Sunday, June 23, 2019


I hang out on Pinterest a lot.  I found the idea for the above Mandala design there.  I love the repeating elements and the inktense pencil colors are so vivid.  When I make these painted pieces, I first draw them, then transfer the drawing to a high thread count cotton, prepared for dyeing, fabric-tho simply washing a piece of fabric prepares it for dyeing.  The fabric finish just needs to be removed.  Then the piece is quilted.  On this one, I wanted some darker lines and some finer lines.  The darker lines were stitched over about 4 times with the black thread while the fine lines were sewn once.  Here is the quilted piece before coloring.  

The piece below has been quilted but not painted yet.  I am no sure what I want to do with it .  The drawing is from Dover Publications-a great source of copyright free designs.  I like it for the detail and because of it's faintly Jacobean English appearance.  By the way, the four legged creature is a dog, not a deer.  

Here is another piece painted with the Derwent inktense pencils.  The inspiration for this design was Russian leatherworking patterns.  They adapt really well to this medium.

Lastly, the latest and greatest of Helen Godden's BOM Alice in Wonderland.  Isn't this just so fun and cheerful!  It measures 12x28.  Her BOM uses Jacquard Lumiere acrylic paints which are pearlescent and so alive.  I am especially proud of my color blending on the background and the flamingo.  

I will begin quilting it this afternoon then head back to my worktable and my beloved inktense paints. Quilting these blocks which are already painted is pretty nerve wracking especially as these are quilted with black thread.  Further, any stitches leave holes in the painted fabric so if one makes a mistake and wants to remove the quilting stitches, big ugly holes remain.  I removed some really bad stitching on one of these blocks thinking....Well, I will just paint over the holes to cover them up-but no....this does not work--the holes still remain.  So all your flaws as well as beautiful work will be there for the world to see. Oh well...........

(to calm you in our increasingly insane world)

A beautiful photo of an egret by Douglas Croft


I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Midweek Makers, Whoop Whoop, Finish or Not!, and Off the Wall Friday.

Saturday, June 1, 2019


I have been spending the past few weeks playing with my Derwent Inktense pencils and blocks.  I won't show you my earlier efforts especially the one where I used absolutely all the 72 colors available.  In fact the hardest part for me is to discipline myself to using a few colors, the necessary colors, instead of using all the colors because they are BEAUTIFUL!

The pattern above was adapted from a Mexican embroidery.  I colored the background with a wash made from the blocks and the flowers and leaves were done with the pencils.

Again here I used the pencils.  This bird is adapted from Madhubani painting from India but with my own take on the colors.  I call it The Contradictory Feminine.  I quilt the outline on Queenie, my sit down long arm Tiara quilting machine using Quilter's select for batting for all these pieces.

These pumpkins were painted using the inktense blocks.  The idea comes from Linda Bratton's blog.  She demonstrates a bit on how to do shading.  Most of the paintings I have done are flat-that is they aren't given dimension with shading.  Though I have signed up for an on line class with Desiree Habicht called "Art Applique Fall Leaves"  which isn't applique at all but lessons on how to shade fall leaves from yellow to orange to red inside one leaf-to make realistic but painterly leaves.

This is just a pretty design I saw on Diane Evens blog and thought the design was very flowing and green and purple is one of my favorites.

This little scene is another attempt at shading.  This design is from Lisa Capen.  

The colors are fade proof and washable.  This is accomplished by using a fabric medium mixed with a little water.  The application  of the medium is the trickiest part because adding too much makes the paint run outside the quilted lines which is lovely if that is the effect wanted.  I have learned how to manage this pretty well tho I am not showing you my earlier efforts!

Lastly, here is the latest block from Helen Godden's painted Alice in Wonderland BOM.

These blocks use Jacquard Lumiere acrylic paints which are very different from the inktense.  Inktense-both the blocks and the pencils-are really just water soluble inks.  The color is laid on the fabric then medium (or aloe vera ) is applied to make the color come out and to make it permanent.

The acrylic paint if easier to use and, to my untutored eye, more forgiving.  With Helen's blocks, we trace the pattern on black fabric, then paint, then quilt-first in the unpainted black lines for stability, then, using black thread we bravely quilt in the patterning.  The June block has just come out and it is wonderful.  It is never to late to join one of Helen's Aussie personality BOMs.  Go to  to check it out.  

I finished quilting Chuck, Susan, and Me (aarrgghh!)  I photographed it but the photos did not turn out well and I got bored with the whole thing.  Maybe later-I am proud of it.


