Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

Now that Christmas is over and the gifts have been delivered, I can share what I was working on this last month. (There would have been more, but a nasty cold visited our household after Thanksgiving.)

There was the playmat for my grandson, who is very much "into" cars and trucks. His twin sister also enjoys playing with them, and they share amazingly well for their age. It is backed with a bright number fabric, since he also enjoys counting and can recognize some numbers. Additionally, it has a tie, so the playmat can be rolled up for storage or to carry along on adventures!

Then, there were the table runner and hot pads for my DIL, who is a marvelous cook. I made them with Insul~Bright batting (which you can find out about here:, so they should stand up to the heat. I also tried some new free motion quilting techniques on them, and was pleased with how the quilting turned out.

In each case, I used preprinted panels, which I knew as soon as I saw them were meant for the recipients.

I hope that you have had a wonderful Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of year) and that 2013 proves to be an awesome year! May you be blessed with peace and all good.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Holiday Preparations

It hit me Saturday morning that I have only four weeks until my larger family Christmas party. Now, ordinarily, that wouldn't be a problem, but I am woefully behind on my preparations. For several reasons, my normal engagement in the process did not kick in at its usual time. Since I still give gifts to many of the family members who will be there, I will have to do some quick work to get ready.

We are quite fortunate in our ability to get together for this holiday celebration each year. The family has been doing this since my grandmother was alive and all my uncles and their families living close enough would come to celebrate. Now it is my generation that is continuing the tradition. Our children, grandchildren, and even some great-grandchildren join us as they can. It makes for one very large party, even though some of the children are not able to attend, since they live too far away.

As a result of the time constraints, I may not be blogging for a while. I will return as soon as possible, however. In the meantime, I wish you a happy holiday season, however (and whatever) you celebrate.

Monday, October 29, 2012


If you have been following my blog, you know that I have had some issues recently that are guaranteed to make a person think about their priorities and goals. None of us knows how long we will be able to do the things that might make a difference in our lives or in the world. For many years, I have been trying to discern what it is best for me to do.

Among other things, I have been trying to decide on a path for my artwork. After reading this book, I finally was able to narrow my art focus to two areas.


My plan is to create dolls representing people from around the world and small wall hangings addressing environmental and social issues. It has been a number of years since I made dolls on a regular basis, but the example of artists like Mimi Kirchner reminds me of the joy I felt in creating them. In addition, the size of the priority quilt I made for AAQI or slightly larger feels much more "right" to me for my art.

It has been a long road to get to this point, and I know that it will take time to get production under way, but I feel I have finally made the breakthrough I needed. I am looking forward to sharing the results with you in future posts.

Until next time, I wish you peace & all good.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

AAQI at Houston

I got an e-mail from Ami Simms recently with the following information about the Alzheimer Quilts exhibit and sale at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. I would like to share it with any of you who might be able to make it to the show.
The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative is offering more than 2,100 Priority: Alzheimer's Quilts for sale at International Quilt Festival in Houston. Please head over to the front of the Exhibit Hall, Row S and buy a few quilts (Oct 31-Nov 4). All profits fund Alzheimer's research.

If you would like to help sell quilts, rope people into the booth (it is Texas after all) or generally lend a hand, they need you. Sign up for a 2-3 hour time slots (and get free admission on the days you volunteer) or join their Text Brigade and help "as needed." Learn more and sign up here:
Win this quilt! The AAQI is launching a newsletter to keep supporters informed. One lucky subscriber will win a beautiful little quilt made by Martha Wolfersberger. Sign up here for a chance to win and keep tabs of what the AAQI is up to. The newsletter is free.

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative® ( ) is a national, grassroots charity whose mission is to raise awareness and fund research. The AAQI auctions and sells donated quilts, and sponsors a nationally touring exhibit of quilts about Alzheimer's. The AAQI has raised more than $773,000 since January 2006.

Ami Simms of Flint, Michigan is the founder and executive director of the AAQI, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit operated entirely by volunteers. She is a quilter. Her mother had Alzheimer's.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Quilt Show

The local quilt guild had their biannual show the last weekend in September. The show generally has about 400 entries. While I really don't feel I "saw" many of the quilts because of the timing, I did go and took pictures. I'd like to share a few of my favorites with you. Attribution information is on the tag on each quilt.


