Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lady of the House...

This is the calligraphy piece I made for the back of the frame.

In the box

Out of the box

Here is the gift for my boss' 60th birthday. Shehas many birds and keeps Lady Gouldian Finches. I hope she likes it. I've mounted it in a shadow box (size 8x10) the piece itself is more like 6"x8". It was fun; It's hand beaded & I painted the 'tree' as well. Originally; I was going to fuse fabric on for the tree; but in my haste; I had all ready beaded the leg & foot so trying to fuse fabric around that was out... The painting didn't turn out awful though I'm a self admitted 'non-painterly' person. (too messy for me)

Hope she likes it!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


This memory quilt was commissioned by a gal for her best friend. The mom passed away October 1 of this year. Our mutual hairdresser put her in touch with me to make a quilt out of the mom's clothing. After meeting with the daughter and learning more about the mom; I came up with this design. It's still a memory quilt in the sense that the border was created out of the fabrics from her clothes with a few brighter scraps from my stash. But it turned more into an art quilt in the middle :) She was a hippie of the 60's; loved dragonflies; flowers and frogs along with peace signs.

The dragonfly on the front was created out of the dress she wore to her daughter's wedding. I stitched the wing membranes in metallic opalescent threads & couched the silver frizze yarn as well as the multii-colored frizze yarns on the dragonfly. The frog is out of some great batik. The size is 56"long x 45"wide. The backing fabric was cut from a large backdrop fabric that was used at her 60th birthday. I quilted it from the back so the dragonfly appears to be crossing the moon of the peace sign from the front. The song "Moondance" kept playing in my head so that's what I've entitled it.

The poem that the family shared was 'I wish you enough' and I wrote the versus of that poem on the denim strips around the border in sharpie marker.

Her friend picked up the quilt tonight and was thrilled. I can't wait to hear how the daughter likes it. I agreed to keep the clothing for a couple months in case any of her family members want one also.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Finished Dragon Head

Still have to get him into the quilt but here's the final shot of his head with finished mouth.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

New Beaded Dragon Work

As always; starting with 'storyboard' Dragon is 16" H x 10" W. He will be placed as an off-center motif in a larger wall quilt that I'm still designing. In the storyboard you see the scales behind his head; those are being made individually out of orange/red silk and will be 3-D. I have other silk & some beautiful heavy brocaide tapestery fabric that will finish the 'frame'. I've had much fun beading him and will be adding more of the peacock scales (sequins) around his jaw area to bring that color out. And yes; each bead (and or sequin) is sewn on by hand one bead at a time.

The teeth were hand sculpted with sculpey. I 'scored' them to give them more reality. Then played with painting them to match the gold beads.

Ellen's close up shots are the bomb!

Those sequins that are black with the stars are halographic. I hand cut each one from a circle to the 'eye' shape you see then hand hole punch an additional hole to secure both ends.

The bead that started it all: The eye. For mother's day this year Ellen surprised me with a trip to the bead store. On limited funds of my own I passed over this bead and when we got home Ellen presented it to me. She had paid for it out of her own money. My daughter is the best! (A plethera of other words come to mind but that will suffice)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween '08

This is how much fun you can have with your teenage daughter, some tulle & masks. (& rollerskates/blades) We skated through the neighborhood scaring the bejeebers outta little kids! We passed out candy from our jack o'lantern buckets and silly stringed the older kids who seemed to love that more than the candy! We skated through the party in the cul-du-sac near at the end of our street & none of our neighbors knew who we were! We were asked several times through out the evening to stop for photos. It was truly fun! At one point I thought I had given away my phone as it was in my bucket that I was frantically tossing candy out of. Much later that eve. came home & called it and heard the dang thing ringing on the kitchen table where I had left it. (phew!) We skated across a major intersection (yes in the cross walks with the proper lights) and got honked at and a few cat calls from drivers. All in all, it was a night to remember. After all that excersize; I only had one small piece of candy (which sadly was probably the exact amount of calories I burned).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hellooooooo Houston!

