About Me

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Great Falls, Montana, United States
I love creating art. I love the Creator! And through that love, I find a little slice of heaven on earth and I give Him all the glory! It's a great adventure and I'm excited to see what's around the bend! Come join me, won't you?

Monday, February 28, 2011

My Sewing Chair

I know this is an issue for many of us quilters, sewers, crafters, artists!  A GOOD CHAIR!

Where to start? Find? Buy?  Over the past ten years, since I've been quilting steadily, I've spent enough good money after bad on several office chairs that weren't very good... and then searching, sitting... looking for that elusive 'good deal' out here in the wildlands of Montana!  Now it's only been in the last few years that we've even had access to Staples, Office Max and Sams Club in the Great Falls area.  But even so, I have bought several chairs; the first one was really horrible, and one day, while sewing, I leaned to the floor to pick up something, and it slipped out from under me, and sent me in a vertical descent-- KERPLUNK, hard onto a very HARD hardwood floor.  I hurt my back bad.  (enough said).  So I searched, and although I did find another one that worked better, it was still not wide enough, comfortable enough, not was it tall enough, or ergonomically suited to my body height (I have long legs). So finally... I found one, and this is the chair I currently ENJOY sitting in...comfortably, and I LOVE it.  Yes, it's made by Bernina and just arrived in Great Falls last year via The Bernina Silver Thimble, one of the shops I teach in.  Well, it's about time, I must say!
(Not to mention a seat size that's aaahem... big enough  Whoa---steady as she goes!)
This one has MULTIPLE, highly useful and it's about time, size-adjustments, height adjustments, seat tilt, and back/lumbar adjustments! 

How do you like my upside down picture!  I figured it might be easier for ya'll to see the different levers that way... hopefully!  The green areas on each lever dictate WHAT that adjustment WILL DO!  Other shots of each of the levers (sorry about the flash on the first one!) below:

AND... finally there is one other  "knob" that is great to take advantage of; it's the adjustment needed to move the height of the chair back with the round 'thingy-doodad' that you turn...

AH... bottom line you ask?  Well, it's $295.00 highly prized dollars.  WAIT for a sale... Bernina Silver Thimble had them on sale last fall at 25% off.  (They will again) That's $75 off, and well worth the $225 investment in your back, I promise.  And, whenever you take a class from Bernina, it's 10% off anything.  Just FYI! And if you take a class there, ask to sit in the "good chairs!" This chair FEELS SO GOOD, and I love being comfortable doing one my most favorite thing ever... quilting, sewing and designing!  It's certainly well worth the money, and I'm very happy with mine.

If I could, I wouldn't hesitate to get two more...one for our office, and one for my painting area!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

LACE Handkerchief

Just like the free motion flowers I did on a previous blog post earlier... you can make a simple handkerchief, or a mini-table topper with this technique.  For all the details, see my earlier post on lace flowers here.  I made this little handkerchief item to wear in a denim jacket pocket, and I still like wearing it today! It's a great technique/project to get familiar with stabilizers, and  a fun way to get comfortable with free motion if you're just starting (or even if you're not!).  I usually have it in my teaching notebook, so if you think of it, ask me to show it to you if you are in one of my free motion classes!

All it takes is tulle, sticky back stabilizer, and a top layer of aqua film.... one spool of a pretty variegated thread... one spool of white, and brown for the contrast edging.  
Be sure to wind a bobbin with the same thread as the top... 
add your favorite free motion foot, and a wooden embroidery hoop! 
Again, see the VIP details here just in case you missed that one!

...and because I like pretty pictures, I staged this shot in my dining room, because the northern light coming through it is so cool.  The cross was a Christmas gift I received from my most beautiful daughter-in-law, Monica. 

Happy Sunday! 
Soli deo Gloria!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Making Fabric Paper

Thank you to Beth who left a comment yesterday asking for more details... I hope this post will help you out... but I welcome any questions you have! 

