Thursday, November 24, 2011

Becky tells you what Tuesdays are all about

Tuesday is deffinitely not my favorite day of the week.  After much serious thought I think I've got it figured out.  On Monday, the day that sherry calls the first day of the week, there is so much activity in this house.  Sherry is running up and down the stairs and carrying laundry baskets.  Picking up the rugs I am standing on and wisking them out doors, after a minute or two she comes back into the house and puts the very cold and sometimes sort of wet rug back and puts it down on the floor.  Yuck, all that work I had put into making it my special place has been shaken off and replaced with... well who knows what she really does with it outside.

      Sherry doesn't play with me on Monday, but I can deal with all of this because at least she is here, which I can't say about Saturday and Sunday.  It seems that on Saturday and Sunday she and Normie are out having fun with that suitcase and the bag of glass that  she is always playing with.  Sometimes she even takes the stack of little quilts with her,  that is really awful because there is a bare spot on my table and I like to look at pretty things,  have you ever seen a stack of little quilts,  think of it as a "short stack" of  pancakes with yummy stuff on top.  Sherry calls it "embellishment" but it is better than that, it sparkles and wiggles and.. oh well, I'm getting off on a tangent. 

Let me get to my point,  it seems to me that Tuesday should be my day, they should play with my string, but oh no.  She start the day in the glass studio, and she won't let me go in there while she is cutting glass because when I jump up on the table to see the sparkly glass that she calls "dichro" she is afraid that I will cut my feet, so she closes the door.  then after she is in that room for an hour or so, she comes out and goes right to the sewing machine where she keeps my little bottle of "Kitty Cookies", she opens it and gives me one,  well no, she doesn't exactly give it to me, I have to work for it.  First I have to play with the thread and try to pull it out of the needle or one of the thread guides, I have to entertain her with my antics for at least five minutes before she finally gets out a little cookie and throws it on the floor.  This goes on all day, couldn't she just give me the cookie and let me lay there on the sewing extension table and be close to my favorite person.  She is always pushing me off the soft fabric.  I love the colors, and the batting and the way it moves under her hands. 

     Up down, up down, this goes on all day til she finally goes up to start dinner.  For pity sakes,  you see, I like to be spontaneous,  play a bit take a nap in the sun. sit on somebodys lap and take long naps, wait, lest  you should get the idea  that all I do is nap, I really work hard keeping these people from getting bored.  I will smile and have fun on Tuesdays when Sherry quits sewing and playing with glass all day Tuesday

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Getting Ready to Teach a Beading on Fabric Class at Quilt foundry

         I love the opportunity to share my enthusiasm for beads with others.  It always amazes me when I meet quilters who love non-tratitional quilting, but haven't done any beading on their quilts.  To me it seems a natural step to take, and it adds so much with very little effort. 

        Lisa Spaulding, from the Quilt foundry in Maumee, Ohio invited me to teach a class in her shop and I jumped at the opportunity.  They have an active non-traditional quilt group that meets at the shop one Tuesday evening a month and I would imagine that the largest percentage of those signed up for the class come from that group.  I,ve heard so much about the group and really look forward to meeting them. 

        If a person has not done any or much beading it can be daunting preparing for a class.  What do you take, what size beads, do I need stabilizer, can I use regular needles,  do I use regular thread?  Oh my, this can convince one not to take a class.  All of us who teach or take classes , know about the suggested  materials "list" can bring an other wise gentle woman to words that she doesn't use often/never.  Sometimes we even hear about students who get everything on the list and get to class and end up not using all of it. 

        I love to make the canvas, a small quilt  (8" x 10") with all of the quilting done and the area that will be beaded all ready to be finished after the students have been taught the basics of beads, thread, needles, stabilizer and have the opportunity to make a sampler with a dozen different beading stitches.  It is a piece they can take home and feel ready to hang on the wall and brag on.  Each will receive with their little quilt a kit of beading supplies  and a  Timtex  square to practice all of their new stitches on.  It will serve as a permanent reference card for future endeavors. 

       Does this make you want to get the beads out?  Larkin Van Horn has a terrific book, Beading on Fabric, that make a great  gift for any one on your Christmas list.  Lyric Kinard also just came out with a new DVD about Beading on Quilts available through Quilting Arts.   All this talk about Bead has me waking up and thinking I have another two hours before bed time and maybe I can get a bit more work done. 

Ta Ta, as we prepare for Christmas, use your time wisely,  have happy dreams about what you got done today, not nightmares about what you have to do tomorrow.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

More about naked trees

   Did any one notice that everyday Christmas is getting closer.  Funny how that starts happening every year about this time.  I remember when I was a kid it seemed that it would never get here.     I noticed that it all changed when I started being responsible for my own life.  When I was teaching (back in the days when you could still say the word Christmas in the class room without offending some one).  there were decorations, plays, music, parties and schedules to be aware of.  Since I had an income, I was responsible for my own shopping for  family and friends.  You know what I am talking about.

