Saturday, December 27, 2008

Whacky Weather!

What a difference a day or so makes! Just a few hours ago we were enduring subzero temperatures and ice storms. Today it is 60 degrees F!! The snow and ice are gone, but melting snow has choked the storm drains and we are expecting floods. Cheez!

My cousin Carolyn’s birthday is new year’s day and I made a Threadography for her. Normally, I only make one of any given image, but she really loves this one—and it’s the cover of my book. So, for her, I’m making a “limited edition.”

The stitching is complete and it will go to the framer on Monday.

I’m frustrated by a bulge in one section, though. I rarely have bulges from heavy stitching and don’t understand what happened. The piece was stabilized with Pelon Thermolam, although it’s a thinner variety than I usually use. Thread tension was fine. There was a lot of stitching in curves, which may have contributed to the abberation, but I’d love to hear your suggestions for preventing this!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Give-away winner!

And the winner is … Terri Head Moose!!
Terri, please contact me with your snail-mail address so I can send the rust-dyed purse to you.

Sorry for the delay in announcing the winner, but we were without electricity and Internet service until yesterday evening. There is another storm coming in, so who knows how long we’ll be warm and able to communicate!

The trees are all coated with ice and they make an odd sound when the strong winds blow through, causing the branches to collide. Service crews are working 16-hour shifts to restore power to as many of the 160,000+ households as possible in our area without electricity. The power company is bringing crew members from Kentucky and Tennessee to help.

The Memorial Coliseum and assorted churches in town have opened their doors to anyone without power. I can’t imagine the angst parents are experiencing with children going through withdrawal from computer and video games!

Predictions are for yet another storm mid week, making plans for holiday travel and family dinners tenuous at best. We’ll all get through this and it will make for amusing family stories in the future. But it really isn’t much fun in the here and now!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

“What in your life is calling you? When all the noise is silenced, the meetings adjourned, the lists laid aside … what still pulls on your soul?’
—Terma Collective, “The Box”

It’s the calm before the storm, literally. The sun is bright on the snow, but the weather prediction is for an ice storm tonight, which will most likely knock out the electricity.

We are used to it and have firewood and candles at the ready. I also stocked up on a few new library books to keep me entertained. What DID we do before the Internet became such an integral part of our lives?

This little beauty came in the mail today from Brenda in Muncie, IN. Brenda took my Joy of Rust Dyeing workshop in September. That was such a fun group and Brenda sent this journal cover to me as a thank you! What a total surprise.

She had no way of knowing the notebook that goes everywhere with me had just been filled and I needed another. Coincidence? I think not!

As we each deal with recent economic changes, I extend my wishes for a safe and warm holiday season, filled with the joy of family and friends—and maybe a small treat or two.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Christmas tree is up and the guest areas of the house are decked out in holiday finery.

The wreaths are up outside, the coach and pole lamps have been touched with red velvet bows, and the small tree is up. This year I painted paper mâché stars white and added white glitter for just a little sparkle. The snow that fell last night looks like frosting on the branches just outside the front door.

The Christmas cards are almost finished and I’m in a baking mood again.

There’s still time to leave a message for me on the post about the purse giveaway. The name of the lucky winner will be drawn Friday at noon EST in the US. I’ll then contact the winner for her (or his) snail mail address.

Also, let me know if you are interested in the wire hearts or metal tree cutouts for rust-dyeing fabric. They will probably not be part of the Trusty Rusty line of products. The supplier is not willing to commit to consistent quantity, price, or supply. So, when they’re gone; they’re gone!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Today was the children’s Christmas pageant at church, an annual event that warms the heart of parents, grandparents, godparents, aunts and uncles (who beam and cheer)—and older siblings (who snicker and sneer).

It includes off-key carols sung with gusto. Wise men fidgeting beneath the weight of their crowns. Wide-eyed shepherds and pint-size angels with bobbing pigtails made their way down the aisle to the cardboard stable, followed by herds of reluctant lambs and a covey of white-feathered dancing doves.

The brown-spotted cow forgot his lines and one small rabbit made a hasty retreat when he saw rows of cameras and video cams pointed at him.

There was a moment of concern when an over-enthusiastic angel turned abruptly and swept two of the smallest children off their feet.

The gray donkey will most likely recover from the unfortunate accident when the camel stepped on his tail.

Every child who wanted to participate was included in the seemingly endless stream of luminous little faces cloaked in adorable costumes.

