Saturday, November 28, 2020

sewing Saturday


Welcome to this week's sewing round up! I make art quilts, even if I'm using traditional patterns like log cabins my intention is to make something that expresses my spirit, that is individual to me, and that looks at design in my own way. 

Rainbow scrap challenge this month is to use our neutral light scraps and I continued with a few blocks.

I spent the first part of the week finishing up some more light neutral log cabin blocks. I do these in a very improvisational way,  starting with any shape or size center in the color of the month, and doing two rounds, then the next two are white/cream/almost solid light fabrics.

and I want the strips to be different lengths and maybe uneven in width, I don't care if they are frayed, I place the right sides together and sew. As long as the long straight seam allows them to lay flat when pressed, it adds to the surprise in the block. I make them til they are about the same size. 

To work this way you have to release your critic, you have to find joy in the unexpected, and believe it will all work out in the end. And it does. Sometimes I need to trim a bit off one to make them go together, or add a little to another. 

Nature is ordered in a random way and so are these blocks.

I also auditioned fabrics for the geese quilt

I don't have many gray fabrics, and really liked the medium blue-gray of the design wall with them. I pulled out what I have, and pinned it up on the wall to be able to get a feel of how it will work pieced in. 

I turned one piece to the back, I rejected many for being too light, too dark, too patterned, wrong tone but in true Murphy's law, the ones that work the best I have the least of!!

It occurred to me, if the block is called flying geese, then I could add in some feathers and birds... heh heh what fun! I think I'll figure out how much and where to put it in.

I painted this week, the pictures were on yesterday's post ( HERE )but I wanted to mention to the quilters out there how I used these sheets in the printer...

and a digital picture of my own painting 

to print some fabric for a small art work.

It is printed twice, once in black and white because an update to my computer unhinged the printer and it refused to print in color. DH had to uninstall the printer, and reinstall the printer and we found out this happens with windows updates.
 Technology... a double edged sword
so I realized I love printing my paintings on fabric, and should pursue printing them larger with spoonflower or another company . For now I am enjoying doing mantel art on peltex so I'll do that. Later. 
I am continuing to hand sew these star blocks from Deb. She found the design in an old 80's book and redrafted it, changing color placement to make it her own. She is doing it in multi colors each time, I chose to focus on one color a month. I needed some bright color so I made a dark green one, this orange one, and cut out a lime green one organized and ready for nightime sewing.
Now I am moving on to Christmas... I have some UFO's to finish and want to make little felted sweaters for this year's tree. I also plan to make another stairwell banner in Christmas scrap fabrics with some cool old patterns I saved from magazines. 
It's about to get colorful in here again, the neutrals can wait for January!


design wall Mondays at smallquiltsanddollquilts

oh Scrap Sundays 

 scrap happy Saturdays 

Friday, November 27, 2020

watching paint dry


It's been a while since I took out my watercolor paints and paper.

My friend Sonja in Hawaii sent me this enticing video, which caused me to want to paint again

So there was no pressure, I tore up one sheet of watercolor paper, got out two paint sets, a big fluffy #8 round brush, water and a paper towel. 

I apparently forgot my patience because you need to let the first pale petals dry before painting over them, so I got more blending than I like. 

I was very critical of them, until the next day. Then I took some pics and cropped them... I am always surprised at the value of cropping. Changing the visual focus in a picture, changes the amount of negative space, and moves the focus to one part of an image. 

for my quilt making friends, it's a difference between appliqueing a whole flower, or engaging the borders which allows the viewer to complete the picture in their minds. 

Imagine painting/appliqueing a woman holding a flower in her hand, complete and near the center of the quilt. Then imagine moving the focus to just a portion of her arm, her hand and the flower. 

the viewer now wonders who is holding that flower, maybe imagining herself holding it. Making an instant story in their mind's eye. They now become part of the experience. 

