Category Archives: Art Quilts

Getting A Jump on January!

January has arrived and we are cruising right through it! How are you doing on your goals for the new year and paying mind to your guiding word? The word I chose was ‘yes’ and my goals are basically to focus on long arming and teaching. I’ve been full steam ahead with both of those things as I remind myself daily to stick to the plan. In the newsletter that I mailed out last week, we talked about how to take steps toward achieving those goals. If you’d like to join the newsletter email list, please sign up in the menu bar to the right.  I have beautiful student quilts on the long arm machine this month and plenty of side projects to share. And of course the cute bunny photo at the end of the post!

The first quilt on the long arm this year was Gail’s beautiful 1930’s vintage Christmas jelly roll race quilt. I used green thread and a holly berry pantograph and it came out so cute. We worked on the binding together during class time and she finished it up on her own earlier this week.










Now I have Priscilla’s beautiful card trick quilt on the machine. She did an incredible job piecing this stunning top. Linen colored thread and a swirly pantograph will be the perfect touch for it.








and a close up…









I pulled out the mosaic quilt last weekend that I was working on in the fall. I decided I had been making it too complicated by not just using one piece of fabric per square but actually trying to fit 2 or 3 fabrics on a square and I was distressed by it all. I tore up what I had and began again. Now it is an official mosaic and it’s starting to come along. I’m excited by it again and that thrills me. The photo is from a lavender field we visited on Maui last summer.









I put the final stitches in Lindsey’s afghan this week. She reminded me daily that I wasn’t working on it and now I’m done! Feels good to have this one wrapped up….









My intention was to use purple on the finished edge but I ran out so I finished it with yellow and I like it well enough.









I did a little bit of embroidery one night during the week on the bunny door stop. I’m hoping to do a bit more this weekend but I think I’ll be knitting. When the Patriots are in the playoffs, superstition dictates that I have to knit in order for them to win! Those in my circle know that I have a job to do during playoff season and I take it quite seriously! It’s worked pretty well so far!









And now for the obligatory cute bunny post of my baby, Ginny….


Let me know how your goals are coming along and if you have any crafty things you do during playoff season? I’d love to hear about it.


Maria Shell Workshop and Projects

This past week has been so full of quilty goodness, I can hardly stand it! I had several teaching days, I attended a guild workshop, and I was busy in the studio all week long. It felt so good!

Saturday was our guild’s monthly workshop and the presenter was Maria Shell. Maria has found her niche in improv quilting and has done some truly beautiful work. She is the author of Improv Patchwork which is coming out next month. In our guild, the teachers do a one or two day weekend workshop and then they lecture at the regular meeting on the following Monday night. So if you’re coming to teach at our guild, you better pack for a few days! My mom and I signed up for the Saturday workshop back in May and then we promptly forgot about it until the supply list showed up in our emails! I wasn’t even sure I could make it because Leah auditioned and received a role (actually 2 roles) in the Nutcracker production by the Braintree Ballet Company and rehearsals were supposed to start that day but got pushed back a week. So…I was free to travel to Bentley University where our guild is held and sew all day! Truthfully, I didn’t really care what we were making in the workshop, I was just excited to spend a day sewing with my mom! This is the classroom and sadly, we blew several fuses as soon as the irons all got plugged in. We had to get maintenance to fix it and then limit ourselves to just two irons for the entire room! Yep, 2 irons for a whole bunch of people who needed to press after every seam. We made it work though!








And my mom contemplating her fabric choices!









The idea of the workshop was to choose a color palette and then using Maria’s technique, stitch pieces together and make a new piece of fabric. I ended up going with a Halloween theme and made this little piece which could be a mug rug. Of course, I want to stick a little applique pumpkin on there or something. Lol! It’s not a quilt til it has some applique on it!










When I got bored with those colors, I did a technique called a bead string with a palette that reminded me of a Maui sunset. I didn’t have time to finish it but this is as far as I got…









My mother didn’t really get her projects off the ground. She didn’t like the colors she first chose and couldn’t quite find her rhythm. In the end, she decided improv quilting isn’t her cup of tea and that she really more enjoys traditional quilting. We packed up our stuff and had a lovely dinner together afterwards.

The t-shirt quilt for my friend’s daughter is nearly done now. I took it off the long arm yesterday and now I am working on the binding. I chose a loopy stitch design for the sashing on the quilt. I love how it looks with the black on black. It’s a great texture and doesn’t detract from the t-shirt logos.










