Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Quilt for Dad

My dad turned 80 this year so I decided he needed a wall hanging to celebrate. I love hands so I asked family members to trace their left hand (it's the one closest to your heart). Unfortunately, most of my family and family friends did not get me their tracings until after his party. Now the plan is to have the wall hanging done by Christmas. I got a lot more hands than I expected which is not a bad thing since I really have only a vague idea as to what I am going to ultimately do. Anyway, I thought I would start with a tree. You know, the whole family tree thing so here's my tree. Right now, it is 27" w by 32" h. Happy so far. Now I just have to decide what to do next and how to deal with all the hands so this thing doesn't end up being enormous. Good thing I love creating challenges for myself.

Monday, August 27, 2012


This was a fun quilt to make and is a continuation of playing with free form. I hand appliqued the pods on to the free form background. The quilt is 41" (w) by 7.5" h. I quilted it to make the pods pop out. I think I want to play more with the pod shape only try for something more colorful. I do love the organic feel of this piece. Nature definitely feeds my soul.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Little Bit of Fame

Well, my article finally made it online and into my local newspaper, the Naperville Sun. Joy Davis did a nice job. I wasn't misquoted! It's a nice way to end the week. Now it's back to the studio for me! Happy creating!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Update on I'm Not Crazy

SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates, Inc.) has the I'm Not Crazy exhibit now online! You can now see all twenty quilts. If you click on the quilt image, you get a larger image.Also you can read the thoughts of both the curator, Kathy Nida, and the juror, Sue Reno. I especially enjoyed reading Sue's selection process. It is an impressive exhibition. I hope it will travel beyond just the Mancuso Brothers' shows and some place where I get to see the quilts in person. We all know that quilts are always better in person!

Monday, August 20, 2012

You Never Know

I was interviewed today by Joy Davis of the Naperville Sun newspaper about my blog. Of course, she had my heart when she said at the door, "It looks like an artist lives here." It was my art journal that caught her attention and made her want to interview me. She's been making art journals for a number of years. I always find it interesting what speaks to people.

It is a beautiful day so I suggested we sit outside. The wind came up which made the acorns fall onto the table. Do you know that it takes an oak tree two years to grow an acorn? Thankfully the much needed rain held off until we were finished.

journal page ready for words and more art
She asked me if creating the art journal meant I was going in a different direction. For me, it's just a continuation of the journey. I do think having an art journal will continue to be a part of my life. It's just too much fun. However, I don't think I could ever give up working with cloth or making quilts.  I just want to be open and free to explore other art forms. One seed can start a garden. One smile can lift a spirit. One candle can light a room. One conversation can start a friendship. One piece of art can heal. Making art feeds a need in me that I cannot explain in words. I bet you understand.  Anyway, when my interview is post on their website, I'll let you know. Joy only has 300 words so it will be interesting to see what ends up in her article from our conversation. Thanks Joy for making my day!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thoughts on Putting Stretch Marks on Your Comfort Zone

I have fallen in love with creating an art journal. It has me thinking in some many different directions. Maybe I wasn't ready for keeping this kind of journal until now. I could use the excuse of time but I have always believed that time is a created thing. I make time for what is important to me (or when my house is in desperate need of cleaning). It does show me once again that until we are open and ready for new experiences, it just won't happen.

When I teach, I spend a good part of my time helping people overcome their mean-spirited critical inner voice that tells them "I can't" or "I'm not creative," etc. and pushing them to move beyond their comfort zones. I jokingly call it "putting stretch marks on your comfort zone," but I am serious about how important it is as adults to do so. It took me quite a while but now I'm aware when I'm not pushing myself beyond my comfort zone. And while I don't think that my art journal is pushing much, it is allowing me time to explore, ponder, keep perspective, be curious, lighten up, release and try new things all in a safe place.  This new phase is creating lots of new ideas and I cannot wait to see what happens next! Do you think about your comfort zone and how to move outside it

Monday, August 13, 2012

Alcohol Inks and Mailbox

Yesterday my husband installed a new mailbox post as our old one had long outlived its time. I bought a copper fence post top for it but realized it had a sealer on it so the copper would never become a wonderful turquoise patina. I realized that I could use my alcohol inks on it and get a fun look which is exactly what I did. I figured that if it didn't work, I could spray paint it.  Success! I'm happy and all the neighbors checked it out so I hope they are happy too.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Free Online Creativity Class

