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, June 5, 2012

 Good Evening,
It's been a very long time since my last blog entry.  I'm always amazed at how fast time flies when I'm working hard and having fun.

But, the main reason that I haven't been blogging isn't that I haven't had the time - we ALWAYS find the time to do the things we really want to do - it's that I wasn't sure of where to go next with the blog.
Here's the thing about blogs - at least how I see it - a lot of folks blog just so they have an audience to say what they want to say or to advertise what they need advertised.  I just don't want my blog to be about either of those, I want it to be a place for you to find inspiration, to showcase new ideas and new techniques.  I loved doing the machine quilting thing with you, but I needed a break from it for a while and once I was ready to come back, I just didn't know what direction to move in.

Well, I'm still not sure what direction to move in so for now, I'm just going to share with you some of my newer work and let you know when and where I'll be teaching next (which may very well be nothing but out and out advertising - you let me know!) So, here goes;

I'm working on a new Quilt & Color piece which is the technique used in the bird above.  This new piece is very large, 72" x 44".  It was my hope to get it done for Houston this year (I never, never enter that type of show because I detest the idea of "competitive quilting") but then I looked at the entry date and it is at the end of this week - so, that's out, but I'm still really enjoying working on it, whenever I get the chance, which right now isn't very often.  Why you ask, well, as my mean ol' aunt used to say, "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it".

What have I been wishing for; success - business success, personal success, financial success, SUCCESS! Well, it seems to be coming my way.  Earlier this year I decided to quit working with my wonderful publishers and go out on my own and add book publishing to my plate.  I've found a lovely editor and book designer as well as a printer (thanks to Carol Ann Waugh) and am putting the finishing touches on my third book (my first as publisher and author), "Quilt & Color; Creative Quilting with Stitch, Ink & Paint".  It should be ready for release in late August.

I also decided to see if I could find a larger market for my hand dyed products, so last month at Spring Quilt Market in Kansas City, I met with a few distributors and showed them my wares.  Brewer, who has always been my supplier of choice, decided to pick up 7 of the 10 lines that I showed them and placed a HUGE order with us.  We are working our collective butts off  (with the help of my daughter/assistant Haley, good friends I.V. and Tamara and a few other helpful gals and guys) we're on schedule to get the order out to them by the end of this month just in time for me to introduce all of the goodies at Bernina University the first week of July in Washington D.C!

So, I've tooted my horn and now I need to get out an email then get to bed.  Tomorrow is another day - it will be filled with a much needed visit to the Denver Art Museum with my artsy friends, an afternoon of packing hand dyed bone beads and an evening teaching color & design.  Life is good, LIFE IS GOOD!

Till next time,

Monday, January 23, 2012

More Explorations with my Stamps - Pretty Bird

Good Morning All,

Just so you all don't get the idea that I do nothing but machine quilt, here is a small quilt that I recently made all by hand!

I've kitted the whole thing up and am calling it Pretty Bird. It features one of my two bird stamps. I printed the stems and leaves first in a dark green, then added the bird in blue with violet highlights. Then I added the flowers. It is all stamped on a piece of shot cotton by Kaffe Fasset.

Next I used some Misty Fuse to stick a layer of Hobbs Thermore batting to the backside to give the fabric stability and I hand stitched and embroidered. All of the shapes are outlined with a backstitch and details were added to the bird, flowers and leaves. Then, I added curly-q's in some of the negative space.

Once all of the decorative stitching was done, I added a backing. For that, I just cut a piece of fabric the same size as the top and turned the edges under then I top stitched it to the quilt top. I went back and did a blanket stitch all the way around to cover the machine stitch then frayed the edges of the quilt top.

I just love the results and it was great fun to hand stitch.

Till next time,

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Good Morning All,

Ain't change a kick in the head?

I've just returned from a teaching and vending at a gig in Oklahoma City and I'm preparing for the grand opening of the Golden Fiber Arts Studio this weekend. I had a ball in OKC! It was the last time I'll travel with the lovely Judy. She has taken on a new full time job back in the real estate industry and I'm extremely sad to see her go. However, my great friend I.V. went to the show with us to see how she liked vending and she has decided to help me out with some of the upcoming shows I have scheduled. My younger daughter, Haley, will be taking over scheduling for me and I'll continue to dye fabric etc. on my own (with a little help from some very willing friends!).

This quilt, which I call " Here & There" is the first in a new series of Images & Pieces designs that I'm creating using simple pieced blocks in conjunction with some of my stamped designs. I'm having so much fun coming up with different ways to use the stamps. It's fun to quilt the quilts too. This one is quilted every 1/4" with a tiny stipple around the flowers and straight lines that echo the accent strip in the pieced block. You may be able to see the quilting if you click on the photo to see it larger.

I have shown you all some great quilting designs here on my blog, but sometimes, the best quilting for a quilt is the simplest. Remember, when you're choosing designs for machine quilting that if the colors and piecing of the quilt top are interesting on their own make sure that the quilting does not compete with them. However, if the top lacks interest, then you can add more decorative quilting. The quilting should always augment/support the piecing, not compete with it as a focal point.

Hope you're having a fabulous day,

Till next time,