I’m also working on the start of a mosaic landscape quilt. I have all the fabric selected and the cutting has begun!









The fusible grid is marked and ready!









So it’s been a full week and a weird and sad week. Hurricane Irma coverage has been very hard to watch as we have several relatives living in Florida. Most have been lucky but we are still waiting to hear how a few made out and if their homes are intact. There’s been a lot of praying going on. It is quite a thing to see how people help people in times of trouble. There are good people everywhere.

Have a wonderful week,


Fillers, Favorite Rulers and a Selfie

I’ve happily spent the last two days working on quilting the blue monochromatic quilt. I had to laugh at myself that I finally got the long arm machine extended by two feet and then I put a super small quilt on it! LOL! One of the reasons I made this quilt was to practice ruler work and fillers. The other two reasons were to play with color and to figure out improv piecing.

Because this piece is small, the quilting also had to be small. I had a few doubts as to whether my machine could handle going as slowly as I needed it to. That might sound weird because typically you see long arm quilters buzzing around at a decent pace. But when the mission is accuracy and you are using rulers, you have to go slow. The slower I went on the machine, the happier I was with the results and I’m thrilled to pieces that my long arm can work well in a slower speed.

Using Cindy Grisdela’s improv style and Judi Madsen’s methods of marking and quilting, I was able to tap into techniques I haven’t done before. I keep wanting to call this quilt Small Blue for some reason so that shall be its name and here she is…









Each pieced curve has a different style of filler quilting. I used several designs including wishbones, geometric squares, pebbles, meandering, half moons,  paisleys, swirls, and continuous line curved squares. The top and bottom borders have curved lines.
















In deciding whether to use the continuous line curved squares on that last bottom strip, I knew I had to go very small. I marked a half inch grid and then set about quilting in between the lines. It was exhilarating to quilt! Each row was inspiration to keep going.









My favorite rulers so far in this long arm journey have been the ones you see here in the picture. The A1 Straight Edge which is yellow and has the
handle on it and the set of Mini Curve It rulers. Both of these were ordered from Judi Madsen’s website, Green Fairy Quilts.









While I was quilting, I knew my face was holding a very serious and focused expression. I started to wonder if I might be one of those people who sticks their tongue out or something while they work lol!!! Curiosity got the better of me and I set my phone up on a timer for a selfie. No tongue is wagging so I guess I’m good!!!








The black straps on my shoulders are the straps for my back weight. I try to use it when I’m long arming or piecing for a long time at the sewing machine.

If you listened to the last podcast episode, you’ll remember I mentioned having joined the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals led by Morna McEver Golletz. One of the benefits of belonging to this organization is being in contact with like minded individuals in the craft business world. This week I started up with an accountability partner. Her name is Janice. After an initial phone call where we got to know each other and get a feel for each other’s businesses, we set up our weekly goals and plans for how to achieve them. We will talk again on Monday night to check in and share how we did on meeting those goals. I have four areas to work on this week and I’m feeling pretty good about them. One of my goals includes getting 10 hours on the long arm and I’m halfway there. Getting time on the machine gets a little bit difficult on teaching days but I will have to work around that to get to ten hours. I find myself thinking about Janice all week and wondering how she is coming along with her goals. Hopefully we’ll both hit the mark this week!

Have a super day today!


Silk Fusion

In an effort to lose some weight I’ve been hitting the treadmill for an hour a day at least 5 days a week. In order to stay interested and entertained while I’m walking, I’ve been watching episodes of The Quilt Show. Each episode is around 54 to 56 minutes and it’s been GREAT! I hit my step goal and I learn something at the same time. The only drawback is that I want to try every technique I see! That can be draining on the quilt budget…but I did spring for the starter kit to learn how to do silk fusion.

Tamara Leberer was a recent guest on the show and she was essentially making fabric out of dyed silk. From that fabric she made beautiful mosaics on black fabric. The dyed silk is so vibrant against a dark background. I loved the blue and orange colors she was using on the show but the starter kit only included a green and a maroon color. You can see Tamara’s work here:

I sat down to work on the silk fusion piece last week. I haven’t made anything with the piece yet because I’m waiting for inspiration to strike on a design. I’m open to suggestions!

This is the kit which included the silk roving, a paint brush, a mesh screen and textile medium.