Journal Quilt 2008 17" x 22" are up in Houston which means I can now share my entry that was juried in with you! Out of nearly 200; only 36 were taken & you can believe me; I feel incredibly honored by my entries inclusion.

The theme was 'Elements'. I chose water and did an interpretation of recycling to save our wonderous wetlands. Here's my artist statement:

This quilt was inspired by my passion to conserve our natural wetlands. The materials used consist of recycled flower bouquet wrappers that are plastic. I won’t go into detail about the irony of wrapping something natural and beautiful like flowers in something that will ultimately destroy what is natural and beautiful like our wildlife. The flamingoes themselves are plastic drink stirrers. The buttons are plastic as well as some of the filaments in the decorative yarns.

I created this piece one Sunday morning with my 15 year old daughter Ellen. I had taken the fabric and cut it up and inverted the colors to give the best contrast and ‘pop’ the design. I then laid the flamingoes down & played with the ‘organic’ placement of the decorative fibers. I wanted to go with beads (my other passion) but Ellen assured me that what it needed was some of her beloved plastic button collection. So while she bent over the work table intent on placement and color of the buttons; I was able to stand there and be intent on watching her, in the soft morning light, hair strands falling gently following the curve of her face.

What will we be leaving our children? Something lasting or something shiny and plastic that will ultimately fail and pale by comparison to the beauty and grandeur that is the natural world?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Baby Blankets

These were easy, fast & fun! The backs are solid flannel. Tops are primarily cotton with one or two smaller squares that are flannel. The cat one came as a kit that I eliminated the 'minky' tourquoise & replaced with the batik; the Pooh Bear I had to create as there is no 'girl' Pooh Bear stuff; to which I say 'Duh!" all the characters are male except for the shallowly formed Kanga. Nothing against Pooh; Tigger is my favorite! The cat one is for my hairdressers new daughter Sadie; the Pooh Bear was commissioned by a co-worker.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ahhhh... Sunday

Final Round Robin Journal; Travel

The final round robin book; the theme was Travel.

Where have you been? Where would you like to go?

At first my thoughts were of the ocean. I've dunked my tootisies in a few. But that idea quickly became too unwieldy for just two small pages.

So I decided to think about where I would like to go on terra firma; and the thought struck me as funny; we spend thousands (millions globally) to travel to exotic destinations; for fun, relaxation & enlightenment. The last one I focused on. All those lenghthy (and quite expensive I assure you) pilgrimages to travel to places where money has no meaning or value. I don't know the physical costs to travel to the Himalaya's but I'd love to go if it meant seeing a Snow Leopard. Likewise; rolling around some spit of an island where what you could make was the cost of what you wanted. I read that the key to happiness was to 'give away that which you most desire';

but none of our neighborhood kids wanted my Ben&Jerry's Cherry Garcia.

Friday, August 01, 2008

2 Journal Book Entries

Theme: Little Things

One of my favorite "little things" would have to be the Praying Manits. I find these insects fascinating and so chose them for my friends journal book. (I asked her first if wanted insects in her book and she too loves the Mantis family)

I started out with a photo that my daughter took (at my request) of a young mantid in our yard. I had been watering and this creature was looking for respite from my overactive hosing technique. It's not the clearest photo she got but it was the orientation of the body that I wanted. I then placed it on the page & simply filled out with pen around the edges the ends of the plants & sticks. I then attempted to watercolor it. (I say attempted because I've no formal training in this art and really just sort of do trial & error)

Next page were just some interesting facts I discovered about the Mantid family printed on vellum laid over floral paper stitched edges down and glued the ribbon trim over the seams. My machine doesn't like sewing through paper apparently & the tension was wonky so I simply covered up the unsightly seams.

