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?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Blue Autumn On The River

I did not finish "Red Autumn" --- yet!   I just haven't decided what to do free motion-motif-wise.  So I warmed up by playing with Blue Autumn instead!  I had these extra leaves left over, so I decided to 'play up' the bluesey feel and see where it would go.  What you saw yesterday (if you did that is!) is the indoor pics.  Here's the view from the Great Outdoors.  I shot these by the Missouri River just outside my office window Monday morning this week.
Truthfully, I'm not all that thrilled with my pictures.  It was a cloudy day, which I prefer in terms of colors reading true, and sparkly threads pick up better, too. But I couldn't quite get the angles I wanted, outdoors.  I really need a clothesline outside the building.  No problem, right?!   And then, there's only so much time to play!  I had to go to work, and this quilt needed to go to Bernina Silver Thimble as a class sample that day.  If you can join us, we are playing with paintstiks on SEPTEMBER 17th.  I'll be sharing all my favorite techniques, with hints and tips for shading, blending and making rubbings, as well as using found items from your home.

EnJOY your day! My Fall Give-A-Way is coming Friday!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Blue Autumn In the Making

This is how it began auditioning fabrics for my paintstik leaves.  There is lots of red-purpley and coppery highlights on the leaves, with a medium green batik as the foreground for the leaf itself.  It only shows up on the vein lines, but it also helps the leaf to transition almost as part of the background fabric, picking up on the green in that print of dark navy-ish blue. I will be creating with my paintstiks more this long weekend, and will post more hotos (hopefully I remember to take photos!) next week!

I quilted the leaves first, using Superior Threads, tri-lobal variegated polyester in varying shades of green, turquoisey greens and blues.  I started with a topstitch needle 90/14... switched it out several times... after my thread shredded, and some skipped stitches, and some tension adjustments, as well as some ripping.  Ugh! I finally settled on a MICROTEX (sharp) needle in size 90/14.  The quilting went smoothly from there on out!  
I know these pictures show the green border as kind of 'out there yucko' but I promise, it really picks up the green in the threads, in the paintstik colors on the leaves, and in the dark navy blue swirly batik background!
A bit of GLITTER in a royal blue for that evening sparkle...
I kept the shapes of the background quilting subtle.  No sense in putting alot of detail into quilting that really won't show alot on a dark background.  I kept it soft and wavy, sometimes loop-de-loos, and little tiny whirly circles just because I could.  And I like it.  It 'glows' and gives the evening look I was hoping for.  
Look for my final pics tomorrow of the finished runner.  

So what do you think of it so far?  Any other choices you might have made, or suggestions you would have offered?

Be blessed in your day, and thank you for stopping by!


Monday, August 29, 2011


I picked sunflowers this weekend... and it was worth the sneezing and blowing nose a mild allergy reaction caused me in doing so!  I put the fresh-picked sunflowers on our patio table, and this little silk and couched tablerunner underneath.  Love the color-combo.  Big surprise, huh. 
 The sunflowers remind me of a song we love to sing in our Women's Tres Dias Weekends.  "Shine, Jesus, Shine."

"Lord, the light of your Love is shining, 
In the midst of the darkness shining,
Jesus, Light of the world shine upon us,
Set us free by the truth You now bring us,
Shine on me, shine on me."

"As we gaze at your kingly brightness,
So our faces display Your likeness.
Ever changing from glory to glory,
Mirrored here, may our lives tell your story,
shine on me, shine on me."

John 8:12 "I am the Light of the World."

I'm grateful to all of you out there in blog land.  
Thank you for reading my blog!  
Have a great week!
And... SHINE!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Red Autumn

This is one of the many projects that has been 'waiting in wings' for quilting in the studio.  I stenciled these leaves onto a green batik using Shiva Paintstiks; one of my favorite mediums.The leaves were then fused down to the red swirl batik, seen below: Click here to see some other projects I've made with Shiva Paintstiks --- the oil paint that is in stick form. 