The silk roving is unbelievably soft and vibrant.








The process goes like this – you put one piece of mesh screen on top of a piece of plastic or something to protect your table. Next you carefully pull out thick strands of silk and lay them on top of the screen horizontally. You can mix and match and even add Angelina Fibers to it if you wish.








Then you layer strands vertically across the horizontal ones.








When you are happy with that and have the silk thick enough so you can’t see through it anywhere, you place the second screen on top and then paint over it with warm water and liquid dish detergent. The silk fibers have to be very wet in order to accept the textile medium that will come next.








Once the first side is good and wet, flip the whole sandwich over and paint the other side. Next the textile medium is applied in the same manner.








After the textile medium step is complete, the piece has to dry overnight. The next day, you peel away the screens and are left with a beautiful piece of silk fabric that is your own creation! Peeling away the screens is tough work…that textile medium is like glue and it takes a little elbow work to get it separated.

The back and front look different and I haven’t decided which side I like best yet. This photo doesn’t quite show how pretty the colors are in the piece due to the lighting in my kitchen. The poor lighting makes it look like bacon! This is the front…








This is the back…








I’m still contemplating how I will cut this up and use it. For sure it will be on a black background but whether it will be mosaic or some other design is yet to be decided! I’ll keep you posted! Have you ever tried silk fusion or a similar process?


Quilts, Proms & Articles

Ohhhh so much happening this week, friends. First off, it’s beautiful outside. Today is going to be 80 degrees. Yesterday was the same. The pool is open and I spent all of last week weeding and doing a little planting.  Friday was gloriously 75 degrees and sunny for Amanda’s senior prom. I pretty much bombarded Instagram and Facebook with prom photos because she was do darn happy and that made me so darn happy!! Here she is with her prom date, Kyle, and one with her sisters, Lindsey and Leah.









Lindsey on left, Leah on right.









She had a blast with her friends and declared it a perfect evening…ahhhhh, can you feel how full my momma heart is right now?

I did get the second set of 10 blocks finished on Seaglass this week! Now 2/3 of the blocks are complete and I’ll start the last ones next week.







I’m thrilled this week that I’m meeting with all three of my students. I had a wonderful day with Priscilla earlier this week working on her Yellow Brick Road baby quilt. Today I’m spending time with Nancy while we work on her star quilt and spend some time on free motion quilting. Tomorrow Gail and I will continue working on quilting her log cabin!

Nancy’s star quilt is coming out so beautifully. Look at how pretty these are!!









My issue of Quilting Arts finally arrived in the mail! My article can be found on the last page under the Last Word column! Pardon my slippers in the picture!
I’m beyond excited to be in this magazine as I enjoy reading it so much.









I’m hoping to get a podcast in next week. Is there anything you’d like for me to talk about or any questions you have? I’d love to answer them! Also, I’m thinking a summer postcard swap would be nice. Perhaps landscape postcards from some place we’ve visited over the summer! What do you all think of that?



Cranking Stuff Out

Happy Thursday!

It’s been a super busy week here with vacation ending, doctor and dentist appointments, music shows, a dance comptetition and plays. That seems to be our anthem over here right now. Tomorrow my baby turns 18! I can’t believe how fast that happened. It’s surreal! Happy birthday, Amanda!

amanda small file






In the middle of the craziness I’ve been trying to work on a few projects in small increments because that’s all I can give it right now. So I started laying out the Seaglass half square triangles in the correct order for the blocks. I’m only pinning and sewing ten at a time right now.
All those half square triangles will look like the block on the right. There will be 30 blocks in the quilt.







I’ll continue stitching those together over the next while. I also started the Kiwi pixelated quilt.









I pressed all the fabric then cut enough for just a few blocks because I was so eager to get hand cranking that I didn’t want to spend hours cutting first. I put the pieces I cut into plastic bags labeled by color.









There are so many shades of green in this quilt that it will pay to stay organized. Next I sat at the hand-crank and started stitching! I got one block made at the kitchen table while waiting for dinner to finish cooking.










I have enough fabric cut to do a few more blocks before I’ll have to head back to the cutting table and really get into it.

