Sunday, December 13, 2009

Just Checking In.....

Thanks to those who have asked if I'm okay. I'm fine - just busy with Thanksgiving and then Christmas preparations. I decided to take a break from stitching and teaching during November and December. I have to admit to sneaking a few moments, however, for working on my ArtBra for 2011 and also our yearly wall hanging.

I'll be back the first of January prepared to share a few photos. In the meantime let me wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. May God bless each one of you during this wonderful season of the year.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Our Bee's Charm Exchange

Last year we came across the blog entitled "A Charming Exchange." I would invite you to log on and read about this special exchange. A book by the same name has been published and is available through many outlets. I'm posting the Amazon listing here.

Note: While you are logged on "A Charming Exchange," please check the items being auctioned for breast cancer awareness. Hurry, there's only one day left.

Inspired by this blog, our group decided to do something similar.We gave ourselves ample time to research and decide what we wanted to do. After one year we're almost finished. I wanted to share my charm necklace. I will receive another six charms before the project is completed but I just had to share the progress so far.

This charm is made by our Bee founder, Jan. You can see the reverse side and the spider web if you enlarge the above necklace photo. Isn't this charm wonderful? It's even signed and dated.

Dolores has done a beautiful grouping of charms. It includes an angel, a heart and an oval hanging from this pretty stone.

This one has the beaded cabochon on one side and dainty Brazilian Embroidery on the reverse side. It has been made by Claudette.

This one has a mini crazy quilt block pieced in my favorite peach colors. It was created by Karen

The next three charms were made by Lynnis. The circular ones are beaded with beautiful peach Swarovski crystals. The other charm is a pretty bronze dichroic glass heart. I must admit to asking for that mini Swarovski piece. It's beautiful!

This charm is done by Stephanie in New Jersey. She creates the most beautiful dolls and teaches both online and in classes. She has done this beautiful face with a half moon on the back.

The final two charms are ones that I made. The basket has a small velvet emery insert with a tiny pair of scissors attached. The second one is a tiny cluster of grapes with a sterling silver leaf attached.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Busy Month

October has flown by at an unbelievable speed. October 1 -4 Julie and I were in Pennsylvania for the 2010 ArtBra Exhibit and gala event at Byer's Choice. It was fabulous and we sold out of our 2010 ArtBra Calendars during the weekend events. The second printing has arrived and you can order your copy by logging on to the WTWW website.

Victoria Adams Brown, founder of WTWW and the ArtBras was a wonderful hostess and we enjoyed our short time in Pennsylvania.

October 8 - 11 Julie and I represented CQMagOnline at the Houston Quilt Market. We would invite you to check out each quarterly issue of the magazine for articles on our favorite techniques and tools.

Last Friday I visited the Quilt Festival for one day only. It's impossible to see everything in one day but it's fun trying. They have a wonderful embellishment area catering to the wants & needs of the crazy quilter.

I had the opportunity to meet "The Shibori Girl" at her booth and see her beautiful work up close. If you haven't been introduced to shibori silk you will want to read Julie's article in the upcoming issue of CQMag available around the first of November.

I ordered some of the shibori silk last month and played with it a short time. Pictured here is my first flower. The silk is bias cut and approximately 4" in width. It is pleated in very tiny 1/8" pleats resulting in a width of about 1".

After spending time at The Shibori Girl booth I was inspired to get the ribbon out and do some more playing. Here is my experiment from this weekend.

I felt compelled to pull out a hand-dyed motif along with some beads. Note the beautiful green shibori silk leaves.

I have lots of other projects and photos to share. I'll try to get my photos downloaded and organized. Check back often.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Website for 2010 ArtBra Calendars

The WTWW (Way to Women's Wellness) website is now set up to pre-order your 2010 ArtBra Calendars. We invite you to log on and browse through the Gallery where you will be able to see the new ArtBra creations and three of the crazy quilted wall hangings. We encourage you to Shop for a Cure and join with us in promoting breast cancer awareness.