Next thing you know, you realize that all this shopping is expensive, so you start making presents and decorations.  Think about this for a minute, "if time equals money" you might be digging yourself into a bottomless pit into which you might be throwing a fair amount of money, especially if like me you discover a passion/obsession for this creative process.  Over the years, I have lost interest in trendy and whimsy crafts.  A Christmas card, like the one pictured above, (yes, that was my Christmas card 2 years ago) might take a few hours to create, so only very special friends, who know the value of the time=money theory got one.  (there were six of them)   For those who want the best, only made by your own hands will do.

Now, while you can still say  "I have two months left", get busy and go make a gift for those who will know the difference and appreciate it.  For the rest of them, go shopping.    George Siciliano  spoke at  the NQA two years ago and he told of an encounter he had with a woman at his church after he had made his first minature quilt.  She admired it and asked if she could buy it.  He responded with 'what do you think it is worth?"  He had 1,300 tiny pieces of fabric in it (yes, the comma is in the right place)  She said, "$10.00, and I would like three more to use as placemats".  that was when he decided that he would never sell one of his little treasures, he would give them to friends.  Good move George,  I feel your pain.  Now get to work, and I will do the same.

Someone asked about my teaching schedule and where to find our fused glass, contact me at as I could not connect to you.  thanks.

keep your bobbins full and remember, a drop of oil keeps the repairman away

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tis the Season for Busy Little Bees

  1. If you looked at the slide show of my little quilts, you will see the little quilt that is composed of four beaded hearts.  This piece is called  The Seasons of the Heart.  They captures how I see each season, the first being spring with the bright pinks and purples that I associate with that season, then we move along into the bright reds, hot pink and yellows that I think of as summer.  In the fall when the colors begin to change in preparation for the falling leaves most people find this season of great joy and warm colors, yes I agree with that, however, it is also the season that begins to squeeze the joy out me, as I know what happens next.  It gets cold, wet, the wind begins to howl  and all of my trees get stripped naked.   Winter, well, it just breaks my heart.  I wonder if life will ever be the same.  this obsession has served me fairly well because some of my favorite little quilts have been naked little trees.  Go figure.  My pastor visited me at home one time and I had to answer the phone,  When I returned to the living room he said, "do you know that are 9 pictures of dead trees in this room".  Yes, do you think I need counseling?
          That was a long time ago.  Now  this time of year signals all of the holiday shows we do (my husband and I)  at which we sell our fused glass jewelry and my little quilts.  We don't travel very far from home  and are not quite ready for large juried shows.  We have a tent but at this time of year it is no fun spending the weekend fighting weather issues.  You never think about breaking even if you don't spend an arm and leg for entrance and hotel rooms. 
           The days are full of  running between the  studio and the work room where the kiln cooking another load of glass.  A friend suggested that I should be gluing the binding on the little quilts, but my work is not, and never will be about cutting corners.  Beverly Sills is quoted as saying, "there is no short cut to any place worth going".  This morning my friend Susan Pickering Rothamel was featured on Home Shopping Network and she used pieces that I had quilted for her to embellish with her USARTQuest products and I could smile and know that even the part that no one could see was done to professional standards (Thank you Susan Cleveland) 

            The teaching schedule also kicks up a bit at this time of year as quilters want to learn something new that they can either use as gifts or decorate the house with.  For the beading class, I make a little 8 x 10 inch quilt with an oval shape in the center and a feather design quilted around the outside edge.  In the center of the oval, there will be an ornament shape drawn with pencil that they will fill with 8 different bead stitches.  It's fun, its cheerful and can be done completely in 4 hours.  (and it is completely bound when they get it)  Yes, I charge a kit fee and provide all the beads, too.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


       These happy feet have been to two quilt retreats, one in the Toledo, Ohio area where I got lots of mindless, but relaxing sewing done and a pedicure.  My Quilt Guild, Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild, asks each member to make and donate one quilt  per year to the women's shelter, so this is a good place to focus on that.                                The second retreat is the one I live for, it is in the thumb of Michigan on Lake Huron/Saginaw Bay, near where I grew up.  It is held at Bay Shore Family Camp and Ministry, I have been going to this  retreat once or twice a year for 7 years, once in March and again in October.  It a source of much personal growth and  wonderful fellowship with kindred spirits.  They have great classes to choose from, even for those of us who are non-traditional/art quilters.  If you choose not to take classes, which about half of the 80 plus quilters prefer, then there is a large work area to meet their needs.  If you haven't been to a quilt retreat, you are missing something.

In June, my happy feet took me to Columbus, OH for the NQA Show, and a day trip to Athens to see the Quilt National 2011 Show to see up close and personal work of so many of the names I have heard of and admired. 

 Fused glass jewelry, has led me to be a vendor at several  shows this year and we (my husband and I) have had such a good time and met so many wonderful people who have offered inspiration and lots of advice for us as we start off on this adventure of  seeing where the collision of fused glass and quilting is going to go.

These feet actually jumped for joy a couple times this year (3 times to be exact.  The first was on the 31st of January while hanging a show for the Ann Arbor Fiber Arts Guild     in the Power Center, George Clooney who was filming in Ann Arbor walked in to the lobby  while a half dozen 60'something year old women were sweating like athletes.  the second time was on the 2 of February when I got a phone call telling me that one of my wall quilts sold; no, Georgel Clooney didn't buy it to take back to Hollywood, but it was a very significat piece.  the third yippee came with the e- mail that a piece that I called Quoth the Raven was accepted to hang in the Sacred Threads 2011 show

tallyho, I hope all of your bobbins are full!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

It's All a Walk in the Park

  It only took 6 months but I have actually just imported my first photo from the camera to the computer (made a real actual factual folder for it) then from the computer to my blog with the help of some terrific and very patient people in my real life and cyber (Quiltart List) life and the Ann Arbor Public Library (thanks Katie).  I feel like I just won some big award and I want to thank my husband for supporting me, my son for the new lap top, Gwen, my personal computer trainer,    and Crystal for her words that resonate in my mind every time I think I can't do something,  "If you would spend as much time practicing as you do whinning about what you can't do, then in a month (or 6) this conversation would be very different.  Bingo I win.

In my world or art, where fiber and glass have colided,  It has been a very good year.   Normie and I  were a little burned out after 6 holiday shows in  6 weeks,  so we took the bootie and fled , literally, to the Pacific Northwest to visit our son on Whidbey Island, Washington.  We spent days visiting the art galleries on the Island, then a short ferry ride over to Port Townsend to take in the art shops, fiber shops, bead shops, well, you get the picture.  They humored me and I came away from these days with sensory overload, lots of yarn,  beads and fun local materials for embellishment, not to mention enough memories and praise for their patience to last a life time, or the next trip, which ever comes first.  I sincerely hope it's the next trip, as we plan to drive  to Washington in  sis weeks.

     On Christmas day the weather was so perfect 62 degrees (that is perfect when you come from Michigan)   so my son said "let's go for a ride"  Silly me, I am in the drive way waiting by the truck as the garage door opens and the roar of the Harley was deafening.  I was so excited, but the three year old pelvis fracture wasn't sure this was such a good idea.  Well long story short> it was a great trip around the coast of the island.    The North Cascade Highway on the bike is on my bucket list, so I will ask my doctor for some thing a bit more effective than motrin (like vicodin) and give it  my best shot in July.  The ride wasn't so bad. The scenery seemed to have an analgesic affect, but getting off that thing and trying to walk into the house or sleep that night was a different story.  The good news is that we went to Morton's Cove in the morning for a walk and collected drift wood (even a piece that makes a perfect walking stick with more character  than my Dad had.  May he rest in peace.

     After we got home there  were classes to teach,  two retreats, one a quilting retreat with some wonderful  and very talented quilters from the Northwest Ohio region.  It was a perfect time to quilt for the fun of it.  The other retreat was a quilt/spiritual retreat.  There I took a Mariner"s Compass class using Judy Mathieson's technique.  I am not a paper piecing person, I have enough trouble following directions head on, make it backwards and it is a real challenge.    Normie and I took a couple more fused glass classes to get ready for the shows and commitments  we had for spring and summer, oh  and the  landslide  of fall festivals  that we will do. 

     We just survived a very interesting show at Michigan International Speedway for the Great Lakes Winery Fest.  Thirty six wineries, a bunch of food vendors,  and  twenty four artist participated.  Quite an interesting experience.  It is the strangest thing, bling, (dichroic glass jewelry) and quilts with a wine/grape theme  are a real hit after people have spent a couple of hours tasting wine.   It ended up being far better than any of the Holiday shows where people are in a rush to do some Christmas shopping.    But that can't compare to the wonderful opportunity to meet the proprietors of the wineries and talk about business opportunities.  Some of them have gift shops or events that we  have been invited to become participants with. 

    Time to run and count my blessings, if you have  been able to  plug through all of this rambling then you may count yourself among my blessings.    Oh, oh (sound like Gunther Tuttie)  I forgot to mention my little quilt called  "Quoth the Raven"  will be part of the Sacred Threads in Washington DC.  After July 6th you can google Sacred Threads Quilt Show to see it.

Thank the Cyber Gods this is THE END