First things FIRST.  Lay down a plastic covering on the work service; laying out your muslin and items you want to use in the collage.
The muslin can be any shape; small, squarish...or round if you'd like!
Notice I left the frayed edge (on the left) of the muslin.
By the way, these are items I put in the art quilt "Katie Cutie".
As you can see... a napkin, doillie, pattern piece, a hand-written note, candy foil wrapper, miscellaneous text, pattern paper, torn wrapping paper, and tissue!
(the list is endless!)
I mix up 50% water/50% tacky glue (I use Aleene's - Elmers would also work).

  It's kind of sloppy-good - no need to measure; I literally just 'slap it on' with a cheapo brush, or whatever you have on hand.  Don't buy something new or good quality... in case the glue mixture dries before it's cleaned. (uhh... oops!)

Next: you will lay down your (pre-planned) miscellaneous ephemera items on the 'primed' glue-muslin layer. It will dry fairly quickly, so you don't want to take too much time deciding what to use.
Note: I know some artists like to use various gel mediums... as far as I know, either will work just fine... (but I'm not an expert - I'm just a hands-on, let's try this type of girl!  I've only used tacky glue so far. 

Above: place the white craft tissue paper (it's sturdier than your average gift-wrapping type) onto the muslin surface; having cut or torn it  into smaller segments from the package. Overlap them a bit as you lay them down on the muslin-textured base.   Then add your color; I use acrylic paint, watering it down as the notion strikes me! 

"Give Thanks" paper quilt
If you find the top tissue layer isn't sticking, gently add a bit more glue/water mixture to the top of the tissue  Than add your paint... watered down as you desire (add a bit of glue to it if you want and this has worked well for me)
AND.. if you 'over-do' it... you get some fabulous wrinkles or perhaps the tissue 'wears' away a bit!  No worries! (See 'Dancing With Jack') 

Here is the final dried, layered base... notice there is a transparent coating of acrylic paint, watered down significantly... but this is certainly a personal preference!  See an earlier piece I did, (below) in which the paint was mostly opaque... and I liked that too... but it does cover up more of the things you laid down... just a different style, really.
Now is the time to add further embellishments... fused flowers were added after the paint had dried.
Let it dry... it will curl.  
Once dry, iron it (into submission).
Stabilize it, bat it, back it.
Stitch it.
Quilt it.  Bind it!
Pictured left is one of my first fabric paper quilts.  These are the items added after paint was dry.  

It also shows where I had alot more color than water... a happy accident, and ugh - I muddied the colors a bit.  So it goes; and it turned out better than I had expected. Opaque or transparent... it's all good!  
 After all the tissue paper layers and paint had dried... hand-painted accents in a silver metallic pen are very fun!  I had leftover fusings... angelina fibers, silk roving... added decorative stitches...& a beautiful hand-dyed yarn -- couched on with my #43 free motion foot!  See more about it here and here.
 Be original, and have fun with your own personal 'stuff', and make it unique to you.
AND... if you'd like to know more, go to Terri Stegmiller's blog and  the 3 Creative Studios website... (great resource!)  She wrote a book: "Creative Paper Quilts" (which I just discovered today, because she left me a comment-thank you Terri!) You can purchase it from Amazon.com too.  I hope you will visit her blog, which I enjoy LOTS. She has such great style, and fabulous, colorful inspiration for you!  Another resource is a book from Beryl Taylor: Mixed Media Explorations.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

LET LOVE BE YOU GUIDE - Fabric Paper Art Quilt

Hmmm... yes, I'm really lovin' it... paper fabric or fabric paper... collage... or journal... whatever you'd like to call it... I'm LOVIN doin' it!

The basic muslin, tissue paper top has been created, painted, and "ironed into submission" - as I like to call it!  I will layer it with batting, a stabilizer, and backing fabric.

I may at that time, add my flower fusings... cutting some from prints, some with my sizzix machine. 


Then it time for stitching.  This little artsy collage quilt is done entirely in WHITE thread - a
 FIRST for me.  I'm usually gravitating towards lots of color, or at least a variegated thread many times will be my choice.  This white thread is a 40 weight KING TUT from Superior Threads.  LOVE Love LOVE it!