 And these are some of the threads I  have been auditioning to quilt this piece with.  I may choose to do some bobbin play, too.   I sometimes take a long time thinking about what I like best... and this piece as been 'curing' for a few months now.  But it's time to get cookin' as it's ready for the harvest. Autumn is coming... verra, verra, soon.  That 'verra verra' is not a typo.  It's my Scottish brogue.  (Just kidding; I just like to think I could have one!)
You may have read in my post, Caribbean, how much I love Glitter thread from Superior Threads.   I guess it's a 'bling thing' with me. And I don't just 'like' it - I USE it lots, too.  I've shared this hint before on the blog, and it's as simple as one---two---three---four.  Really.
  • Lower your top tension; I lower mine down to a setting of "1" from a normal setting of 4.  Yup.  Go down that far.  
  • Now, choose a bobbin weight thread.  Libby Lehman's 100% polyester, a 60 weight thread, is my choice.  Strong.  Fine.  Smooth.  No friction.  Just like a good marriage! I also choose a coordinating color or a neutral that blends with the top  thread. 
  • Choose a metallic, or topstitch needle, size 90/14. It's a must-do. 
  • And lastly, place the spool of Glitter on your upright, or vertical, spindle.  This is a 'stacked' thread, which means the threads are wound on the spool, one on top of the other in an up and down motion.  And remember to stitch just a bit slower.  This isn't a race.  It's art, you know! 
 I may also choose to throw in some other thread colors in solids, and in variegated, throughout this piece... more favorites, Superior's Rainbows, a tri-lobal 40 weight polyester. Can't wait.  It's time for some fun this weekend, after a 'verra...verra' long week at work.  I will post finished pics (hopefully!) next week.
So much to choose from.  I love CHOICES!  And I CHOOSE three....four... or more different threads for many of my pieces.  

What's your favorite choice? 

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wild Flowers at Sunset

Simple pleasures. 

Wild flowers in a plain, clear, drinking glass.
Soaking in the last rays of the sun before it dips down below the mountains.
Playing with my new camera's settings...  these should make for some great sketchings in thread, and perhaps a new pattern or two?  What do you think?
Just a few sweet summer remembrances from our time at The Lake. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

With Love from the Carribean!

Oh I wish! LOL. Someday, perhaps I will actually BE in the CarriBEean!  I know I would love to go and take photographs for sure! Sunbathing---not so much!  But I send my love anyway!  Here's some quick pics of the first of the new series of prints I made this past weekend, just finished.   I  adore these colors:
 The only glitzy silver thread I will ever use!  Superior's line of "Glitter!" Ummm good!
 And another tried and trusted favorite; a tri-lobal polyester from Superior, in the solid aqua color. I wanted to keep the flower the center of attention, so I chose a solid thread, but the thread is so pretty!
And not to be left out; a pretty cardstock for the back.   It's for sale on my Etsy site and you can find it here.

I can't wait to play with more, trying out different options and thread colors.  

Thanks for stopping by!  
I hope you're working  
on something you adore - today!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I hope you will enjoy these pictures.  I took them while 'us girls' were at the dock when we were together in mid-July at Flathead Lake.  A very special God-blessed time together!

I pray you will all know the wonder and freedom of The Cross, and take that leap of F A I T H.


Monday, August 22, 2011

A Wild Zenspiration Tulip

 My first "Zenspirations-styled" free motion quilted piece is done.  "A Wild Tulip" was a bit of a wild ride!
"A Wild Tulip" --- 8"x17" approximately.
Challenging? Yes!  Fun?  Mostly!  Learning?  Most Definitely!
I started out with 50 weight Masterpiece ELS cotton in my top and bobbin.  I would do that differently next time, and did change my threads, mid-way through the quilting process.  I switched to 40 weight King Tut ELS cotton, leaving the 50 weight Masterpiece in the bobbin.

That was a good change. I did think about starting out that way in the first place, but I decided to try the lighter weight thread first, because some of the 'zenspirations' styles are fairly delicate, wouldn't you think? The heavier thread was much nicer, and had a better overall presence.  I also had issues with the 50 wt thread breaking when I hit those thick seams...

