Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tree of Life

I love one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts and this is my favorite. I commissioned a dear friend to make it for my mother-in-law's Christmas gift.

As I understand wire-wrapping is an ancient art form that has been around for hundreds of years. Dolores does gorgeous work and I love this piece she made for me.

The large Swarovski stone is my mother-in-law's birthstone and the four surrounding smaller stones are her children's birthstone.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very blessed Christmas and a New Year filled with health and happiness. May God richly bless you and your family.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Rose Block

Each year I look forward to creating a block for our yearly breast cancer awareness wall hanging. We evolved from Victoria Adams Brown's Way to Women's Wellness Foundation and the infamous ArtBras. This will mark our fourth year and I'm so pleased to be a part of this small group of very talented and equally dedicated ladies.

At present we are a closed group since we can only accommodate a certain number of blocks. We do love to share our work, however, and you can see all the past and future blocks on our Flickr site.

Each year someone suggests a theme and a color choice. This year Jan suggested shades of pink and Victorian rose with our theme being roses. Of course I was thrilled with the flower choice - I do love to make roses!

Several days ago a design popped into my head and I couldn't rest until I gave it a try. I'm attaching several pictures. I've appliqued five base petals in different shades of pink onto the Victorian rose dupioni. These are embellished with silk ribbon embroidered roses. One petal has bullion roses done with Edmar threads.

The three top petals are embellished in the same way and attached to the base petals. It is my intention for those to remain upright and give dimension to the block. I've placed some trim in the center for this picture but will replace that with rolled roses along with some silk leaves.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fan Block Completed

In my last post I included a picture of my pieced fan block. Today I wanted to share pictures of the finished block. I used Carole Samples' new workbook entitled:
Fancy FANS Blocks

I've always loved her "needlework lace" and the workbook has more detailed instructions on how to accomplish this. The stitching is done with #12 Perle cotton in ecru. Miss Carole says it was her intention to mimic real lace trim when she designed her original fan quilt which is her trademark. She has definitely accomplished this with her beautiful stitching.

Part 3 of the workbook is entitled "Designing the Needlework Lace" and it gives you instructions on how to design your own lace. I am really pleased with my first attempt. Carole is an excellent instructor. I hope many of you will have the opportunity to take her class in the future.

If you would like a copy of the Workbook you might contact Valerie Bothell with the Pink Bunny.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Just one more on the Pink Bunny Retreat - Promise

Months ago when we first signed up for the three-day class with Miss Carole we remembered this wonderful pattern designed for her templates. It was one of those patterns you just have to have but put off making...well, we all got busy piecing and embellishing - all of us trying to finish by the deadline.

For those who were somewhat slower than the others we would intimidate them by asking that they please not embarrass us by taking their wonderful templates in a zip-lock bag. All six of us made a valiant effort to finish but only three finished in time.

I would brag by saying I finished first but I won't! The others benefited by my mistakes and their cases are gorgeous. Mine sits a little haphazard but I love it all the same. Mine is done in the brown and rust tones.

The finished case consists of two parts. One holds the templates and stands upright due to plastic inserts. This case folds and is stored in the matching box. The lime green and yellow tones belong to Lynnis.

This last one pieced in burgundy and olive tones was done by Jan. I've included a picture of the end of her template box so you will have a better idea of how the finished project looks.

I will look for my pattern later today and post who designed it. My mind fails me at the moment. It's a fabulous design - both decorative and functional.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Victorian Stitchery Retreat - Part II

I received a letter from Val Bothell with the Pink Bunny regarding next year's retreat in Wichita. It will be November 12, 13, & 14, 2009. Betty Pillsbury and Judith Baker Montano have agreed to return. She said Carole Samples wants to be a student next year but I vote for her teaching once again. She has so much to share with all the crazy quilt enthusiasts

Pictured on the right is Lake Jackson Crazy Quilt Bee member, Linda, along with Judith. We thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to shop and purchase some of the beautiful supplies.

