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My woodland home

June 14, 2014

Wow, it has been  a year and a half since I’ve been here! I did finish that 365 days of creativity, truth be told, I pretty much made it a part of my life. I can’t say that I challenge myself to do something new and different every day, but I honestly don’t think I have spent a single day  without doing some creative thing.  I did move into a new home, so I have a bit of an excuse for my absence. Then again, I realize I should be sharing this wonderful new spot that I inhabit. It’s just a small townhouse, but check out the backyard view.100_0243bSo you can see why I may be a little distracted. Who wants to be on a computer when you can be gazing at this?

taken from the back porch

taken from the back porch

Quilts for Charities

November 4, 2012
pink and green baby quilt

Quilt for NY state troopers to have when they work with small children. The pink and green blocks were won from my quilt guild.

blue baby quilt

Since the other one was so obviously a girl quilt, I had to make a boy’s one too.

My October challenge was to make charity projects. I already showed you the hats I made. Here are the quilts I’ve been working on.

These were both machine quilted, a big challenge for me.

ronald macdonald house quilt

This is for our local Ronald MacDonald House. If you look closely, you can see two blocks that are part of an opposite pair. The quilt is a matching game too.

I’m working on hand quilting this one. An advantage of hand quilting is that I can use a separate motif for each small square and not worry about continuous line designs.

Finally, I have one for a local nursing home, ready to be quilted. I’ll be busy for a while.

So here I am in November and ready for a bigger challenge.  I decided that it’s time I conquer my fear of orange. It’s a color I only tackle when I use every other color in a quilt or in an autumn quilt.  Not any more, orange and I are going to get acquainted this month. I plan to make a sampler quilt using mainly orange.  Wish me luck!

Forgotten September

October 19, 2012

I seem to have lost September and part of October. It’s not that I haven’t worked on my 365 Day challenge. I just have not found the time to document it until now. I chose animals as my theme for September and it was a fun one that I will definitely expand on. In the first couple of weeks I was finishing a quilt for my son’s wedding and it did have a bear, loons, deer, wolves and moose, so it fit right in.

wedding quilt for Bryan and Heather

I spent a good portion of the month looking for inspiration and patterns. I found it in some usual and some slightly less usual places. I collected some coloring books and books about drawing to help with my design process. I have children’s books to use too. I have found some wonderful animal ideas in very old crafting books that I’ve collected along the way. That is where these basic little gingham toys came from. I love gingham.

I found a wonderful book of knitted toys called “Animal Friends, Two by Two” by Jeanne Stauffer and Diane Schmidt.
It has an afghan and small animals to go with it. The animals are just the right size and cuddlesomeness. Very precious little toys.

These are some of the animals that came from it. The blue dog and pink pig were not in the book. I designed those myself using the patterns in the book for a base.

knitted toy animals

So now it’s already October and I’m working on some charity projects. My quilt guild makes preemie hats to warm the wee noggins at our local hospital. I’ve been working on those. We are also making some lap quilts for our local Ronald MacDonald House. I’m loving working with all of my bright fabrics.

tiny knit hats for charity

Art Happens

September 3, 2012

I read a quote today by James Abbot McNeill Whistler. (yes, he’s the one with the famous mother, I checked)
“Art happens-no hovel is safe from it, no prince can depend on it, the vastest intelligence cannot bring it about”
The quote made me think of a trip to Alaska several years ago. We were in Anchorage at the Alaskan Native Heritage Center. Wandering through the exhibits, I was struck by two things. First the harsh world that these people lived in. Crops were almost non existent, wood was scarce. They used tiny little boats to go out and hunt gigantic dangerous sea animals to eke out a life for their families. Their homes were often dug into the side of hills for lack of any other material. Yet, somehow between the summer days of hunting and the long, dark cold winters, they found a place and time for the most beautiful art. They created giant totems and delicately carved animals, beaded and feathered art, bowls and music and graceful dances. Art cannot be kept at bay, it simply is and always has been part of who We are. You can see it in ancient culltures, even before “civilization” in cave drawings and piles of stones set just so. in the quilts made by pioneer women as they wound their way across the country in bumpy wagons. Every scrap of fabric was saved, to be resurrected as a piece of art. In the simplest, most difficult times, and in times of ease and plenty,  humans will create art, because we must.

Drawing animals and whimsy

August 30, 2012

I haven’t forgotten my drawing. I just haven’t taken the time to photograph it. In the spirit of absolute honesty, I haven’t drawn every day, but I probably have a drawing for every day in the month. One thing this whole 365 Day Challengeis teaching me is a profound respect for other artisans.  I like to watch artists on TV who use pencils and paint and paper and canvas for their tools, and it seems so simple. Just jot down a few lines and there you have a squirrel or a car or a tree. Add a little shading, mix up the colors and it’s a whole landscape. Not so much for us amateurs. Our lines turn into scribbles, maybe a troll or a rock looking sort of thing. But I remind myself that this whole challenge was never really about the quality of the work. It has always been about the fun and the chance to explore different crafts, and I simply enjoy sitting down with a pencil and paper and drawing what comes to my mind. It very rarely looks like what I imagine, but sometimes I can at least recognize it! An improvement from my early days. Here are some of my drawings. I think I’ll stick to  my needle and thread. As a matter of fact, I can see some of these being turned into fabric art. Somehow I can make fabric bend to my will better than a pencil.

Believe it or not, that is an owl at the bottom.

a year’s worth of doodles

inspired by the flowers on my table

this has got to be part of a funky quilt some day soon

under the sea

a slightly misshapen sprite, love the face though

OK, he really is supposed to be a troll

A Month of Drawing Fun

August 13, 2012

I’ve spent a little time every day drawing and here is what I’ve come up with. Much of it is just practice in shading and shape. The flowers at the end were done on large paper and will be applique patterns for a line of shower curtains that I’m working on. Even my drawing leads me back to my needle and thread.

The birds seem to enjoy swinging on the reeds behind our fence. They certainly make a joyous noise back there.

pattern doodles, notice the corner, the dog really did eat my homework.

Watching men’s gymnastics. Notice I didn’t even try the face, that’s for a longer session.

We went for a late night drive and there he was up in the sky, laughing at us.




little gem poppy

morning glory

morning glory

whimsical flowers

August 4, 2012

The last week of July was a busy one and I didn’t even keep track of which day I made what flower, but here they are.

beads and wire wrapping

quilling, sounds like quilting so it’s bound to be fun

buttons on denim

irish crochet roses

small beaded banner using pony beads-I did this without a pattern. Next time I’ll definitely make up a pattern ahead of time.

These frilly crocheted flowers in orange and burgundy are going to be part of a beautiful  scarf some day soon.

One day I just spent planning to make this plain old cupboard into an island in my kitchen

July left me with a host of ideas to work on, purses, flower pot magnets, a scarf, earrings, cards, wall hangings, a shower curtain.I discovered that needle and thread are my favorite media to work with.

So next comes August. After a couple of days of thinking about it I’ve decided to explore pencil drawing . It’s not something I do very often, or very well for that matter, but I enjoy it and it sparks my imagination. I can’t wait to see what I come up with.