About Me

My photo
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?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Be of good cheer. Do not think of today's failures, 
but of the success that may come tomorrow. 
You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; 
and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. 
Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost."  
Helen Keller
Photo by Leslie McNeil 2010

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Words have power.  They cannot break bones, but they sure can break a heart.  And a word well placed can soothe anger, create good will, and provide comfort.  Sharp tongues cut like a sharp double-edged knife.  They cannot be taken back.
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (Eph 4:29).
Have you ever been cut by someone’s words? Have you ever cut others with yours? How did it feel? What did you think? Before we blame others,  we must recognize we are no better at controlling our words than they are. We can’t expect others to have pleasant speech, if our own words are cutting, belittling, critical  and condemning.
"Build Up" Art Quilt
 James Ch 3 tells us the tongue is a small thing but oh what damage it can do, like a tiny spark setting an entire forest on fire. Paul encourages us to not let corrupt words proceed out of our mouth, but to speak only what edifies others and imparts grace to the hearers!

We are encouraged to walk worthy of our calling by being led by the Holy Spirit. For we know, the Spirit knows what to say in every situation because Jesus Christ is informing Him. We need to allow our words to be Spirit-filled so we are honoring God with our speech and not causing other around us to stumble or be torn down. 

Wouldn’t it be great if someone thought so highly of our words, as the writers of these verses so thought of God’s Word?  

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Proverbs 25:11
How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103 NKJV

Stop and listen to the words of your mouth. Would you like to be on the receiving end of them? If not, it’s an opportunity to ask God to transform your speech into God-honoring, uplifting, spirit-filled goodness that blesses others around you.
Remember, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!  Phil. 4:13. 

Lord Jesus, fill us with your goodness. 
 Let your love shine through us 
and out of us to be a blessing to others.
 Let our speech glorify you 
and build others up.  
In your name we pray. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Necessary Notions- PART 4 - 505 Spray HINTS and TIPS

Whatever type of temporary adhesive spray you may prefer, they all come in quite handy in the quilt and/or art studio setting you are working in!
My personal favorite is 505 Temporary Adhesive spray.

Now this may seem like a "done deal" to you... but lately, in several of my classes, a few people have NOT known anything about temporary adhesive sprays.  

This particular product happens to be something akin to my "BFF" -- to borrow the popular acronym these days!  LOL!  

I turn to this product to help me in layering quilt tops, batting, stabilizers-embroidery projects, paintstik rubbings and more.  From small projects like art quilts, fiber scarves and placemats to even setting a pocket (instead of pins!) on a slippery fabric surface.. .this is your 'go-to-gal' type of product!  (Assuming it's a girl, not a boy!)

SAFE for machines.  (Recommended by Bernina)  KEEP IN MIND THESE TIPS HOWEVER:
  • always spray away from your machine... in a separate room, or area whenever possible.
  • don't breathe the fumes, even though this product is labeled 'safe' or 'non-toxic' (which it is)
  • keep in mind, it's temporary - so if you put it on something and don't get back to your project within 2-3 days, it's likely going to dissipate before you can finish what you intended.
  • if you find you still have sticky residue on rulers, or rubbing plates (paintstiks), you can wash it off fairly easily with soap and water... or there is another product that will dissolve the sticky residue.  I personally haven't had to use this particular product (yet!).

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Women of Faith

Continue to reverence the Lord all the time, for surely you have a wonderful future ahead of you. —Proverbs 23:18 TLB

"As I look back over the seasons of my life, I feel as if I have spent so many years thinking about what it would be like when . . ."
A delightful 'old time' window in Virgina City, Montana --- Summer 2010 Photo by Leslie McNeil

"What will life be like when I get married? 
What will it be like when I have children? 
What will life be like when I have an empty nest? 
What will it be like when I’m a grandmother? 
Now I know the answers to all those questions. 
What life will be like then has been revealed, but only in the past few years have I stopped thinking about the future and what it will be like. I finally have learned a great truth: when each season comes, it will be what it will be. There is an appointed time for every event yet to occur, and God will be with me in the future just as he has been alongside me all the way, every step, for every event and for every feeling, good or bad."
Annette's Garden on the Swan Ranch in the Highwood Mountains --- Photo by Leslie McNeil