You can find out more about the guild here: Kankakee Quiltmakers Guild

I hope you enjoy these talented quilters' work.

Blessing & Loss

I realize I have been incognito for a while. Shortly after my last post, one of my brothers went into hospice after fighting cancer for two years. He passed away on September 25, 2012. We were blessed to have had him in our lives for 61 years.

The weekend of his funeral was also the weekend of the local quilt show. Since I ordinarily enter a quilt in this show and did not this year, I felt as if my decision was guided by a greater hand. Many other things happened as if precisely timed, which leaves me thinking of God's hand in things.

While my brother was a man of strong convictions who could be extremely stubborn at times, he also quietly impacted a lot of people's lives. The church was packed for his funeral and the procession to the cemetery was around 50 cars long. While a large number of cars carried family members, it struck me how many people respected and loved him. I can only hope that I can emulate him in the time remaining to me.

Wishing you peace.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Talented Artists

I had the pleasure of going to the local Community Arts Council Fall Arts Stroll this past weekend. This year, they had close to 90 vendors, including a large number of artists. I thought I would share a few of my favorites with you.

Natalie Michalski of Moon Cookie Gallery has a fresh and vibrant style that makes you happy just looking at her paintings.

Curwick Creations creates astounding works of art with wood. I've never seen anything like their pieces anywhere else. They are truly beautiful.

World of Traegonia presented both their books and sculptures. I was impressed by the variety and detail, and enjoyed watching one of their young customers making a purchase of a dragon described as a mug guard. (It sits on the lip of one's drink container.)

Jesse A. Maricle's paintings have a realistic quality that vies with photography, while they simultaneously have a softness to them that is quite soothing.

Two additional artists I saw, who, unfortunately, do not have websites, included Pamela Baker, whose cross stich wall art is absolutely lovely, and Bud Hainzinger, who creates art pieces in wood by carving with a chainsaw.

I hope you enjoy their work as much as I did.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


The hummingbirds are migrating. Since we added a second feeder this year, we have had dozens of visitors. (The pictures are a little blurry, for which I apologize.)

Especially thrilling to me are those times when a hummingbird will stop and sit for a while in one of our bushes or trees, as several of them have, allowing me to get a close up photo.

I wish you similar thrilling moments to enjoy during this changing season.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

It's Natural

After storms that accompanied a system coming down from Canada, we have been experiencing cooler temperatures and beautiful skies.

Since I have decided to do more soft sculpture art dolls, I moved around some of the supplies in my studios this week to facilitate access. It seems reorganization is a constant these days, as is the fine tuning of ideas. However . . .

Nature continues to provide sources of beauty and inspiration . . . .

as well as the occasional, sometimes reluctant, live subject or two . . . .


It also provides food for thought.
One of my sons and his family are vacationing in California. When I spoke with him, yesterday, he told me the trees around Mt. Shasta are all brown and the waters of Lake Shasta are down 25 to 30 feet. It is a stark reminder of the severe drought most of the country has been in this year.
I came across this information yesterday, too: Sun Come Up - Trailer.  The movie depicts some of the world’s first “climate refugees,” inhabitants of the Carteret Islands just north of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. I was unaware that the seas were already rising, so it was enlightening.

The website describes some of the ways that people can address the problem of climate change through the "Take Action" tab at the top of the page. In addition, there are links for more information about the situation and the effects on people throughout the world. I hope that you will take advantage of them to see for yourself what the situation is for our planet.

For my part, I am more committed than ever to attempt to use materials which have the lowest possible impact on the environment to create my pieces. We already do what we can to reduce, reuse, and recycle at home, though I am always looking for new ways to do so. Any suggestions would be heartily welcomed.

Until next time, I wish you peace and all good.

Monday, September 3, 2012


I have always felt a sense of new beginnings with the coming of September, fall, and the start of the new school year. Even though I have no children in school any more, I find it is still the case. And so, I find myself ready to begin anew.