Judith Baker Montano has a new book as well as a new CD on the market. I was excited when she drew my business card at the Houston International Quilt Market and I won a copy. It is a great addition to my stitching library and most of my Lake Jackson Bee bought a copy after seeing mine. The book is entitled: EMBROIDERY & CRAZY QUILT STITCH TOOL.

Jules bought a CD at the Wichita retreat and we decided to watch it one evening after class. It's a 3-hour tape and we sat spellbound during the entire CD. The next morning we went to Judith's class and the remainder of our group bought the CD. I've been crazy quilting for nine years and learned lots of new things. It's great! The CD is entitled JUDITH BAKER MONTANO TEACHES YOU CRAZY QUILTING.

I plan to do a review in CQMagOnline on both the book and the CD. The next issue will be in January. Be sure to check this issue for additional information.

Pictured above is one of Judith's projects she had on display in Wichita. She very kindly allowed me to photograph it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pink Bunny Retreat - Part 1

Val Bothell's Victorian Stitchery Retreat was fabulous and I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Wichita. It's great to be home but I always miss the fun times with all our wonderful crazy quilt friends.

I want to share a few pictures of our Saturday class with Carole Samples. It was such a pleasure to meet Carole - she is a lovely and gracious lady. She is pictured on the right holding her gorgeous fan quilt.

If you have worked with Carole's templates you know what a brilliant mind she has. We decided she must be an engineer to have worked out such a complex and intricate tool for making these perfect stitches.

On the left is a close-up photo of one of the fan blocks. Isn't the lace effect wonderful on the top of the fan blades? In class I completed the piecing of my fan and I'm ready to start working on the stitches I learned.

On the right is my pieced block. I decided to do it in the same peach fabrics as my quilt blocks. I knew I would want to include it in my final quilt assembly.

If you have thought about precision stitching I would recommend these wonderful templates, Carole's book (A Treasury of Crazy Quilt Stitches) and the laminated sheets available for doing a number of embroidery stitches. Contact The Pink Bunny to order.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pink Bunny Victorian Stitchery Retreat

I am currectly posting from the wonderful city of Wichita, Kansas. Six of our Lake Jackson CQ Bee are attending Val Bothell's Victorian Stitchery Retreat. Val has organized a fabulous retreat with Carole Samples, Judith Baker Montano and Betty Pillsbury teaching their individual areas of expertise.

Carole is challenging her class members to use her templates to create perfect stacked stitches. The templates are a great aid in creating the wonderful stitches featured in her book: Treasury of Crazy Quilt Stitches. We are having such a great time - wish all of you could join us!

Pictured here are six of our infamous Lake Jackson Crazy Quilt Bee. From left to right: Lynnis, Jan, Linda, Karen, myself and Jules. Perhaps you recognize the Piecemaker's Quilt we are holding - it is beyond beautiful!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Houston International Quilt Market & Festival

I always look forward to the month of October and the opportunity to represent CQMagOnline at the Quilt Market and Festival. Julie, who is a fellow staff writer and dear friend, attended as well and we spent four days taking classes and being introduced to all the latest tools and techniques in the quilting world.

When the Quilt Festival ends I always come away thinking it was the best year ever. This year was no exception! I look forward to sharing some of the things I learned through CQMagOnline as well as my blog.

In this post I want to share a product that Clover Needlecraft has. I was fascinated with this little tool and anxious to experiment. The instructions were written in Japanese but that was no deterrent when the end result would be a rose.

This rose maker comes in several sizes and I've used the large and small one. The pink rose is made with Hanah silk satin and the large one is made with a kimono silk I purchased at Festival last year. I'm a tool junkie so I thoroughly enjoyed making both of these roses.

This month is a busy one for me as well as exciting! Tomorrow I'm leaving for Wichita, Kansas with five other friends from my local crazy quilt bee. We will be taking classes from Carole Samples and learning all her wonderful techniques for embroidery. Her book: Treasury of Crazy Quilt Stitches is one of my favorite books and I look forward to taking this class.

