Friday, December 29, 2017

Another Year Flys By......

Guess it is really nearing the end of 2017 and I feel myself being very reflective, this was especially evident yesterday as Kristin was writing our newsletter and asked me about what we should say about our plans for 2018.   Usually by this time we have done some "brainstorming" regarding the coming year, guess we had done some of that on our drive home from International Quilt Festival/Houston in November, but I was drawing a blank.  I was busy ironing so orders could ship, sometimes when ironing  my "mind" is a total blank , so she caught me off guard...I had no answers for her.  Guess I should have claimed I was just tired; but I think I may have said something like I am getting old and just didn't remember squat  (dumb move on my part).

Upon returning home after "Festival" we had one guild lecture and we have only dyed when absolutely necessary to fill orders.  Now don't get the idea we have been on vacation, far from it.  Between holiday meals, decorating the house for the holidays, buying gifts, writing to friends and know all that usual family stuff we all do, we decided to tackle a few projects we kept saying we would get to. 

First we tackled the family room, cause while in Houston for Festival hubby had patched earlier water leak "holes in walls, skylights created to find said leaks".  Don't think the grandson figured that the beginning of his Thanksgiving vacation would be spent emptying the room and helping to paint.  Thank goodness he was a good sport and assisted us.  Once the paint had dried we got down to the fun part,  redecorating.  Prior purchases came out or hiding, you know sometimes you see something you just have to have...not sure how you will work it in...if you love it, you will find the perfect spot for it.

As we were finishing, the forecast said we were going to get a dusting of snow, now this doesn't happen often in our neck of the woods. Seems that dusting was a bit more than they thought and it slowed us down just a tad...pretty but a bit early for a white Christmas.

After finishing a slight problem reared it's ugly head, you could see the entry from the family room couch and it looked I'm sure you can guess what happened next????  You guessed it, we painted it, also put all new doorknobs on all 4 doors....we call it the back entry, cause the entry to our house has a two story entry, then has this other part from the garage.

Okay don't start laughing but once we were done with that area, I sort of asked for another room to be done....the powder of those 4 doors.  So we rented a steamer and stripped 30 year old wallpaper off un-primed Sheetrock, thank goodness for Kristin.

Things sort of "snowballed" from there...freshly painted ceiling, walls, trim and vanity, also a new vanity top/sink, new mirror, new light fixture, towel bar and toilet paper holder.  It look fabulous...just needs new flooring....okay I give us a break for now!

Then came a touch of "whimsy", shelves that look like old suitcases...they are metal.  A "Home Sweet Home" vintage stitchery, vintage perfume bottles and atomizers. One is mine, a gift from my grandmother, and one is my grandmothers', love the smile they bring me each time I enter.
Also took the time to finish with my holiday decorating of the house...

 The above photos show how great they looked after painting and redecorating,,,then adding holiday decorations.

Love this Santa and my new "travel trailer bird house" with all it's holiday finery....note the wall color in the background of these...this is the entry that still needs to be done...however; not by us...two stories is more than we want to tackle.  Time to find a pro!

Time to buckle down and get back to work....spent the last couple of days dyeing, processing orders and doing inventory.  I "hate" counting!  Don't know about you, but when I am in a creative slump going into my studio and handling "stuff" triggers ideas, and creative juices begin to think about inventory a minute...for me it is the handling of things I love, things that give me ideas, things that spur on my desire to create. I wound up with these (solid hand-dyed cotton organdy) on my account...

and we have barely begun to inventory everything, at this rate I will be broke by the beginning of 2018!

At least I am not dwelling on 2017 anymore, what I did or DIDN'T get accomplished....because now my mind is in overdrive as to what I can do in 2018....whoohoo!

Stay tuned to see what happens with my purchases as the year goes on!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Woohoo.....Time For Odd Jobs......

With all our travels, teaching and dyeing we always dream/plot and plan for things we hope to do when we have some free time, but year after year we don't get to it.  This year we have tried to balance out things just a tad, taking time to do things we have only hoped to do. 

