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?

Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Quilty ~ as Charged!"

That title courtesy of Robin; her blog is called "Quilty as Charged."  Really appealed to me, since I work in a federal courtroom, in the criminal section... hmmm!  LOL!
 And I'm GROWN with LOVE... from the Everlasting God.  Glad to be home to celebrate and enJOY our home, together.  And to sew, quilt, and eat PIZZA!  Yay!
Can't wait to use this embossed 'writing' on a lovely hand dyed deep-pink velvet!
By the way, I only know Robin through her comments made made to my blog. And so, I couldn't help myself, Robin.  It's a fabulous title!  So please visit her site, to see how you can sign up for some freebies... you know how ya'll love winning fabric! 
"Pretty Blurry Lights" by Leslie Ann McNeil ~ 2010

 I won't be doing a 2011 highlight, except what I need to do to keep the gray hair at bay in my once bright red-gold blonde head! LOL!  (picture below!)   And,  I am also excited about this cool, blurry picture!  It just makes me happy.  Exploring my camera functions... and who knew out of focus could be so IN?!  Love that!  Exciting!  Yes... it doesn't take alot!
"Cherish Memories" Heart Bookmark and Keepsake available in my Etsy shop

I do want to extend to each of you, New Year greetings... to say how much I cherish you all, your creativity, and how I feel so blessed, & excited to start a new year --- and just plain blown away by the goodness of God. The One who is the Everlasting God.  The awesome plans He has for each of us!  The gifts of friendships that have been bestowed upon me... through this blog, and more... the creativeness, the goodness and mercy that flows from Him, and comes back again so we can give it and pass it on... to others.  Yup!  No no, it is not ours to keep.  It is a gift to pass on, and this is part of keeping Christmas in our hearts!
I am still learning... still growing, and still... learning to BE STILL before God!  Gosh, I am ever so grateful He is a God of Second Chances... make that ALOT of chances.
 So let's go to "INFINITY and BEYOND" --- and do some dancing into the new year ~ together!

Leslie Ann Cushing ~ Age 1 ~ April 1959
 Soli Deo Gloria!

LOVE...and more to come, God-willing in 2012!  
and not just RING-it-in --- this New Year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

True Blue Velvet & Snowflakes

Ahhhhh... yes, hello my lovely, true blue winter friend.  
Snowflakes... bobbin play... silver threads. Love this color combo.  What about you? 
And velvet.  Isn't there a song about velvet?  Ah... yes, I think there is.  Isn't it called "Blue Velvet?"
Sparkly goodness. 
Shine on! 
It's fun to do embossing on silk velvet; it works the vest.  I'm thinking I'd like to do some more of it this weekend. 

I placed the velvet fabric, right side down against the stamp image, and placed a piece of rough cut piece of steam-a-seam fusible web a bit larger than the stamp, placing the fusible on top of it, which is really the back of the velvet fabric.  Spritz it lightly - lightly(!) with water, and then place your iron on top -- don't be tempted to wiggle the iron back and forth.  Just apply steady, downward pressure for about 10 seconds.  Presto-magico, you now have an embossed image.  Let it cool.  Peel off the fusible backing paper, and now cut around the edges of the stamped image.  Place the velvet embossed snowflake on your fabric.  Time to make it permanent... Steam-a-seam is sticky, without fusing, so it's lovely re-positionable qualities work to stick it to the fabric for precise placement.  When you are satisfied with the arrangement... press, using a needle board (a pressing board for velvets or other fabrics with nap) and steam-press it lightly until it is permanently bonded. Then add your pretty silver threads for some lovely thread accent!
To get the bobbin stitching to show, I first stitched around the snowflake with a blue thread (so it wouldn't show against the fabric), and then from the backside of the runner, and with my bobbin full of dark blue Razzle Dazzle, I free motion quilted the outside edges of the snowflake.  One thing to always remember... draw yourself a 'road map' from the front, so you can see where you're going from the back!
And I'm so grateful this little sparkly one sold recently.  Thank you!

I'm hoping to do some more embossing this weekend, as well as some other mixed media experimentations... now that's what I call a fun "NEW" Year's weekend!

