicts life in rural Lane County [Marcola, in her title, is a small community in Lane County]. The structures and stars were created using a paper piecing technique. Rounded trees were made using needle-turn applique, and there are elements of surface embroidery in many details. It was great fun to design and make each of the border scenes. There are over 100 little paper-pieced stars in the background represnting local July constellations. Many of the individual patterns are from the book 'Down in the Valley' by Myra harder and Cori Lee Derksen."
What a masterpiece!!

I'll have another one to share later when I get the details about who made it. You'll love it!