Friday, November 06, 2015

Another Inspiring Trip to Quilt Festival!

I'm not sure how many times I've been to Quilt Festival in Houston. Maybe six or seven. It's always such a delight and I always come away full of inspiration and ideas.

I didn't take very many pictures, but I'm happy to share a few with you. They may give you a taste of the experience.

I was thrilled to have two quilts in the Studio Art Quilt Associates special exhibit Balancing Act! It was also a pleasure to have an opportunity to speak about my quilts at the gallery walk on Friday and Saturday morning. 

Lots of people gathered around for the gallery talk and it was wonderful to hear from the other artists in attendance.

I caught a glimpse of my beloved blue stripe. Can you believe I didn't buy any? I feel I may be getting a little too attached to it and I need to force myself to use something new. (But I know where to order it, if I must!)

Here's my friend Rachel making a toast at the artists dinner to celebrate the special exhibit Affinity. My friends inspire me as much as their quilts.

Like I said, I didn't take many photos, but here is Lillian's Expectations by Bobbi Baugh also from SAQA's Balancing Act exhibit.

I love this quilt and I'm especially entranced by these birds tumbling out of this jar. What is that about?!

I will say the lighting in the SAQA exhibit makes it really hard to get a good photo. You can probably tell from my picture up top and from these pictures of Lillian's Expectations that the spot lights on the quilts make some areas incredibly washed out and others annoyingly dark.

I taught two mini-workshops at the Fiber on a Whim booth. Here's one student's Small Stitched Landscape.

 Look at this beautiful detail of stitched doors from Sarah Bell Smith's quilt Doorways.

Since I've been using ladders in my quilts, I'm noticing them more often. Here is Mary Ann Littlejohn's quilt Agreement House.

I always love the Tactile Architecture special exhibit. I was drawn to the quilt and immediately suspected it might be the work of Ludmila Aristova. It was!

Ludmila is a world-class, critically acclaimed artist and here's her quilt... just one of many others hanging on the floor at Festival.

My friend Sarah Smith was not able to come to Festival this year so I snapped a picture of her quilt in the Small Art Quilts category. It's the pink lily second from the left.

I loved this piece from the In Full Bloom exhibit. It's titled The Garden Angel by Jeanette McCall.

I'm in love with the combination of hand stitching around the edges of the pieces with the free motion stitched bird and branches in blue.

I bought just a few items... including this hand dyed burlap from Fiber on a Whim. The color and texture of this fabric is full of potential!

I'm already looking forward to next year.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

See Me and My Work at Festival!

It's always such a thrill to have my work hanging at the International Quilt Festival. I have four quilts hanging on the show floor this year.

 Green Bowl
Dinner at Eight Special Exhibit "Affinity"

 Waning Crescent Meditation
SAQA Balancing Act Special Exhibit

 Waxing Crescent Endeavor
also in SAQA Balance Act Special Exhibit

I'm eager to see if these two quilts will be hung next to each other or dispersed with the rest of the quilts in the exhibit.

Winged Return
Butterfly Whirl Special Exhibit

Are you going to Festival? I'll be there on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Let's connect! Follow me on Facebook for regular updates.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Mini-Class at Quilt Festival

I am so excited to be teaching a mini class at the Fiber on a Whim booth at the International Quilt Festival in Houston next week.

Here are the samples I created.

It's all about those beautiful variegated pearl cottons! And the hand dyed burlap! And the luscious frayed edges!

Each student will get a kit with everything they need. Then we'll talk about composition and I'll share several of my favorite stitches and embroidery tips.

I had such fun putting the kits together!

I will also do a quick demo of mounting these little compositions on wrapped canvas.

Are you coming to Festival? I'm teaching these Small Stitched Landscapes on Friday at 5 pm and Saturday at 12:30.

I included pins for everyone too. 