As a first step, I revamped my "schedule." While it is arbitrary, since I need only be concerned with how my actions affect my immediate family members still living with me, I find it a relief to be able to decide on my activities for the day based on a framework. Part of my decisions, too, have involved how active I plan to be in the studio. I have not come to any conclusions about distribution of my artwork, but know that I will be making time for creation on a daily basis.

One thing that helped me was taking a complete break from any artwork. It helped that my husband was on vacation, too. By the end of the time, I found myself anxious to pick up something creative to work on, though I did not eliminate photography from my activities.

We made a short trip to visit Geneva, Illinois, which allowed me to visit both the Fabyn Japanese Garden and the Geneva History Center (Geneva Museums). At the History Center, I was able to view the traveling exhibit "A Celebration of Rural America." It will be there through October. A collection of artwork from the 1920s and 1930s by Regionalist artists, it was inspirational.

The Japanese Garden is suffering the effects of the drought, but was still beautiful. It also provided some inspiration, which I expect will show up in some of my future work.

I am continuing my research of the 20th century, and have found myself also exploring some of the history of the 19th century, especially as it affected immigration to the United States. One of the things that strikes me is the change in what and how much Americans, in particular, feel is necessary to a good life. This reflects my concern with sustainability, of course, and will, no doubt, result in output either in artwork or writing.

And so, I am off to explore all these things. Until next time, I wish you peace and all good.

Monday, August 20, 2012


I received the following information from AAQI recently, and wanted to share it with you. It is my hope that some of you may be inspired to either create priority quilts or purchase one (or more).
The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (  is a national, grassroots organization whose mission is to raise awareness and fund research through art. It auctions and sells donated quilts through the Priority: Alzheimer's Quilt project and sponsors a touring exhibit of quilts about Alzheimer's called "Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope." The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative has raised more than $735,000 since January 2006. Ami Simms of Flint, Michigan is the founder and executive director of the AAQI, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation operated entirely by volunteers. She is a quilter. Her mother had Alzheimer's.

And that number in there? That $735,000? That's always going up. For the very latest cumulative tally of how much the AAQI has raised for research, see Show Me The Money at
The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative hopes to bring 2,000 quilts to sell in its booth at IQF Houston. (Exhibit area, number and row as yet unknown.) They've already started moving quilts from the Quilts For Sale page ( over to the Hoarding For Houston page ( They will continue to move quilts, starting with the lower numbers first. So if you're not going to Houston, it's time to shop now!
And, if you've got a quilt in the works: GER 'ER DONE!
 We are working really hard to shorten the time it takes to get your quilt from registration to sale.
"Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope" continues its five-year journey across the United States with a stop at the American Quilters Society Quilt Show & Contest in Grand Rapids, Michigan, August 22-25, 2012.

The exhibit will hang at the DeVos Place Convention Center, 303 Monroe Avenue NW in Grand Rapids.
Ami Simms, AAQI founder and executive director, will be in attendance Saturday afternoon.

"Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope" is an exhibit of quilts about Alzheimer's sponsored by the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI). Fifty-four small format art quilts (9" x 12") illustrate the disease from a variety of perspectives.

These small quilts hang among 182 "Name Quilts," each 6 inches wide and 7 feet tall, which carry the names of more than 10,000 individuals who have/had Alzheimer's or a related dementia. The names of loved ones, written on fabric patches by family members and friends, honor the 5.4 million Americans in the United States struggling with Alzheimer's disease.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


As many of you know, I am a Secular Franciscan. One of the hallmarks of the Franciscan lifestyle is simple living. This does not mean that as a lay Franciscan I cannot own things. It means that I strive to live my life in relationship and detach from possession. What does that mean, exactly? It means that I can enjoy things I do not own for their beauty without feeling I have to have them. I can use things and not own them, like reading books from the library. I can give away things that I own when someone else can make better use of them. I can live with less, focusing more on relationships.

My mother was a wonderful example of living this type of life, though she was not a Franciscan. Towards the end of her life, she "broke up house," as they used to say, and moved to an assisted living facility. She was still healthy enough to enjoy a variety of things, and with her large family, rarely had a chance to encounter boredom. The thing that amazed and enlightened me, however, was the fact that she gave up a four bedroom home, with a full basement, and all of the accompanying stuff to move to one room that served as her bedroom, living space, included a bath, and held all her storage in built-in cabinets. This was not the first time she gave up things without any fuss, but it was the eye-opener for me.