We walk on paths thru the woods on Truman Lake near our home.  Truman lake is primarily a flood control lake and there has been so much rain in the drain basin that the lake has reached record levels.  We have had about 8 times as much rain as usual and also record tornadoes-seemingly one per night in Missouri to watch for.  And "they" say there is no such thing as climate change!

Earlier this spring, we were walking in a pathway I call the Black Forest path because it reminds me of a path Hansel and Gretel would have taken-all twisty with the trees so  close and seemingly ancient, bending down to catch and grab you. This is my favorite path-tho there is another one I call the Cathedral path because of all the tall arching trees whose tops bend together just like the vaulted ceiling on a Gothic cathedral.  

Anyway, some eagles built a nest along the Hansel and Gretel path. Kind of a fuzzy eagle photo-she was sitting away from the nest to draw attention away from it.  The other photo is looking up from under the nest which was about 3 feet wide.

a dancer

I am linking up with:

Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Midweek Makers, Whoop Whoop, Finish or Not!, and Off the Wall Friday.

Sunday, April 14, 2019


Here is what I have been doing:

This block is the latest in Helen Godden's BOM “Curiouser & Curiouser” which will tell the story of Alice in Wonderland.  Now I am not the biggest Alice fan but I love her programs and signed up to learn more about fabric painting and quilting.  However, I have fallen in love with this quirky BOM.  

Here are the blocks so far (Feb, Mar. and April):

This is a mystery BOM so we don't know the layout of the blocks yet but aren't the colors wonderful?!!

I am learning so much and enjoying the fun in “Curiouser & Curiouser” BOM with Helen Godden. Every month is a new block based on Alice in Wonderland. You don’t need to know anything about painting because she teaches us all with the videos. The added advantage of signing up later is you can see what other have done on the private facebook group.The videos are excellent-full of detail.  Also Helen is a very nice, funny lady with an Aussie accent.

Here is the link to Helens' page to learn more:…/curiouser-curiouser-2019-bom/

I enjoy Helen's patterns and videos so much I signed up for an extra class called "Polygon Parrots"
This is the painted block before quilting.  We use Jacquard Lumiere paints which are easy to use and very forgiving. And this photo is after quilting.  I quilted mine a bit differently than Helen but she loves to see what others make of her designs. Mine is Parrots at Sunset-You can see the setting sun in the lower right.
Chuck Susan and Me has all the quilting completed (whew)....All that remains is to sew on the binding.  Here is a sneak peak to whet your appetite:


this quilt was so much work...,arrggh! but all done now and I like it.
I am finally beginning on Yoko Saito's Pattern Imaginary Garden-a pattern from Quiltmania which is heavily appliqued.  I have decided I will not make big quilts anymore but rather focus on quilts not bigger than 4x5 or so.  So I had to shrink the pattern down by about 50% which made the appliqued elements very small.  

Looking at alternatives, I find two choices:  one is raw edge applique thus:
Which looks okay but this method usually works best with fabrics with high thread count like batiks,  I am afraid that my calicoes will shatter when I stitch them tho the stems above seem okay.

The second method is intriguing: shadow applique.  All the raw edge applique pieces are ironed down and then covered with a sheer organza.  The quilting is done then through the organza at the edges of the applique.  
The colors are dimmed a bit but all the colors are bright and can take a bit of dimming.  The finished quilt will have all the quilting on top of the sheen.  There is also some embroidery which would go on top of the organza.  Has anyone else done shadow quilting?


Best bookcase ever

I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Midweek Makers, Whoop Whoop, Finish or Not!, and Off the Wall Friday.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

However you celebrate it!

What to say?
The past few months have been a thoughtful time for me as I attempt to investigate my creative future.  I have begun several projects this year-completed some and abandoned others-and learned in the process what works for me and what does not.

Feathered Friends BOM with Helen Godden

I loved working on this project.  I loved the paints, the birds, the colors, and Helen's fun FMQ designs. You can see it is not quite finished as I had a hip replacement at that point and am still recovering.

I have to say my kitty was not very supportive during this final assembling and quilting as you can see:
So good so far....Kitten is giving everything a close once over checking my work but then............
she does this! She finds my work hilarious!  I mean really! Her job is to be supportive but I guess her true thoughts could not be suppressed. Good to know who your friends are. 

You can see on the design wall behind "She Who Is A Traitor" that Chuck, Susan and Me is back in play.  I have resumed quilting it.  While I recover, I am planning the stitching as each square is quilted differently.  