No matter that the youthful pianist played so fast the cherub choir couldn’t keep up, or the little drummer boy lost his place and repeated the same line over and over! These little ones reminded us that what matters is the grace and joy in the gift of perfect love.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday Giveaway

Well, I am finally taking the plunge with this holiday giveaway.

The signed handbag is a funky little accessory, 6" x 8 1/2" (excluding the handle).

Both fabrics on the outer shell are rust-dyed cotton. The darker fabric has been further treated with tannin and the lighter fabric has surface design applied with Paintsticks. The lining fabric and tassels have also been rust-dyed. Black piping outlines the bag and emphasizes the piecing.

Free-motion stitching is worked on the shell, front and back, in copper metallic and black rayon threads.

This sassy little bag is perfect for party or everyday.

Please leave a comment for me on today’s post and the winner will be chosen on Friday December 19th. I’ll be glad to pay postage within the states. :-)

Also, I just opened a shop on the 1,000 Markets website. Please visit my new shop at:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Instructions for this adorable CD case have been uploaded to C&T Publishing’s new blog site:

I’ve worked with a lot of publishing companies in the quilting, craft, and sewing industries and have to say working with C&T has been a delightful experience. They are extremely professional and thorough—and do a wonderful job of promoting and distributing books.

They are the publishers for Altered Photo Artistry as well as my new book, to be released July 2009. In February, I can post a photo of the cover and reveal the subject—and I can’t wait!!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

You'll notice some new links along the side of the posting today. New additions will include blogrings and links to some of my favorite charity/funraising projects.

All the fabric postcards went out today to Holiday Mail for Heroes, sponsored by the American Red Cross. I'm so glad they are spearheading this effort to send greetings from plain old US citizen me to a service person who will be away from home for the December holidays. It was heartwarming to be able to reach out and send a little fabric hug to someone far away.

Now, back to the fabric collages for Collage Mania!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Can you stand one more snippet experiment? This is a photo of a tree printed on rust-dyed fabric (a white-on-white print). It has been thread painted with a YUMMY variegated thread from Linda Palaisy. The leaves are snippets of several different fabrics, stitched down with a very fine bobbin thread from Wonderfil.

It's a little busy, but I like the 3-d effect of the snippets.

It's been snowing here all day and it's beginning to pile up. I love sitting in front of the fireplace, wrapped in a quilt, sipping hot tea and watching the snow fly by the window. Cozy!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

This little piece is for Holiday Mail for Heroes, sponsored by the American Red Cross. Here is the URL, if you'd like to know more:

Details for the give away are almost complete. So, stay tuned!

I delivered four holiday postcards to Artlink yesterday. They have more than 200 entries for this exhibit! Deb Washler the executive director said this was an experiment and they are thrilled by the response. The "hallway" gallery had been designated for this exhibit and next year they will dedicate the main gallery to it! Cool!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Well, I think I finally have a handle on the snippet technique. This vintage Father Christmas is printed on silk and framed with snippets.

Compare it with the Winter Bouquet, which is also printed on silk and framed with snippets. In Winter Bouquet it looks like the background is all one fabric; in Father Christmas the background is obviously more than one piece.

1. Use larger pieces
2. Use fabrics with greater contrast
3. Stitch with larger thread
4. Stitch with less density

This is all in readiness for a major piece I'll be donating to my church just before Easter 2009.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

First Snowfall

What a beautiful day! Snow is falling, covering grass, roads, and the skin of ice on the ponds. Elsie has never seen snow before and she is fun to watch as she romps and throws it into the air. She’s doing better leaving the sweatshirt on while outside, and even for a few seconds inside.

I’ve been working on fabric holiday cards (see example above) for an exhibit at Artlink here in town, some art exchanges, and for Holiday Mail for Heroes (sponsored by the Red Cross). Here’s the link, if you’re interested:

Between the snow and the holiday cards, I am in a CHRISTMAS MOOD! Christmas music is playing on the CD player and there are plans for a fire in the fireplace—and maybe even getting holiday decorations out of the attic.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I finally figured out how to put artwork in the title box across the top of the blog, but still can’t center the text inside the box. Fortunately, the color and stitching texture draws the eye and disguises the spacing problem.

It’s cold and bright today. The sun is streaming through the windows, providing the perfect nap spot for Sydney (black lab), Elsie, and The Doggie Daddy (DH). Sydney is stretched out on the catwalk upstairs, safe for the moment, from the rambunctious puppy. And Elsie is snug on the lap of whomever is in the sun. She still won’t leave the little sweatshirt on and shivers in the slightest chill, which is no surprise given her size and lack of insulation.