Here's the following pages showing the 'flower mantids'. These insects bodies resemble the flowers or plants which they inhabit and they are stunning!!! Check it out:

Pink Flower Mantis Devil's Flower Mantis

I mean seriously The Devil's Flower Mantis? Check out those wickedly cool antenna!

On the pink flower shots I simply printed those out on paper; sewed them to the piece of silk right through the batting and paper. The cone flowers were fused on. the decorative threads/yarn were laid underneath prior to sewing.

The Devil's Mantis is mounted on painted wonder under. Directly underneath him/her is something really funny. When I redid my sewing room I took my wheeled chair out of the room and then noticed the wheels not really rotating very well. Lo and behold, each wheel was clogged with so much thread scrap I could hardly believe it. Being the weirdo I am; after cutting the globs off each wheel, I kept them in a baggie. I thought they looked cool & could be used for all kinds of stuff I was sure. (birds nest first came to mind) Anyhow; I just took some out of the baggie & glued them down around the paper photo. The background is rubber stamped and then lightly water colored over.

I know we're supposed to do only two pages per journal book but come on with subject matter this cool; these stars really warranted four.

Next theme: "What If?"

I had such a hard time with this theme. I couldn't imagine any 'what if' that was not cliched or hadn't all ready been thought of. I even cheated & googled 'what if' and found all kinds of what I would consider 'situational' what ifs... mostly dealing with morality questions. So that didn't work for me. I even went to who I consider to be the "King of Cool" of what ifs, Neil Gaiman. Well, he was all ready using all his really cool 'what ifs' in his best selling books & graphic novels. I was hoping for a scrap left dangling somewhere on his website journal, no luck. FINE. Finally, (ironically on the subject of morality) I imagined God admitting he/she had made mistakes. Not the 'what the hell is a platypus?' kind of mistake but something more profound. I decided I couldn't get that 'deep' in two pages & I had all ready exceeded my 'page extension' on the prior book so.... I went with something funny. Well, I think it's funny. El just said I was 'so weird' & my theory 'was wrong' (my Science/Math major telling me why rainbows can't be upside down), I simply took the mature approach & after sticking my tongue out at her I sniffed my nose up in the air and harrumphed my way into my sewing room in silence. *inner dialogue: so what if water mimics the curve of the earth or whatever, the title is WHAT IF anyway, I can do whatever I want*

Here's the result: More attempts at watercolor because I knew there would be writing involved & I didn't' want the headache of what fabric to use that wouldn't bleed the ink; and would still be able to 'create the scene' and not be too obnoxious.

The saying is as follows:

What if rainbows were God's way of apologising for putting our eyeballs in upside down?
If our eyeballs were right side up; rainbows would be in the shape of a smile instead of a frown
we could slide down into the rainbow until we were awash in Indigo
would our clothes then taste like grape?

What if God admitted to making mistakes?

As this isn't too philosophical; I used the title "God" instead of the more politically correct 'creator' or 'insert Deity of your choice'. Please make no judgement about the authors spiritual orientation based on this, it was simply a matter of generality.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Long Beach Quilt Festival!


Journal Quilt 2007

Journal Quilt 2005 (it was nice to see it again!)

Here's some shots of my work at festival. It was so amazing to see it all hanging so beautifully!

Last but not least; The Carousel. The quilt measures 5' x 5'. Each animal is 3 feet tall & 12 inches wide.

Group project from left to right: Artists are Cindy Cooksey(Rabbit) ; Julie Schlueter (Zebra); Me (Horse); Vickie Valdez-Green(Lion); Terry Waldron (Giraffe).

Here's the full story:

When our Cutloose group was presented with the idea of doing one or more group quilts for the Long Beach Exhibit; I had kicked around many designs. I knew I wanted to do something that would represent the famous Long Beach Pier and in particular the Cyclone racer! I worked hard on several designs for that and in the end, threw in a last minute ‘dark horse’ with a pop-art rendition of the Charles Looff carousel. At our next meeting; all designs were placed on the table & before it was even made ‘official’ about which quilt we would do or which artists would be participating in which design; 4 had all ready had their favorite ‘animal’ and were bantering around color schemes and embellishments.