In a painting like quilted art, the border becomes integral. Ask yourself if you want to contain your painting or if it's better when there is no "fence" or finish, or separation from the viewer. Many quilters now do not add a binding, which is a final covering of the edge of a quilt. They pull the scene to the back of the piece so the viewer sees the cropped image continuing on. 

After cropping these in photo form, I decided to do a cross over art project, by printing the photo of my painting onto fabric

we found out the latest computer update messed up the printer causing it to print in black and white. We learned after updates to windows one needs to uninstall the printer, and re install it. Grrrrrrr. 

I use these sheets of fabric, with a coating on them to make permanent the printed image. They have paper on the reverse side to allow the fabric to go easily through the printer. (Amazon) 

I think the color came out beautifully on the color print, and after recovering from my hissy fit at "wasting" a sheet of fabric on the black and white... decided it may be an interesting quilted art piece...

the color was very saturated so the image is dark but... you still get an exciting effect. Lights and darks even in a black and white image... I thought how will it look when sewn into other fabrics

 this fabric scrap was on the design wall to be pieced into the flying geese in progress.

auditioning possible fabric choices to complete the design

Very pretty.... and interesting. Will I keep the white border? 

Linking with

Thursday, November 26, 2020

I Like Thursday # 221 especially Thanksgiving Thursday

yep! almost melted already!
Welcome to this week's list of likes...

we like snow around here
, as it's been dry. We woke on Tuesday to about 4-5" but it was a wet snow and started melting with the sun's appearance. I didn't get a pic til 3PM but Milo the model, said it's still high on his boots and hiding the toys. 

Fine Dining

When I cook, I think of what flavors will go together. Last week we made a "greek" flavored dish. 

Olive oil, lemon juice, white wine, minced garlic, chicken breasts, Oregano and thyme, artichoke halves, mushrooms, and sliced lemons on top simmered together. Add cooked orzo til it melds. Serve with a cooked green vegetable

so good. Good the next day too, with a side of asparagus. 
 while we're at it, I am having trouble finding mayo without soy. Soy causes me so much trouble. I found some at Stonewall kitchen. While there I also ordered some other things like this wonderful condiment, mayup... good as dipping sauce or on sandwiches.

I made a wonderful pecan pie without corn syrup by substituting maple syrup for our little special dinner... 

watching someone else cook

I fell in Love with this man cooking Italian food, and he makes me think I can do it too!!!
thank you to my friend Sonja in HI for telling me about him!

To Do list

decorate the house for Christmas 

Painting then Sewing

Sonja enticed me to try a new technique she enjoyed seeing on youtube... she got me to paint again, making 4 small works. 

I printed one cropped image onto printable fabric, in black and white and in color and hope to make two art works from that soon

story tomorrow on paint party Friday

printed onto fabric
I like hand sewing and preparing hand sewing for TV time in evenings


same books as last week



"Wine Country" with about 10 of the funniest ladies in entertainment at the moment, a friend group celebrates a  birthday with a trip... hilarity ensues. It made me so happy and long for my own friend group that I may have to watch again. (netflix)


new to us is The South Westerlies a fun show featuring a woman and her son in England undercover for work, with lots of characters and lovely scenery. Very engaging but a typical short-ish Brit tv season (netflix) 

The Great British baking show is still dropping an episode a week, we're on the last episode of The Crown last season but the new season is now showing, Secrets of the Castle (youtube) a series exploring how a 14th century castle was built, by three current anthropologists using historic techniques. As always I watch 90 day fiance (TLC) (glad I'm not them) and real housewives of Potomac, Salt lake city, and Atlanta, Southern Charm (Bravo) is back about people in Charleston, Amazing Race (CBS) Finding your Roots (PBS) A million little things (ABC) is back

I love this song by Bing Crosby "I'VE GOT PLENTY TO BE THANKFUL  FOR"


keep up with friends by FT and zoom.... I mentioned to dh that the signal in my studio was weak for that and he researched solutions and ordered something to correct it. I need to feel connected to friends

I zoomed with Mary on Tuesday and had not one moment's reception problems so I think zoom has failed in the past because of so many students on it. What fun to see my long time friend, tour her work in progress, talk art +dogs+entertainment+life. I had a wonderful long conversation with Diane in Texas and Cindy in SC last week.

