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Showing posts from 2013

A Book To Consider "World Enough an Time On Creativity and Slowing Down" by Christian McEwen

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My book reviews are generally posted on my book blog, Books By The Willow Tree, but I really thought that this particular book deserved to be mentioned here.
My dear friend, Janet, gifted me with this book for the holiday. She could not have chosen a more perfect gift! I began to read it as soon as I opened it and, having the luxury of time alone this Christmas, I spent the best part of the day reading it. It's been an inspiration for me, and I think that many of you might also benefit from reading it. 
Most of the creative people that I know experience times when the muse flees the mental coop, leaving us  brooding  about "what now"?  We wonder if this will be a short hiatus from our internal creative dialog or if, a paralyzing thought, the muse has left us on a more permanent basis? Who are we if not one with our muse? I have personally found that more I give in to these thoughts, the more ludicrous and self-perpetuating these ill-boding fantasies become. I have learn…

Vintage Gems

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A Quick Note: Due to a huge increase in spam comments (like 50 a day) I had to make a bit of a change. I am not a fan of 'captcha', although I  understand why it must be used.
Before I have to go  the 'captcha' route I am going to try something else first. I will not accept comments from anyone who chooses to be 'anonymous '. Thus far, this has completely eliminated the raft of spam comments, but I hope that it will not deter any of you from leaving a note. 
Comments about this are welcomed!
This post is really about some wonderful little vintage gems that recently came my way..... I have a continuing love affinity for vintage fabrics and quilt blocks, although in recent years I have not purchased any new ones for my small collection. When I saw this little group of thirty-six six inch squares on Ebay about a month ago though, I simply had to make a bid.... and, as luck would it,  they came to my house.
These blocks are all hand sewn, and I believe that the fa…

Cloth Paper Scissors Submission Printed

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I am trying to become better at "tooting my own horn". It does not come easily to me. 
My FaceBook friends have seen this already, but I wanted to share this news here too.  This is a teeny tiny accomplishment in the general scheme of things in life, but it does encourage me to keep 'putting my work 'out there' (wherever 'there' really is). 
Some time ago I took heart in hand and entered a six inch Mixed Media Square to Cloth Paper Scissors for consideration. They had me send the piece in to them for further consideration, but that was the last I had heard. Until today when I got the Current issue in the mail! Right there on page 73! I am continually astounded at the creativity level of people in these challenges, and I am honored to have been chosen as well.
In the past, I have been blessed to have quilts included at Houston Quilt Festival Special Exhibits, and I was thrilled to be published in the Journal Quilt Project Book, but this is the first mixed…

Threads and Fibers

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I keep noticing that many people are posting self portraits, either to FaceBook, Twitter or on their blogs. I truly dislike looking at photos of myself, and yet I also see the benefit of having some idea of what a person likes like - especially if you are  kind enough to be following their blog or posts. So I took heart in hand and took a 'selfie' yesterday, without realizing that 1) I had not combed my hair and 2) I had no make up on. So this is a real WYSIWYG. It gives you an idea complete with wrinkles, or as friends on Facebook put it, laugh lines!
My days have been spent with some quilting, and that feels mighty fine! The quilt above is coming along well, although I don't do too much on it in any day. I am trying to go slowly. You may remember this from September when I started making the blacks from 5" sample square of batiks that I had collected over the years and could not bear to part with during my fabric purge. Each block uses two squares; one for the cros…

Sifting, Sewing and Knitting

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I have been spending this pre holiday season sewing and knitting. It has been delightful! I feel as though another circle is turning. My love of things sewing and quilts seems to have returned to me in spades, and it feels darn good! I'm never quite sure why my attentions turns one way, or another, but I do know that I seem to follow in circles. Pendulums always swing, I just never know when they will This is a FO (finished object). I had been [lanning to make this for about a year, and I am thrilled that it is done, looks divine and that I learned something from the pattern. The pattern is called Autumn Blush and it is designed by Joji Locatelli. AS I think I mentioned in an earlier post the yarn is from Sundara and is 50%silk and 50% merino. Lush and soft!
I have been sewing a lot. These are a few of the pouches that I've made for gifts. Simple, easy and, I think, they look good too. I had so much fun making such a simple thing! Plus, I did not have to buy anything! I'v…