Quite a few people have emailed me asking "what's next?" I decided I didn't want to offer another fabric challenge because it was time for something new. For years I taught a creativity class and more than 10 years ago I tried to get it published as a book (my students kept asking) but alas no one would publish it. I looked into self-publishing but didn't have the funds to do it. So I've decided to offer it here if there is interest. I'll post the assignments on the first of the month and you have a month to get it done. There is also suggested reading and excursions. I can post photos on my blog or link to yours so people can see what you have done. If there is enough interest, I'll post the first assignment on September 1 so leave a comment.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Art Journal

 I have lots of different kinds of journals--one filled with ideas and random thoughts, one full of quotes, one full of writing, another one for my garden, etc. I have never done an an art. I know it's a surprise. I think a part of me just didn't think I could create something that worked for me. Well that is over! I stumbled upon a book, Journal fodder 365, by Eric M. Scott and David R. Modler and I am in love. There are 12 themed chapters, ranging from Personal Mythologies and Histories to Connections and Relationships (all with questions to answer),  dozens of step-by-step instructions for painting, drawing, wiring and collage techniques, 12 suggested excursions for you and your journal, and 12 exploded views of showing real-life applications of the tutorials and prompts. I've only just begun but I can see this becoming a daily part of my life now.  I can't wait to see where this journal leads! I am curious, do you keep this kind of journal? Do you do entries on a daily basis?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

CLAW- Crossing the Line: Artists at Work

The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do. - Sarah Ban Breathnach

I am a woman with a mission. I want to change the world for the better with quilts. I do this with my artwork, my travels, my teaching, my lecturing, my curating, my writing and now with a new group Crossing the Line: Artists at Work (CLAW). The deadline for getting me the work for our first exhibit is fast approaching (August15) so packages are arriving. It is so exciting and inspiring to see what the members of the group have created for Women Who Broke All the Rules. The next couple of weeks I will be spending my time trying to travel the exhibition so stayed tuned for exciting news!

As for the dragonfly, I discovered him when I went outside to investigate a funny noise. Never did figure out the noise but finding my visitor was well worth it. No pesticides which makes it difference too.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Need A Favor

If you have read my book and enjoyed it, please post a review on Amazon. It does not have to be long--short and sweet works. Thanks to everyone who has posted a review so far. It is appreciated more than you know.

Author Eleanor Levie put a review on her blog today!

If you haven't read my book, it's a great summer read with its 30 short essays. Don't let the cover fool you. It's not all antique quilts and some of the stories about the antique ones will surprise you.

Another way to help is to recommend that your library buy a copy. I know of one library in southern Illinois that has a waiting list to read it. I almost cried when I heard about it. Word of mouth does work. Guess reviews on Amazon do too.

Writing this book was a labor of love. It won't make me rich or famous but then again, that wasn't the point of writing it.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Another Cardborad Box Typography Apple

Several people asked me if I took a photo of the box before I cut it up to make my first apple and I had to say, "no." The idea hit and I went into action. When making the second and smaller apple (5.5 h" by 6.5" w), I did. Here is a photo of the ends of the box before I cut it up. I love that the handle created a bite out of the apple! These have been so much fun to make!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Cardboard Box Becomes an Apple

My husband brought home beer from one of his favorite breweries, Three Floyds, in the most amazing cardboard box. I would not let him break it down and recycle. It has sat in my kitchen for some time waiting for inspiration to strike and it did yesterday.  I started by making a pear out of the bottom to see if I could actually make my idea work. The pear is not finished and I'll share it when it is done. I decided that by constructing another pear I would not use as much as the design on the box as possible so I decided to make an apple. Late yesterday we had a storm blow through and knocked this wonderful stick out of my locust tree. Continuing to play with typography and having lots of words let over from my Ransom Note ATCs, I decided to add words most related to beer. My favorite is "Barkeep, a glass of Sarsaparilla." I also added some seeds for fun. I was pleasantly surprised by how much my husband liked it (including the twig) so I gave it to him.  The apple is 7.5" h x 7" w. When you add the stick, it becomes around 15 inches tall. I am seeing cardboard boxes in a new light.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

In Four Years

I have several friends sending children off to college soon and came across this poem in my journal so I thought I would share it. While I might not agree with it all ( I don't think spoons in the freezer has ever worked for me. I have not defined myself "hot" ever. I've never smoked a cigarette let alone a cigar.), there are some great truths here. I think I'll see if I can add to this with some things that I have learned.  Enjoy!

