Living This Creative Life

I have two favorite quotes. The first one is by Emile Zola, "If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I would tell you that I came to live out loud". I don't know who the second one is by, but it goes like this, "If you're not living on the edge then you might as well jump". Both of these sentiments sum up my personal philosophy of this experience we call life on earth. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


As always, left click on the image to see larger.

Hi Gang,
It's been awhile, I know! Here is one of the many things I've been working on as of late. It was the Mystery quilt that I taught last weekend. It's called Fandango and it's a new pattern of mine that features two types of free style piecing along with dimensional, folded piecing. The pattern will be one of the five new patterns we will debut at Quilt Colorado, next month in Estes Park. It comes with instructions for this big 'ol throw or a Queen size. It was easy and fun to make, but due to the dimensional part - really ate up the fabric!. I love the hot, hot colors with the cool blue thrown in.
We have so much going on here at the store. I've just started working on the new newsletter for summer. If you have any suggestions - now's the time to let me know. We have our one year anniversary coming up. I can't believe it's been a whole year all ready! Then we will be in Estes Park for five days for the Quilt Colorado show, then we have our summer open house. We're busy developing some quick and dirty Make and Take mini classes for our open house. I'll let you know all about it in a couple of weeks via email.
As summer approaches, I'm reminded of the fullness of my life. Aren't we lucky that we get to follow our passions, that we can, if we try, find time for all of the fulfillment we can possibly stand - be it the garden, long hikes in the wilderness, or hours in our studio creating art !
Here's to following our bliss,

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

May 13, 2008

(Left click pictures to see larger)

Good Afternoon Gang,
Is it really the middle of May - It feels like mid winter in the mid-west. It's Ugly, with a capital U out there. Here's a photo that Tom took of my old kitty, Quimby, sitting in the sun. Click on her to make the photo larger. Her tongue is sticking out about 1/2 an inch! Silly thing.

This quilt is my latest in a new series I'm calling "She". It's called "She Was Lucky". I'm exploring new ways to draw and paint on my work. The whole thing is made of Dupioni silk. The flowers are stenciled using my own stencil designs and Shiva paintstiks. The pale purple panel is machine quilted with my own musings on being a lucky woman and the background is heavily quilted with swirls and 1/8" - 1/4" wavy lines (click on it for a closer look). I'm very pleased with the work and getting over being bothered when folks comment that it is "pretty".
For a long time, I, like a lot of contemporary quilters I know, considered the word "pretty" as a description of our work to be a put down. I've spent so much time trying to keep up with the big girls and wanting my work to be taken seriously, not just as decoration, but as art and not wanting my work to be merely pretty, but wanting it to be meaningful, cutting edge, professional. Now, I think I've come to a new understanding of both my creativity and the word pretty. It makes me feel good to make something pretty, beautiful, feminine. I'm happy to find yet another voice.

How's your voice sounding these days?
Till next time,

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mystery Quilt

Hey Gang,
I finally finished this quilt I've been working on - one of the many reasons
why I haven't written on my blog as often as I'd like to!. I finished an art piece too. I'll show you a photo of it soon. I feel like I've got my mojo back - yee ha!
I'm really very pleased with this quilt. It's the first Queen sized one I've done in over a year. I love the hard graphic edge that the pieced blocks provide mixed with the wonderful, almost delicate Japanese prints in, lets admit it, such a weird, unexpected colorway! Left click on the image of the quilt to see it larger.

Now, it's up to you guys to name the pattern. I wrote about this little contest several weeks (maybe months) ago. Here are the guidelines for proposing a title;
  • I've posted a finished photo of the quilt - pick a title for the pattern and post it in the comments section of this entry. Include your first name (no last names please) and your email address.
  • Names sell patterns. Make it quirky, rhythmic and memorable. No more than three words please.
  • The quilt uses easy cuts from just three widths of fabric, 1 1/2", 2" and 2 1/2" which create the five different small blocks that form the one large block.
  • Don't include information about the colors or fabrics used in the quilt top as lots of folks will use very different colors and fabrics in their version.
  • Two weeks after I post the photo of the finished quilt top, I will review all of the entries and choose a winner. The chosen title will be used in the published version of the pattern and the winner's name will be noted on the pattern. The winner will receive a free copy of the pattern along with a $25.00 gift certificate from Wild Heather Quilts or
  • You may enter as often as you like.
I hope to hear lots of great titles from all of you - Naming a quilt is a difficult thing! Naming a pattern you hope to sell tons of is even harder!

