Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Sunday I spent the afternoon outside. It was too glorious to stay indoors. I love working in my yard and especially when I am greeted by the unexpected. I didn't see him when I scooped up the dead plant material and leaves. We both got a surprise. I had to be patient because he hid for a while and was quite camera shy. Can you find my friend the toad? I am hoping that he is a sign that winter will not return. Although yesterday it was quite cold and the high only made it to 46 degrees. I also got buzzed bumble bees and saw my first butterfly, a cabbage white, who was enjoying my dandelions (unlike my neighbors). I also discovered, much to my relief, that the chickadee has decided to accept my new birdhouse. The other, which was used for more than 13 years, fell apart last year leaving her without a nesting place. I have had baby chickadees in the birdhouse on my front porch every year I have been here.   I watched the crows break branches off one of my maple trees for their nest. I am not sure where the real nest will be as I suspect the small one in my yard and the one across the street are decoys. And yes, I know that I was suppose to be resting my elbow, but there are times where it is more important to feed ones soul than to rest ones body. For me the pain was well worth the rewards of the day.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Challenge Updates Plus

I have given myself "quilter's elbow," as my husband is calling it. My doctor calls it elbow tendonitis. It's nothing serious but it is limiting me on the computer and sewing machine. I have exercises to do and I'm suppose to rest. The resting part is not easy for me.

I am happy to share that Gail Pierce has finished her 1950s challenge piece (shown here)! To learn more and see more images, please visit her blog. Thanks Gail!

With Judy's Fabric Challenge, Diane Dunder has been busy. I was a little worried that I was in her head too much with my rules, but she assured me that she is remembering the one that says, "Have fun!" I love that she is just giving us a hint of what she is doing. Can't wait to see more.

Sara Kelly has also made some great progress. I also think it is good that she is letting it rest because she's not sure what to do next. It took me a while to learn how to let things rest but not to forget them and then simply create a UFO. I love all the movement is Sara's piece and can't wait to see what comes next.

On the subject of UFOs, I don't feel that we should feel guilty about having them or feel bad about giving them away. I'm a process person so the end product is always the less important part. The interesting part of me is that I have very few UFOs. So often there is both joy and sadness when finishing a piece. So how do you feel about UFOs?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Quilts in the Attic--The French Bed

While I have always loved quilts, I have always wanted to know about the maker or the story behind the quilt. I think that is why I got involved in the oral history project Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories and why I wanted to write Quilts in the Attic. It is just a little bit of making sure that the disconnect between person and object doesn't happen.

Today I am pleased to be able to share with a photograph from 1979 that shows Janine Janniere (right) who brought to the world French mosaic quilts and Clare (left) who owned the antique store What's It Shop where Janine discovered quilts. This chance meeting and friendship changed Janine's life more than she would ever imagine. You can learn more by reading The French Bed in my book Quilts in the Attic: Uncovering the Hidden Stories of the Quilts We Love.  Enjoy!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Baby Quilt

This was a lot of fun to make. The center was not planned. I simply cut strips and sewed them together without thinking. I like the modern look of it. However, this was definitely a case where I made something because I wanted to play instead of thinking of the recipient. I'm just not sure my niece will like it. The good news is there will be more babies in my future so I will just keep this one until the mother who will love it comes along.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

More on the Mystery Fabric

Not sure I am getting any closer to an answer. Susan in San Jose shared, "I have this fabric in 2 colorways-----lol I think I bought it when I lived in L.A. so that would be around 15-16 yrs. ago. I'm fairly sure when I bought it that it was brand new at the time.  I think I bought it at a fabric store in Burbank which doesn't exist anymore. I knew the Kaufman brothers, classy, wonderful guys, I loved working with them and I've always loved their fabrics."

Then Delores Hamilton shared, "I can tell you that I bought some of it (the purple/green colorway) around 2004 (and still have some left--less than a fat quarter--in case you need more).  I know this because I made a quilt based on Reynola Pakusch's Circle Play, which was published in 2004, the book below, and I used that fabric for one of the circles. I can't tell you if I bought the fabric much before buying the book or not.  But, I don't think I bought it in the 90s because it has metallic gold in it, and I didn't quilt with those kinds of materials until later...or at least I don't think I did.  (I'm not very helpful, am I?  LOL.)"

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Mystery Continues

I decided I really wanted to know more about the Judy's Challenge fabric so I emailed Kaufman. The first email I received informed me that it wasn't Robert Kaufman's fabric. Well I knew that wasn't true because it has "Robert Kaufman Co., Inc." on the salvage so I scanned it and sent it back telling Sandie Mccann, Customer Service Manager, that she was wrong and attached the photo of the salvage. This is what I got back,

"Well Karen, you got me!  This is so old that it pre-dates the majority of the staff in customer service, and we range from the newest at 7 yrs to 20 plus years!  The selvage marking has not been used for years.  I believe the only way you will find some now is to post a picture of the fabric on some of the fabric search sites or blogs.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news … good luck to you!
Kind regards,

So the mystery continues and I'm hoping someone can shred some light.

Everyone has the fabric for this challenge and most are thinking. Sara Kelly is the first one out of the gate. Guess this means, I better get busy!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Kathy Schmidt is in a finishing mode. Here's her 1950's Garden from my 1950's challenge. You an view details by visiting her blog. Love her quilt especially how she added the organza!

The fabric for the next challenge is landing in the hands of those who accepted my second challenge which I'm calling Judy's Fabric Challenge. Some people love the fabric and others are unsure. I must admit that some days I think it is interesting and other days I wonder what the heck I am going to do with it. I am excited to see what everyone does with it. I'll keep you posted.

1. Diane Dunder
2. Kathy Schmidt
3. Sara Kelly
4. Kristin McNamara Freeman
5. Louise Baldel
6. Vivian Helena
7. Sue Andrus
8. Flo London
9. Kathie Briggs

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring Back, Fall Forward

I was in the quilt shop yesterday looking for fabrics for a quilt that I will not be able to share with you (more on that in a minute). There were a group of three women who were complaining loudly to anyone who would listen (and those of us who did not) about Day Light Saving Time occurring. I for one like the idea of it being lighter at night. I am very much like a sunflower which follows the sun trying to catch every available ray of sun. I wonder why these women seemed to need to complain for a good 20 minutes. Yes, I know losing an hour of sleep is not easy for some. I don't remember how to change the clock in my car.  However, this is a sign of winter ending and I am going to rejoice and dig out the car manual.  I am also thankful that after two extremely long winters, this one promises an early spring. The maple trees are budding two weeks early! By the way, this is another thing we can thank Benjamin Franklin and it also saves energy.

Now back to my quilt. I have tried to understand the reasoning of not sharing quilts for exhibition for years and I am still no closer. When I talk with my art friends about this subject, they simply look at me like I am from another planet. They don't get it either.  All I can say is that if I want to play, I must play by the rules so I won't be showing you anything concerning my Memories of My Childhood quilt.

And thanks to Marti for setting me straight that my ATC has a martini glass. Learned something new.

I can share with you that I signed up for the 4 x 6 2 exchange through the Art House Co-op. It was free and since I love making postcards, I thought it would be fun. You make a piece of 4" x 6" art, send it in with a SASE and they send you a 4" x 6" piece of art. I decided to send in one of the postcards I made for the Postmark'd Art group exchange this round. The theme was quotes and I chose the Chinese proverb, "A bird does not sing because it has a answer, it sings because it has a song." I'll share what I get in return. Now it's backing to appliqueing for me. Enjoy this glorious day! I am.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Celebrating Lime!

I thought I could go the entire winter without getting sick but alas, it didn't happen. I caught a cold which had me down and out for much of the week. I actually went to bed at 7:30 Tuesday night. Feeling much better so now I have to play catch up on life for the next few days.

The theme for this month's Arts in the Cards ATC challenge was lime. I love the color lime but wasn't sure what I was going to do. I knew I wanted to do something fun and unexpected so I was happy when wandering around Archiver's (a scrapbook store that does have cool stuff) I found the wonder lime green margarita glasses. They must have been popular too because there was only one package and it was mine. 

I have finally allowed myself to just play sometimes and not try to make high art. These were fun to make and well received. I'm also getting better at not judging myself against others. That is not to say that this group does not make me want to stretch and grow because they do. They are amazing! And I always feel blessed that I get to be a member. Next moth's theme is water and I've already been inspired which is always a good thing. I moved back to making something out of fiber instead of paper. So remember to make time to play and not worry about what people may think. How do you play? And how often?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

I have been awarded the Liebster Blog Award by Franki Kohler, a wonderful fiber artist, author and caring person.  You can check out Franki by visiting at http://frankikohler.com/. This award is given to bloggers who inspire you and have less than 200 followers. The Liebster Award takes it’s name from the German word meaning Beloved, Dearest or Favorite. I’m so honored to receive this award. Franki described me as "Super high achiever who dares you not to be involved." No pressure there. LOL. Thank you Franki!

As part of the tradition it is passed along to 5 bloggers that have motivated and inspired.
To accept the award you must:
1. Link back to the person who gave it to you and thank them.
2. Post the award to your blog.
3. Give the award to 5 bloggers with less than 200 followers that you appreciate and value.
4. Leave a comment on the 5 blogs to let them know that they have been offered this award.
And now for my 5:

1.  Kathy Schmidt for her love of beads and trying new things
2. Eva-Maria Nerling an amazing, versatile artist who creates incredible fabric (someday I may even cut into the piece I own and treasure)
3.  Sherrie Spangler whose humor and kindness I have been blessed knowing
4. Vivian Helena Aumond-Capone someone the more I know that more I want to know
5. Diane Dunder because I can't wait to see what she does with my next challenge

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Quilts in the Attic: Mary Moon, Who Were You

Life Lessons by Lynne Perrella
People think that my book Quilts in the Attic: Uncovering the Hidden Stories of the Quilts We Love is just about old quilts. And while it is true that most of the quilts in the book are old, I wanted my book to be so much more. In the story Mary Moon, Who Were You, there is a wonderful red and white quilt created by Mary Moon when she was 19 years old. However, the story also shares how Mary's life story and quilt influenced mixed media artist Lynne Perrella. There wasn't room in the book to share one of the art pieces that Lynne created so I am sharing one here (with permission). The piece is 11 x 14 inches. This essay showcases how quilts creates can and do reach across time and influence art. I'd like to think that Mary Moon Rockefeller would be pleased.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Check out my ATC group's (Arts in the Cards) new blog  http://artsinthecardsrevisioned.blogspot.com/. We will be exploring different themes every other month and creating journal sized quilts (8.5 x 11 inches). I posted my piece for the Rebirth challenge. Here is a photo, but the commentary is on the new blog. I think you will be a amazed at some of the quilts. This is one extremely talented group. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Carol Esch and the 1950 Challenge

 I think of all the people who took up my 1950s fabric challenge, Carol did the most to change the fabric. Using deColorant and Jacquard fabric paints, I hardly recognize the fabric! I love her symbol too. Way to go Carol! Thanks for providing us with some great inspiration. Can't wait to play!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Da Rules for Next Challenge

For me, a challenge is all about stretching yourself/moving outside your comfort zone. By accepting this next challenge, you are agreeing to stretch and do something that you have not done before. Now for the rules:

1. Have fun!
2. The quilt must be free-form/free spirited.
3. The challenge fabric must be used and visible in the quilt.
4. You are encouraged to share your process and finished quilt on your blog.
5. You will need to share how you stretched yourself and moved out of your comfort zone.
6. Deadline to finish is May 1. (Please send me a photo so I can post them all together.)
7. Have fun!

Due to the amount of fabric I have this challenge will be limited to 12 people (I count as one of the 12). Participants will not be able to choose which colorway. It will just have to be a surprise.

Deadline to sign up is Wednesday, March 7. Fabric will be mailed on March 8. Can't wait for the fun to begin!

So far the following people have accepted the challenge (Life has been a little crazy so if I missed you, just let me know):

1. Diane Dunder
2. Kathy Schmidt
3. Sara Kelly
4. Kristin McNamara Freeman
5. Louise Baldel
6. Vivian Helena
7. Sue Andrus
8. Flo London
9. Kathie Briggs

Thursday, March 1, 2012

1950 Challenge Fabric Reveal

It all began with this 1950s fabric and a group of wonderful people who joined in the fun. The rules were simple.

1. The challenge fabric must appear in your finished quilt. After all, that is the point.
2. You can do anything you want to the fabric (dye, stamp, etc.).
3. You must use Rayna Gillman's book, Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts: A Stress-Free Journey to Original Design, as your inspiration.
4. You must take photographs showing your process. I'd like to see at least three and especially photographs of any changes you make to the challenge fabric.
5. If you don't have a blog, send the photographs and thoughts to me and I'll post them here. If you have a blog, then please share it so we can watch and comment on your progress.

I asked that all the quilts be completed by March 1. However, I knew that not everyone would or could finish it. Irene Armock broke her arm and Marti Porterfield is having visions problems. Rayna Gillman has had lots of deadlines. We Should all be so lucky. Please understand that when I began this challenge,  I did not know Rayna nor did I knew that she would care about my challenge AND that she would take the time to join in and provide encouraging words to those who stepped up and put themselves out there to do the challenge. The world s a better place because of people like Rayna.  Others didn't even bother to acknowledge they got the fabric but life is too short to worry about them. More photos are coming so check back. Thanks to everyone for joining in the fun.


  Rayna Gillman

Ode to Karen
Carol Esch

Louise Baldel

Barbara Beadsley


Pink Rain and Chocolate Bunny

Sherrie Spangler

Martha Ginn 

 Kristin McNamara Freeman