You will find information about each artist under 2010 ArtBra Designers. A special thanks to Victoria Adams Brown for her artistic vision of the ArtBra as a vehicle for raising awareness and funds for breast cancer research. What a special honor it is to have played a small part in this amazing endeavor.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Announcing the 2010 ArtBra Calendar

The 2010 WTWW ArtBras and three of our wall hangings have been professionally photographed and the process has begun for creating the 2010 calendars. Vic has a Flickr site where you can view the latest creations and I would encourage you to log on and spend some time browsing through the photos.

Pictured here is my design called "The Days of Wine and Roses." The base of the bra is done with a free form crochet using hand-dyed strips of silk. I've hand-dyed the roses in my favorite peach color. I decided to do white grapes this year since my 2006 ArtBra, "Grape Expectations," featured the purple ones.

It's so exciting to see all the news releases and read the flyers announcing the ArtBra exhibits scheduled for October. Calendars will be on sale at each of the events and autographed by the artists attending.

Victoria Adams Brown of Ribbonsmyth is the founder of the WTWW foundation and the original creator of the ArtBras. I continue to be inspired by her dedication, creativity and talent in creating these wonderful calendars. They will begin to ship the last week in September. The cost is $14 plus postage and proceeds from the sales will be donated to the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Please consider purchasing these calendars for special gifts. So many of our friends and family have been affected by some form of cancer. Your purchase will provide funding for all the needs associated with finding a cure for this dreaded disease. We appreciate your support.

Please check back for the website for purchasing these calendars. I will post it as soon as I have this information.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Another Great Retreat

My local crazy quilt group just returned from our quarterly retreat in Wallis, Texas. Ten of us spent 4 days and 3 nights at Premiere Estates - a beautifully restored manor house "deep in the heart of Texas."

Our thanks to Sharon & Belinda for their wonderful hospitality. They have established the perfect setting for a retreat. One large room is fully equipped to meet the needs of quilters, scrap booking enthusiasts and any other craft-oriented group. Ten people can comfortably sit and stitch, share ideas and "play" for untold hours.

There are two homes available on adjoining properties and each one affords all the amenities needed. On the weekends they cater meals for their guests. We always go during the week and provide our own meals. I can guarantee you a wonderful time in Wallis at Premiere Estates!

Our group kindly agreed to test my scalloped needle case design. I have classes scheduled for September 4th. and 5th. at Quiltworks in Cypress, Texas. It provided a wonderful opportunity for me to see the problem areas and re-vamp my directions and pattern pieces.

Ruching the flower was definitely not their favorite part of the process but each produced a masterpiece. I absolutely loved seeing the various color combinations the girls chose as well as the differing techniques they used. It was a great experience.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Update on ArtBra Exhibit

Those of us affiliated with Victoria Adams Brown's original ARTBRA EXHIBIT are so excited with the upcoming events. I wanted to share the Byers' Choice website which will host a fundraiser in the month of October. Log onto their website for additional information. I was so pleased and honored to see my bra, "Grape Expectations," appear in their article.

There will be a 2010 ArtBra calendar as well. I'll post updates as they are available. We hope many will lend their support for breast cancer research by purchasing these calendars. If you are in Pennsylvania in October we hope you will make plans to attend the Byers' Choice Gala.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Busy times

Almost another month has past since my last blog - it's hard to believe how quickly time passes. I've been busy stitching various projects during the month. First I put together our beautiful blocks for the 2009 wall hanging for breast cancer research. You can see the individual blocks on my Flickr site.

Many exciting things have been happening during the month. Victoria Adams Brown's original ArtBras will be on display at Byers' Choice during the month of October for breast cancer awareness. Another calendar is in the works for 2010 and we are all so excited to see these ArtBras continue to inspire as well as earn money for breast cancer research.

You can read about Byers' Choice and the ArtBra Exhibit in one of my articles in CQMagOnline. Log on to the website and click on current issue - then browse through the table of contents. There are other great articles in this issue as well. Be sure to take a peak at Vic's article on curved piecing.