Till next time

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Big, Creative Slump!

Good Evening Gang,
I know it's been weeks since we've chatted - sorry, but I've been in a really, really big creative slump and haven't felt like I've had anything to offer. Buying the quilt store has put into place lots of changes in my life. Store owners have been telling me over the years how having a shop squashed their artistic endeavors - I was so arrogant that I thought it wouldn't happen to me, but alas it has!

The day to day demands on my time and energy along with great financial struggles have managed to bleed dry my desire to create. I'm even struggling with teaching - which has been my life's blood for so long.

So, I've been turning to my friends, colleagues and students to help me find ways to re-kindle my creative fire. Everyone has been in an artistic dead zone - I'm certainly not the first, worst or last. What I've learned is that discovering what lead to the artistic death will help discover roads that lead to art's rebirth.

I'm so overwhelmed that all of the old tricks that I used to use to entice me to work are no longer working. What I've told my students about staying away from "eye candy" because it mucks up our artistic vision has certainly hit home. All day, 6-7 days a week I'm surrounded by and searching out the new, unusual and cutting edge books, fabrics and goodies to fill this wonderful store with. The hunt for things that will entice my audience and customers. Somehow, I've managed to be totally and completely buried in it all. So much so that I don't know where to go - artistically that is. I feel like I've been stranded on an island with all the ingredients for a fabulous feast but without an oven or stove to cook it in! Have you ever had that feeling?

So - I'm not looking for answers, rather I'm just trying to get by, ride out the storm and find other ways to get through these big life changes. I know the creative spirit will return when it's good and ready - when I'm good and ready. For now, I'm just gonna do what I need to do to relax, resolve and regenerate.

One of my favorite ways to rest is reading. I love the written word, and a great story filled with humor and grit. I just finished reading two wonderful books. One by my favorite author, T. C. Boyle called East is East and the second one called The Intuitionist, by Colson Whitehead. Boyle writes incredible novels with historical or current settings about everything from the inventor of Kellogs cereal to the sex guy Kinsey to a Japanese illegal trying to survive off the Florida coast. He has a way with words like no other man I've read - I suspect he even makes some up! (my kind of guy!). Whitehead has written three novels, the Intuitionist was his first. It's about the made up world of elevator inspectors and it's ripe with racial intrigue. He too has an amazing way with language. Some of his sentences are so good that I had to read them out loud to Tom.

A day of nothing but reading, a few errands, some laundry, cat petting and left overs was just what I needed to get re-vamped for another week of product overload! This week I must cull my fabric designs down to just 40 SKU's (out of a possible 432 options), start a series of short articles on my fabric designing journey for The Quilt Show, finish a quilt top and write it's pattern, teach a few classes, run a quilt shop, celebrate my baby's 18th birthday (does that make me officially old?) ....on and on.... life is full, life is good!

I hope you all treat yourselves to relaxing days!
Until next time,

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Artist Trading Card Group

Hey Gang -
So sorry that I didn't get around to writing last week. Wow - it was a doozie!Every time I turned around there was another pressing thing I had to do. Not to complain - life is full, just like I like it, but some days I wish I had a clone!.
This first photo is of six different ATC's (artist trading cards). They were
made and or collected by Liz Kettle. She is heading up our new ATC Trading Club that begins this Saturday. If you have never made one of these little beauties, you're really missing out on a great way to try new
techniques without big time and money investments. (Left click images to see larger)
Here's the jist of the whole trade thing; make any number of ATC's (we suggest 5-20) that are 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" (the size of a standard baseball trading card). They should be flat enough to fit in a collectors album, but can have lots of embellishments. You can use paper, but the bulk of the card should be fabric. Stitch, iron on
with adhesive, glue - have fun and be creative. Bring all of your cards (all can be the same, or
each can be unique) to the swap on Saturday, April 12 at 10:00 (or bring them beforehand if you
can't make that time) and exchange them with all of the other participants. This is a great way to get wonderful, delightful, whimsical, gorgeous bits of art from other fabric artists.