Milo's Moments

yep, melting and sticky

Milo: Hi ya! I'm baaaack! I like snow and playing in it but not having to goinnakennel when I come inside

Mama: well you have to thaw out before running all over the house!

Milo: what's a little snow in the house? So I wanted to tell you guys that I like Mama and like keeping a keen poodle eye on her so when she disappears into the house I go looking for her. 

This week I found her in the little room we take baths in but... and it's a big problem, the door was closed. 

closed. that's right, shut. I pushed and pushed with my rock head and hear Mama say my name but the door was still shut. Do you understand??? Something kept me from getting to the Mama! Why anything could happen to her in there and I'd be out here and not in there. 

Mama: honey, there is no way out, relax I'll be out in a moment.

Milo: sheesh! Some mamas.... she did it again this week, this time disappearing into the studio and the door was shut again! I mean what is going on around here? I bashed and bashed it til I got that one open and trotted right in to see what was going on in there. Know what? she was sewing. I mean who needs privacy from your bodyguard just to sew? 

Mama: I didn't try to keep you out, the door just shut.

Milo: well you should be more careful. 

now sit! stay! visit with mama's friends who have lists of likes too. And happy turkey day y'all. And be grateful if you have a cat or dog to look out for you. You're welcome.    


rosie and the boys nature pics 

  friday smiles at a stitch in time

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

T is for chooseday the importance of space and thoughts on word of the year


this measuring spoon says a "smidgen"

this week I read a post on someone's word of the year and I remembered it's time to choose mine. 

Oh, none chosen yet... and last year's word fell apart for the first time since I started doing this years ago. I found out how important these words are, how much I learned each year by leaving myself open to the experience. 

I also discovered that I seldom learned or experienced what I thought I would. 

Back to my online friend's word... empty.( read her post here ) On first thought you might wonder why someone wants to explore emptiness. 

I told her, "this sounds like a Buddhist way of being to me, peaceful, empty, making room for the daily blessings"... adding....

"If a room is empty, any ornament becomes the focus "

Then I stopped to read what I'd written and realized how important this is.

Imagine being able to live with a bit of room, of letting go of some preordained concepts that do not fit, of making emotional space for new experiences, of making room for new friends, of clearing away things you no longer need making room for that which you now need. 

Anyway, she made me think and that is a good thing. I will be thinking about my word for the year. Last year I chose a phrase:

"open the door" and thought I would open myself to new things, experiences, places and people. Then the virus struck and it was not safe to open any doors. I began to hear people who live  around me saying idiotic things, dangerous things, hateful things because they believed the rhetoric of one man instead of looking for facts. They listened when he told them I was their enemy instead of being just another citizen with a different point of view.

I became increasingly isolated and depressed. 

When you choose a word, mostly you will learn sideways. I learned how others 'close their doors', I learned when to open my own and when I felt safer closing it. I learned why some people are closed off, and it had something to do with perceived safety. I learned a lot this year, from my phrase. 

We are approaching a time when we can make a fresh start. I hope others will empty themselves of preconceptions and old beliefs that are not based in facts, me too. I hope that word presents itself over the next month so I can start anew too. 

 For my friends at T is for Tuesday, where we talk about our creative lives and show what we're drinking  my  photo of assorted drinks in the fridge. 

new little beaded coasters

Creatively I am trying to be in the moment and notice what is around me. Colors, lines, repetition, balance. Nature is a great artist if we slow down to see. I used to have a great quote on my studio wall in Maryland, and cannot find it now, but it said something like

The artist paints mainly what she sees, but what she sees is what she looks for

I love color, saturated color and took on the challenge to use light neutrals as my focus this month. 

one block on top of another changes both of them

At first I balked... no way! I don't see the value in that! It's not exciting or colorful! Bah! Then..... I opened my mind to what neutrals were, and discovered a calmness and gentleness in using low contrast. I used enough contrast to see the lines of my art, and yet allowed my mind to make order of the lines. It's like a conversation where the viewer makes up their own minds about what is there. 