Does it seem tedious to prepare all those pins? I put them together while watching The Great British Baking Show on Netflix.  So fun!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Nerd Con:Stories in Quotes

Claire and I (and Benjamin and Jeff) love John Green, author and You Tube celebrity. (I first blogged my love for John Green here.) We also love his brother Hank Green, You Tube celebrity and entrepreneur. So, in April when Hank announced a special event called Nerd Con, I bought tickets on the very first day to give to Claire for her 16th birthday.

The event was fully titled Nerd Con: Stories and focused on the power of narrative, a variety of creative guests and entertainment and was held at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

We had a great time! I'm not sure I really knew what to expect, but it exceeded our hopes! Rather than share a play-by-play, I'm just listing quotes from some of the events we attended. Some of them will not make sense to you at all. That's ok. NerdCon attendees will smile with knowing recognition. The event was full of inspiration. Maybe you'll get a hint of that here.

I wish I would have taken more notes, but I was mostly enjoying the moments.

"Stories and each other art the most valuable things that we have."
Hank Green, Opening Morning Welcome

"You gotta get through your spiders."
John Green to Maureen Johnson as she was avoiding taking questions from the audience

"I do this. I made a thing. I'm done."
Hank Greek, his analysis of living a creative life

"Give yourself a slightly bananas deadline."
Sarah MacKey on getting stuff done

"What's standing in the way of your story going the way you want it?"
Sarah MacKey on Why Stories Matter

"I like that bag, Mr. Pips."
David Nadelberg reading an unintentionally erotic poem that he wrote as a teenager about a bagpipe

"We should teach science with stories."
Hank Green discussing science with Ben Lillie

"There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."
The last sentence of Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin as quoted by memory on the spur of the moment by Ben Lillie

"Once you've done one impossible thing, nothing stops you from doing the next impossible thing."
Sarah MacKey on motivation

 "Guacamole Illuminati that explodes when it stops moving." AKA Guacanati
Winner of the SuperFight card game

"Be sober. Be kind."
Dessa Darling on how to work well with others

"Better to have a long career than a big career."
John Green on success

"Bet on yourself. Don't assume that things are going to get worse."
Rainbow Rowell on continuing to work

"There is not only one right choice."
John Green on compromising

"The white picket fence serves its purpose."
John Green on settling

"It's late once, but it sucks forever."
Patrick Rothfuss on missing deadlines

"I could miss deadlines in the Olympics."
Also Patrick Rothfuss on deadlines

Symbolic annihilation.
Dylan Marron discussing his "every single word" project

"Inhale. Five seconds. Exhale."
Jeffrey Craner reading his stunning poem about his step-brother's suicide

"I'm going to Snapchat that!"
Hank Green on seeing Claire's DFTBA letter jacket and Academic Decathlon patch (She was so excited!)

"She smells like honey."
Storm introducing Desiree Burch

"We look like the Honey Boo Boo of the Universe."
Desiree Burch on the United States' various faults

Sock Sock Shoe Shoe? or Sock Shoe Sock Shoe?
Mock Debate #1 (Winner: Sock Sock Shoe Shoe)

Which would you rather fight? 100 Duck Sized Horses or 1 Horse Size Duck?
Mock Debate #2 (Winner: 100 Duck Sized Horses)

"Everyone has their reasons."
Ana Alderstein on Why Stories Matter

"I forgot the words."
Hank Green, singing one of his own songs, seconds before the crowd prompted him with the next verse

 Lego covered in cocktail sauce.
Meg Bashwiner with the winning guess in the "What's in my Mouth?" game 

"Your wish is granted." 
"I know it is. I earned it."
Awesome Puppet Adventure

The closing event at Nerd Con: Stories was a performance of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind by the New York NeoFuturists. The group of eight performers attempted to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes at random as the audience shouted the numbers for the various play titles as printed on our program "menu." It was quite stunning. Provocative. Entertaining. Funny. Personal. The very best kind of ... stories.

It was much to fast-paced and intense for me to take notes. If I had, I'd have many more quotes to share. But I wouldn't trade a page of notes for my singular focus and appreciation of the performance. And the whole weekend!