Here is a photo of our booth at the Pueblo Quilt and Stitch Expo last weekend. We had a really great show and would like to express our deep appreciation for everyone who showed up. We saw a lot of old friends and made some new ones.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hello Gang,
It's been one hell of a week! I taught five nights and a day in a row
and I'm utterly exhausted. But, lucky for me, two of my lovely students came in today with show and tell from classes they recently took from me. It never fails - every time I think I've had
enough of the teaching game, a student comes in excited about
her new found successes and I get reinvigorated again, thanks to
all of you.
The landscape quilt at left was made by Archie Driesbach. She made it in my Landscape Architecture class. It is quite luscious and includes Angelina fibers in the sky as well as dimensional sheer fabrics in the foreground. Archie did a lot of thread painting in the trees and wonderful quilting by machine. It's her first landscape ever. Shes really excited about discovering quilting without rules!

This amazing little piece of artwork was made by Rebeca Capion.
She cut her own stencil when she was in my Painting with Shiva
Paintstiks class. She stenciled the very organic flower, added miniature glass beads in the center, a beaded fringe and beads along the border. Rebeca has taken several classes here at the store and it's wonderful to watch her work blossom. She's not only very artistic, she's also a great innovator!

I wish for you all, the time, freedom and tenacity to create your hearts desires.

Until next time,

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hi Gang,

Sorry I didn't get an entry posted yesterday. The day just got away from me - as so many do!

I've been working on my first accordion book. The assignment for our
first Exploratory group was to make something new and I've never
made one of these books before. I also had to do something for my
advanced design class. It was a challenge and had to include the color
brown, a polygon shape, raw edge applique and show the emotion of
sorrow. So I killed two birds with one stone. It was quite a challenge to make something show
sorrow. So I chose to use the subject of slavery and called the piece
"Slavery, the black man's sorrow". It's very dark, with depressing

I used collage and book making techniques for the pieces four pages.
Before I started, I perused these two new books we have in the store, for help on technique as well as some good visual inspiration.

Mixed Media Collage, by Holly Harrison is subtitled "An exploration of Contemporary Artists, Methods and Materials. I am most impressed by the artwork shown by artist, Sharon Mc Cartney who uses a mixed media approach with fabric, paper, fibers, stitch, image transfers and acrylic paints. Her work looks like bits of nature. The book features five artists, their work and methodology, along with an amazing gallery.

The second book, Fabric Art Journals by Pam Sussman teaches all the basic book assembling techniques along with some wonderful information on the artistic side of designing and creating books. I never thought I would want to make a book, but the experience so far has been very satisfying and I'm looking forward to doing more of this style of art making.

Until next time,
Happy creating,

Friday, March 21, 2008

Musings on living a creative life

Hi Gang,
Hope you have all had a good week. I'm really looking forward to having two days off in a row. Now that we are closing on Sundays, and I don't have a class that day, I'll have two days off - together - to do whatever I want!

But as I sit here I'm reminded of all the things I need/want to get done. There's that new quilt (the contest quilt) that needs finishing. Another quilt that I promised to make for my advanced design class that I need to finish before next Tuesday. Samples to make for my new advanced design class that starts the week after that. Book proposals to write. A new pattern to write (the quilt top has been finished for almost a year!) Taxes to get organized. New Block of the Month's to design and make. The store needs reorganizing. The house needs cleaning. The kids need some "mom" time. And, there's a holiday and a new husband stuck in there too!

How do we fit in time for our creative selves in our busy lives?

I decided many years ago that I was going to lead a creative life style. I wasn't exactly sure what that meant but I knew that changes - major changes - were needed in my ways of thinking. I was going through a divorce and dealing with a difficult teenager and trying to create a career out of a hobby. I knew that it was a "make it or break it" time for me. So, I began to make CREATIVITY a part of my daily life. To find it, acknowledge it, discover it. No - that doesn't mean that I started spending a large part of every day working in my studio, but it does mean a great shift in both my priorities and attention.