Along with painting Feathered Friends, I have found that I just love Fmq especially on the lovely "Queenie", my sit down long arm quilter.  I began this blog expressing my very real fear of Free Motion Quilting and now find that with the practice and experimentation undertaken that this is also a big factor in my creative life. 

So....paints and FMQ .......two items for my creative portfolio (birds and flowers are a given).  Here is a Kaylee Porter download which is FMQed and then painted with Prismacolor pencils.

Also applique is a favorite as anyone who has followed me knows.  Yes, but here's the rub.  Applique is time intensive and at age 71, projects cannot be entered into lightly. 

And this brings me to my abandoned projects: 

This is a charming, colorful pattern and you can see I appliqued 6 months dutifully before deserting.  Dutiful was the feeling I had when I worked on this.  Duplicating this lovely pattern by designer Reece Hanson of Morning Glory Designs, was frustrating to me as the applique was very time consuming which I would not have minded except I was doing someone else and not exploring my own path. The two block on the right were my favorites.  I loved the combination of rigid blocks with the curvy flowers.

Here is the second project I am letting go.  

Sandra Liechner's Naturalist Notebook.

The Purple Finch is the last block I completed.  I feel I have done nice work on these but so what?  Basically my efforts are an attempt to copy what she has done and "I" am not really involved in the process.  Why should I do a lame after-image when she has already done the perfect one. For this much work, I would rather do my own adaptation of the series.  So, I doubt I will do more of these tho I love them.

Next time I will show you some of what I (probably) will be working on.


Surprising a flock of pelicans at the lake

A winter image: Windblown frost clings to berries in Maine.
Happy Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Rohatsu, Happy Omisoka whichever winter holiday is yours.

Happy Stitching!

I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Midweek Makers, Whoop Whoop, Finish or Not!, and Off the Wall Friday.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


Sandra Liechner's Naturalist's Notebook
Block 3, Purple Finch
Much work remains to be done.  This block has lots of embroidery to define the leaves, flowers, and birds.  There is also some painting to do on the flowers with Prismacolor pencils to give some shadow and more personality.  I can see the line of the bird's tail needs to be straighten.  In my box of red batiks I could find lots of lovely shades but they did not seem to blend well.  So I choose one with a lot of texture, got out the primsacolors shading each fabric with a degree of the rose colored pencil.  The results are pleasing with the colors all agreeing with each other.

This block looks horribly complicated and hard to do but you just need to start with one element and when finished with do the next.

Here are the leaves and branches cut out, their edges turned, and basted in place.  As soon as I had these stitched down I did the flowers, then the bird.

Bird #2

The photo is a bit blurry but this Australian Kingfisher is all painted and is ready to be machine quilted on my lovely new Lady Tiara, queen of quilting.   For those of you who don't know, this is the 6th block in Helen Godden's series Feathered Friends-best bom ever-so much fun.  And also a challenge to learn how to paint and to quilt some of her more difficult designs.  I am liking this whole process so much I am working on a gecko from a pdf book Helen publishes.  I am painting a quilting the gecko.


I am a bit behind in my life's work right now as we took a road trip.  Now I have taken maybe 40 road trips of varying length in my life and it seems to me this is a quintessential American activity due mostly to what used to be an excellent interstate freeway system and cheap gasoline.  

I love the American desert southwest and the inter-mountain desert.  The long stretches of subtle coloring and sparse vegetation with hot desert air blowing into the car drying the sweat it causes.  The reds and the pinks of the desert, the odd vegetation seen nowhere else, the dust blowing everywhere and the complete lack of habitation.  It is not friendly there but it is awesome in its grandeur.

I have also gone north to the Pacfic Northwest-a rain forest, south to the old Confederate states with the beautiful Gulf of Mexico, salty New England and the coastal states with their megalopolises, and the lake filled upper midwest.  America is a beautiful country but we are not alone in this as most the world is incredibly beautiful in its geography and cities. 

I turn into a 71 year old person on Wednesday so this road trip may have been my last.  We had a wonderful time driving from Virginia back to home in Missouri.  We saw steep hills in Virginia which had been cleared maybe 300 years ago by hand and which have had cattle run on them since and a pretty home at the top of the hill all creating a sight reminiscent of England which is dotted with lovely green fields and charming homes.

West Virginia was new to me.  We choose the long, twisty, mountainous route through that part of West Virginia which gives it its fame.  These mountains were tall and so heavily forested.  They were steep and folded in upon each other in an almost claustrophobic manner.