One of the things that Mom taught me was that it is possible to have things, even very nice things, without having a need to possess them. At the same time, she taught me that one should always consider whether someone else needs what we have more than we do. Finally, she taught me that it is possible to have enough, even if one doesn't have everything the advertisers say we "need" or the "Joneses" have more than you do, and have a good life.

What I am still trying to discern is what this lifestyle means in terms of my art. It comes back to a question of what is necessary. One could certainly argue that making and viewing art is necessary, since humans have been doing so since living in caves. There is something about artwork that stirs our souls. My particular role in the making and distribution of art is what I question. There are so many wonderful artists in our world. Do I have anything to offer that cannot be provided by someone else? If I do, what form should it take? Would it be better for me to create beauty in practical things and give them away? Should I create artwork to sell and offer to a wider audience?

I know that I am blessed in the fact that I can ask these questions. I am not confined by a need to create for income (at this point) nor do I have to take a day job just to pay the bills. That, too, is part of my quandry. Yet, I have a need to create things of beauty, and so my dilemma.

I'm off to ponder my issues. Until next time, I wish you peace and all good.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


I receive an e-newsletter from SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) on a regular basis. (I think it may be weekly.) It always has a calendar of events involving SAQA members. The latest one includes information about an exhibit of illustrations from Salley Mavor's Pocketful of Posies. Her work is so unusual and lovely that I had to check out her website: Wee Folk Studio.

In going through some of the entries, I realized I had seen information on her "Rabbitat" before, but watched the documentary, again. It was the right time for me to do so. I was inspired to think about the artistic work that I have done over my lifetime and question what I did that made me feel good while I was working on it. It also helped me to isolate the more general types of artwork I can use in future work. While I still have not determined a specific direction for my work, I do feel it is becoming more clear.

On another note, though I, like many I imagine, have been hiding from the heat this last week, we are supposed to have a break from it starting tonight. We also received good news about one of the family members who was diagnosed with a tumor. The tumor was noncancerous. This person is still fighting a form of leukemia, but at least, will not have to have chemotherapy. I was also glad to see that, not only has progress been made against the fires in Colorado, they had some rain. (No news yet on just how much.)

Finally, my husband and I celebrated 36 years of marriage this week, still feeding each other (though these days not so much cake) and trying to make one another laugh.

Until next time, I wish you laughter, peace and all good.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Decisions & Exploration

It has seriously been a crazy couple of weeks. We've had everything from excessive rain to 100 degree heat; trouble with the sewer line; health scares for several members of our larger family; bug infestations of some trees on our property, and more. Thankfully, things seem to have calmed down for most of those issues, though two members of the family are fighting cancer, and we will have to have some work done on the trees. We are grateful that Tropical Storm Debbie didn't do more damage (several family members live in Florida). We're watching the fires in Colorado (two nephews and their families live near Denver), and praying that they are brought under control soon, along with the wildfires elsewhere.

I've also been doing a lot of reading. Many of the books I've been reading lately were written by Robert S. McElvaine. The ones I have been particularly interested in are his books on the Great Depression, as I have been researching for a novel I want to write about the 20th Century. I find myself truly grateful for the library system we enjoy, and the ability to get books for libraries other than the one in my town.

That reminds me of the library at GSU, for which I helped make the bookshelf quilt. I have been serving on the Friends of the GSU Library board for the last four or five years, and made the decision that I need to step down at the end of my term. Elections will be in August. I hope those of you from the GSU community who follow my blog or Facebook page will consider joining the Friends and helping to further the mission.