Today, my life is just as chaotic as it was six years ago, but now I have a clearer purpose. I find time each and every day for some type of creative endeavor - even if it's just looking through old issues of Art Quilter magazine or an art book while I'm riding my stationary bike. My mind becomes engaged and the possibilities start to soar. I don't know if there will ever be a time in my life when I will have the opportunity to spend 8 hours a day creating in my studio. I am a self supporting woman and though I would love to be able to claim that I'm supporting myself by selling my art - I can't. I can however, proudly claim that I'm supporting myself through my art. Between partnering in the store with Tom, publishing, teaching, lecturing and selling the occasional piece of my work, I get to live a life of my own making, on my own terms, doing what I love to do most - being creative!

I hope you all get the opportunity to follow your bliss,
Till next time,

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Piped or flanged binding

Hey Gang,
I promised a few of you the instructions for making a two color
binding, with a 1/8tg" narrow piping/flange. Here are the instructions;

1. Begin by cutting your binding and piping strips. For an 1/8th"
finished piping/flange and 1/4" finished binding, cut the piping
fabric 1 3/8" and the binding fabric 1 1/8".

2. Cut as many lengths of each fabric as needed to go around the
entire perimeter of your quilt top plus 20". Sew the necessary
number of like fabric strips together end to end using a diagonal
seam. Press these seams open.

3. Sew the long piping strip to the long binding strip so that it
finishes at 2" wide. Press toward the narrower binding fabric.

4. Press this long strip in half along the entire length as shown.

5. You will be sewing the binding/piping duo to the BACK side
of the quilt. Begin on the bottom edge of the quilt and leave
a long 10" tail at the beginning and backstitch. Stitch around the entire perimeter of the quilt, folding a miter at each corner. To do
this, stop 1/4" from the corner of the quilt and back stitch. Cut the
thread and turn the quilt a 1/4 turn. Fold the binding strip up then fold it back down so that the fold lines up with the raw edge of
the quilt as shown in the two photos at left.

6. Continue sewing the binding on and mitering each corner. Stop
at least 10" away from where you began and backstitch.

7. Bring the beginning and end of the binding strip to the center
of the unstitched area, lining up with the raw edge of the quilt.
Fold each end back leaving an opening of a scant 1/4" and press
the folds with an iron to crease. Open up the folded over binding
strip end to reveal the backside of the fabric and draw a line in the
fold you just pressed. Draw a line through the lengthwise fold of
the binding too to make a +. Do this on both ends of the binding
as shown at left.

8. Using the 45 degree angle on your ruler, line up the edge of the
ruler so that it intersects with the + sign you marked in the center of the binding strip and the 45 degree angle line is aligned with the
raw edge of the binding/quilt. Mark the diagonal line with a pencil.
Do this on both ends of the binding. Using your rotary cutter, cut
1/4" to the outside of the drawn line, leaving a 1/4" seam

9.With the right sides together, pin the two angles to each other
being careful to line up the seam where the piping fabric and
binding fabric line up.

10. Pin across the join so that you have a 1/4" tip of excess on
both sides as shown at left. Sew the seam and press it open.

11. Re-fold the binding and align it's raw edges with the raw edge
of the quilt top. The un-sewn length of binding should just fit in
the un-sewn area of the quilt. If it's a little too short thats o.k.,
however if it's too long, take the binding in as needed.

12. Sew the binding to the quilt. With the back side of the quilt up, press the binding away from the quilt as shown at left. Do this all the way
around the perimeter.

13. Turn the quilt over so that it is face up and fold over the
binding and press. Do this all the way around the perimeter and
pin every 3" or so.

14. Stitch the binding to the front of the quilt by machine. Do this in the seam joining the piping and binding or top stitch on the edge
of the piping. Use thread that matches the piping color. It will
look best if stitched in the ditch between the two fabrics, but top
stitching along the edge will give you another option.