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Hike, Movie, Lunch!

Jeff has been traveling a lot, so when he was home and the kids had no school last Monday... we had a super fun day hanging out together.

We started with a hike in Plano.

We went to a new natural preserve we haven't visited before.

It was hot and dry, but a great day.

The night before we watched the movie Chef on Netflix. It was so good! We all really enjoyed it. It's part travelogue, part family drama, part boys road trip, part food porn! It's rated R, but only for language, so it was relatively family friendly for our bunch.

The main character cooks Cuban food, so after our hike, we went to ...

We started with tostones (fried plantains) and fried yucca with a delicious lime garlic dipping sauce.

We had to order the quintessential Cubano sandwich.

We finished with guava pastries. So good!

There is adventure to be had... even close to home.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The Printed Fabric Bee: Architecture

Hey! It's my turn to be the "queen bee" in the Printed Fabric Bee. That just means I picked the theme, size and color palette. Plus, I'll be coordinating the give-away of a collection of 6x6 inch printed fabrics.

I chose Architecture. Each of the other members of The Printed Fabric Bee will be sending me a 12x12 inch piece of original fabric with this theme using the color blue... any blues at all.

Since I recently visited a Frank Lloyd Wright house in NY, I chose his iconic Tree of Life window as my inspiration. I decided to do a faux batik technique using Elmer's Gel Glue. Here are my supplies.

I sketched the lines using a air-disappearing pen. (This piece ended up with too much detail, I had make it more simple.)

Here's you can see the wet glue and the partially disappearing lines.

Here is the 12x12 square after it dried over night.

I used watered down acrylic paint to add the color. It was important to mix the paint and water really well. I wanted a pretty smooth color coverage, no specks or blobs.

Here I've begun filling in the spaces and the paint stayed within the glue lines quite well.

Even though I picked "blues" as my palette, that just really didn't make sense for this design. I had to add something else!

Here is the 6x6 square (for the give-away) and the 12x12 square after the painting was complete. I let the paint dry overnight.

The next day, I filled a bucket with water...

and spent some time swishing and soaking.

There are some other fabrics in the bucket with the Wright windows. You'll see those next month. Hint.

Each fabric really had to be rubbed and massaged so all the glue was off of the fabric. Then I set the pieces on a towel to dry before ironing.

I am thrilled with the results! Here is the 6x6 square.

And here is the 12x12 square.

A detail. Those glue lines came out surprisingly crisp.

Obviously, you can't get super straight edges or pointy corners, but that's not what I was going for.

Would you like to win the collection of 6x6 pieces? Go to The Printed Fabric Bee blog and leave a comment. All the commenters will be entered in a drawing for the collection on September 15.

As usual, here are my thoughts about what worked and what didn't work this month.


  • It's just a great technique. The masking worked great. It was easy to apply. The glue is cheap and easily available.
  • The air disappearing ink was just the right tool, too.
  • Carefully mixing the paint worked well. I'm very pleased with the smooth coverage. The colors are surprisingly deep. I expected more fade and wash out.
  • I'm pleased with the design... even though it's not really my own. But it's fun to do work clearly inspired by other artists.
  • Color palette works. I especially like the light blue, which really does kinda look like the clear glass that was in some of the sections of Wright's windows.
Less Than Successful:
  • My hand was so sore after applying all that glue! (I did more than just the ones I've shown here.)
  • This technique lends itself to more flowy paint and combining colors, which wasn't appropriate here, but is a bit of a missed opportunity. 
  • The dark blue was a bit too dark in some areas. Not a big deal.
  • If we want to get technical, this isn't really a "print" which is the idea behind The Printed Fabric Bee. 
  • Also The Printed Fabric Bee theoretically requires two layers of printing. There is really only one layer of design here. 
Check out the other artists' architecture pieces on The Printed Fabric Bee blog! And comment to be entered in the give-away.