I will share some of the things I learn in upcoming posts to my blog. I always enjoy meeting new friends and renewing old acquaintances so I'm excited about this trip. Being with four of my dearest friends is an added blessing.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Butterfly Project

I received this link from a friend and after reading it I knew I had to participate. The Butterfly Project is sponsored by the Holocaust Museum in Houston, Texas. In an effort to remember the 1,500,000 innocent children who died due to the Holocaust, the museum is collecting handmade butterflies.

When the museum opens in the Spring of 2012 it would like to have a handmade butterfly to represent every child who lost their life in this horrific event.

I plan to make a butterfly similar to the one I created for the 2007 ArtBra Ladies wall hanging. All the specifics regarding size and materials are listed on the website. I would invite you to join me in helping the museum reach its goal.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Another Handbag Creation

I always enjoy creating a new handbag and wanted to share one that I just completed. This pattern appealed to me because it was unique. It is from one of Komiko Sudo's books entitled: Folded Flowers: Fabric Origami With a Twist of Silk Ribbon. In her book it is not crazy quilted but a friend decided to crazy quilt one she made. It was gorgeous and I had to have one as well.

I've taken the pattern and enlarged it somewhat. Instead of carrying it as a wrist purse I wanted a shoulder bag. I've added extra length to the strap to achieve that purpose.

I searched the internet today for someone else who might have made this beautiful purse and found the following site. She has a picture of the original purse pattern and the purse she has completed. She has done a fantastic job.

I've used dupioni silk for the lining and added a pocket on each side. Only the bottom section is machine stitched. The upper portion including the straps are stitched by hand.

My son gave me a copy of Kumiko Sudo's book: Omiyage as a gift several years ago. She is a renowned fiber artist and has written numerous books. Her books offer many wonderful projects perfect for gift-giving. In fact, omiyage is the Japanese word for "gift."

Friday, October 3, 2008

Life on the Gulf Coast of Texas

Although I've lived in this area of Texas all my life I never look forward to hurricane season. Hurricane Carla hit 47 years ago doing major damage in our area. Since that time we've had the occasional tropical storm but nothing catastrophic.

It seems only yesterday that we were preparing for Hurricane Ike. It's been over three weeks and we are still dealing with some of the issues resulting from the storm and unpacking boxes we evacuated along with us.

Compared with many people in this area we were truly blessed. Our boat road out the storm amazingly well with absolutely no damage. We thank God for His blessings and pray for those less fortunate.

Here is a picture of one of the boats in the marina about 500 feet from ours. Tornadoes are responsible for much of the damage at the marina.

On a better note..
the staff of CQMagOnline is preparing articles for the October issue. I have a final article on the Ideas and Inspiration Challenge including many photos. This article is based on the fabulous work done by my local crazy quilt bee.

With the Christmas season fast approaching I've written an article on how to make a mother of pearl brooch. Start collecting your small buttons now.

The BOI (Block of the Issue) will be a block that I designed for the 2007 ArtBra Ladies wall hanging.

And last, but certainly not least, an article on Ginny Eckley and her silk screening process. Ginny is an extremely gifted artist and I thoroughly enjoyed her two-day class.

Some of the best and most talented are contributing articles for this upcoming issue. Mark your calendars for the end of October and be ready to be inspired.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sharing my Work and Wonderful Awards

I have several ongoing projects with deadlines fast approaching so I feel as though I succeeded in getting some necessary stitching accomplished this week. I took a few pictures that I'll share in this post.

Julie and I had an idea last year and began in earnest several months ago. One aspect included silk screening and we felt ready to tackle that part when we completed Ginny Eckley's wonderful class.

Another part included crazy quilting and embellishing a panel approximately 2 1/2 yards in length. Not a small task for sure but I'm all but finished with this crazy quilted part. The project, when completed, will be a wearable art and for that reason I haven't incorporated much silk ribbon embroidery.

I especially love silk ribbon embroidery in my crazy quilted projects so the panel looks a little bare in spots. I will probably add motifs done on buckram which can easily be removed for dry cleaning. I'll save that for the final step, however.

When all is finished and the final touches are added Julie and I will post our creations. Hopefully all will work according to our plans.