The mission of The Friends of the Governors State University Library is to bring together those who share a love of knowledge and desire to promote the role of the library in the University and the surrounding community. Friends provide support for resources and services to benefit learners in the university and the community

I also made a decision this last couple of weeks about setting up the Etsy shop. I've decided that I need to take some time to work on UFO's and experiment with different techniques and artforms. So, I will be putting the shop off for a while. Making this decision has helped me to realize how much pressure I was putting on myself. What I need more right now is permission from myself to play. To that end, I have just purchased Destination Creativity: The Life-Altering Journey of the Art Retreat by Rice Freeman-Zachery. I also have her book, Creative Time and Space , which I have thoroughly enjoyed and keep as a reference. My plan is to use the workshops in the book, along with those in several other books in my personal library, to explore different media.

My hope for you is that you give yourself permission to play every day, even if it is only for 15 minutes or half an hour. Our busy lives and fast-paced society cause so much stress, we need to remember to act like children every once in a while.

Until next time, I wish you peace and all good.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Making Decisions

I have been doing a lot of research on a variety of things in order to decide how to develop my business and determine next steps. In the process, I have been reading a lot of blogs and books, looking at Etsy shops, reviewing the "Quit Your Day Job" blog on Etsy, and more. In the course of some of that research yesterday, I came across a workshop in the Etsy Success Symposium from February 8, 2011. This link should take you to it: Reaching Your Creative Dreams One Goal At a Time The workshop was given by April Bowles. Her website is a treasure trove of information.

The upshot of listening to the workshop is that I now have a plan. I have been able to work out a more detailed schedule that should enable me to put in the time I need to in the studio, as well as take care of the basics that are part of any business. I was also able, in the research, to decide more clearly on my focus, which should help me to make better use of the time in the studio, since I won't be as likely to scatter my energies on things that won't ultimately advance my work.

One of the other consequences of the research I have been doing is getting my studios more organized. I moved a couple of pieces of furniture around some months ago in the sewing studio,

and discussed organizational ideas with my daughter, who is also an artist. That resulted in some changes in the wet studio.

It is my hope that the reorganization will help me to have the physical and visual space I need to do more of my best work.

Until next time, I wish you peace and all good.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


I have been thinking a lot about sustainability and the ideas of reducing, reusing, and recycling, lately. Recently, I came across this website: Greennovate. While it focuses on China, it has a number of interesting an informative videos. Watching "The Secret Lives of Our Clothes" made quite an impression on me. I knew that there were environmental and health concerns surrounding clothing manufacture, but the video made at least some of those concerns more vivid.

One of the things that I have been struggling with as I move along this journey to creating my art is how to use materials in a sustainably responsible way. I was reminded of the path that artist Maya Donenfeld has taken by a reference to her work that led me to her blog She uses repurposed materials in her pieces. I first encountered a reference to Maya in Where Women Create's Summer 2010 issue. Seeing her work and reading her blog seems to have come at a good time.

I recently began sorting through denim scraps cut from old jeans. Since I have three grown children and an active husband, I have lots of them collected over about twenty years. While my original intent in collecting them was to make comforters for my boys' beds, I have been considering other options to use them since the boys have grown up. Since watching the video on Greenovate, I have also been contemplating alternatives to jeans and/or ways to find sustainable choices.

As Maya points out on her blog, it is possible to repurpose a lot of different materials. Do you have a favorite material to repurpose or reuse? How do you decide on the best use for something? What types of techniques do you use?

Monday, May 28, 2012


I finally caved in and bought a floor frame for hand quilting larger quilts. What sold me on this one is that it is, apparently, the type that Helen Kelley used. Since I have admired her and her work for many years, it was the push I needed.

I had tried, several times, to get used frames that were more traditional. Each of them presented their own problems, usually that some of the pieces were missing. At any rate, it is my hope that my handwork on the larger pieces will be done more easily.

In preparing to write this entry today, I was looking at Mary Fisher's website. She has been devoted to making a difference in the treatment of people who are HIV-positive. What struck me was a reiteration of something I believe in my core: each of us has a purpose in life. Our task is to live our life the best way we can, accepting each challenge as the possible reason for our being. If, along the way, we discover a mission we can embrace and foster that may give us a sense of our purpose. However, not knowing that purpose does not mean it is not there or that it won't be accomplished within our lifetime.