Well, one must start somewhere, and it's not always the destination, but the process of getting there. I love it!  Yes, there are little 'dings' going off in my head about it... but hey, I get to start on another piece now! (And this is the first piece I've done with some of my 'tie-dyed' fabrics!) Yay!
It's not easy to come to the ease of quilting this style.  I believe one should be fairly accomplished, and comfortable with delicate, intricate, and specific lines and precise placement with their free motion quilting.  I need some more practicing, definitely!  I repeated some of my lines, for added emphasis, just as I do with the doodling.  And I didn't like it when I 'went off the edge' and bobbled. (as you can see in the above picture)  and that is why I chose this goofy pieced one for practice.
This is my critique of this piece:
  •  Next time, I will copy the pieced top on a copy machine.  It would have been really great to practice, and audition the styled designs on paper, first!  Doodling Practice... makes for Excellence!  Thought I was going to say perfect, huh?  No way! Note to self: "This is the Pursuit of Excellence, Not Perfection!"
  • Use that 40 weight thread for heavier lines.  Delicate work... like the triangles... perhaps I would still stay with a 50 weight... have to try that out again!  And a 40 wt definitely for 'fill-in' types of details.
  • Circles on the right-side border... I should have ruled with chalk, a 1/4" border on the quilt sandwich, as by the time I went to finish the edge, the free motion circles were cut off.  Ugh. I did try - I realized that I needed that 1/4" border while free motioning the circles ... but it's hard to gauge that when you're concentrating on the motif. (at least for me)  AUhhm... a little pre-planning goes a long ways towards a better finish!
  • Make sure you have got a needle that can handle repetitive "in place" embroidery styled quilting.  A little stabilizer under the top would have been a nice little bit of insurance.
  • it was hard to quilt through the thickness of the seams at times. Mostly where there are four or more meeting in a tight area.  Next time, I will press all those babies open!
  • I think I will pre-quilt the entire inner border with a walking foot, just to make sure things go a little easier. Doing the quilting the way I did, I think it looks better to 'quilt in the ditch' for most of the seams.  Otherwise, one had better be darn sure of  stitch placement, if you are going to free motion a straight stitch 'in the ditch' as I did.  Again... I need more practice!!!

I would not exactly call this an advanced technique, necessarily... but it is not really an 'easy' beginner thing either.   Especially with smooth, straight lines...smooth circles... all of which will be funner to practice now that I have an idea of what they look like in this  piece!!!

I think I really like this piece, and I know I'm excited to try those little "Zenspired" quilting  motifs in other ways.  So what do you think?   Do you agree it's slightly advanced in the technique?  Would you want to try it?  Do you have other ideas, or suggestions that would be easier or smoother?  

Thanks for stopping by, and have a blessed Monday!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jamaican Me Crazy With Stampin'!

What Can I Say?  Summer is ending SO fast.  It was only 44 degrees at 6:30 am, and this afternoon, a fabric-stampin' perfect at 70-75 degrees and I'm the John Wayne of fabric stamping... 'hell-bent for leather'---so to speak! 
Very excited with the colors and the pattern on this one!  Kind of "Jamaican" inspired. It was a piece of hand painted material from last summer... and it was rather neon, but perfect in my opinion, for this printing. I can't wait to quilt it!
 I asked my hubby to come outside and photograph so I wouldn't have to take off my gloves, or get paint on the camera.  Clematis vine on the left; sunflowers on the right!
 Now this print below, with my new 'Mum's The Word' stamp is in a colorway I adore!  Rusty-oranges, turquoise blue, and emerald greens!

 To get a good print, it's really helpful to have a soft surface to press into... but not too soft, so the print doesn't blur.  This is a piece of packing material I re-purposed.  You can find 'foam' for stamping in the craft store... but I imagine they are at least $10.  This was free! And better yet, it works great.

Thanks for stopping by the blog!  I will be showing some new brands  of paint I'm trying, and some hints and tips for fabric printing.  Also...  there will be a Give-A-Way to celebrate the "Harvest of Summer!" Although I haven't decided exactly what the prize (or prizes), may be ... if you have a suggestion, feel free to mention it!  In the meantime, have a MarveLes day!
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