2012 here we come...  EnJOY!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"LIVE with INTENTION" Paper Fabric Quilt

NOTE:  This is a repost from earlier this year, February.  I just thought I would share this... noting that I also recycle the paper towels I clean up with.  
I bet you can pick it out in the picture below:

Here's number 3 in the 'pastel series' I've been playing with. I'm calling it "Live With Intention" as it is inspired  by my high school art teacher, Katie Twedt -- once again! (I could never get enough of her art!) and ... FYI, I will be the guest artist late this summer at the LIBERTY VILLAGE ARTS CENTER in CHESTER, MT!  Yay!  Thanks for asking me,  Katie!  Anyway... Katie's  hand stamped, designed paper piece is directly sewn onto this pastel fabric quilted collage. 
The triple stitch... decorative stitches 'adorn' the paper art by Katie Twedt.  Above that, is a paper towel - upcycled!
 Pastels are not my 'norm' as I generally am attracted to bold colors, first.  I'm sure having a good time with them though... and it's a good thing to get outside one's comfort zone... ah... more to be said about that; whether it is living a Christian life, working, playing, or quilting!

 Soli Deo Gloria!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Design Layers with Text

My good friend Elle asked this question about yesterday's post regarding some paper fabric I had made into bookmarks.  Elle commented:  "But I don't know how you get your lettering on. The 4th and 5th photos in particular show writing on top of the background. Do you scan/print, screen print or stamp? This inquiring mind needs to know!"
Here's my answerr:  Yes, Yes, and Yes! At times, I will type up a quote I like in a word processing program on the computer, and just print it out.  I cut it up, tear it or whatever, and place it within the layers of the paper fabric, usually the last layer of the top, before the last piece of tissue paper (I use craft tissue paper), is laid on top.  You can see that in the wrinkles from the glue and tissue paper, if you look close at the pictures.  That's the lettering you see in photo #5 of the previous post.  The text shows through because it's bold, and the tissue kind of turns clear with the additional glue-water mixture on the top.  At times it will be obscured depending on whether or not I add paint, thread, or other embellishments like ribbon, fabric and more.  Other writing, or text, are stickers I've also embedded into the top layer before the final top tissue layer, but they can also be added on the VERY top, after the paper quilt has dried.  I save older text of devotions, mail, greeting cards, thank you notes, letters... all kinds!  The paper ephemera includes so much, it's really impossible to list it all.  That list includes, for me, saved in one big tupperware box of candy wrappers/foil papers, paper napkins, graphics from junk mail, catalogs, wrapping paper, and tea bags!  (Are you exhausted just reading that list?!)  I am!  If it appeals to you, save it!   The challenge is more in knowing... when... to ... stop!

 This picture above shows some stamping... but I also will draw on top with a Sharpie pen, in black... or white!  I like to do... whatever comes to mind.
 A sticker "take life by the hand and dance!" is employed in this paper fabric, quilted, item.  Quilted with Superior Threads, Rainbows, my favorite tri-lobal polyester 40 wt thread.

Free Motion couching with my #43 Bernina Free Motion couching foot.  So FUN.
  Another one below, in the works.  Stamped, with writing by hand using a black sharpie pen, and a bit of paint.
 The picture below depicts the two bookmarks as they appeared before quilting.  I used stamping in black, hand-writing in both black and a white sharpie marker, printed text, and my own, free-hand, simple doodles.
 It's much easier to quilt them, or embellish, with two or more connected.  A bit more efficient, and easier to handle than one long, single, skinny piece.
 Just a simple grid line in free motion quilting across the organza fabric.  You can see a bit of the candy foil (in silver) on the top right corner of this picture.
 I love how these green rose flowers come to life with the trilobal, variegated thread.
 It's all about layers.  The piece above has light stamping in blue (towards the right side of the pic).  I used a clear stamp.
You can see the black curley-q in the bottom left... the white curley-q in top center, with black marks underneath that are being covered, but remain visible under the organza.

Hope that helped Elle.  Please ask any other questions, and if anyone would like to see an earlier post on this paper-fabric making, see my tutorial  here. 