I would like to include in this post several wonderful awards given to me by some really talented fellow crazy quilters. I am always humbled by the compliments I receive and equally touched when I'm given this wonderful recognition in the form of these awards.

I'm going to mention two I've received along with links to the talented women who passed them on to me. I am touched by your thoughtfulness and thrilled by the fact that you considered my blog as worthy. Many thanks!

Cathy with Crazy by Design has honored me with this Kreative Blogger Award. I know you are familiar with Cathy's beautiful work and therefore understand how much this means to me. Thanks Cathy for your support and for taking the time to read my blog.

Another wonderful stitcher is Jerry with Sewing Southpaw It's such a thrill to have her recognition as well along with the Brillante Weblog Premio - 2008. Thanks Jerry!

WOW! I feel really blessed to be the recipient of these two special awards.

I will follow through with the terms associated with these awards and pass them on in a later post. Thanks again to Cathy and Jerry!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Looking Back

It's been said that time stands still for no one and that's definitely the case with me. My 10-year love affair with crazy quilting has taken me into many interesting and exciting venues. In 2004 I received an email from my dear friend Vic asking if I would consider creating a bra using any form of fiber art.

Vic had created a foundation known as WTWW or Way to Women's Wellness...a means to bring awareness to the issues of breast cancer. Her wonderful mom and sister were both struggling with the ravages of this disease and Vic was determined to bring the issue to the forefront.

A 2005 calendar was in the works but Vic needed more bras to create a display in various quilt venues. The first crazy quilted one was so much fun I decided to do a second one using a Texas theme.

Did I mention we had to create a story to go with these bras? WELL...I am definitely not a storyteller but I managed to follow through with this requirement.
Pictured here is the Texas themed bra done in denim and yellow roses. I used Angelina fibers for the state flag and Texas shape.

The straps just HAD to be made with rope in the form of a hangman's noose.

With these two bras completed my mind started to conjure up ideas for the following year. And so "Grape Expectations" was created. This was my favorite. I hand-dyed all the silk with the exception of the dupioni covering the bra. Each grape was individually created and strung with beads to hang in clusters. It was definitely a labor of love. Special thanks to my dear friend Stephanie for coming to my rescue by writing my story.

And finally "Opposites Attract" was born. The story just created itself as the bra came to life. The love story of Oscar the ostracized ostrich and Francesca the flamboyant flamingo. One of my dear friends and beader extraordinaire did the beading. From only a drawing I did she created these beautiful birds. I covered the bra in a free-form crochet. The rolled roses are made with Hanah silk ribbon as well as the blades of grass.

I would like to say "thank you" to Vic for including me in this wonderful creative vision she had. Her talent and creativity have touched many lives and the funds raised through calendar sales have been donated to various breast cancer research centers. How rewarding it has been to have played a small part in this gigantic endeavor.

The 2007 calendar was the last one created but WTWW lives on through our yearly wall hangings. I would invite you to visit our Flickr site and see the fabulous blocks that have been created over the past several years. Vic donates the wall hangings to various cancer centers throughout the United States.

Note: If you are interested in having the three calendars I believe they are still available through Ribbonsmyth as a gift set.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Silk Screening Class with Ginny Eckley

I had such a great time in my weekend class with Ginny Eckley. She is an excellent instructor and makes the two-day class a wonderful learning experience. Ginny is truly a gifted artist!

We all had the opportunity to make our own screens and I did my rose, of course. On the second day we transferred our design onto a beautiful silk scarf. My finished project is pictured on the right.

The only difficult part of silk screening is getting the correct registration when you're working with a second screen. I haven't mastered that but I intend to do lots of practicing until I do get it right.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Weekend Class with Ginny Eckley

Julie, Melanie and I are leaving later today to spend the weekend in Kingwood. Ginny Eckley, renown fiber artist, author, instructor, and silk screening expert, is holding a class at her studio and we are really excited with this opportunity to learn a new technique.

Julie and I became interested in silk screening when we attended the Tomball retreat and met Connie. I've posted her beautiful work earlier but have attached one of the photos I took. Connie graciously invited us to her home to experiment. Needless to say, we were so impressed and knew signing up for Ginny's class was a must.