Example of this was making kits for projects before we went to Quilt Festival in Houston, every year we say we are going to create these type of kits, but we never get to it.  This year we actually accomplished it.  Here's a peak at one such kit.
Since getting home we have taken time to regroup so that we would be able to tackle some of those projects we always put off because we have too much on our plates.  After celebrating Thanksgiving early with our family we had time to tackle our family room.  We have been complaining about how dark the room has gotten over the years.  First we thought it may be the result of the trees filling out and getting larger, so last fall several had limbs trimmed and one was removed...but still seemed dark.
 It really helps to have younger family jump in to help....she taped all the woodwork (and we have a ton), then she climbed that ladder and got down to work.   My grandson pitched in during his vacation time, remember that problem with how dark the room seemed, well after disconnecting the ceiling fixture it was really dark.  In order to paint the ceiling we needed someone moving a light around and telling us when we missed a spot.
Putting the room back together has been interesting since I really want to start my holiday decorating, a little too much on my mind.  So.....slowly but surely....    Love the new wall clock, bins and cotton...surprisingly they helped tie things together, at first we were planning to paint all that woodwork white, I really shudder each time I think of how difficult that chore would be. Sorry just cannot face that task, maybe if I was 20 years younger.
The windows used to have Levelor blinds that matched the woodwork...hubby took them down.  New curtains had been hung, before he got home to face the task and we were blown away with the difference they made, getting the blinds down was another surprise.  These windows are huge....and the!
While buying the curtains, and a few other items at IKEA we couldn't resist checking out the artwork.  The minute we saw this picture it had to come home with us....we instantly thought about our summers at the lake in northern Minnesota.  This was captured in Sweden, but ever since a trip to Scandinavia I know why so many people immigrated to looks like home.  Now every day we will have a sweet reminder of those wonderful summer days.

My quilt entitled "Winter's Blanket" part of my Minnesota series looks great on the new wall color and the new artwork compliments it well. The feeling of accomplishment is fantastic and the two of us are grinning from ear to ear every time we walk into the room.  Woohoo....

I am now officially ready to start my holiday decorating and maybe, just maybe tackle another project around the house.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Finally A Minute.....

I think I finally took a deep breath today for the first time in months and it was difficult considering the cold I brought back with me from Houston, it could explain the totally drained feeling we both have been suffering from.  But it was well worth it considering that once again Houston and the International Quilt Festival did not disappoint. Kudos to the city of Houston, your city welcomed us with open arms.

Apologies for not keeping you all up to date with all our preparations going into "Festival", but I need to admit that I got a bit overwhelmed.  We were teaching 3 classes, which meant assembling kits, gathering supplies and shipping all that down to Houston by a certain date.  Throw in a show in Asheville, NC, dyeing, ironing, making kits to sell, writing up new patterns for projects we were trying to finish...note the word "finish".   Oh and throw into the mix a 20 foot booth on the show floor....

Our classes were great and we thank all those who chose to take a class with us.  Now setting up our booth and being ready for preview night is a whole other story.  Our 12 boxes we shipped with FEDEX did not show up in Houston in time....they were misdirected to Dallas.  Now, this little thing really was "STRESSFUL"....we didn't have many of the new things to sell that Kristin had been posting about on Instagram....  Thank you to everyone who came back to our booth later in the show to check on us and see the new stuff.  I am sorry that neither of us took any photos of the booth....we realized it driving away from Houston after the close of the show.  Guess "stress" really got to us.

Here is the last thing I finished before we left for Houston on October 29th..

The pattern will soon be up on line, it is called Blossoms.  It is all about trying different techniques in a manageable size...creating flowers with cheesecloth, ric rac, and wool.  Do you have bits of lace, ribbon, buttons or even charms you have wondered what to do with?  Perfect....add them and make these pennants very personal.

This project actually spurred on a change in our Texture Exploration class.  I designed a whole new project for the class because of what came about in these pennants and I am so excited about it.  We have taught it three times now, the reaction of the students and their creativity has been wonderful.  Must admit that this is what we all hope for...trying something and letting it expand into more....the stars aligned.

I promise not to let 2 months go by before posting again...we do not have a show until the end of February 2018 when we will be at Mid-Atlantic in Hampton, VA.   You know what that means....time to actually create new work and experiment with ideas for new products, and projects.  Whoohoo!  We are so excited about the next several months.  Stay tuned.

Thank you for stopping by!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Wondering What My Neighbors Think......

Over the 40 plus years that I have quilted and created using a variety of fibers I have done many of this outdoors where my neighbors have had full view of what I am up to.  For example, once I stretched out white fabric in my front yard, taken a bucket of dye, a broom, dyeing the fabric by flicking dye on it with the broom.  The cars passing frequently slowed, stopped and wondered "aloud" what on earth I was doing.  Another time I was discharging fabrics on the driveway, once rinsed they were thrown over the holly bushes along the driveway to dry.  The grandson of my neighbor pulled her down the street, shouting with glee...."look Christmas trees".  I have new neighbors so today this is what they were viewing while sitting on their deck.

These luscious bits of ric rac, vintage laces, doilies and linens greeted them as they enjoyed the late afternoon.  Pretty eye candy...I hope they enjoyed the riot of colors.  So far they have not asked what on earth we are doing....

Thanks for stopping by...its been a long day...good night.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Finally, A Little Time Found For Stitching.......