The Winner of Sarah Ann Smith's DVD

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Thanks to the randomizer at Random-ize.com  I am happy to announce that the  winner of Sarah's latest DVD is:
SALLY ! Congratulations!
Thank you to everyone who entered! I wish that each of you had been able to win! I am planning to add some more small give-aways soon.
SALLY, Sarah will be getting in touch with you to make arrangements.  please check the email that you have connected to your blog  since that's the one I forwarded to Sarah

New Textural Knit Projects

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This is Sundara Aran Silky Merino yarn in "Autumn Leaves". It's the ultimate in a luxury yarn with 50% merino and 50% silk in the blend.  The pattern is called "Autumn Blush" by Joji Locatelli
I have been thinking a lot about what shape the next phase of my artistic life should take. I have come to accept that I need to focus more on one, or maybe two things. That leaves me in a bit of a quandary. What do I not do? I have decided that sewing and knitting are my "have-to-dos", so I am not sure where that will leave mixed media. I know that I will continue to do some but maybe not as much.  I can't "do it all" anymore as much as I would like to think that I can. I posed some 'choice' questions at the bottom of this post if anyone cares to help me with their answers!
My friend, Sarah, recently teased me that she had a difficult time locating anything 'quilt-y' on my blog, and she said that she had to go back a ways to find …

Simple Pleasure For Simple Minds. A Laundry Product as Art Supply!

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Simple things tend to please me. I am especially fond of happenstance, and this is what these are an example of! While I was at our quilt retreat this pat September, someone mentioned "Shout Brand Color Catchers". Since one of us needed to prewash some red fabric we all tramped to the local grocery store and we each bought a box of these little gems. I had never heard of them, but now I am looking for a larger box of them!
First of all they really work in your laundry, as these used sheets testify, there really is a lot of dye floating around i the wash water of many loads of laundry. It was bated breath that I timidly added one of these to a load of laundry that held my favorite lime and pink pajamas along with some blacks. Eureka! All came out of the wash just fine, no dulling of my perfect lime green was evident!
These darn things make laundry almost fun to do these days, and I have been unable to toss any of these sheets away because  of the sometimes fascinating patter…

Sarah Ann Smith's DVD Art Quilt Design From Photo To Threadwork

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This is your opportunity to win a copy of my friend, Sarah Ann Smith's new DVD! Keep reading to find out how!
Sarah and I became fast friends when she lived here in the Great Pacific Northwest, before she became the famous quilt artist that she now is! We both are "what if" kind of people and we used to love to play together. Traveling, experimenting with new things and new methods. It was a sweet time in my life, and she has become a 'forever friend' no matter how far the distance or how famous she becomes! She has always been a personal cheerleader for me, and I am constantly amazed at what an inquisitive, 'how-to-do-it', kind of mind she has. I used to watch her mull over a concept. You could see the focus and watch the gears turning, and her solutions were /are always well thought out as well as beautifully executed.. I imagine that many of you are already familiar with Sarah's book, which I find to be a very valuable. It's a fine example of …

Fabric Stiffeners and Hardeners For All Occasions Plus A Recipe For Home Made Starch Alternative

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I have had to become better acquainted with various ways to harden, stiffen or prevent fraying in cloth lately. It has been an enlightening journey, and I thought that I would pass it along the lessons that I have learned about a variety of excellent products that suit any need to 'tame' fabric for a variety of reasons. 
Fray Check. Who among us has not used this ubiquitous little potion over the years? It works like a charm to 'glue' up those raw edges on some of the most beautiful fabrics I use; ensuring that I can sew the fabric without fear of endless unraveling. This product has remained a favorite since I first discovered it many years ago. The only change that I think Prym/Dritz has made to it over the years is a finer application tip.
I have re-discovered my admiration for this product as I was making a holiday gift from some beautiful cotton that was especially prone to fraying! I have also recently learned that Fray Check can be removed with rubbing alcohol.…