And some more white thread stitching around painted elements... And then a bit of copper-gold metal leaf... (below) This is the real stuff and it's flakey, but oh-so-very fabulous when it's finished!

Can you see the outline of the paper doilie?  I LOVE this texture!

See the clearish looking swirly spots on top of this picture to the right?  That's the glue from Jones Tones foil glue.  It's different from the gold leafing in the above pics; it's dimensional & slightly raised.  Or you can 'smear' it a bit... whatever strikes your FANCY!
 Here, (above picture) foil has been applied (although you may not see it very well); it's there!  I like the little dots especially!
And... "that's a WRAP!"  I mean, I've just wrapped the backing fabric to the top for a 'binding' -- being very liberal with that word!  You could also choose to cut it with a pinking shears on the edge, and brush those edges with paint (maybe next time!) or a zig zag stitch, or cording...or more.  Regardless,  it's simple.  No muss---no fuss.   Finished!  And I really... LOVE that!
Inspired by
Ephesians chapter 5, 
known as the "love & marriage chapter" of the Bible.  5:2 says "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

Soli deo Gloria! Thank you Lord for sending us your Son, and for loving us first.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"BE FREE" Collaged Fabric Paper Art Quilt

When you're ripping, tearing... plotting, planning and PAINTING... might as well go for it and make several at once!  (It's kind of hectic and somewhat messy!) That is one thing I love about this fun and easy process of "fabric paper!"  It can truly be personal and fun to you, and dare I say the hot word these days... "Green!" 

Save those tissue papers, calendar pages! Leftover bits of fabric... fusings, notes... printed articles, cards, stickers... and then add paint!

Add playful stitching... words if you'd like!

Lots of color, pattern and visual texture.  Perhaps a bit of BOBBIN PLAY... just because you CAN.  Whatever you do... "Be Free!"

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Scatter Joy:" Art Quilt

I LOVE to FINISH project!  Nothing like that feeling of accomplishment!  I'd been working on this piece for a couple months, and had published the finished picture in yesterday post - in case you missed it!  Sometimes things have to "simmer" on my quilting stove for a while!  Just call me a regular ol teapot! LOL.  I began with a piece of hand-dyed fabric, in BRIGHT orange!  Then came the words "Scatter Joy" from a notecard I 're-purposed' from my favorite art teacher/artist extraordinaire - Katie Twedt!
I'm getting better at including some decorative stitches... no need for me to be prejudiced!  After all, everyone likes to get into the FUN... including the silver leaf (made for wood) but it's great on fabric!

And then it was time to apply a ZIPPER---lime green!  Fabulous! Easy to apply free motion, as well as adding a decorative stitch - the triple straight stitch! And an experiment with some metallic foil - this time a different type, from "Jones Tones" with their dimensional foil glue.  I tried to hurry-up (mistake!)... and dry it faster with my heat gun.  No, No!  It bubbled... perhaps it's okay on another day... but I didn't like it on the zipper, when it bubbled. No biggie... onward and UPWARD! A dab of black thread.  This glue product is easy to sew through, FYI!

I had made my angelina fibers into a "fabric sheet" previous to placing on the appliques, of course.    I got to put into play my sizzix machine and the fusible appliques were a breeze!  No tedious hand-cutting, tracing... sore wrists!  I bought mine from Patsy Thompson's webs site!  (She has good sales, too!) AND great service!

 Then a bit of a zig zag free motion edge-stitching on the flower petals- I call it the herky jerky!

 And you may notice... I don't let it bother me when the lines cross!  "There is a time for everything under the sun" and free motion is no different!!!  Sometimes I don't like it to cross...sometimes I'm really lovin' it to cross!!!  Shake it up girls... break down that box that walls you in... and enJOY!

 I forgot to mention earlier... I also textured the orange fabric with bubble wrap, brushed with textile paint... as well as paintstiks!  I enjoy doing that so much!