Monday, December 26, 2011

December 26th ~ A Bethlehem

Hi there!  Welcome back from the Christmas festivities.  I hope it was calm, and bright for you all!  I had a bit of time to finish up a couple small projects I made as package toppers...  Bookmarks for my special 'adopted' daughters, Rachel and Katie, who are a Junior and Senior in college now, and for their Moms, my dear friends and Sisters... Annette and Lisa. I like these better than a bow on a package!!
A fun application to choose some decorative stitches to add... as well as ribbons and other 'leftover' things I always keep in my studio.  It's important, I have found, to keep these 'little bits and pieces' very handy, and in one tupperware container. Now I don't always do it that way, and sometimes I just cut bits and pieces off the original reel or skein; whichever works best for me at the time I want to get the party started with my sewing machine!
Ah.  There's the sparkle I love about this ribbon!  And these are cut from my fabric paper 'not-so-fond-of' pieces, and they become so much more interesting visually when they get cut up from the original large piece.  I love using them in this way.  "Sew" fun to personalize, too.  And the flower is a fused cut out from a large scale piece of fabric.

Embellished with some 'fly-by-night' organza that has lots of color, sparkle and 'come hither' interest; I initially tack it down with my glue stick, as it is so very flimsy.  But I love her look!
 And text... can't get enough of some text showing up hither and yon!

This next piece was cut out into a heart shape for Lisa.

And I have a few more stacks I've made... can't wait to dive in.  A whole day to sew.  Yippee Skipee!  
 And I was very much taken by the words on my Max Lucado devotion for DECEMBER 26th, which sits on my desk...
 I hope you have a very sweet day and every place you live will be a  Bethlehem as we go forward into this holiday week, treasuring Christmas in our hearts. 
 More thoughts.  More writing.  More thinking about quilting and projects I want to tackle and finish.  And always, more pictures coming! 



Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I've been meditating on Christmas.  
Infinite Love.
And living beyond. 
I heard a new Christmas song this year, by a group called GO FISH ~ "It's All About The Cross."  
Click above to view their video! (Update 12/22/11)
(Oh I love the harmony of this men's trio)
Detail Christmas placemats with decorative stitches and words
Wondering how we savor Christmas.
God With Us.
What it means to come as a child.

And I've thought about how I can live out and show that Love no matter where I am or what I do.  
From the words I speak... and the words I write.
Every day. Every moment. 
At work. At play.
To keep learning and listening.  
To come simply.  
As a child. 

"Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children."  Luke 18:16 NLT  
We knew this better when we were in our childhood.  Before we grew older.  
We've forgotten it, or perhaps given up on it, too easily.  
The simplicity of being a child.  A child of God.
We've been caught up in the trappings of the world.
The 'feel good' & 'it's all about you' and hurry up to wind our way around the next corner, to have 
or make, our lives more satisfying. 
The pressure of time, responsibilities, and more. 

I bet we all could say "Been there & done that!"  
I know I can.

But what about this: 

(Courtesy of Buzz Light Year from the movie, Toy Story)
Think about it.  
So much truth to that simple, child-like statement.

After all God came down to us as a baby! 
Though it was foretold ~ no one expected it.
Ahh... the unexpected!
And what unexpected JOY it is! 

So as we come to the manger as a child to celebrate Christmas, may we truly come ~
 to know the baby in the manger that came for us! 
Really.  All you need to do is come.
Come as you are ~ just come.
My favorite Christmas Bowl ~ a gift from my Mom many years ago...
 Don't let imperfection rob you of your Joy!

  For if we were all perfect we wouldn't need anything... 
not each other, not family, and not Christmas.
Not the Christ child that is at the heart of ALL of it. 
Because it's really all about Jesus on the cross.
Without that, we all would truly be hopeless.
Because that is what He came to do.
To give us a hope and a future.
Come Let Us Adore Him!
A shot from the Potomac Valley, taken January 2008 on our way home from Missoula, MT

Don't forget who's in charge of your real joy.
 We can choose HOPE.
Choose now ~ not to be hopeless, nor joyless.
For God so loved us, 
He sent us His only Son.  As a baby. As a child.
Then he said, "I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven." Matt 18:3 NLT
 "Be not afraid!"
"For I give you good tidings of GREAT JOY 
that will be for all people!"  
(Courtesy of God from the the Book of Luke.) 
A family heirloom; made by the kids' Great Grandma Ada 
Have a Merry Christmas!
Glad tidings to you from the McNeil family. 
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