I taught my second class at Quiltworks last Saturday and have another two scheduled for September. The upcoming classes will be one of my newest designs. Pictured here is my "flower pot needlecase." The outside is a teal dupioni and the inside is a beautiful floral batik. Quiltworks has been busy making kits with some fabulous fabrics.

I hope to do better with my blogging in the future and promise to share additional photos.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

QuiltWorks - the ultimate "candy store"

We have a new "mega" quilt store in our area opened by three very special and extremely talented sisters. Pictured here is Connie on the left and Linda. The beautiful crazy quilt is being raffled by their local Guild and it is gorgeous!

I met Connie at the Tomball retreat several years ago and you may remember me posting some of her beautiful work. She, Linda and Henrietta "Henri" have opened this fabulous store in Cypress, Texas located on the West side of Houston.

The grand opening for QuiltWorks was held Friday and Saturday. Jan and I attended and demonstrated our work for those attending. Jan is responsible for my addiction - I attended her crazy quilt class ten years ago. Here she is busy at work with her crazy quilting. She will be teaching a beautiful crazy quilted needle case and an embellishment class.

I will be teaching my Hanah silk rose design and a new "flower pot" needle case design I recently created. We both have four classes on the calendar and are so excited.

The fabulous creativity of the sisters can be seen in the decor of the shop. In this photo I am sitting on a vintage Victorian sofa. On the wall facing the sofa is a flat screen television to entertain the children and/or husbands.

The walls of the shop are covered with the creativity of these three talented sisters. After meeting their Mom and seeing some of her beautiful work I know where the talent comes from. It's just not fair that one family has so much creativity. Among their many talents are Brazilian embroidery, stump work, fabric dyeing, tradition quilting, beading, heirloom embroidery, crazy quilting, silk screening, garment creations, plus many, many more needlework skills.

QuiltWorks is indeed the "ultimate candy store" and without a doubt has it all! They hope to offer online shopping in the near future and I'm trying to convince Connie to hold a weekend retreat at some point. I'll keep you informed on both.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Australian Flower-Making Tools

I want to thank Allie for introducing me to these wonderful flower-making tools. Those of you who read CQMagOnline probably read her article in the latest issue. Just in case you didn't, here is the link.

After seeing the article I just had to have a set. They are pricey but my sweet husband insisted I order a set knowing how well I loved re-creating nature's beauty in silk.

I wish the photo showed the beautiful peach shades and the three different pieces of silk used in this flower. Vic dyed one of the fabrics and sent it home with me. I dyed the other two. I used her Ribbonsmyth dyes. We experimented with her set of tools but needed more time than what we had.

I set aside several hours yesterday to play with my yet unopened tools. I was a little uncomfortable lighting the alcohol burner the first time but I soon became comfortable with it. It will take a lot more experimenting on my part to come up with "the perfect rose." One of the tools is for curling the silk petals and that will take a little more practice.

I love my first flower and wanted to share the results. I look forward to working with the Hanah Silk as well. I have some prepared with the stiffening and just need another play day. Dyeing your silks, stiffening the fabric, cutting the petals and then using the flower tools to shape them is time-consuming. It's not for someone who wants instant gratification. I love to see the flowers come to life so I don't mind spending the hours it takes to reach this point.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Amazing East Coast Trip

Our trip to the East Coast was amazing!!! It was a dream come true...doing only those things crazy quilters and SRE lovers enjoy doing. We shopped during the day and created and experimented in the remaining hours.

We arrived at the Philadelphia airport with Stephanie there to greet us. We spent the first part of our vacation with her and her wonderful family, including Diamond, her beautiful Maltese. Stephanie is an amazing artist and her studio is the perfect place to create. Her love is doll making and her creations are the most amazing I've ever seen.

Stephanie's husband, Eddie, has a wonderful hobby as well. One of the high points of our visit was taking a ride in this beauty!

Vic, Stephanie, Lynnis and I went to New York City on Saturday and spent the day in the garment district shopping for fabrics, ribbons, trims, beads, etc. etc. etc. We took the train into the city which was a new experience for me.

I'm planning several articles for CQMagOnline and don't want to share too much information on my blog. I will definitely post links to my articles as they appear in CQMag.