To come full circle it's like making space, like becoming empty so that we can start anew. 

Monday, November 23, 2020

don't we need a laugh


poodles and babies... win win

Notice the babies are from around the world, which means poodles are doing their best to comfort and entertain people all over the globe. Note baby laughter sounds the same all over the world. 

Babies of all colored skintones. The same. Babies grow up into adults of all skintones. Humans all of us. 

I'm tired of false divisions, tribes and teams. I dream of a time when all life is respected, all ages, all colors, all ways to God, all the differences  that could divide us but won't. What a time of growth and happiness that will be. I'll just focus on that and keep my prayers going for acceptance & peace. 

join me? 

mama picks out my clothes

 Linking with Awe Mondays

Sunday, November 22, 2020

sunday questions


Some Halloween questions from Huffington Post.

1. What did you do for Thanksgiving when you were a kid?
A: I remember many construction paper turkeys colored in elementary school...
 I remember sitting at the kids table until the magical year I was invited to the adult table, with the pretty dishes, and lots of interesting adult talk. I knew the quieter I was the more I could hear. I used to adore the spiced peaches we had on the table only at Thanksgiving. 

2 .What’s your favorite family tradition?
A: years ago it was a card game that we'd play each time we got together. 

3. What’s your favorite way to give back and help others?
A: I try to do small unexpected favors, hold open a door, let other cars into my lane, little things that might make the world spin smoother. One night we were dawdling after dinner in Little Italy Baltimore, walking back to the car and saw a woman struggling with groceries into her house. We stopped and asked if we might help, she gladly accepted this small kindness from strangers. We all felt connected. 
It is my belief that we can all give back, or pay if forward and that helps all of us.
I have the most trouble with injustice and intolerance. We donate money to agencies that work against that. 

4. Name one person who can make you laugh, even months later. Why?
5. What is the funniest thing you remember about a Thanksgiving past?

6. Do you have any unusual traditions, rituals or habits around Thanksgiving?
A: no

7. What time do you eat your Thanksgiving meal?
A: no certain time but  when it's just we three, late afternoon

8. Name one ancestor that you think about on Thanksgiving and tell us why.
A: my birth parents.. I wish I could find them

9. Is there a family heirloom at the Thanksgiving table? What its story?
A: growing up we always used the Desert Rose dishware that I loved. We had a lot of it with special pieces that came out twice a year. I was supposed to inherit that but didn't get it. I'd love to one day finally have a set of it.

10. What is your favorite part about Thanksgiving Day?
A: I really like the Macy's parade on tv.... I used to love having lots of people over for dinner. In Annapolis we would walk around old town after dark, when it was quiet and sparkly. I like that it starts the Christmas season, the tree goes up, pretty decorations go out, and movies started being shown on tv.
 I love that no matter what your religious beliefs you can celebrate thanksgiving by remembering what you're grateful for.

11. What is something that was done for you this year that makes you grateful this Thanksgiving?
A: dh worked hard to find a job in the company he could do remotely to lower our risks. I was given the gift of friendship by a lovely woman who meets with me every week on zoom, it made me feel connected. I am thankful for each friend who sees me with grace, loving me even if I'm fearful, and laughing with me at life.

12. What foods do you usually have for Thanksgiving?
I always make a zucchini casserole with parm cheese, we have ambrosia made with navel orange sections, red grapefruit sections, fresh pineapple, coconut, bananas and cherries. I make cranberry sauce with orange peel, raspberry vinegar and cinnamon sticks every year (old recipe from Martha Stewart) sweet potatoes roasted to caramelize them mixed with maple syrup and pecan pie (no corn syrup I use maple syrup in it) of course turkey, dressing (stuffing made outside the bird) and mashed potatoes. No turkey this year as whole foods is out of frozen breasts and they deliver food thawed all the time so we don't trust them with fresh poultry. 

