Saturday, September 5, 2009


“Home is the place where it feels right to walk around without shoes”

My local quilt guild, Log cabin Quilters, had a quilt challenge a couple of years ago- "What Michigan Means to Me" Above is my entry which is made of felted wool, machine embroidery, beads, sequins, and glitter (love, love glitter!). It has a diameter of approximately 54".

Above is an antique Ford truck. Growing up, when we would visit my Uncle Al's family (my mom's brother), he typically had one of these trucks in his garage that he was refurbishing. His trucks were often purple- very, very cool looking! In honor of this memory, I embroidered 'Uncle Al's Service' on the side of the door.

I grew up on the east side of Grand Rapids, behind our home there were a small secluded lake, Hidden Lake. My brothers, sisters, and I would spend hours playing by the lake and the adjoining woods. Priceless memories!

The waves have glitter on them (Did I tell you I love glitter?). The three fish are sequined and beaded and hang off the bough.

Michigan is known for its wonderful cherries. So, of course this quilt needed a cherry tree with my husband's and my initials carved on it! The tree also has our state bird, a robin, perched on a branch.

The cherries are small felted wool balls with red wire spirals attached. The leaves have glitter on them (Are you seeing a theme here?)

One of the best places to vacation in the entire world is Mackinac Island. When my husband and I first married, each June we would attend the Lilac Festival on the island and participate in the 8-mile walk around the circumference of the island. The Mackinac Bridge is the largest suspension bridge in the world that connects lower and upper Michigan.

Another wonderful Michigan festival is the Tulip Festival in Holland, MI. Each spring, the city is adorned with blooming tulips everywhere! The Klompen dancers dressed in traditional Dutch dress washing the streets adds to joy of the feastival. When I was in high school, I would go to the festival with one of my good friends. I cherish thr pictures to this day....

The last part of the quilt that I will share (though there skiing and lighthouse scenes also) is of home. The quote that is embroidered around it says, "Home is where the heart is and Michigan is our home" Need I say more?

Have you ever participated in a challenge? What do you create?

Friday, September 4, 2009


"May there always be work for your hands to do, may your purse always hold a coin or two. May the sun always shine on your windowpane, may a rainbow be certain to follow each rain. May the hand of a friend always be near you, may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you."
- Irish Blessing

As I began to learn applique, I attended our Guild's weekly small group that focused on applique. At some point, the group decided to do a Friendship Quilt exchange...I was ecstatic! I always wanted to be part of an exchange- hip, hip, hurray!

The exchange lasted for 12 months. There were 10 members; some of the 10 members traded with everyone each month, others only traded with part of the group each month. At the end of the trade, I created two lap-sized quilts; one has blocks from January to June and the other is July to December. I will always treasure the memories affiliated with these quilts.

Below are sections of the quilts closer up:

Below are some of my favorite blocks that I made. It is interesting that this was part of the Applique Group exchange and most of mine are paper-pieced. I LOVE paper-piecing! Do you like to paper-piece?

Have you ever been in a Friendship Quilt exchange? Did you enjoy it? Did you finish the quilt?

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Road to Happiness

The road to happiness lies in two simple principles: find what it is that interests you and that you can do well, and when you find it put your whole soul into it - every bit of energy and ambition and natural ability you have.

John D. Rockefeller III

I am lucky that I have found my passion...many people go through their entire life without realizing their passion. My passion involves anything that requires me to use a needle with thread or a paint brush on any type of fabric.

The photo above is is a quilt that I have been working on for a few years (as is with most of my projects!). I decided I wanted to learn how to applique, so I picked this quilt- probably not the best choice for my initial endeavor. It is interesting to now see my journey through my stitches. The first few blocks look pretty sloppy and as I finished, I was in a good rhythm (but with still much to learn).

The quilt was quilted by my good friend, Pam Huggins. Here is her website: I love the attention to detail she puts into each quilt.
The pattern for the quilt is from the book below:

Are you an appliquer? What is your favorite applique project that you are working on or have finished?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Creative Chick Studio- again

I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them. ~Pablo Picasso

Yesterday I talked about an on-line class that I took from Creative Chick Studio. Above is my favorite thing that I made in the workshop. I began by painting the leaves and stems on fabric. I made some fabric using my Embellisher machine by placing silks, roving, chiffon on top of felt and felting it all together. From this I cut out the red heart shaped flowers. From there I went mad with the embroidery! Edging everything, making a fun triangular chain stitch down the center of the leaves. Then came the white shadow stitches; as silly as it sounds, at first I wasn't quite sure how to go about it. I began going around and around the outside of the entire shape. There was a point when I really disliked the look, but I trudged on. Once completed, I love the movement the shadow stitching gives the piece. To finish the piece, I beaded both the circles on the leaves and the ones projecting out of the stems.

Usually I place all of my work from workshops I take in my portfolio, this one I am thinking about stretching on a canvas. What do you think?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Creative Chick Studio

Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study. Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life. ~Henry L. Doherty

I love taking on-line art classes, I believe I have become the Queen of on-line students! Earlier this summer I took on online workshop with Susan Sorell who owns the Creative Chick Studio. The course was six weeks long and called Fertile Earth. I have admired Susan's work from afar, and enjoyed taking a class with her.

The photo is an abstract Cole Slaw that I created in the class. It began by slicing a head of cabbage in half, painting it and using it as a beginning stencil for the work. Behind all of the bright colored "cabbage strips" is extensive embroidery with both a back-stitch and straight stitch.

I have just a rough finish on the edge, I believe I am just going to place this in my portfolio of things created for future reference.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Begin and the inspiration will find you...

For the last couple of years I have been considering writing a blog, but the negative little thoughts poke at me...
  • What will my blog focus on?
  • Will anyone read it?
  • If someone reads it, will they find it interesting?
  • Will I run out of things to write about?
  • Do I have the time?
  • Will I get bored?
Today is the day, that I have put the negative thoughts to the way, way back of my mind and begun the journey. After all, do I ever run out of things to talk about? I want to focus on the rapid and interesting changes in the world of sewing, mixed media, or whatever you call the work you do at your own studio. Vanishing muslin, Texture Magic, Tranfer Artist Paper, Shear Heven are some of the materials that I have been having fun playing with over the summer. To wrap up my first day, let me start where I began...the photo at the top is from a journal round robin that I did with Patti Culea's on-line group. The quote is one that I think of often..."Don't waste time waiting for an inspiration, begin and the inspiration will come to YOU!" May today be the first of many inspirations to come!