As you can see, I also used two different bindings... couldn't make up my mind?!!!  YUP.  Sometimes that's a dilemma for me.  I liked the graphic "pop" of the black and white circles fabric... and I loved the purple to tie in the turquoise thread stitching and purple of the flowers - and it called out to be curved.  Straight edge was a bit boring!  So... curved edge it was... even though it's still a bit of a boxy shape... but I LIKE it.
I hope you enjoyed the show! 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Weekend in Review

I started a three  new Fabric Paper Quilts.  This is what they look like after the initial collaging of layers of tissue, leftover papers, and hand-painted details.  They CURL up... and next, I will "iron them into submission!"
FABRIC PAPER class is set for MARCH 1, 5:30-8:00 pm at the Quilt-A-Way, and again Saturday 10-1 at the Quilt-A-Way.  I will also be teaching this FUN technique at Gallery 16 in Great Falls April 9th, 10:00 am to noon.  Also a trunk show of my Art Quilts will be the focus of a trunk show and mini lecture at the Gallery on SATURDAY, March 26th from 10:00 am - noon!  I'm so THRILLED to be there! 

And I FINISHED this quilt:  "Scatter Joy!" (Yay!)  More on it tomorrow!  I am teaching a class all about "bling" with Angelina fibers, metallic accents, gold foil both dimensional and flat, and more!  All of which were featured on this art quilt!  It will be held at the Bernina Silver Thimble quilt shop on MARCH 10th!  CHICKS... DIG GLITZ!  (Call 452-7222 for more information!)

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Giant Springs -- a beautiful, colorful, fresh water, bubbling, amazing and very large, natural spring!  It bursts forth from the ground near the Missouri River in Great Falls.  It's also part of a beautiful park; situated along the "Rivers Edge Trail" -- the jewel of this city! This is the quilt I named for the springs, because the colors are so amazing. There is the brightest and glowing greens of every shade in the underwater plants, and of course, in spring and summer months, the park has lots of flowers too...
Boy, I hope I get points for PATIENCE... this much blanket-stitching is bound to build something!

What a beautiful place! I had to go to the State of MT website to find this picture, as unfortunately, I don't have any digital pictures I've taken yet.  See that cement bridge to the left outer edge of the picture? It's so cool to walk across it and gaze into the 'waterfall' that is created by the rock outcropping outlining the spring itself.   I can't wait to get down there... even though today we woke up to 7 new inches of new snow...plus four more today (Sunday), and it's been 0 degrees or below, or barely above all weekend.

And... of course, then it's time to try another decorative stitch.  I always highly recommend YLI "Variations" - it's a 35 weight 100% polyester, with a dash of variation in colors... perfect! 
And the blocks are the perfect background to practice MULTIPLE MOTIFS!  

Go for it! 

Pattern is called "Petals on the Edge" by the talented designer and quilter Cheryl Wittmayer of Billings, MT, from her SEW-BE-IT pattern company; a Montana based business lady with a great eye!  Visit her website here and be prepared for some fabulous inspiration!

I made this quilt a number of years ago now... and I have to say, that the black thread in the decorative stitch on this flower was very boring!!  Kind of a waste in a way... I think perhaps another thread color, or variegated would have been a funner choice... but it's all good!  That's the way I learn!  And it was a great way to get to know my new machine, and play with that wonderful stash of fabrics we enjoy having!
Great big flowers --- that is what makes a great flower block.  And it's not like we're lacking for great inspiration with all the big flower prints that are BLOOMING everywhere in 'fabric-land!'

And then... try your hand with a bit of METALLICS!  Just a simple, straight stitch --- free motion, cuz that's the easy way to add just a bit of sparkle... like the water bubbling from Giant Springs!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Here's YOUR SIGN - Worry

A favorite "sign" so to speak - courtesy of the charming artwork of Mary Engelbreit... and such a great piece of advice.  Worry is a burden, and frankly... a lack of faith!  Praying you have a wonderful Saturday!

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