13. How has the celebration of Thanksgiving today changed from when you were little?
A: it seems like it has become about shopping. It was the visiting holiday when I was little... the time when all the family gathered, with friends too, to sit around a table of plenty and talk into the evening, telling stories we knew but enjoyed anyway. Then we could watch the Wizard of Oz on once a year

14. If you could share Thanksgiving dinner today with one person in history who would it be? Why? (Note: it can be a relative)
A: John Adams.. I'd love to know what he wanted for our country, and what he thinks of the current situation of power imbalance, and where one man has sown the seeds of distrust dividing the nation.

15. What is one wish you have for the next generation as they begin to establish their own Thanksgiving traditions
A: you create the meaning of holidays.... you make it special and you set the traditions 
start now including others not just family, in your celebrations. There are so many people like us with no family or place to belong, and we would love to be invited (not during the quarantine year sadly) to share a time of belonging with others.

 come see the others answering these questions at SundayStealing and I'd love to hear one of your stories or traditions too!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Sewing Saturday exploring light neutrals

It's been a busy sewing week here

the color of the month at the rainbow scrap challenge is light neutrals, and I made a number of foundation pieced geese to explore the concept. I say concept because as Joanne reminded me, lime green is my usual neutral!

I pulled fabric scraps from four bins... white/beige, white with busy patterns, and brown (for light tan) and gray

while I'm sewing it gets very messy
but it starts out sorted

The concept of doing blocks with neutrals made me pause. How will I get strong graphic lines with lower contrast since I use neutral grounds in all my colored blocks for the year?

 What is neutral?  (when I said that out loud, DH said, LIGHT neutral....)

while watching Milo playing out back, I looked down to the stones around the patio and thought, these are all light neutral. And beautiful in their mix of color. What makes them so pretty however is the shadow line around each stone, dark black, that gives them shape to our eyes. 

I like contrast generally, and like to make sure anything I paint or sew has a mix of light to very dark tones. 

Neutral is not a color, so while I initially thought beige, that's just a light version of brown. Then there's gray (version of black) but it can have undertones of blue or brown. Few people would see pink as neutral even though it's a light version of red... and can easily be used as a neutral background to strong colors forming the block image. 

free pattern from createwhimsy

I also tried this pattern.... first trying it here with two fabrics fused together, edges sewn with zigzag, then beaded... it is flimsy but cute as a pin cushion.

  Then I fused two fabrics to peltex and zigzagged along the top edge, sewed the petals together to form a dish.

which had more substance. I loved doing the buttonhole stitch with beads by hand along the tops of the petals, going down the sides of the peltex version. I noticed my glass fit perfectly in the first one! 

Back to the study of neutrals I worked on regular flying geese blocks, a big variety in size and shape, printed from SewPrecise software in different widths and lengths, mixing browns and grays against really light whites

see my finger near bottom, to show how small some blocks are

I am listening to Origin by Dan Brown being read to me on audio library book while working this week

I also made some improv log cabin blocks, and found it hard to see the contrast up close but when the block was larger, the design showed up nicely! I have stored these busy prints on light backgrounds for a long time, unsure how to use them. This works well if you only use really light tone on tone fabrics to contrast.

I was shocked at how much I like this look!!!

especially these geese. I think I might piece in a light light really neutral background between these blocks, keeping them in this orientation while making a rectangular quilt. 

Who knew the queen of contrast would enjoy seeing the lines emerge in neutral colors?!!

I heard from a friend this week, that her parents came down with covid but next to no symptoms. Her father died 3 days from finding out, the mother still has little sense of smell and depression after 7 months. I had meningitis and lost the ability to sleep soundly as well as now have dyslexia with numbers. Stop playing around with this. You can help the world by keeping your distance and wearing masks to slow the spread until a vaccine is developed. Then get it.