The second part of our adventure was spent in Pennsylvania with Vic and her husband, Mike, along with her wonderful extended family of animals. Sadie the papillion and Pearl the kitten needed to come home with me but I couldn't figure out a way to smuggle them out.

Many of you know Victoria Adams Brown and her online business Ribbonsmyth. I met Vic about 8 years ago at the Omaha CQ Convention and became an instant follower. She instilled the love
of silk ribbon embroidery and became a wonderful friend and mentor.

Vic and Mike own a beautiful farm in the countryside of Pennsylvania. What an amazing place to live and create! She is surrounded by such beauty and rich history. The home was built in the 1800's and they have remodeled and added on, retaining the old and historical beauty of the home.

I have memories to last a lifetime from this wonderful trip. I hope to share more photos and tales of our adventures as time permits.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Texas Girls Fly to East Coast

I'm up in the wee hours of the morning too excited to sleep. Lynnis and I are flying to the East Coast this morning to visit dear friends Stephanie and Vic. They have a wonderful itinerary planned with some fabulous shopping in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York City. I can't believe I'm going on this great adventure doing only those things we crazy quilters enjoy doing.

I plan to take lots of pictures and I know I will have many adventures to share with you when I return. I'll look forward to blogging and doing some articles in CQMagOnline regarding this fabulous trip.

Jules had originally planned to make the trip with us but a broken foot and family illness prevent her from going. We will miss you sweet friend.

Friday, April 24, 2009

My Singer Featherweight

Before putting my sewing machine away I wanted to take a picture. I love my little featherweight and it sews beautifully. According to the serial number it was made in 1943.

I placed some of my favorite pincushions and needle cases around it. I made the green wool heart necklace at our retreat last year. The old wooden spool is covered in a beaded peyote with a stuffed pincushion circling it. The one with the handle is made with a bottle cap filled with emery. I have little beaded grape clusters hanging from the handle.

You might recognize the heart and decorated Alto id box. These are both patterns and/or kits available from dear friend Vic at Ribbonsmyth. She also made the teaspoon pincushion as a gift and it sits beside me at all times when I'm stitching at home.

Pictured on the right is the project I was working on. My old hanging makeup bag was so easy to travel with and I've been looking for a new one to replace it. I haven't had any luck finding one so decided to make my own. On several occasions I was tempted to throw it in the garbage but I did manage to finish. The stitching is far from acceptable but it serves it's purpose well. I can have all my makeup and toiletries in one place.

Trying to stitch with plastic as one of the fabrics is difficult. I found it worked easier to lay a piece of paper between the plastic and the sewing machine. Then tear away the paper when finished.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I want to introduce you to my wonderful Crazy Quilt Bee. From left to right...Jan, Lynn, Maureen, me, Karen, Lynnis, Dolores, Chris (with grandson Will) Julie and Melanie. We are the infamous Lake Jackson Group. Jan established our group in 1999 with her first CQ class. Lynnis took that beginning class followed by me. All the other girls arrived at different times throughout the years that followed.

I am blessed to have such a wonderful group of friends who enjoy doing the same things as I do. All are extremely talented and do beautiful and creative work. I've written a number of articles about our group over the years. You can check these out through the past issues of CQMagOnline.

Chris rented a beach house and invited her wonderful family from different areas of the United States. They celebrated her birthday on April 11 with fun and festivities. We gathered at the beach on Tuesday for our regular weekly meeting.

We were in for a wonderful and totally unexpected treat. Her sisters, Pat and Petra, served us with shrimp cocktail, chicken salad on a diced tomato with avocado and lettuce. We enjoyed fresh, homemade strawberry pie and coffee for dessert. Everything was as delicious as it was beautifully served. We want Chris to have more birthdays. We also want her sweet sisters to cook for us once a week at our Bee.

I think I caught Karen (in red) swallowing her first bite. You never know when I'll snap that picture! To her right is Petra and Chris. Those shrimp are huge even by Texas standards.

Julie (in black & white) arrived a little late so she's having her first and second course together. Seated to her left is Dolores busy at work on her pin-weaving. She's making a purse.