"We have today, my friend. 
That’s it. 
We have the joy of yesterday’s memories 
and the delight of future anticipation, 
but we have no tangible reality except today. 
This day is yours. 
This is your time to do, to be, 
to accomplish, to fulfill your reason for living."
St John's Evangelist Catholic Church in the Boulder Valley of Western Montana --- Photo by Leslie McNeil Summer 2010

—By Jan Silvious for Women of Faith

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dye Candy Blog's Give-A-Way!

You may want to check this out! 

Who doesn't need a bit more 'candy' in their life?! Me Me Me!  I love her fabrics!  Check out her "Dye Candy" Blog here, where she is having a GIVE A WAY of fabric!  Take a break and see her Etsy store, right here!


Friday, March 25, 2011

Welcome to Our Home

Welcome!  The front porch...  a french style door, bought 'plain' and stained.  Then I applied this type of faux-glass paint to add privacy, and yet let in the light... there is a bit of a subtle leaf motif in it too.
And of course... I drew on the door a simple, but favorite phrase - "There's No Place Like Home." 
I added some stamping, too. And then some
dry brushing with leftover, light green paint.
I also painted over the dark brown paneling with a light turquoise blue paint, then overcoated with a crackle glaze, and then the final coat of cream paint.  
Light and bright!
It's been almost ten years ago now.
 A few long years in which I struggled with all the shadows in my life, bad decisions, wrong choices...
my son went to war for the first time...
my beloved grandma died.
my mom had swallowed too many pills...
 and I was alone.
'Creating art' was a way I dealt with things... and so
I painted this very colorful and bright faux glass texture
in the front porch window. 
It still exists today, even through all kinds of cold and hot weather...although it is showing a bit of wear now; paint is fading and peeling in some spots. 

And I wrote this phrase on the window.  
If you look close, you may be able to see it:
"Keep your face to the sunshine, 
and you cannot see the shadow."  
-- Helen Keller
Better yet...
Keep your face to Jesus 
and you will not live in darkness. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

BEADING by Machine

HELPFUL HINTS and TIPS for Beading By Machine 

Detail from "Montana Treasure" Art quilt
—  I prefer a 90/14 size needle as it works best  to pierce all the quilt layers. I also prefer to add my beads once my project is quilted and almost finished, so this size needle works best to pierce all the layers I am working with. Keep in mind that the needle, all the way up to the shaft, must slide through the hole of the bead EASILY.  80/12 needles can work too, depending on the type of thickness and fabric you are beading, as well as the size of the hole of the bead!  Note: the finer or smaller the needle, the more easily it can break going through many thicknesses. 
Detail from "Frost on the Zinnias"
--- Do not use a bead taller than 1/4"
--- I recommend using a polyester thread in both top and bottom, matching your background fabric. Polyester as a stronger thread will not be as easily frayed by any roughness that is typical of the inside hole of the bead.
--- be sure to lower your feed dogs! 
— Be sure to lower the presser foot BEFORE you start.  Remember that you are not using a foot... so it's easy to forget to do this because you can't see the foot physically come down onto your quilt. If you don’t lower the presser foot... you will most certainly have a mess of threads on the bottom in no time... not fun!