Linking to

oh Scrap Sundays 
 slow stitching Sundays

design wall Mondays at smallquiltsanddollquilts

Thursday, November 19, 2020

I Like Thursday #220

I like cows and poodles (and pink)

Welcome to this week's list of likes! Lets get the party started
I had some mighty fun conversations with friends this week, from zooming with my art quilt group , and Joy, to talking with Lane from Tampa, Cindy in SC, Bonnie in Maryland, Rose and Mary in Colorado, and Suze in Florida. Also I heard that one of our I Like friends is recovering. Thanks y'all I needed that!  

This free pattern from  createwhimsy makes a little dish, to be a pin cushion or coaster

fine dining

I'm tired of my own cooking. This may look like a hot mess but it's a chicken parmesan sandwich for lunch one day.... leftover chicken strips, pasta sauce, melted cheese, on a bun with blue cheese dressing instead of butter. 
cabinet doors can hold your recipes
 I tried a new cookie recipe for chocolate banana oatmeal cookies... OMG so good! Because cookies get hard here in high atmosphere, I added in about a quarter cup of milk. 
recipe LINK
 Of course they got hard by the next day so I put a damp paper towel in the tupperwear container and they are back to chewy. We feel it's justified to have them for breakfast as they are just basically cereal with bananas and oatmeal, right?


so many shows returning... This is Us, The good doctor, Amazing Race, Dancing with the stars, Great British Baking show drops an episode once a week, last series of Escape to the Chateau, Real housewives of Salt Lake City... heh heh guilty pleasure... I lived in SLC for several months with my sister while I got a Canadian work visa. Pretty town. 


back to this book, finally available for me to finish.... 


but one I waited months for came in just before it, so a "sophie's choice" had to be made... finishing the meet your baker, then reading what I can of this one and back on the holds queue... oy vey


LOVE this series about a librarian in VA. Love the characters and style

listening to this terrific book in studio


So engrossing... mixing the ideas of science (I love science and facts) and theology into a mystery 


 I fell in love with these videos and there are many of them... the man makes the most intriguing baskets with bamboo and then shows us how to cook a meal... all with lovely music. It's kind of mesmerizing and peaceful

 cute quick Christmas decorations to make

1700 people are DYING, a day in America from covid. It is real. Put on a mask, do not mingle with other people (just this week I heard from a friend she is positive for covid with no symptoms at the moment) and wait for a vaccine. When it's developed get one, because it's okay to help other people. That's not been promoted for the last 4 years but it is true. 

It's okay to do something for others, and while you're at it, thank God if you're healthy at the moment. 

Let it be...

 Milo's Moments

so windy I almost lost an ear!

I am doing my best to keep Mama on an even keel... she seems on edge but I do funny things to make her laugh... like when I come in from a walk I immediately look for her. When I have to look upstairs, and find her I leap in the air and land in front of her laughing. 

She always says good boy! and pets me and hugs me which I like a lot. 

At night I bring toys specially picked for her out of my toy box.... just to tease her and help her get exercise by chasing me around the table.... 

Last night I surprised her by getting into my jim-jams and falling asleep on her side of the big bed!!! 

Mama: yes... that was a surprise! I had a hard time getting you to move over so I could squeeze in!

Milo: yup I'm sure a good little sleeper... once I am out, I don't like to wake up til it's time to get Daddy out of bed. I do that by pushing on him harder and harder til he has to get up or fall on the floor!

Daddy: yesssss, thanks for that Milo

Milo: It's work taking care of you two but I love you! It's not really hard work when you love someone

my friend Bonnie from MD sent this to Milo this week


Milo: I hear you sister Hound.... I get it... RIP! 

Now please visit these people keeping lists of their own this week

A new person this week, KnitbyGod'shand  has a wonderful list to share at: 

I liked her recent post full of books and shows to watch here: