Thursday, November 13, 2014

In a Tangle

In a Tangle is a pretty apt name for this post and my life of late!
I had a bit of minor surgery six days ago,
and it's taking more time than I would like for my body to recover.
So, all of those things that I planned to do this week
are a bit mushed together, making me anxious.

I like life much better when it looks 
neat and tidy like this:

After I finally wound up that nasty, knotty skein of Perle Coton,
I got busy on Painted Buckeye again.

This block may be just about finished,
and now that I've finally figured out where I'm going with the entire piece,
it shouldn't take much longer - if I can find some free time!

and it makes a lot of sense to me.
I realize that I need to show up 'on the job' every single day -
but I don't always have that luxury.
Today I did and the work was fruitful and very satisfying.

When I did not have the energy to 'show up' earlier in the week,
I sat in my chair, looking at our beautiful lake
and the changing leaves,
and I knit.
That is always satisfying to me!

Our grandson Charlie's birthday is coming up very soon,
and with crochet help from my friend Roberta (for the eyes),
I have finally finished his 'froggy' hat.
I think he will love it!

I also finished these butterfly mitts for his sister Maggie,
whose birthday falls in early December.

For some unknown reason, 
when I arrived home from the hospital,
I thought it would be a splendid idea to begin knitting these lovely fingerless mitts:

I'd had the yarn (yummy Malabrigo) and the pattern (Verdure by Alana Dakos)
for over a year, and I just couldn't wait one more minute to cast on!
I love listening to Alana's podcasts.
She sounds so very, very sweet,
but while I was trying to follow her graph for this mitt,
she turned into the devil!  LOL
just kidding - really!
remember, there was anesthesia involved!!
While I did finish the left mitt (without any mistakes!!),
I've yet to cast on its companion.

......and here's why:

while still under the influence of the afore-mentioned  anesthesia,
I flipped through one of my favorite catalogues,
chock-full of Christmas gifts.
Handknit Advent Stockings caught my eye.
They piqued my interest: $79.00!!!
"Why", thought I, "I can make those myself
and they will be soooooo cute!....
and cost lots less too!"
Charlie & Maggie will love opening a new sock every day!

Did I realize that there are 24 days in Advent?
I think so.
Did I know that the red and green yarns (not to mention the white)
in my stash were not Christmassy enough for me,
so I had to go to my favorite local yarn shop to make a purchase,
which also included more needles?

Our daughter said that she knew the grandkids would love the socks,
but "Once you come out of your anesthesia high Mom,
don't feel badly if you decide this project is too overwhelming."

So, here it is November 13th:

I've actually finished two more and another two 
almost finished - well, almost halfway finished!
I do love them though!

The Japanese Maples are gorgeous right now.
This one is just outside of our livingroom,
between the house and the lake,
so it smacks you in the eye everytime you enter the room.

We have three in our yard:
two red and a cut-leaf variety near the front door
that is a brilliant orange.
Ah, Autumn!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Peace to you and yours!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Around the World Blog Post

When my friend Gerrie Congdon emailed and asked if I'd like to take part in the Around the World Blog Post, I was honored.  You see, I've admired Gerrie both as a person and an artist for a very long time.  I first became aware of her uber talented daughter Lisa (not that Gerrie and her other daughter Stephanie are any less talented, but I found Lisa first!), but then when Lisa casually made reference to her Mom, I had to check out her blog, and as it is said, that's all she wrote!  We have since met in person at least twice, and we've roomed together at SDA conferences.  Gerrie is a very dedicated SDA member and if you go to a conference, you will certainly meet her there!  But her work and her warm and outgoing personality are what first drew me in, and made me a fan.  Her choice of colors is always top notch, as is her layout and presentation.  And she and I are just insanely crazy at times when we get together, which is a blessing in this world of ours.

So, if you aren't familiar with the format of the 
Around the World Blog Post, here goes:

What am I working on now:
My current piece is called Painted Buckeye and it is based on a series of prints that I made last Spring, using one of my Gelli Print Plates.  I had discovered the Painted Buckeye tree on our property while it was blooming, and because I didn’t know what it was, I identified it in my tree book.  I liked its blossom and the shape of the leaves, so I spent a glorious afternoon printing them in various colors on yards and yards of cotton.  The British fiber artist Cas Holmes had just spent a wonderful week visiting with us here, and I was feeling the influence of some of her work.  Cas then went to San Diego to visit and teach with my friend Jane LaFazio.  I feel that Jane’s work also influences me quite heavily. So now I’m spending hours and hours happily stitching on all of my fabulous monoprints, both by machine and hand.  At some point I will join all of the pieces together - I do have a plan!

After I've chosen my color palette, I hand-dye my perle coton and embroidery floss, and then figure out what stitches I'll use.

Above are several pieces on my design wall.  Both hand and machine stitching have been incorporated here and below.

Pieces like this just bring me happiness - it matters not what becomes of them.

How does my work differ from others of its genre:
I normally work on my own hand-dyed silks (as opposed to cotton), piecing them together and then quilting them, or simply applying them to a layer of eco felt through fusing, a la my mentor Jane Dunnewold.  That said, I have found that I am then limited in the venues that will show these pieces (as three layers stitched together is the customary requirement).  Until that changes, I am now doing more hand and machine quilting/stitching.  At the same time, I am reminded of Mahatma Gandhi's quote: 
"We must be the change we wish to see in the world".

Why do I write/create what I do?
I have to!  I long ago discovered that I am a ‘maker’ - even way back in the days of the looped pot holders.  It just gives me such satisfaction!  I am not one to sit around, I really don’t like to shop, and I receive such joy when I am creating.  In the evenings after dinner, we like to watch a few favorite TV shows, baseball games or movies.  If I’m not doing hand embroidery, then I’m knitting….because otherwise I’ll fall asleep!  I cannot just sit.

How does my writing/creating process work?
I am heavily influenced by the natural world around me.  I have two large dogs who thankfully require long daily walks, so I am out with them enjoying the out of doors a lot!  We also live on a very beautiful and peaceful lake, where I spend idyllic hours kayaking.  So nature is always sending me subconscious messages.  I’m a very light sleeper, often waking at 3:00 AM with the vision of a piece of art or a color scheme running through my mind.  This vision then leads me to thinking about the steps required to create such a piece.  At that point, I really should get up and jot down notes, and even make a  sketch in one of my sketchbooks, but I don’t - I rely upon my memory, which isn’t always a great idea!  Later that day I will sketch it and refine it, then photograph my work as it progresses, which leads to more refining.  

Two of my fiber friends have graciously agreed to carry on the torch in the Around the World Blog Post.  
Maggi Birchenough is a British textile artist
whom I have never met in person, but feel like I've known forever - and we would be fast friends if she lived nearby.
She is very active in SAQA, in fact she is the new co-rep for Europe and the Middle East region.  I love the way Maggi manipulates her own wonderful photographs, layers them on fabric, and makes glorious quilted art.  And to top it off: she knits!!!
Martha Myers is an Atlanta fiber artist whom I met during Cas Holmes's workshop here last Spring.  She is a fantastic seamstress, and also a very talented artist. I will never forget how Cas challenged Martha to design and construct a wearable top out of a piece of art she (Martha) had created in class.  Within hours it was completed and Cas wore it that evening during her presentation.  
Very impressive! 

Look for their Around the World Blog Posts next Monday, November 10th.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

.....and if you haven't already done soplease visit all of the links I've listed above, but most especially the blogs of 
Gerrie Congdon, Maggie Birchenough, and Martha Myers.

Peace to you and yours!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hard at Play

It seems that I seldom have a day at home when I can
play with my fabrics.
It's frustrating to me.
But today is 'the day'....
and I'm trying to make the most of it!

I'm working on my Painted Buckeye piece.
It's been on and off of the design wall in various iterations,
but now I am feeling the urge to get on with it,
as another piece is dancing around in my mind.

All of the parts of Painted Buckeye were created
using my Gelli Print Plate and acrylic paints.
It was a glorious afternoon in the studio....
and now I'm enjoying a glorious day in my sewing room!

Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Navigating by the Stars

A recent scarf sale prompted 
a commission order from this client!
I am working diligently to produce the perfect star image
in just the right colors for her.
Above is a first trial run
(not in her colors, mind you)
and I am extremely pleased with it.
Not only did it turn out beautifully,
but it has taught me a few things in the process.
Now I can get back to honing my skill set!

If you are interested,
this scarf is available for purchase
in the Gallery at 

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Peace to you and yours.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Long Time, No Blog

Too busy to blog: shame on me!
I'm still trying to get back into a rhythm that is comfortable for me.
Art is my escape.
I dream about art - do you?
I mean, I dream about making art - do you?
I usually wake up at about 3:00 AM,
feel restless and cannot go back to sleep (or so I think!)
so I soothe my restless brain with images of future creations.
....and then the processing begins.
By that, I mean: how I will accomplish what I see in my mind's eye.
I hope that makes sense.
Below is what I envisioned/dreamed about several weeks ago

I've spent a couple of weeks refining this process - for me - 
and I'm feeling increasingly more comfortable with my results.
One thing I've learned:
I'm very often turned off when I get negative results,
so I quit trying.
In this, my new (gift) life,  I've learned to keep trying
and refining my process.
I think that most 'good' artists do this all the time.

So here's a rather grainy shot of another new scarf that I finished this week.
It's all about the process, and learning how to make it right!

I spent several hours this afternoon
uploading images of new and glorious scarves to the 
If you think you might be interested,
please check them out.
At $50.00, they are a great value!

I also uploaded to the Art Beyond the Surface website
two images of spun polyester art
that occupied my time while I was 
in the midst of cancer treatment.
I named the series "Holey Holey Holey".
This is the "Holey Trinity".
I apologize if this offend you.

I think I called this next one "A Tiny Holey"

These are made from layers of hand-dyed spun polyester, 
which have been heat-cut,
and then joined by a French knot
in metallic gold.

In the mean time, we took a lovely trip to Southern California.
We have lucky family who live on a very old and splendid golf course,
and we were fortunate enough to take our morning walks there.

We took the train in to Union Station in downtown LA:

Even though the temperature was above 100F, 
we really enjoyed our visit.

Next door to the train station is the
United States Post Office Annex.
It houses many amazing murals,
which are definitely a must see.

We enjoyed our lunch that day
at the ever popular Philippe's.
Their French Dip sandwiches are a must.

I snapped this pic of a Bird of Paradise 
just outside Union Station.

....and then there's always my knitting
maybe this should be another blog post?????
Our little Charlie is so enamored by frogs these days
(when you ask him a question he usually answers "Ribit, Ribit"!)
that I've knit him these mitts for his upcoming birthday

Why three you ask?
Well, first of all, he is bound to lose one, right?
Secondly, even though I measured his hands,
I wasn't quite sure that the smaller size was correct...
until I knit the next larger size!

I also knit Mags this adorable little hat

I love the scalloped edge at the brim!
Both of my grands have large heads,
so I had to adjust the patterns to accomodate!
It worked!

And then there are these mittens!

I've gotten into a mitten knitting frenzy!
I bought this yarn while we were in California,
and I just love it.
It's Malabrigo Rios,
in case you are a knitter and need to know!
It is so soft and warm!
The pattern is Quiver by Bronwyn the Brave.
It's a fun knit...
and the mitts fit me perfectly!

So, I guess that's it for now.
You can see more of my scarf creations on the

Thanks for stopping by!
Peace to you and yours!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Dawn of a New Day

I snapped this pic last weekend at our condo in Atlanta.
The sun was just rising.
I couldn't sleep.
The pic is so apropos to how I am feeling.

You see, it's been just a little over a year
since I received my wake up call.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer on August 13, 2013.
The year that followed was eye-opening in many ways.
I won't go into detail about that,
but many times I thought about the art I wanted to make
when I felt stronger.
I began making that art this week.
It is very exciting to me.

I'm carving more stamps,

an exercise that is near and dear to my heart.

I'm doing more free motion machine stitching.

…..and I'm trying techniques that simply
pop into my head…..
the 'what ifs' 
that I had always been afraid to try in the past!

Don't wait for a wake up call!
Play today and enjoy every minute!

Thanks for stopping by!

Peace to you and yours.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Vacation time at RDC

We have just returned from the most marvelous vacation!
For the past 30 years, we have enjoyed at least a week
almost every summer on the shores of Squam Lake
at a magical place called Rockywold Deephaven Camps.
Our week there this year ranks as one of the best ever.
Our daughter, son-in-law and both grandkids were along,
so it was busy and very exciting.
We fell in love with RDC when our daughter was just four.
Seeing this beautiful part of nature through her eyes 
was truly a joy….
and now we are getting to do it all over again 
with Charlie and Mags!
The weather couldn't have been more perfect,
and the lake, although a bit chilly to our Southern toes,
was energizing and always a treat.

We hiked up our favorite Rattlesnake

Charlie took his first sail with his Dad

we kayaked

we swam

and some of us even square danced!

We were always inspired and awed by the nature around us

a 'sunrise' from our cabin
sunset from our cabin
sunset at Rockywold Main Dock

There were frogs

and there was tons of ice cream!

……and I even managed to get in a little knitting

my Banana Leaf Shawl has grown!

and I started a second Tan Yard Brook Shawl!

and we were serenaded by the wonderful call of the loons at night

Thanks for popping in!

Peace to you and yours!