I took the design home and created full size renditions of each animal on freezer paper to give to each artist along with the background fabric we had chosen that would unify the quilt. We completed our respective animals using only the top fabric & batting. We had decided not to back the quilt until all the pieces had been assembled. We would meet as a group once a month to see progress; check color schemes and animal orientation. Once the animals were completed; they were all returned to me to assemble & once that was done we finalized a top design and fabric choice for it. This top section was the longest process and the most challenging. Finally; finishing touches were added via the ribbons for each animal; the novelty trim; & shading with tulle. The binding is a continuous double fold bias.


Cindy Cooksey’s rabbit sports a lovely red velvet vest adorned with colorful buttons and exceptional cross hatching embroidery. He is outlined with silk that was hand dyed by Cindy to match his gorgeous ‘skin’ fabric. He is both playful & charming.

Julie Schlueter’s Zebra prefers the more ‘au natural’ approach. The head is hand beaded as well as the eye. Julie’s fabric choice for the stripes gives a bold contrast that still plays well with the other animals. Her signature machine quilting incorporates such a fun, graphic element to the overall design.

Stacy Hurt’s horse prefers an almost counter-culture approach. His loose, long mane flies with wild abandon. The feathers appear to be tattooed up his neck; front legs & forehead. His bridle was pieced and fused on and the medallion was an original design created and hand beaded just for him by Stacy.

Vicki Valdez-Green’s lion is a show stopper. He is formal and ferocious without being the least bit frightening. The wonderful coloring for his mane compliments his dusky appearance. His eye and mouth were hand painted by Vickie who then signed her name in the iris of his eye! His beautiful fleur-de-leis tail design gives him such a regal touch.

Terry Waldron’s giraffe sports stuffed, felted horns as well as some innovative hand embroidery details around the face & neck. His mane was machine stitched and the material gives a nice fuzzy appearance. He sports a very dashing sash that is actually 3 sections of novelty trim sewn together. They enhance his lovely spots perfectly!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Origami day at the Koi Garden

The koi themselves were a riot! The were like great big sea cows! There was one tiny dispenser of what could only be referred to as 'koi kibble' or possibly 'koi chow' and let me tell you; those fish never moved from the one bank where all the folks lined up at least 10 people deep to feed them. El & I had gotten there early enough that we didn't have to wait. I walked right down where they were all swarming the banks and petted some, letting them all maul my fingers looking for their kibble. It was hysterical. There was one; count him: one single duck and you had to toss some chow way away so he'd go chase it so you could feed the mouths that were constantly open & groping the bank. When I went over to the little outcropping and stood on the little wooden platform gradually some fish would come over. ANYTIME they see a human standing near the water simply gazing down they will come right to you in anticipation of food. I started dropping one or two little pellets (I mean really, a handful is only .25 cents so what the heck!) in the smallest koi would come up *you can see from the photos the water is so green you can't see through it* and gobble as fast as they could knowing those big giant cows would come soon & chase them all off. (not really chase them but with; let's say, 20 fish roughly 2feet long and really round the tiny ones could only skim over top of the large bodies & slide right off) The duck was relentless! That duck was so ornrey to those fish it's a wonder they let him stay there. He would peck them mercilessly and the big cows would flick their substantial tails at him and he'd simply walk right across the backs of those gathered and peck their giant heads till they went under & he was free to snarf up all the kibble. The fact that fish have a .01 second brain memory makes it even more funny to think of the dialogue in your head. The fish would be the ultimate ADD subjects with the duck's memory only marginally longer. I amused myself for quite sometime at their expense just imagining the koi saying things like "HEEEY!" and the duck: "MINE>>MINE" and the fish... "Dang! I hate that guy! Oh look, kibble!........HEY? what the???" and then the duck... "Stupid fish... MINE!..MINE!"