The photo today is the two-page spread in the next round-robin book. The rust-dyed fabric background provides interesting color and texture—and I really like the additional complexity of the stamped ivy leaves.

I'm putting the finishing touches on a rust-dyed gift set give away, so stay tuned for details!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Beautiful Thanksgiving Day!

The frost(ing) is on the pumpkin (cake) and my family’s all in shock! (With apologies to James Whitcomb Riley.)

What a wonderful day it was yesterday! With family and new neighbors gathered around the table, we paused to remember loved ones who could not be with us and celebrated the holiday with laughter and love. (It was my dad’s birthday and would have been 93 years old. He died in 2000, but wonderful memories keep him close.)

It wasn’t quite cool enough for a fire in the fireplace yesterday, but the overcast sky and chilly temp today holds great promise for tonight.

I didn’t work at all yesterday, but enjoyed spending time on a website with examples of beautiful fiber art of a Japanese man. Follow this link and click on the slide show. The pieces are very interesting and it would be a treat to see them in person. The textural detail is fascinating!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

This is the two-page spread in the altered book round robin with some local arty friends. There are eight of us in this round robin, which will be complete next June!

The theme is "Home" and the pages are cut from Fast2Fuse heavyweight, my favorite stiff interfacing.

The book rings are holding the pages together temporarily, just until the pages are all completed. Then I'll bind it properly.

The first spread is so important and it's fun to set the tone for the whole book. The background is rust-dyed fabric with painted surface details. There is a tag inside the pocket on the right and the quotation reads "Home is heaven for beginners. —Channing Pollock."

My studio associate Lori will work in it next. I can't wait to see the next book!

DH is out of the studio for coffee with a friend, so my job is to complete the DSL installation while he's gone. Elsie is helping and we're having a grand time. LOL!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Is it possible I haven't posted a new blog entry since last Tuesday? Not sure where the time goes!

It is gray and stormy today and my little dog Elsie is not enjoying the cold one little bit! She is wearing the new fleece sweatshirt I made for her in the photo above. There was enough in the remnant from Hancock Fabric, I was able to make two for her, but she won't leave either one on!

The goal was to protect her (all 4 pounds of her) from the elements, but she doesn't seem to see the benefit. As soon as it is wrapped around her, a frenzy sets in and doesn't stop until she succeeds in removing the wrap.

Hopefully, she will get used to the feel soon and stop fighting it!

I'm almost finished with an altered-book spread and will post the photo tomorrow.

For now, I'm trying to install the Verizon DSL wireless modem in the house. The cable connection has been a nightmare for all four years we've had it. Time for a change!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Intermediate Photoshop Elements explores manipulation techniques for block composition or photographic quilt images.

The migraine haze still hasn't lifted completely, but it is better.

The sun is shining on a light dusting of snow, which dazzles the eyes. Elsie is quite alarmed at the snow and refuses to do her business outside. Once scooted out the door, she stands on the other side looking in and shivering silently. Even the little wool coat doesn't keep her warm enough to brave the cold.

The new online class session begins this Friday. What an interesting experience it has been! I've been teaching online classes since March and have found them to be extremely effective. What one misses in face-to-face exchange is far outweighed by the freedom to work through exercises at one's own pace. All your supplies are nearby and class discussion includes photos of other students' work, so there is a synergy—albeit at a little slower pace.

Liz Kettle's beading class fascinates me. I've long ago overdosed on hand beading, but her sample project is so charming, I'm tempted to take the class just to make the adorable fabric book!

My Photoshop Elements classes (beginning and intermediate PSE for quilters) have been well received and the class has grown and changed slightly with each group of participants. Each group brings new questions and challenges and I really enjoy seeing where they take the techniques.

The Joy of Rust Dyeing was added this summer and has been an absolute delight! Rust dyeing is now a part of much of my personal work and it continues to captivate me with its serendipitous effects.

If you'd like to see class descriptions, I invite you to the Quilters Keep Learning website:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's been rainy and gray all day—a perfect day to stay in and contemplate the next project.

Actually, I should have been working on a product-development presentation, but was sidelined by a migraine. Yuk!

A fire in the fireplace and a blanket with my puppy Elsie snuggled under it with me is the perfect setting for a comfort day.