My Disney pictures arrived from Shutterfly this week so I pulled out my new Creative Memories Fast2Fab album and started taping photos into it and journaling as I go. It took just a few minutes to do about 5 pages! I’m thrilled with these beautiful albums that come with pre-designed pages and page protectors. Not all of my albums are this easy nor will they all be but for a short trip to Disney, this is perfect. I can go back through and add stickers and more embellishments if I feel like it but I’m really enjoying the simplicity of this right now.







Yesterday I tried out Facebook Live on the Quilt Cabana Page. It was a short video to try out the new feature and it was fun! Hopefully this link will work and you can see and hear what I’m working on. I enjoyed doing it and hope to do more in the future both for quilting and scrapping.

Have a wonderful and quilty week!


Switching Gears

Last week I started a new art quilt as I felt I wanted to have something different going as a project in addition to Seaglass.

I chose a photo of a hibiscus flower that I took in Hawaii last summer. This flower was one of many at a beautiful botanical garden we visited on Kauai. I cropped the photo and played with it in Photoshop to get a poster size version in black and white and one that had a bit more contrast in color.








I traced the basic lines of the hibiscus onto muslin with a Sharpie and a light box.







I pulled out scraps of fabrics that I’m interested in using for the background of the quilt and cut them up with a rotary cutter.







Next I started my favorite part…arranging the pieces on the background using a dot of craft glue to hold the pieces on the muslin.












Once all the pieces are glued, I’ll cover the top with a piece of tulle and then quilt it. This time around I’m going to layer it with black wool felt instead of a batting and backing.

I’m excited to work on this piece because I just love the photo and the beautiful colors of the flower. I enjoy the process of this type of quilting because it’s free form and relaxing to me. There are no rules and how it comes out doesn’t really matter. It’s the process and the journey and the remembrance of a special trip.

Happy Quilting!



Happy Thursday!

I hope you all had a nice Easter weekend! It was cold but sunny here and so the Easter egg hunt still went on! We had a great crew of cousins to find all those eggs. Here they are relaxing after the big hunt!







This was our family photo Easter morning before church…







And of course, this little lady stole the show all day long!! Nala enjoyed nosing around the eggs and we were delighted to love on her all day!









I was exhausted on Monday and didn’t do much other than take a nap and do a bit of cross stitch. Tuesday and Wednesday I really got back into working on the Seaglass quilt and this was totally my happy place on those days…







While I was cutting 7 million squares, I started thinking about quilting and being in a totally happy quilty state of mind. This led to thoughts about what kind of quilting and crafting really makes my heart sing. What am I most passionate about? And why am I not doing more of it? I started having major revelations about things on my to do list. It was freeing.

What I realized is that I am at my absolute quilty happiness when I’m combining my love of quilts with my love of pictures. I adore photos. I love to take them, touch them, sort them, and turn them into a quilt version when possible. I also love little fabric bits. When I worked on The Lindsey Project, I was in a super happy place most of the time. At one point, I was overwhelmed at which time, I took a break from the project.

photo 1 (33)








Taking a break was a good thing and when I came back to it a few months later, I was ready to finish it up. So having just come off Easter and feeling it’s a time for new beginnings, I think I need to return to turning photos into art quilts. Life is too short to work on things that don’t excite me. Combining my two passions is a thrilling thought!

That being said, I enjoy other types of quilting as well. Fusible applique is another technique that makes my heart go pitter patter. Finding a simple block that looks more complicated than it is, also excites me.

Take some time to think about work that excites you and work that leaves you bored or frustrated. Can you skip out on the boring and really concentrate on your passion? Absolutely!!!! Let’s dare to dream and do work that matters to us. Let’s do work that we truly care about that allows us to grow as artists.



Leaving The Orchard

I’ve left the orchard. The Apple iPhone orchard that is! I took the leap over to a new Galaxy…the Samsung Galaxy Note 4! And it’s quite different in many ways. The phone itself is really a phablet which is the larger style that is in between a cell phone size and a table size. I think I’m in love but having to look up how to accomplish the simplest of tasks like resizing photos for my blog is taking up a lot of time!! As did typing in 3 kids worth of appointments and school activities into the new calendar.  I’m almost there with setting the phone up they way I like and now I’m on to fun stuff such as figuring out the camera and where the settings are hiding out.  The camera is 16 megapixels and the main reason I made the jump. I’m hoping to only bring one camera on vacation this year and keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be really adept at using the Note 4’s camera by the time summer rolls around.

I haven’t done much quilting this week but I’ve though about it, does that count? I did attend my quilt guild meeting on Monday night and the speaker was the lovely and talented Judy Coates Perez. You can see her gorgeous art quilts HERE.  Judy paints on fabric with textile paints and inks and then quilts them. She’s won numerous awards and she had us all laughing. I think this was maybe the best quilt speaker we’ve had for one reason…we all learned a lot about her process and why she uses the products she does. Our guild speakers teach workshops on the Saturday and Sunday and then present a lecture on Monday night at the meeting. Often times the speakers don’t really “give up” their process in the lectures. We see a lot of photos of things that inspire them but we don’t often walk away like we learned a process and can go home and try it unless we were one of the lucky ones who got a spot in the workshops. It was a really good presentation and I’m glad I made the trip to see it.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been slowly working on two Hanukkah mini quilts. The first one is finished. I need to start the second one and then draft the pattern. Here is the first one….


It’s hard to see in the photo but that blue Star of David background fabric shimmers with a silver metallic look. I love the way it sparkles. Hopefully it won’t be too long before I finish and then the pattern will be available for holiday crafting in a few months…can you believe I just said that?

Today these cuties took a trip to the vet for some beak trimming. Barney is the blue parakeet, Kiwi is the green. The appointment was actually for Barney’s beak but Kiwi went along for moral support.
























The woman who checked us in at the vet asked if we’d like another bird for free. I hesitantly asked her what she had in mind. She said a woman had come in to hang a flyer for a free Sun Conure. She wanted the bird to have a good home and could no longer care for it. I read the flyer but it said the bird wasn’t good with kids (I have 3) and that the bird demanded a lot of attention and got really loud until it got the attention it desired. Ummmmmmm, no thank you. If it were another parakeet….maybe and that’s a big maybe. Barney and Kiwi have some chemistry together and I don’t think they’d care for another roommate. LOL!

The rest of the week and the days to come are a blur of dentist appointments, activities and errands/phone calls to get Amanda ready for prom and her Paris trip. The days are full and flying by. It’s easy to feel defeated that I haven’t been able to give ample time to Quilt Cabana but this is turning out to be a busy season in our lives. One must go with the flow!

Keep working on those mug rugs and potholders!


And She’s Done! A Finish.

The Lindsey Project was started last year after I read about Susan Carlson’s method of painting a quilt not with paint but with fabric. It seemed like a fun way to explore a new technique and a great way to capture one of my favorite Lindsey moments when she was young and we were in Disney World. The technique was based on taking a photo, transferring the basic outlines to muslin and then using tiny pieces of fabric glued in place to make the project come alive. After the gluing came the thread sketching and then…ta da here she is!

photo 1 (33)

You might remember it started like this…

photo 5 (3)

I finished sewing the hanging sleeve on this morning and I placed it in the hallway for a little photo shoot.

photo 2 (36)

I had concerns about the face not looking exactly like Lindsey’s face but after working with some thread and paint, I got it close enough to be happy with it. Working on a very small face is difficult especially if you are not trained in art.

photo 5 (6)

photo 3 (15)

As you can see in some of the detail photos, a layer of cranberry tulle was placed over the entire piece before the quilting to keep the tiny fabric pieces from falling off. They were glued but this project was done over a number of months and some pieces had just a very small amount of glue on them. The tulle made it much easier to glide around under the free motion foot without snagging the needle on unruly pieces.

photo 4 (13)

This piece will be entered in my guild’s annual show at the end of May. I think the Amanda quilt will also be entered.

So would I do this method again? Absolutely with one caveat. I would try it with a photo or drawing of a nonhuman. In Susan’s book she uses drawings of fish and of the sun and moon. I think it’s a fun and creative method of making an art quilt. The quilt has a water color like quality and it’s very pleasing to the eye.

I do have another technique I’d like to try with a human photo and that is the one that Twilter, Carol Woole, used on her art quilt of her dad. This is a technique shown on Sewing With Nancy by Tammy Bowser. It will require a software install that you can download for free for one week. After the week, you need to purchase it for around $100. I’ll think on which photo I’d like to use and then I’ll do the free download and give it a try.

Do you have a finish to share this week with us? We’d love to hear about it.

Are you looking for a quick St. Patty’s Day project? Try the Lucky mini quilt


Here it is shown with matching place-mats. Pattern is for mini quilt only, place-mats can be made with your favorite pattern or tutorial.

photo 2 (3)