Three of our Tomball friends, including Connie, are taking the class and we look forward to a fun weekend.

Julie and I are currently working on a special project which will include the silk screening along with our crazy quilting. We will keep you posted on our progress.

SPECIAL THANKS to all of you who have commented on my work. Your kind words mean so very much to me. I've always been fascinated with roses. In the 70's I had to take cake decorating to learn how to make them in frosting. I painted with oils and acrylics during that period as well. Now that I've found silk ribbon embroidery and Hanah silks I think I am finally satisfied.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Special Surprise...

It's definitely time to sit down and take a few minutes to post some of the happenings in my small world of stitching and creating. I'll begin by sharing a very special day with you. Last week I received an unexpected surprise in the mail from Leonie - a dear online friend. I opened the package with a great deal of excitement - I could not imagine what she would be sending me.

Inside was a fabulous book on roses...every species and color that you can imagine and many that I had never seen. Leonie said she had seen the book while shopping and thought about me and my love of roses. What a wonderful act of kindness and how special it made me feel! I will always cherish this wonderful book.

Of course, I had to sit down immediately and go through each page. Not only was I inspired by the beauty of each rose but also the glorious colors. I plan to set aside a day and attempt to recreate some with my dyes.

One rose stood out among the many contained in the book and over the weekend I attempted to recreate it in silk. Although it does not do justice to the absolute beauty of the rose, I was pleased with my first attempt. It's called a da Vince rose and has a four bud center. I've created the center with 34 individually cut petals using Hanah silk ribbon.

I've shown my book to everyone I've seen including my sister, Dorothy. She shared what her pastor had spoken about in one of her recent sermons. When unexpected acts of kindness occur in your life it's God's way of saying He loves you. Thank you, Leonie, for your thoughtfulness and for thinking about me in such a special way. You will never know the joy it has brought me.

Pictured here is the rose I created this weekend - I will always think of it as Leonie's rose. I look forward to working with the design and perfecting this beautiful rose in silk.

Monday, July 28, 2008

My New Crazy Quilt in Progress

I thought I would share a few photos of my new crazy quilt. I gave lots of consideration to the color scheme and decided that peach, olive green, with shades of ecru and gold would be perfect for me.

I also wanted to do everything by hand which included piecing the blocks. It took me about a week to piece all 12 blocks but I'm pleased with the results.

I also want to include hand-dyed lace, motifs, ribbons and thread on each block and I've completed a few. I've pictured some of these here. I love the peach color in the Ranger dyes and all my flowers have this color included. In addition I've used Ribbonsmyth and OzeCraft dyes.

I've been collecting vintage motifs, tatting, lace, etc. for years so I've pulled some of my favorite ones to include on this quilt.

In one picture you can see some dark peach silk thread that I've hand-dyed. This is a 6 ply thread that our local group purchased from Treenway Silks.

I had some old tatting and didn't like the color so I've over-dyed that piece. It took the dye beautifully so I plan to dye others that I have.

I keep trying to finish some projects I have promised before starting on my quilt embellishments. I hope to get started soon and will share the journey with all you you.

My favorite part is the silk ribbon embroidery and embellishments so I look forward to beginning.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Houston International Quilt Festival

'Dancing Lilies' by Caryl Schuetz, from the special exhibit "In Full Bloom V: Floral Quilts in Memory of Helen Pearce O'Bryant."

"Dancing Lilies" is one of the many beautiful quilts that will be on display at this year's Festival.

Each year I look forward to attending the Houston International Quilt Festival held in the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. Although it's months away, it's time to begin making your plans to attend.

The dates for this year's Festival is October 30 - November 2. Preview Night is October 29 and classes begin on October 27.

The classes offered this year look wonderful and appeal to every level from beginner to advanced quilter and mixed media enthusiast. Take a few minutes to view their website and see what is being offered.

This festival is reported to be the largest of its kind in the world. Everything is under one roof but the square footage is massive. You won't be able to see everything in one day. If you can attend this year I will guarantee you won't be disappointed.