We needed to make some new prayer flags for a trunk show we are shipping soon, so happy dance for me....I got to time.
Using a pattern called Flora and Fauna by Susan Edmonson Designs

As I layed them out and played a little with what I thought I would do I could feel my blood pressure going down....ahhh! Happily pulled out all my supplies and got down to business.

Sorry this one got a bit dark (tried to lighten it a bit and it really looked sad), I actually wound up cutting out 4 different colorways of leaves, before settling on these.  
This shows most of the stitching done, the reason for the pins in the ric-rac is because the background needs some seed stitches, then I can put on the backing and complete the stitching.

Here I played with putting the ric-rac down one side or both sides.  I love love using our hand-dyed ric-rac, using it even for flower buds and flowers.  Yummy!
As you can see I finally decide on using it only on one side, gathered rayon seam binding is on the bottom of the flag. 

 As I was working on the flag below, I kept laying skeins of thread on it to "audition" them, I tend to work intuitively, which means I always have things auditioning when I am working.  Also if you look at the piece and think the leaves on the larger left flower look heavier, that's because they are.  I used some of our hand-dyed floss and did not realize that I had separated the threads unevenly...until I went to re-thread my needle.  Go with the flow was my the fly stitch leaves on the other two are finer.

 Decided I liked the size of the buttons, so stitched them on and finished embroidering the flag.
On the last flag below, have absolutely fallen in love with this color combination.  The background is our Spicey Mustard Osnaburg and the skinny strip is our Stream. 

 However, no matter how happy I was with the color needed a little "pop" of comes our Tuscan Perle really did the trick in my opinion, really making the piece sing.

 The reason for these two photo's is because after stitching around the top flower in our Butternut Perle Cotton, then I wondered if it was too I wondered if maybe I should use our Stream Perle Cotton that I used for the French Knots in our Rayon Seam Binding instead.  Sent them to Kristin in a text....her input was that the gold was good.  Yippee!
Think I am happy with these flags, can hardly wait to finish them and ship them out.  These are so fun to make that I have to admit my fingers are itching to make more.....don't be surprised to see more to come.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What Influences My Work.........

As I sit ironing yards and yards of hand-dyed fabric my mind wanders, over this past few days I have been wondering about the influences that have been most important to my work.  My daughter and a good friend of hers noted years ago that I am happiest when "near" water....they loved to tease me whenever we headed south to the Gulf, but they just did not realize how they had hit the nail on the head.  They knew me so well.  I love the water.....lakes, rivers, really doesn't matter, just the peace that comes from being near a body of water is enough for me.
 Lake Superior, Duluth, MN. 
Frequently, my work depicts water, it just happens.  It seems that my hands go to work and before I know it; blues, muddy greens begin to emerge.  Sometimes I am surprised by how quickly my hands/mind go there....but over the last several years I have come to realize that it is who "I" am.
 Lake in northern Minnesota
As you can see the evergreens of the northern woods also emerge, they are part of my soul.  I was brought up to appreciate, respect and love nature.  To be a caretaker is as important to me as it is to pass along an appreciation of this beautiful country.  I think I am succeeding as my grandson now feels that it is an important part of his summer to make the trip north to the lake and upon arriving runs for the dock, breathes deeply and says "it is so good to be back....I love it here".
 Gulf Coast, Sarasota, FL

The seagulls have also begun to surface in my work over the last several years, along with sea oats and the grasses found on the dunes along the Gulf Coast.  To feed my soul a trip south to the beach works wonders mid-winter when I begin to notice myself craving the feel of the sand beneath my feet, the warmth of the sun on my skin, the need to fill my mind with all the shades of blue I can see to bank in my "minds eye".  That color....referred to as "sky blue" will forever take my breath away, as will what seems like the layers of blues I view across the water's surface.

 Carmel and Big Sur, CA

Since returning to the west coast a few years ago for a quilt show, I have found another favorite place to feed my soul.  When I was a teen my family took a road trip to California, my memories from then do not match those of a trip we took with our kids when they were in elementary school....I loved the ruggedness of the western coast line.  Returning several years ago reinforced my love affair with the central California coast and I have found myself back there many times of late.  That feeling I get while there has surfaced in our work, over and over, sometimes quite simply with just a simple branch, but it creates in me a feeling of peacefulness.

Years ago I was asked for an artist statement to accompany my work for an exhibit I had been juried into, at the time I struggled to write those words.  Now I realize that the statement about my work being influenced my "nature" was so very true.  However, I have come to realize that it is even more specific than that...."water and trees" are at the very core of who I am.  In order to survive each day I need to fill the "well" periodically throughout the year with time in my favorite places in order to keep producing work that make me feel at peace within.

I hope that each of you have such a place that is important to you and your work.
Thanks for stopping by.