From there on to Kentucky with its blue grass fields, white fences holding strong and tall horses and many, many bourbon distilleries. In Kentucky we also visited Paducah which is home to the American Quilt Museum where my husband and I examined all the quilts on display and had a very inspiring time (I did anyway!).    

Paducah reinvigorated its river bank.  The Tennessee river and Ohio river come together here.  The Tennessee is blue and the Ohio is brown so after they met, the river is bi colored.  We watched tug boats push huge barges up and down river.  An old fashioned river paddle boat such as used to run up and down the Mississippi lives there and one can take a river cruise up the Ohio for a few days pretending they are on an old river boat with gamblers and cargo.  Here is a photo of the rivers-the boat was touring.

The Tennessee River is the fork on the lower right.  Both are wide rivers.  My husband loves the whole Mississippi river system which is very large and complex with dozens of feeders.  When he was young, he canoed up the Missouri river until it was so huge it swamped him. He finally reached the river bank and slept there only to wake up circled by 7 or so cattle chewing their cud and inspecting him. His teenage years where spent on the Pearl river in Mississippi, a river which could rise 20 feet in a few hours-a wild river now tamed like so many with a dam.

Leaving Paducah, we traveled thru the agri-desert of southern Illinois.  Corn as far as the eye can see with no little homes, gas stations just a few grain silos and tractor storage.  Tho it was a green place, the similarity to the western desert could not be ignored.  If one's car broke down, there would be no help for miles.  If you ran out of gas, there was none for miles with no homes from which to beg for help.

Then home to release the kitty from kitty prison.  I had told her she was going to stay in a kity spa with lots of pampering but she did not feel that way and plaintively meowed for the 12 miles home and hid for 2 days after that.  So we had the best time on our road time enjoying every minute.


Your moment of Zen

I thought since you just traveled some of America with me, I would show you something beautiful but belonging to the Americas. I give you.....

Corn originated in the American SW and in South America.  This corn was breed in Oklahoma over many years by a Cherokee Indian farmer.  It is field corn but is probably mostly for fall decoration.  Pretty amazing, yes?


I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Midweek Makers, Whoop Whoop, Finish or Not!, and Off the Wall Friday.

Monday, June 11, 2018


 But first the birds:
These are Gullahs, an Australian bird who apparently is a bit of a silly bird.  This is the fifth bird in Helen Godden's Feathered Friends series.  We have only 4 more to go.  Painting these has been so much fun but mostly I use this as an opportunity to practice free motion quilting.  Some of the quilting on this piece is good and some is just okay. 

Here is what we have so far:

Pretty wild with their brilliant colors. 

My other project is the Morning Glory Designs BOM.  We are halfway thru the year now having completed six blocks.

Here is a close up of May and June:

I think this one has a stained glass feel to it. I love the ways the stems twist and turn.

So now......back to Sandra Liechner's Naturalist's Notebook and block three "The Purple Finch".  Progress will be revealed on next post. 


Today is June 11.  No one is sure what the impact of the end of net neutrality will be.  Probably nothing good and we will all look back at this time as the "wild west" days 
 of internet usage before the telecom corporations took control and determined in their infinite wisdom the flow and content of information thru their new ability to vary cost to those providers of information. The telecorps do say that they will now be able to afford to increase services to under-served rural areas.  As I say...we shall may not be all bad (yeah right).


Speaking of the internet, I have mentioned before that Blossom the wonder kitty is a hacking genius with her petty paws and her fanny.  Her latest hack took me 3 hours to un-hack.  She locked my computer in airplane mode which could not be undone (before you even say it) by clicking the airplane icon.  NO.........after much toil and research on line on my husband's computer, I got enough onfo to make a leap into success.  And here is a hint for all of you who have special kitties like mine-check out the blue Fn button on the bottom row of your keyboard.  This is a useful key.  Press Fn and the function key (F2 for me) with the "tower" icon and voila...your troubles are over.  I was pretty annoyed with her the rest of the day.  A person has only X amount of energy and this is NOT how I want to spend (waste) mine.
Here is kitty sharpening her claws planning her next attack.

A pretty wooden bridge deep in the woods.

And last...your moment of Zen 
to bring calm and peace to you
in this increasingly 
worrisome world

"Wood stumps and logs" from artist Tamara Kostianovsky. Tamara breathes life into discarded materials to create different objects  and here she layers discarded fabric to create her wood.  I think it is a wonderfully beautiful and evocative use of fabric.

Do you like her ideas?

Happy quilting until we meet again!

I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Midweek Makers, Whoop Whoop, Finish or Not!, and Off the Wall Friday.

Rest now Anthony Bourdain.  We will miss you.