I hope you all enjoy this technique.
Until next time,

Friday, March 14, 2008


Good Morning Gang,

Tom and I are off to Santa Fe for the weekend. He's got a Jazz concert to attend and I'm teaching three classes at Santa Fe Quilts.

I thought it would be a good time to introduce you all more thoroughly to our staff (all one of her) and some of our store teachers. So, today is Ruth's turn.

Ruth is Ruth Chandler. She was raised in Japan, where she lived from age three to 18. She has been making quilts for more than 15 years and has been making garments since she was 10! Being tall and thin in Japan, left her with few style options so she started making her own clothes. She is married to a great guy, Greg and has two kids, both married. Her son lives here in town and her daughter lives in Alaska. She has three grandkids, two girls and a newborn boy.

Ruth works in the store Monday, Wednesday and most Saturday's which gives Tom and I some very needed time off and free time back in the office to do all the gross but necessary stuff like bookwork. Ruth and I met nearly 13 years ago when she took a paper pieced Kimono class from me back when I was teaching and working at Crazy For Quilts in Old Colorado City. We became good friends several years later and I worked for her for a couple of years as a cook at a private school. We have been involved with a small art quilt group for 7 or 8 years now. Our friendship is all about encouraging and challenging each other in our art and our lives.

Ruth continues to teach some wonderful clothing classes for us and she's adding some great ones for kids and teens this sumer. She is also teaching a beginner quilt making class as well as some great Japanese inspired techniques and a quilt.
She has designed one of the patterns that we publish, "Japanese Knot", which is a big seller for us. She is a wonderful and generous teacher. I'm sure you would enjoy any of her classes.

Until next time,

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hello Gang,
Happy Tuesday to you all. Today, we're going to play with foiling on fabric. The photo to the left shows some of the goodies you will want to have on hand.
(Left click images to see larger)
You will need fabric foil and adhesive of some sort. Pictured is one of our combo foil packs that has 10" x 12" sheets of ten different sold colored foils as well as one sheet of multi colored. Also shown is Misty Fuse (black), Bo-nash 007, foil adhesive and Steam-a-seam 2

In this first sample, I painted a rubber stamp with foil adhesive using a sponge brush. I let the adhesive dry until it was completely dry to the touch. I laid the foil on top of the stamped design with the foil color side up then used a medium hot iron to bray the foil on to the adhesive. Braying simply means to push with the edge of the iron. I usually cut my foil just larger than the design that I'm transferring so that I don't waste too much foil.

Always give the foil a few minutes to cool then gently pull it off of the surface. Viola! here is the stamped design.

Here I have sprinkled the surface of the fabric with Bo-nash 007 (this is a powdered adhesive).

Here, I have laid a large sheet of foil over the fabrics with the Bo-nash 007 sprinkled on it and am pressing it with a medium heat iron and some good old fashioned pressure.

Wish you could see this better, but the fabric is sprinkled with foil dots!

Here, I laid down one layer of Misty Fuse (I used black because thats what I had on hand. Then I covered the misty fuse with a large sheet of foil, color side up and heated and brayed it with the iron. When I pulled the foil away it left this wonderful, misty web of foil.

Here is a heart cut out of Steam-a-seam 2 ironed on to the surface of the fabric. I then removed the top sheet of protective paper and topped the heart with foil, colored side up.

I brayed the foil onto the heart shape using the edge of the medium hot iron, let it cool then gently pulled off the foil and here is the finished design. Foiled fabric can be hand washed but can not go in the dryer. Use a pressing cloth to re-iron any foiled areas. Till next time,