By Anonymous

I learned that putting spoons in the freezer when you’re crying will later soothe your puffy eyes
I learned that getting away from the person who makes you cry will, eventually, make you feel better.

I learned that my eyes are grey, not blue
That they shift with the light and with my moods
I learned that this makes me beautiful
Even when my eyes are as stormy as my soul.

I learned that I hate the word “hot”
I learned that I have defined a large portion of my life by it.

I learned the difference between a true apology and a request for absolution
I learned that the former is rare and the latter, much too common
I learned that I have the right to walk away from both.

I learned that I have rights, even as a woman.  Especially as a woman.

I learned that rock bottom is never actually bottom, and that asking for help is better than muddling through
I learned that muddling a drink is unnecessary when you learn to like the taste of straight whisky
I learned that whisky sometimes gets you closer to bottom.

I learned that discomfort is powerful.

I learned that thunderstorms are soothing
And that sunny days are just nervous energy bursting from the universe’s soul.

I learned that sunburn hurts just as much as the boy on the beach who tells you that you look anything less than “skinny” in a bathing suit
I learned that “skinny” is more painful than it looks
And that a bathing suit is meant for playing in the water so much that you forget you are getting burned.

I learned that cigarettes sting and that cigars are smoother
But that smoking either will elicit more attention than both are worth.

I learned that sex can feel good
And that it feels best when it’s actually consensual.

I learned that speaking against the consensus is sometimes a good idea
I learned that my ideas are worth voicing, even when they earn me a jab in the ribs, a shove, a reputation
I learned that reputations are both more and less important than they seem
Depending upon the circles of people you choose to esteem in your life.

I learned that having people in my life that I do not respect is, in fact, a waste of my time
I learned that my time is precious because it is mine, because I can choose what I want to do with it.

I learned that taking a nap is sometimes just as valuable as taking that hour to study, or get lunch with a friend, or look up poetry by authors I secretly aspire to become
I learned that secret aspirations are just bold dreams divided from the truth by a thin line of privacy and shame

I learned that words are in my veins and that I bleed my existence every time I put pen to paper.
I learned that four years is not enough time to know myself.

But I learned that I am worth knowing.

Friday, August 3, 2012

More Ransom Note ATCs

These really are like potato chips--you can't just make one! I am a firm believer in letting an idea run its course. I made 12 so I don't feel too bad about this latest obsession. However, it is time to move on so I'll share a few more with you and invite you to play!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Zen of Cucumber Dreams

This month's color exchange for Arts in the Cards is "cucumber." I often begin my thought process about the challenges by looking for quotes. I couldn't believe looking through my journal of quotes that I actually had one that mentioned cucumber: "To see cucumbers in a dream denotes that you will speedily fall in love. Or, if you are in love, then you will marry the object of your affection." (Richard Folkard in Plant Love, 1884) A few days after finding the quote, I played peek-a-boo with a cucumber beetle that was eating one of my Cosmo flowers. He was quite camera shy. Every time I tried to take his photograph, he moved quickly to the back of the flower which made his image a blur. If he wasn't going to let me photograph him, I would draw him instead. I knew I wanted an interesting background so while searching through my photographs, I came across one that I look when I was playing with my dad's miniature Zen garden. I changed the color in Photo Shop and added the quote. For the cucumber beetle, I used ink, Inka Gold and fabric markers and added beads for his eyes. He's fused onto the background. Success! And I am done before the sign up deadline! It's so nice when ideas come together quickly and there are no worries about meeting a deadline. Who could ask for anything more!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ransom Note ATCs

I definitely have typography on the brain. I cannot tell you why I decided to do ransom notes. It simply popped into my brain. I do love cutting up magazines and words. Since Artist Trading Cards (ATC) are small (2.5" w x 3.5" h) it did present some challenges so instead of cutting out individual letters, I tried to find whole words whenever possible. I had a package of six colored background ATCs. I don't even remember where I purchased them and of course, now I want more! I started out doing a fairly traditional ransom note then moved on from there. While ransom notes are usually just words, I decided to use images too to make them more interesting. Today I plan to give them a coat or two of mat medium to seal them and keep the words from falling off. I have made six so far and do plan to make more. I am hoping to trade them with people who want to play with ransom notes. My friend Marie Z. Johansen is game! By the way, Marie has a great typography basket that she made on her blog. Check it out!