Years ago, my mother had a heart attack and was taken to the hospital. Since she had told some of my siblings she wanted no extraordinary measures taken to keep her alive, she complained to me about "someone" having called the paramedics. I had to break the news to her that she had called for help herself. She, then, wondered aloud why she hadn't simply died from the attack. I suggested to her that she still had work to do and a purpose to fulfill. She lived for about two more years. In that time, she did several things that she had never before attempted, and met a lot of people she had not known. I may never know, in this lifetime, exactly what it was that she still had to accomplish, but I firmly believe that she did have something to do.

All of this, of course, is my way of saying that I believe I have something I am supposed to accomplish in my lifetime. I am still exploring a variety of possibilities and trying to enjoy the experiences that come my way. I hope that, wherever you are in your life journey, you are doing the same.

Until next time, I wish you peace and all good.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Something I'd like to share

Another quilter who donates to AAQI as well as other causes has posted this on her blog.  Praying for a Miracle

I hope you will read it and share it, too.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

AAQI Quilt

The quilt I donated to AAQI is now for sale! It is number 9583 - Scattered Violets.

The quilt was made with cotton fabrics, organza butterflies, an embroidered handkerchief, free motion quilting, pieced and raw-edge appliqué

Read more:

You can also see all the quilts for sale at: Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative - Quilts for Sale.

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative® ( is a national, grassroots charity whose mission is to raise awareness and fund research. The AAQI auctions and sells donated quilts, and sponsors a nationally touring exhibit of quilts about Alzheimer's. The AAQI has raised more than $713,000 since January 2006.

Read more:

Thursday, April 26, 2012


I had been thinking about writing this post and the direction my thoughts have been taking lately when I came across this blog entry: Susie McMahon Dolls: Anti-profligacy. You may remember my blog entry about sustainability: "Goals." Susie's concern about "endlessly unlimited growth on a finite planet " speaks to my focus here. The fact that I now know I am not the only one thinking about how to address those concerns right now is one of those serendipitous moments. While I don't expect to become self-sufficient, I am striving toward living a simpler existence.

I have been busy contemplating my next project, but I've also been trying to weed out the clutter that accumulated since I started working the day job. In the process, I came across an article about a quilt made by Valli Schiller called Common Threads. On it she put a saying that was popular either in the Great Depression or WWII: "Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do or do without." She could remember her grandmother saying it all the time. I remember mine doing the same. One thing that Valli said about the materials in the quilt was that her grandmother "repurposed, and I wanted to as well." This was important to me because I have been thinking of recycled, upcycled, and organic materials as the only "legitimate" sustainable materials. It finally hit me that using up material I had previously purchased was also okay.

I have taken another step forward in my quest to decide exactly what I want to do with my art and my life, which feels good. Simultaneously, I know I am not quite there yet, and hope you will bear with me.

Until next time, I wish you peace and all good.

Monday, April 16, 2012


This spring has been quite unusual, but that has helped to provide some inspiration. For example, there has been quite a lot of this

and this

and a little bit of these

Altogether, they are enough to send my brain running after possibilities to draw, paint, stitch, and shape. At the same time, I am feeling really grateful for posts like Claudine Hellmuth's Finding Your Artistic Style, because I am in need of a lot of patience with myself. Sorting out a new career and artistic voice take time.

When I returned to college (what seems like eons ago), I didn't expect to have a degree within six months or a year. I am finding I need to cut myself some slack on learning about what has changed in technique and business since I last was a full-time artist (before I went back to college). Simultaneously, I also need to be open to a variety of possibilities. All this is to say that, while I would love to be ready to open shop sooner rather than later, the reality is that I may have to spend more time exploring first and give myself permission to do that.

In this season of new things and possibilities, I wish you time and permission to explore your talents and interests. Enjoy!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Moving Forward

As I mentioned in my post on Hopes vs. Goals, I wanted to develop some prototypes for products. In thinking about things I could put in an Etsy shop, one possibility that occurred to me was specialty pincushions. In February, I mentioned I was working on a pattern. It is finally finished. Given my fascination with butterflies, it seemed only logical to make this first one a butterfly. The pincushion is about 5" square.

I would really value some input from the community. Would you please leave me a comment letting me know what you think?