— “Frame” the needle with your hands, doing your best to keep the the fabric as flat and taut as you can in order to enable the needle to “catch” and make the stitch.  At times you will see or hear that it skipped a stitch. This is normal! Keep at it, and be patient!  (The large turquoise bead in the center pic below was done by hand)

Detail from "Montana Treasure"
 — If desired, you may hoop the area to be beaded (I recommend a screw-type hoop with a narrow width that will  fit underneath the foot of a machine)  But for me, this means that the tightness of the hoop is likely to warp my quilt, so I don't do this in most instances.
— If you use a hoop, corral your beads in the hoop
— Tie off (the same way you tie off for free-motion quilting)
— May use a stiletto or tweezers to move/push the beads for placement
Detail of Beading on Angel Quilt: "Psalm 91:11 for Jamie"
— For exact placement of a bead, use the hand-heel, guiding the needle tip until it just grabs the hole of the bead, and gently drag the bead to where you want to stitch it. Then, using your hand-wheel, sink the needle into the center of the bead. Then bring the needle back up and take a stitch on the same side of the bead as when you first went in with your needle. For example, if you stitched from the left side of the bead, then go out on the left side, and the bead will turn onto it’s “side.”  VIP: make 3-5 tiny stitches between each bead, which ensures that if one bead breaks off, all the beads won't!  Tie off at the end, stitching 5-8 times.
Keep at it!  
As always, some things never change... practice,  practice... PRACTICE...!  
You will enjoy the extra special detail of dimension and sparkle that is worth this extra special effort!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Inspiration from the song "Sanctuary" and lyrics "Lord Prepare Me to Be a Sanctuary... strong and holy... tried and true.  With thanksgiving, I'll be a living sanctuary for you."

Paper fabric... the more I do, the more I want to do - to explore the possibilities... more to be thought about,  more to be interpreted and more to be created.

In the Bible, Genesis, tells us we were created in the image of God... and create He did, and so do we.

Inherent in all of us... is the desire to create.

A beaded piece I had made and put on a sweatshirt.  I ditched the old sweatshirt... but I cut out the beaded and glittered fabric I had embellished the sweatshirt with... 'upcycled' -- perhaps, as they are wont to say these days.  It's really just re-cycled in my opinion.  Regardless... it found it's way here.  
The message: GIVE HOPE to everyone.

Purple Hearts cut from devotionals I had printed out... is it recycled or upcycled?  I get so confused...  May we all have loyalty and strength to follow through with integrity, and to keep our word.

And threads... as they are 'cycled' through my fingers, from my head... to my sewing machine, and onto the quilt... and hopefully beyond, to someone else.

Tea in a cup!  I pray I will have something warm and refreshing for someone who needs it at the time they really need it...


Sunshine and Light.   

Monday, March 21, 2011

First Day of Spring

The First Day of Spring brought us a skiff of snow, pretty blue skies, lots of sunshine and pretty icy branches as we walked through our back yard to the garage...

And on our way out to church services, a little deer herd...first one...

 Then there were more...
 And after pausing briefly to stare at me, they all "hightailed" it out of there.

And good thing for them ... Here's the sign!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

For Japan

Although the world is full of suffering, 
it is full also of the overcoming of it. Helen Keller
For Japan.

BOOKMARKS and Bernina Foot 2A

These are pieces of leftover embellished fabric from a quilted scarf. 
After trimming the edges of the scarf, these pieces were made into bookmarks.  

There are many possibilities of finishing the edges... metallic paint, yarns twisted to make a rope or a satin stitch zig zag.

A very useful skill is to employ the zig zag satin stitch with the #2 foot; which is included in every Bernina machine as a standard foot.

Why is it so great?  Because it makes a really beautiful RAISED satin stitch!

Align the outer right-side edge of the foot (not the toe) with the edge of the fabric.  Ensure that the right-hand swing of the needle covers the right hand edge of the fabric; adjusting your width as needed to do so.  Set up your machine for a zig zag with a satin stitch... this means approximately .6 inches in length and width as you prefer it for your project. This foot is designed to be used with stitches that overlock or overcast the edge of the fabric, keeping edges flat , reinforcing those edges, and preventing tunneling of your stitches.  A win, win, win! A great alternative to a serger overlock stitch... only with your home sewing machine... a stitch and foot that is often underused and overlooked!
make sure your needle position doesn't have your needle hitting the little metal bar!

Do you see the little metal bar below? That's your secret weapon! The needle will stitch OVER it, creating a slightly 'raised' feel, giving YOUR stitching a very lovely look!