The beach you see in the background is located on the Texas Gulf Coast. On the Gulf of Mexico, Surfside Beach is a popular area for tourists in the summer season. The beach is located about 15 miles from where I live and approximately 70 miles south of Houston, Texas. During hurricane season you will hear Surfside Beach and Freeport, Texas mentioned often.

Jan, our wonderful founder and mentor, is seated in this picture. Standing beside her is Karen, Chris and Will, Julie and Melanie.

I've taken some photos of two beautiful bonsai plants. We have a wonderful friend who is a master with training and growing bonsai. He started this small tree for us last year. It was a gift from dear friends Tim and Debi.

Liem kept it for a year and began it's training program. He's promised to help us nurture it. I've placed a quarter on the right side of the trunk to give you an idea of the size.

For the past several years Liem brings this beautiful jasmine bonsai for us to enjoy during the blooming season. The aroma is wonderful! I don't remember the exact age of this tree but it's around 50 years old. Jasmine is a vine that sends out long runners. You see it in our area hanging from fences and trellis. It's absolutely amazing to think of the love and patience, not to mention the talent, that went into training this vine to be a miniature tree.

I have a quarter placed in the middle of the trunk to give you an idea of the size of this trunk. Isn't it gorgeous?

Friday, April 10, 2009

My Button Necklace

I'm almost finished with my button necklace. I have several additional charms I would like to attach. I'm really pleased with how it turned out but very glad to be finished. Crocheting the necklace band is not difficult but attaching the buttons is very time consuming. The buttons want to twist and turn and it can become very frustrating at times.

I've added a number of gold charms and my favorite in the tiny ArtBra charm purchased from Ribbonsmyth. As a designer of five of those ArtBras this is a very special charm and keepsake. If you enlarge the photo you can see the tiny ArtBra on the right side.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Breakfast at Karen's

Jan, Linda and I went to visit Karen today for a fun day of stitching and visiting. Karen is a member of our Lake Jackson Crazy Quilt Bee but lives about 80 miles north. She comes to Lake Jackson twice a month and we try to visit and stitch in her home once a month.

She is a wonderful hostess and had a warm pecan pie waiting for us today. Jan asked if we might have a piece for breakfast - thus the title: "Breakfast at Karen's" Let me assure you it was an outstanding breakfast!

Karen wanted to make one of my silk roses so we worked on that project today. Pictured here is Karen holding her almost finished rose. She did a beautiful job and I was extremely proud. Another of our friends is opening a new quilt shop and I'll be teaching the Hanah silk rose. This was an excellent opportunity to practice.

Jan worked on her beautiful block for the 2009 ArtBra Ladies wall hanging. Be sure and check the Flickr site on my sidebar where you can see the blocks that are completed so far. This will be another wonderful work of art.

Linda worked on a wool project today. My photography skills were lacking today. I was too busy having fun to worry about my photos. Linda's beautiful project is not visible in this photo and I've cropped the top of Karen's head. I'll try to do better.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lacking Focus

Staying focused is very hard for me. It's difficult to see something beautiful and not want to create it. Dear friend and fellow Bee member brought her beautiful crocheted button necklace to the meeting several weeks ago. Of course, I just had to have one.

Pictured here is the necklace that Karen made. Isn't it gorgeous! She has attached a variety of buttons and gold sewing charms. The crocheted band is made of triple crochets and forms a beautiful lace pattern.

I've finished the crocheted band and have started adding my buttons. Karen has approximately 50 buttons in addition to the gold charms on her necklace. As you can see from the attached photo, I have a number of buttons to add before mine is complete.

I'm using Finca size 16 black thread and a #10 crochet hook. You create the band first and then add the buttons and charms.

And speaking of focus.....Cathy posted some gorgeous photos of a vintage lingerie bag with the most beautiful roses. What a wonderful treasure this is. Please take some time to go to her blog and look at these photos.