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Quilter's Home

Greetings Gang,
Sorry about being a day late. Yesterday just got away from me! I know I promised info on foiling on fabric today, but it's gonna have to wait till next week. Tom will have to take lots of photos for it and I'm trying to get this in before I start a class in an hour!
So instead I'm going to tell you all about the magazine shown here, Quilter's Home. A review if you will. The guy on the cover is it's originator and editor. His name is Mark Lipinski and he's an absolute hoot! Our own Liz Kettle writes for this magazine too.
The magazine is subtitled "For the new generation of quilters" and its no lie. Unlike most quilting magazines, this one is more of a "lifestyle" magazine, think "Oprah" or "Style". Though each issue contains a few quilt patterns, the bulk of the magazine is chatty, whimsical and at times down right silly. Don't get me wrong, all this is good - really good!
This months issue has articles titled "Miss Pronunciation" which teaches us the proper way to say things like Broderie perse (BROH-duh-ree purz) as well as Tulle (tool) and Voile (voyl). Another article is titled "Is it Time to Fire Your Guild), No matter how much you may like the girls, sometimes it's just time to move on". No truer words were ever spoken! Every issue of the magazine has some hilarious repartee from Mark along with some questions and answer sections. In one section, he's answering quilting questions in another section he's taking a poll from his readers with questions as varied as "Do you pre-wash?" and "Have you ever been issued a speeding ticket" Also included in this months issue are articles on awarding winning quilter, Hollis Chatelaine and Vintage Chinese lotus slippers.
In my time short/work long life, I rarely have the time to devote to thoroughly reading a magazine, usually I just scan, soaking up the good stuff and bypassing the rest. But Quilter's Home is a different story! I find myself reading the whole issue from cover to cover. I don't want to miss a page! I get to learn something new and often, giggle my ass off. Plus in this issue I got a few good recipes for fattening potato dishes and a yummy cocktail filled with rum, vodka and Midori! If you haven't read this magazine, grab one - it great for giggles and quilting information too.

Here is a link to Quilter's Home web site: Quilter's Home. And here is a link to Mark's Blog.

See you next week,

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Heather's Blog Now at This Location

We have moved Heather's Blog as of today. Bookmark this page-this will be the home of Heather for the foreseeable future. We copied and pasted yesterday's entry over to this site, but if you would like to look at older posts, here is a link to her old location on yahoo:

(We switched because this seems to be a better site for us-it is much easier to format and add photos-if you are considering starting a blog of your own, Blogger is the way to go. It's also free!

Name That Quilt Contest!

Hello Gang,

Despite a nasty little storm, we had a great time at our Fabric Marbling Party this past Sunday. After a couple of product snafus we got underway and everyone managed to paint a dozen or more pieces of fabric. I'll have Tom take some photos of some of the finished pieces and show you all next week.

We've got what promises to be a great new group meeting at the store tomorrow morning. It's all about exploring fiber arts. There are more than 20 people signed up for the first meeting. They will decide the parameters of the group, all of the whats and whys. I'll let you know what goes down. We'll be starting a blog for both this group and our new Fiber Art Critique group that formed last month. More on both of these later.

The photo above is of the first 8 blocks for the new quilt I'm designing. In last Friday's entry, I showed the raw fabrics along with the written instructions I had done so far. The quilt will have 20 blocks in a 4 x 5 setting. So far, I'm really loving the quilt! I like the idea of doing something so simple and contemporary in Japanese inspired fabrics. The color palate is intriguing too. The pale violet is doing a lot of work, surprising me.

I'm going to try very hard to complete the quilt top within the next two weeks. Then the fun will begin! I'm going to see how many of you are out there reading my blog by proposing a little contest. A quilt naming contest. Here are the parameters;

  • After I've posted a finished photo of the quilt - pick a title for the pattern and post it in the comments section of the entry with the finished photo. Include your first name (no last names please) and your email address.
  • Names sell patterns. Make it quirky, rhythmic and memorable. No more than three words please.
  • The quilt uses easy cuts from just three widths of fabric, 1 1/2", 2" and 2 1/2" which create the five different small blocks that form the one large block.
  • Don't include information about the colors or fabrics used in the quilt top as lots of folks will use very different colors and fabrics in their version.
  • Two weeks after I post the photo of the finished quilt top, I will review all of the entries and choose a winner. The chosen title will be used in the published version of the pattern and the winner's name will be noted. The winner will receive a free copy of the pattern along with a $25.00 gift certificate from Wild Heather Quilts or
  • You may enter as often as you like.
So there you have it. Hope to hear from lots of you. Later this week I'm going to show you how to foil on fabric and introduce a great new book.

See you Friday,