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.

Friday, June 1, 2018


Block 2 of Sandra Liechner's Naturalist's Notebook is completed.  Here are some detail shots.

The only method to complete these blocks is to break them down into the individual elements of each block and look at that alone and complete it-they are not so difficult and then, presto, before you know it, you have a lovely Goldfinch.

I searched high and low for some time to find the right background.  The original background was similar fabric and I felt this was an important design element for these birds as the series is a "Naturalist's Notebook" which of course is a written record.  It reminds me also that I have my own Naturalist's Notebook which I began in 1975 when we lived on our zen farm. 

 My notebook and a couple of my favorite bird books

I am not sure if Missouri just has many many wonderful birds and I just never noticed the California birds when I was growing up. Maybe our farm was quiet and serene so one noticed more.  Whatever the reason, Missouri is filled with wonderful birds.  In my Naturalist Notebook, I began recording all the birds I saw, when I saw them, and what they were up to.  I have a page for each bird so I can record sightings made at different times and places and seasons.  A record of my life for over 40 years.

I have begun the next block in this series-the Purple Finch.  We have these all year as well as the pretty shrub the bird is pictured on.  

I believe 
these are the same flowers as in the block.  My purple finches love this shrub but no matter how long I sat there with my camera, I only came up with a female finch.  It is also a favorite of the bumblebee  who also has a place on this block. 

We have had a special year for bird sighting at our bird feeder this year.  In spring we always have some transients on their way to greener pastures.  This year for the first time (I saw anyway) we had a blue grosbeak and a pine siskin.

Isn't this a lovely bird?!!!
He was scuffling along the ground looking for fallen sunflower seeds.  It was thrilling to see him.  I took lots of photos.
On the right is a pine siskin.  They are about the size of a goldfinch.  I did not take this photo-just cloned it off google images.

Above is a Rose breasted grosbeak.  Sorry I chopped of his head.  He has been a spring visitor for several years now.  He is a cousin to the blue grosbeck and a lovely bird with the most perfect coloration.

This is an airplane bone yard where old, unloved planes go to wait for their fate. While they wait, they make a very pleasing image for us to see.  At first glance this looks like an ancient hieroglyphic. This image has rhythm, great color combo, structure and depth.  I love accidental beauty in the world.  It is so reassuring.

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.

Saturday, May 12, 2018


Many of you will recognize the fourth bird in Helen Godden's series "Feathered Friends".  All the birds in this BOM are Aussie birds.  Pictured above is a blue wren which is a tiny little bird common in Australia.  This is such a great series. 

Helen is a great teacher who is not hide bound with rules-girl after my own heart.  She stresses consistency rather than perfection.  Consistency is pleasing to the eye and quilting is as individual as one's handwriting.  Helen has different classes and books on improving your quilting on her webpage  

This block was quilted on my new Tiara II.  There has been no real learning curve to quilting on the new quilter.  The moves are the same as on my old Juki but now I have more room to maneuver, to see what is happening, and keep better control over the quilting. It is also much more comfortable to work on-no more cramped arms and sore back muscles which, at 70, I already have plenty of aches and pains without adding to it. I am a lucky girl to have this in my life.  I have been practicing for about 45 minutes a day as if I were learning to play the piano.


Net neutrality is defined in the google dictionary as "the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites".  Beginning June 11 in the US, internet providers will create different levels of internet speed and charge accordingly instead of the equality of service that exists now.

What does this mean for bloggers?  What does this mean for small quilt shops who sell on line?  What does it mean for those of us who spend time flipping thru screen of images of fabrics or ideas?  Nothing good, I fear.  

Free platforms provide the means to post blogs.  Will we be forced to pay a monthly charge to blog so we don't stream at the speed of a glacier?

Small quilt shops provide a huge service for quilters.  We see new fabric lines, can search for several hours until we find that one bit of rare fabric, we are presented with creative ideas.  It is a wonderful relationship.  Selling on line gives an economic boost to small quilt shops and provides quilters with good prices, ideas, and hard to find items.  Will small quilt shops be forced to pay more for adequate internet speed?  Either those sites will be frustratingly slow or we will all pay more for goods and services thereby providing internet corps with more revenue.

AND NOW........

(we need lots of these moments if we are to 
keep our sanity)

This beautiful flock of about 2500 white paper origami doves is an art installation by artist Michael Pendry in the nave at the beautiful Salisbury Cathedral in Wiltshire, England. The doves fly the length of the nave and are reflected in the pool below.   The installation is part of a healing process after the nerve gas attack there in March and offers hope and peace.

This is Salisbury Cathedral as seen from the east.  Construction began in 1220 and  is one of the most wonderful examples of English Gothic architecture.  It lies just 8 miles from that other ancient religious site, Stonehenge.

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, 
Let's Bee Social, Whoop Whoop, and Finish or Not!, Off the Wall Friday.