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?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Georgia Welcome ~

We lost our sweet Micah, my Blue Merle Sheltie in early March.  It was a hard loss.  She truly was God's provision to me, and they were bright, full years of love and companionship that taught me so much about God's love and faithfulness... oh, if only we would turn to God the way a dog turns to us to meet their every need without fear!  Anyway, we (especially me!) found living without a dog really... strange.  I didn't think we'd get another, but here she is!  "Georgia" came home to live with us last Sunday afternoon.  She is 8 weeks old, and my husband is 'over-the-moon' for her!  A good thing, for sure.  They are fast becoming buddies.  I found this poem I had written in a journal over 20 years ago, so I thought I would share it, as I was reciting it to Brian...
You can't buy loyalty, they say.
We bought it though, the other day;
You can't buy friendship, tried and true,
But just the same, we bought that too.

We made our bid, and on the spot
Bought love and faith and a whole job lot

Of happiness, so all in all
The purchase price was pretty small

We bought a single trusting heart,
That gave devotion from the start
If you think these things are not for sale,
Buy a brown-blue eye

puppy with a wagging tail.

 She's definitely making herself at home, and we couldn't be more delighted.  Welcome Home Miss Georgia!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Country Chic Beginnings ~

This project - a VERY simple tablerunner, is just a really great way to begin learning/honing your FMQ skills... a good way to start, and have something to show for it.
It's that simple little undulating, soft, wavy line, whether I used it to follow the 'grid' of the batik border, or in the overall 'lacey' type pattern that was the centerpiece of this runner.  It's also rather elegant, and when you cross the stitching lines on every other curve, you get a soft, ribbony look.  Which I enjoy very much.  That would be the doing it, and the viewing it!
Don't get crazy trying to follow every little line...shape and ziggy-zaggy-craggy curve!
Remember... that the first idea is to have fun and to allow yourself to be creative - first! 
And it's done!  Not alot of time investment, but a building up of skills that results in a finished project.  Don't get caught up in perfect... just get caught up in the fun of CREATING!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Posy in Spring

It was a stormy spring, that spring of 2010.  And that rainy season became my personal inspiration for many things that year.   To begin, I wanted to make a  drawing that would be suitable to turn into a pattern and become 'the big picture' so to speak! To see if it would 'bloom' ... into a quilt.

That spring I was also home, recuperating from my first-ever surgery that June.  And I was limited in mobility, so sketching was a good thing... as it rained and poured... and poured and rained! 
"Peachy Posy"
Much later that summer, I was able to use the fabric that is the blue background --- one of my first-ever hand painted fabrics, using Jacquard's Dye-na-flow paint-dyes.  I was quite pleased with the deep, multi-layered colors of periwinkle, royal and lavender-oriented blues that glow in this fabric, setting a definite tone of the stormy skies I was constantly seeing.  

I applied bobbin play, from the backside of the quilt, but not until I had outlined the flower first, (see my explanation below).  I used Razzle Dazzle (Superior Threads); in a wonderfully thick and glitzy navy metallic thread, and once those 'jagged' sharp pointed lines (the pounding rain) were quilted, I turned it over, and finished the quilting from the front side of the quilt with variegated thread - two colors only; again in purples and moody blues. 

I kept the quilting lines deliberately sharp and pointy, to heighten the stormy feeling, and to emulate the pounding rain. I alternated the quilting within these two sections from straight and narrow points, to soft and undulating lines.  Driving rain... and soft, misty rain.
The pink and mango-colored flower (also hand painted fabrics of mine) were fused to the blue fabric, first, after tracing from my sketch (and reversing!)

It's portrayal is very much symbolic of my recovery period, of 'standing tall' - in a 'survivor mode' if you will... despite the gloomy spring weather, posing in a bed of spring flowers in the pounding, cool weather. Persevering, being content, despite the storms.
I hand-cut a bunch of wool circles, fusing them on, and added little yellow circles, and then a french knot in a black thread.  Beads were sewn on by hand, but not before the black lines of the stamens were quilted first.
And, as some of you know... one of my favorite things to do is free motion couching to frame the edges of the petals.  I used several different techniques, free motion and traditional.  First, the yarn was laid down around the perimeter of the flower petals, with the Bernina #43 free motion couching foot.  

Once that was accomplished, I added an additional visual element of with silver  Razzle Dazzle, just inside that yarn border, using my Bernina #39 clear embroidery foot, which is a traditional couching foot and allows for exact placement.  I added free motion applique stitching from the petals, going in soft curley-q's from the petal's edges, and also in and among the center of the flower's small woolen circles, in a soft, swirly line as the stamens of the flower. Love the black drama and visual interest this brings to the center of the flower.  I see it as beckoning, as if to say "come - take a closer look!"
The pink beads were hand sewn on this time.  Love the pinky-purple tone with the peachy-pink of the flower!
The beads lend themselves, ever so slightly, to a rain-shiny look.  I also free motion stitched, using my favorite #29 clear foot, around the little woolen circles, to help them 'pop up' just a bit, using an orangey-yellow color of thread so it would not show too much.
The picture below, reminds me of how excited I was to add the angelina - both fibers and textiva film.  This was the perfect touch in my eyes, to emulate the rainy puddles that seemed to fill up my garden flower beds... and I was delighted with this look.  It's so easy (and really fun) to do - I pulled angelina fibers out of the package, chopped up some angelina/textiva film, and then fused them using my teflon sheets.  I laid them on to of the fused grass blades, and then added free motion couching with more yarn to add texture for the green lawn, and the blades look (to me anyway) like they are really wet.
Little white flowers in a satin fabric, cut into heart shapes were added after the angelina, and the flowers have yellow wool centers with black stamens free motion quilted.
Smaller red flowers and their petals have a gathered and 'puffed' look, using a product from Superior Threads called "Texture Magic."  I free motioned willy-nilly (an official term you know) all over the fabric, with the Texture Magic product on the backside, and then steamed it with my iron until it wrinkled and puckered, til it was done doing 'it's thing.'  I then added fusible web, and lightly steamed them onto the quilt, too, adding couching in a red yarn... some silver thread play.  Done!
And if you look closely at the binding in photo (Picture #3), you can see that the binding features a lovely hand-dyed yarn which was couched, again, using my #43 free motion couching foot, right into the 'ditch' of the binding.  This, in my humble opinion, creates a professional and ‘framed’ finish for this contemporary art piece.

Just goes to show what the 'storms of life' can produce in us!  

Soli Deo Gloria!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Flowers n' Lace ~

My newest quilt finished this weekend.  If you've been following the blog for awhile, you may have seen these flowers before (or from somewhere else) - they're nothing "new under the sun" as it goes... but they are lot's and lot's of FUN!   (tutorial link is at the end of this post)
You may also know that I've been cleaning out from my stash of hand-dyed fabrics... pieces on which I have learned and experimented with dyeing the past two summers... little by little.
And I decided it was time to use this particular piece, thinking it made for a good background for these flowers.  And why risk having the flowers 'disappear' in my studio, once again?!!  So it was time to give them a home...
I also went through most of my fabrics - and re-organized, sorted and folded.  It's good to take 'stock' of your stock!  Wow.  That's all I can say. 
I'm a lucky girl...  and I'm excited about finding and renewing all those 'fabric friendships' once again!
We had the most incredible nice weather weekend... 80 degrees - YAY~!
And I enjoyed taking pictures outside on the patio...
If you'd like to see how the "thread lace" flowers are made, I published a tutorial last June 2011, and you can see it here.

And most importantly... I am humbled by your commentaries on "Grace Overflowing!"  Wow - you all blew my socks off with your kindness and generosity.  I am so so thankful for the encouragement and affirmation!  Especially because this quilt was made for a sweet friend, and she will receive it as a gift this upcoming weekend.  It's always a sweet blessing for me when I get to make a quilt for a specific person, and to pray for them and contemplate it all, as I do that.

Love to you all! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Grace Overflowing ~

Little by little. 
 Inch by inch. 
Hour by hour.
Stitch by stitch. 

thread change by thread change.
Thanking God.
For Grace. 
A Grace-Full Finish.
~ Soli Deo Gloria ~
Linking up with Studio JRU
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Livin' it Up in WhoVille ~ !

I feel like I must live in Who-Ville when I look at the results of my crazy, random (very random)  piecework from my Saturday stitchin' frenzy!
 Wonky and crazy.
 Using those leftover scraps galore!
Bright and fun.

... no rythme or reason...
Not much thinkin' either!  It's grab and stitch, baby!   
Totally guilt-free. 


and that is a bold, unequivocal promise of YES.  
Yes's from my messes!
I like LOVE that!
What about you?
What (or to whom) are you saying YES to, today?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Filling up the Space of Grace ~

Here's some of the progress I made this past weekend,  on my newest piece, "Grace."

FMQ on the letters is done is done with King Tut, 40 wt. 100% ELS cotton thread in white.  The FMQ for the all of the feathers has been done with Rainbows tri-lobals, 40 weight, variegated and solid polyesters.  And the bobbin thread for all of those top threads is Masterpiece 100% cotton ELS thread in the bobbin, matching the top thread, *for the most part*.
I hope you'll visit again to see the rest of it as I begin to finish up the details and the 'empty spaces!' 

EnJOY your day!
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