Thursday, January 29, 2009

Here are two more pieces from the Straight Stitch Series. I was afraid numbers 6 (above), 7 (previous post), and 8 (below) were going to look too much alike, but now I see that is not the case.

Either #7 or #8 will definitely get the raku leaf beads.

I spent some time with my godson’s 7th grade Home Economics class today. They were learning parts of the sewing machine. Some students had never used a sewing machine before and it was fun watching them become acquainted with the machines and how to control them.

It’s disturbing to me that the instructor didn’t have a pair of tweezers or any other tools. Our school systems are operating on the bare minimums right now and the Home Ec lab is no exception. One teacher and 36 students. She was grateful for an additional pair of hands today. Think I’ll go back tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Are you tired of putting hanging pockets on the back of your small and mid-size work? You might like to try this quick hanging method. It is invisible from the front and works for pieces up to about 36" wide.

I’m trying to put it in the side bar as a pdf, so you can download it and print it out. My fingers are crossed that this works!

This is piece #7 in the Straight Stitch Series. The stitching and fibers really add texture and I’m tempted to add a raku gingko-leaf bead. What do you think?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday Geoff (DH), Lori (studio associate), and I went to an ice sculpture exhibit and contest in a nearby town.

What fun! It was only 15 degrees and I can’t imagine how the artists could stand being out in the cold for hours on end, but the work was captivating.

Having never seen anyone sculpt ice, I was surprised to see chain saws, power sanders, and blow torches (really). Who knew?

When the cuts were made with the chain saw, the ice was frosty white, but the addition of a coat of water or the application of a blow torch caused the surface to melt slightly and the ice turned glassy.

Not a scrap of thread was visible, but it sure was fun to see and appreciate the artwork—however temporary it may be.

Have you discovered this new cookbook yet? It is absolutely amazing!

I love to cook and bake, especially bread. However, the time it takes to make a loaf of bread by conventional methods is prohibitive. Who is at home long enough to time and watch two or three rising times? And my results have been disappointing, to say the least (my water was too hot and killed the yeast).

This new book uses a revolutionary technique that significantly reduces kneading and rising time. You mix enough dough for four loaves at a time and refrigerate it until needed. Then, cut a chunk off, let it rest, and pop in the oven.

The loaf above looks like a loaf from a bakery, doesn’t it? A pizza baking stone and a pan of water on the shelf below it makes all the difference.

Yum! My husband’s favorite: crusty on the outside and moist and chewy on the inside. I love a winter dinner of a bowl of soup and a piece of home baked bread.

Friday I made a batch of pecan sticky rolls, but they didn’t last long enough for me to take a photo! Monday will be a rustic loaf with rosemary. Who knows what it will be on Tuesday!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Winter Hush

Well, this isn’t part of the series, but it is an experiment. I’m fascinated by Wen Redmond’s work with transparent overlays and have wanted to try one myself for more than a year.

This first one is a swap with an online artist buddy, whom I’ve never met in person. We tried to make connections at Quilt Festival in Houston last October, but were never in the booth at the same time. We can’t even coordinate a phone call!

It’s only 8" x 10" but is just the right size to convey the hushed sound right after a heavy snowfall. I love that sound (or quality of hushed sound) and remember dragging a college friend from Florida onto the porch of our New York dorm during the first snowfall to experience that peaceful hush. She probably thought I had a screw or two loose, but she indulged me.

Come to think of it, she didn’t mind when I introduced her to the joys of building a snowman, either. She was sick in bed, but I carried several garbage bags of snow into the bathroom and we built a mini snowman in the bathtub.

What wonderful memories! Last I heard from her Donna and her family were missionaries in Mali, where there is definitely no snow. :-)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Straight Stitch Series

Have you ever worked in a series? Series work of other quilters and quilt artists used to fascinate me, but I never quite understood. Now I understand.

The Straight Stitch Series began on a whim with the goal of donating the pieces to Collage Mania. Here is the link These are small pieces, each 8" x 10", each made with rust-dyed fabric and free-motion straight stitches, exploring the power of the simplest unit quilters have.

The photos above are numbers 4 and 5 in the series, but many more have been sketched. They take less than a day to create and use small pieces or scraps of rust-dyed fabrics from other projects.

The small format makes it easy to try a new technique, motion combination, proportion—or compare the effect of a change in one of these in two small pieces. It’s also an honor to contribute to Virginia Spiegel’s wonderful project to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. Most of us have been touched by cancer, in one way or another. This makes me feel a little less powerless.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Registration is open for classes on Quilters Keep Learning. The next sessions begin February 13 and March 27. Stop by to read class descriptions and see samples. The photo above shows the sample project from my Altered Photo Artistry (4-week class).

On another note, I completed a beautiful Threadography for a dancer in California last week. It’s such an honor and responsibility to translate someone’s idea or image into a stitched piece. Thank you Nancy for the opportunity to work with you!

Watch tomorrow for photos of new pieces in the Straight Stitch Series!