After you check our Cathy's blog you will know what my next project will be. Thanks, Cathy, for the inspiration.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My Pin-Weaving Experience

Although I've been tardy with my blogging I have been busy stitching and playing. Dear friend and fellow Bee member introduced the group to pin-weaving. Karen has done some beautiful things including a wall hanging using this technique.

I was not able to attend the meeting where they got started but I copied from their work....shame on me! I took pictures and studied those very carefully and felt competent enough to do my frame. With board, T-pins and heavy thread I built my frame and created the warp.

At their meeting they had all these wonderful fibers and yarn to weave with but I did not have many of those so I made do with what I did have. I cut thin strips of silk and other lightweight fancy fabrics. In addition to those I used narrow trims and cords. I know you will recognize some of these in the photos attached.

Pin-weaving is fun and addicting! I quickly finished my piece and decided to make a purse. It's a little on the wild side but I like it. It needs a closure and a strap and it will be finished.

I used Misty Fuse to secure the weaving and also to attach the lining. It was an experiment that turned our really great. The only stitching on the entire purse was hand stitching the sides together and attaching the tab. I've used a stripe dupioni fabric for the lining.

If any of you are interested in pin-weaving be sure to check out the next issue of CQMagOnline. Julie is planning an article with lots of pictures to show you.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I Won a Fabulous Gift

I wanted to share my exciting news and show you a picture of my wonderful surprise. My name was drawn by Szarka Designs in the "One World - One Heart" annual event organized by Lisa Swifka.

I discovered this wonderful event while browsing the internet and began checking out the various blogs. It didn't take me long to realize I wanted to participate next year. What a wonderful way to meet new people and enjoy their creative art.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to Szarka Designs for drawing my name and also to Lisa for organizing this great event. I will certainly enjoy wearing this beautiful creations!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Working on my Peach Quilt Blocks

I thought I would post some of the progress I've made on my peach quilt. I have four of the twelve blocks nearing completion with only eight remaining blocks to embellish.

I love my color theme but they do not photograph as well as I would like. The velvets are luscious and the peach dupioni has a beautiful sheen.

I am guilty of finding projects I would like to do and setting my quilt blocks aside. Perhaps all of us are guilty of that. There are so many things to experiment with and I find myself easily distracted.

The picture on the right is a ruched ribbon rose made with 1 1/2" wide silk habotai ribbon. I purchased the ribbon from Vic with Ribbonsmyth and hand-dyed it in the variegated peach colors.

For those who haven't ruched I've include an example of how it is done. Using a matching thread do a running stitch in a "V" shape.

There is one important point to remember: when you come to the edge of the ribbon circle the thread over the edge and begin stitching on the reverse side. I hope you will be able to see this in the photo.

After making about 4 or 5 of the "V's" I gather the ribbon and begin again. I wish I could give you the yardage it takes to make the rose but I haven't stopped to do that. To make the rose you will circle the ruching and tack it down to your fabric. Continue to circle by placing the remaining length under the first layer. Do this until you like the size and shape of the flower.

Another design is my tiny table setting with the sterling silver flatware and napkin sitting beside a mother of pearl button. I wish I could take credit for this beautiful motif but I can't. With the permission of my dear friend and mentor, Jan, I have copied one she did on a recent quilt. I want to add some leaves and silk ribbon embroidery so I'm not quite finished but I just had to show you. I've used a small vintage motif for my place mat.

I showed her what I had done Tuesday at our quilting bee. I asked her if she had done the napkin with the silk ribbon. Her answer was no but she planned on adding one. It's great to have such a wonderful group of ladies who love to create and love to share their creations. What one doesn't think of the other one will.

Queen Anne's lace is a simple yet elegant flower and I've tried to reproduce it in ecru pearl cotton. Another one of those creative friends I was discussing earlier had a picture of this and I liked it so much I just had to see how it looked in thread. Linda is always sharing something beautiful with the group.

And my last photo is my initial B. The satin stitch is not one of my favorites but I decided my quilt needed my initial.

Yesterday I spent my day making a pair of dichroic earrings with a beaded bezel. Occasionally I get in the mood to bead and set my crazy quilting aside. With that project finished I'm ready to begin working on my quilt blocks once again.