And it looks a bit like this.  Hard to show the dimension in the picture, but I did my best!
I love it for finishing edges and seams on wovens, like these bookmarks I've made.  It's sturdy, practical, and best of all, it gives it a professional looking finish!
Here are some "Tested Techniques"  from my "FEETURES" Bernina Foot book for the #2 foot. If you've never given these books a look; I hope you'll do so when you have an opportunity.  Wonderful resource... filled with lots of color projects/applications for every foot Bernina sells.  If you aren't sure about buying a foot... and want to know more, go look it up in the book, ask the dealer to let you borrow the foot, and take it for a test drive in a live demo ... before you buy!

Here are some samples of some other bookmarks I made...

In the peachy colored bookmark below, I also used leftover pieces from the silk, quilted table topper I made earlier; that post was called "Pick Up Stix Glitz" where I featured the Bernina #39 foot.  So fun!  You can see it here.

And one of my personal favorites: (see my post on this foot) at this link:  #43 free motion couching foot) for couching on cords effortlessly in any direction you desire... loops, soft curves, tight curves; you can do it all quite flawlessly with this foot.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Art of Joanne Sharpe -- Whimspirations

This talented lady--- Ms. Joanne Sharpe has a terrific, upbeat, kind of flamboyant style I really admire! I find it not only beautiful, but I adore the handwriting and words in her artwork.  I only happened to discover her as I was browsing the classes and dreaming of attending the CREATE retreat.  And so that is how I discovered her! A good way to describe her art is the title of one of the classes she is teaching:
"Color Blast Buffet" Art Journals (6 hours)
Date: Wednesday, May 18 Time: 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Technique: Art Journaling/Book Making
Instructor: Joanne Sharpe
Price: $145.00
Materials Fee: $15.00 
This retreat is sponsored by Quilting Arts.  I so wish I could go!  I wanted to know more about her so I searched and found her BLOG.  The COLOR she uses... grabs me by the heart!  The style... is absolutely sparkling.  And the whole piece makes my heart sing!  The first picture is one of her latest... and my most favorite so far.  Amazing texture. Terrific words.

Enough talk!
On to the ART!

Please note Joanne's art is copyrighted:
©Joanne Sharpe 2010 All artwork, design concepts, text, writing and photos are copyright ©Joanne Sharpe. All rights reserved. Please do not use any artwork, designs, quotes, photos or content from this site without explicit permission. The designs, art and text on this blog for personal viewing only and may not be copied, imitated or sold in any form.
Joanne was kind enough to give me permission to put her art on the blog and ... admire!
Thank you Joanne for your friendship in 'blog-land' and more. And for the sharing of the talent God has so clearly and divinely placed within you!

And the "masterpiece piece" (as I call it), below, inspires me to remember that my work life at the court is to be a masterpiece as well.  Giving my best there is to the glory of God, (which I need reminding of often!) as He is the great Masterpiece-maker!

And she makes some pretty amazing stamps that hold great appeal to me, personally. Check them out here on her blog! 
I asked Joanne where we could find and buy her art and she informed me she will be opening up an Etsy shop at the end of April for artwork and prints!  I can't wait!  She tells me you can also order her stamps at Ellen Hutson.com  
I am so excited for her!
AND... you can "like" her on facebook here, too!  That way you won't have to miss any... fabulous inspiration!  I hope you will take a minute or two or three!  
I sure hope you enjoyed her beautiful creations!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Give Thanks

In honor of St. Patrick's Day! And a verse from Colossians 2:15 which my hubby is studying. (bonus!) It says "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful."  That is the verse that is embedded into this piece.
leftover paper towel used to wipe up paints, foil from candy...bible verses and a thank you note!
Black King Tut thread is used for the hearts, and around the motif "enjoy."

A thank you note from my 'Rachella' aka Rachel is underneath the hearts, and the inspiration for this piece.

"Joy is the feeling of grinning on the inside!"

May you know and live in the peace of Christ!  Amen. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...