Monday, March 19, 2012


It seems a barrier has been crossed. This week I had several vivid dreams of projects I want to do. One is a quilt series. Another was the beginning of a story, made even more incredible by the fact that it is in a genre that I have never considered working in before. Altogether, the fact that I am dreaming vividly and remembering the dreams is a reminder that I have attained access to an area of creativity that had been out of reach for a while.

Another thing I was able to do this week was go through a few of the items in my studio to weed out some of the things I will no longer use or which no longer interest me. The journey I have been making towards discerning my direction really helped with that, as I found it much simpler to distinguish whether or not something would help me towards my goals.

On another note, according to a report I heard today, the weather is five weeks ahead of schedule. The birds are all in spring plumage. I was lucky enough to catch one of the grackles in his glory this last week.

We have also been visited by cardinals, robins, sparrows, black-capped chickadees, and a red-winged blackbird, among others. Simultaneously, the apricots, forsythias, daffodils, and hyacinths are blooming, and the lilacs are beginning to set their flowers. It is all quite amazing, if rather scary, especially in light of the fact that the southwest and west are currently experiencing winter weather and heavy snow storms.

It has given me much to think about and will, undoubtedly, be incorporated into my artwork, at some point. For now, I am still slowly moving towards greater productivity and enjoying the creative process.

Until next time, I will you peace and all good.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative Donation

Since it may take a while for the photo of my quilt donation to AAQI to be uploaded, I am putting a picture up. You can find the rest of the information about it at

Please let me know what you think.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Contemplating Direction

I went to another quilt show this weekend. At this one, they had raffle baskets, which is something I had never seen before. Each "basket" was themed and filled with items associated with the theme. Since there was quite a bit of interest, I suspect it is a good fundraiser for them. You can see more about their show and philanthropic work at their website: Pride of the Prairie Quilters.

To my surprise, I won one of the baskets. The theme was gardens and these are some of the things included.

Earlier in the week, I had the pleasure of seeing John Flynn present his trunk show at the local guild to which I belong. You can find out more about his work at Flynn Quilt Frame Company. His dry humor reminded me of one of my brothers, which made the presentation even more enjoyable. In addition, his quilts are impressive and inspirational.

I am finding it especially good to have the opportunity to view so many different kinds of quilts and styles. The Salt Creek Guild show always has a lot of art quilts. The Pride of the Prairie show seemed more focused on traditional quilts, with a lot of emphasis on reproduction fabrics. John Flynn's quilts, though traditional patterns, often have a twist to them that makes them just a little different.

Altogether, between the quilt shows, guild show & tell, trunk shows, and raffles, I am looking more closely at my own preferences in quilts and art, which I am sure will translate into new directions for my own artwork. Another thing that is affecting my direction is the weather and my concern for the environment. Though I live in what is called "Zone 5" by gardeners, we have been experiencing the warmth of May instead of the chill of late winter or early spring. Our daffodils are beginning to come up and our lilac bushes are beginning to bud. (By my recollections, this puts them about a month ahead of schedule.) I am caught by the fear that the weather will suddenly turn and freeze the young plants, we are in for more extreme weather (as in the tornadoes that devastated the country in the last couple of weeks), or that we will experience an extremely hot year. It also brings to mind questions about how we humans are influencing the weather and what can be done to reverse the damage we have done. All of this, no doubt, will continue to have an impact on my work.

I wish you good weather, enjoyable work, peace, and all good.

Monday, March 5, 2012


I had the opportunity to go to the Salt Creek Quilters Guild show this last weekend.

The wall hangings and miniature quilts were especially inspiring this year. There was also a hint of serendipity in the fact that one of the classes some of their members took resulted in quilts that suggested a different direction for the quilt I've been planning from my last Sketchbook Challenge piece. Now, I just have to work out some technical issues to get it to look like my vision.

One of the quilters whose work I consistently look for at this show is Denise Havlan. You can find her website here: Denise Tallon Havlan. Her work is always inspirational and stunning. She was showing this and this.

My priority quilt has been sent off to the AAQI. You can find the information here: Scattered Violets. (If the link does not connect to the quilt info, search for the title "Scattered Violets.")

Until next time, I wish you good weather, peace and all good.