I finished two projects this morning and shipped them to the magazine. After 20 years of designing for magazines and books, it feels odd to start all over again, submitting designs to editors with whom I don't yet have relationships. The joy lies in the design and execution for me, so it isn't a chore, but it does feel odd. Like a comfy shirt that suddenly doesn't fit right.

All will be well.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I just had to share a photo of a Threadography piece my studio associate Lori and I completed recently. I belong to Artlink, a contemporary gallery in Fort Wayne, Ind. and every year they sponsor Art In The Park as a fun-raising project. Artists from all over the area come to one location, create a piece on-sight, and then they are auctioned to art patrons.

Of course, we are the only fiber artists who take part in this project—but that makes it even more fun! With camera, printer, and sewing machine we certainly stand out in the crowd!

We are excited to participate in these events. We meet lots of interesting people, some of whom may become clients or workshop participants!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Yesterday was DH's and my 14 year and 11 month anniversary. Yes, we celebrate by the month! He started this when we were first married. It is so sweet, setting one day a month aside to remember what it is I love and respect about him—and why we got married.

This wedding remembrance is the class sample from the Lace Collage class I taught at Quilt Festival last week.

The class was almost full, much to my surprise. With all the attention on art quilts, I wasn't sure anyone was still interested in vintage images, old lace, and buttons. What a nice surprise!

This workshop will be part of the offerings for guilds and shops in 2009. So, if your guild is interested, please let me know.

As the 2009 and 2010 (!) calendars fill, I am grateful for the opportunity to make a living doing something I love so much!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

This is a photo of a very cool large rusty thing close to the housing addition in which I live. I've probably passed it hundreds of times in the four years we've lived here, but just noticed it last week.

Although it doesn’t strictly have anything to do with threads, it certainly does have something to do with rust dyeing fabric!

Whatever it was originally, it has most recently been used as an incinerator. You can see the level at which the paint on the outside has burned off from the inside, leaving the lower trunk rusty. It almost looks like raku!

My fingers are crossed the distributors will want to pick up my line of rust-dyed fabrics and supplies and this will be called into service to rust yards of fabric at a time!!

It's been cool and overcast all day—with an occasional flurry of snowflakes. The perfect day to stay in bed with a good book! I started reading Christopher Paolini's third book in his four-book series Brisingr.

In my younger days, I was a voracious reader. These days, it's quite a treat to read for fun and can only carve out the time once or twice a year. I skipped church and felt very decadent, reading like a lady of leisure.

Tomorrow, it's back to work, but today, just for today, it really felt good to snuggle by the fireplace with a book!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What a difference a day makes!

Trish Stuart has a Youtube video, showing how to stitch with fusible thread and apply fabric foil. WAY COOL!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Threads glorious threads! I love the texture, color, dimension, and finish they add to a fabric composition.

As a confessed thread slut, I will use any thread that gives the desired effect on fabric!

That said, I am really excited to know more about thread! Diane Harmon-Hoog on The Thread Society Yahoo discussion list has opened my eyes to new possibilities and new thread products.

One that really caught my eye is a fusible thread called Charlotte’s Web from Superior Threads. Developed by Charlotte Warr Anderson, it looks almost like fine dental floss.

In the sample above, I simply tossed a little on a scrap of rust-dyed fabric, covered it with silver holograhic fabric foil, and applied heat. When the mylar base was peeled away, the thread had melted and bonded the foil to the fabric (left). The spool is on the right. You can see the difference in the thickness before and after heat application. Pretty cool!

I really want to experiment with stitching some on rusted fabric and then applying the foil!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Back from Houston Quilt Festival

After much fun and frustration, my studio associate Lori and I are back from Houston Quilt Festival. We anticipated being back in Fort Wayne Tuesday evening, but fate had other plans for us. In Missouri, we discovered a section of historic Route 66 paralleled the highway we were traveling. Since exploring the Mother Road has been a dream of mine for years, we were thrilled to spend an hour or so traveling the old road and taking photographs.

Several hours later, we found ourselves on the side of the road, near the airport in Indianapolis. Thank goodness AAA is on call around the clock! By 1:00 am they had towed us to a hotel near the airport, where we were able to sleep a few hours. Then AAA (bless them) towed us to a service station.

$650 and a new fuel pump later, we were on the road and back home about 24 hours later than planned, but grateful to be in our own little beds with our own snuggly pillows!

In my opinion, a AAA membership makes a GREAT gift!