My Favorite Books

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Just a busy Tuesday

Yep, just a busy day of 'dyeing' but not fabric! My roots! Gotta keep that gray covered up! Since I have no current art work to show, thought I'd post some old work from our previous MQAI exhibit. These two pieces are from the 'Art of Music' theme/exhibit from 2007.
The quilt above is from a photograph by Jeff Blye that I traced onto fabric; dye painted with thicken fiber reactive dyes, free motion quilted and of course! added beads for the guitar strings. I happened upon Jeff's photo's a few years ago and he was kind enough to allow me to use them in my quilts. I think this is my 2nd or 3rd piece I've made from one of his photo's. This quilt is 20" x 24" (as are all of the MQAI quilts).

This next piece was also made for the 'Art of Music' exhibit. I call this one 'Listen To Their Song'. I love all Native American art work and I happened upon a web site with paintings by Brigitte Peters Lopez. I was taken by several of her paintings and emailed asking for permission to use them in my piece, which she granted. You can see Brigitte's art work on her web site here.
I had this hand dyed piece of fabric in orange and blues (haven't a clue how I got it that way!) so I ended up painting some old Tyvek envelopes with fabric paint in a metallic blue; I burnt areas to create open spaces on the painted Tyvek then laid pictures I had printed out (some of Brigitte's) and some Native American songs/music under the burnt out areas; I couched down twisted threads and hand stitched large arrows throughout. Just a different take, I thought, on the Art of Music theme.

I love playing with Tyvek and adding it in my art work (you can see one of my most recent pieces here). This was a fun piece to do and I certainly learned a lot about the music Native American Indians created. For example, the 'War Dance' wasn't done to entice them to go to war but to protect them during war and protect those who remained on their reservation.

So tomorrow we go for Bob's checkup on his hip. We're hoping to learn more on what he should or shouldn't do...since we (OK, I!) think he's overdoing certain routines. We need to get him totally healed for his winter golf! Speaking of which, we leave in 27 days!! Yikes! Double Yikes!! Hard to believe..especially since our weather has still been decent! Low 20's in the a.m. but it was 50 degrees yesterday! I'll really be ready for Florida when that 1st snowfall hits!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Honest, I'm still here!

A friend called this a.m. to make sure I was OK. She said, "haven't heard from blog, no email, no news". It was just a busy week for me last week. We had a great Thanksgiving at Darrin & Kris' and another Thanksgiving dinner with kids up from Indiana on Sat. More on time with kids and pics at the end of this post.
I made this small quilt (12" x 12") back in 2007 mainly because I liked the quote above! Since I can't post full pics of what I've been working on for Christmas, I thought I'd show this piece instead.
I'm not good at sewing straight lines so this was a test piece for me to practice on! The background was all straight stitching. All the other pieces of the flowers and quote were made the old 'fabric paper' method. Using muslin as my substrate and then adding tissue paper, wrapping paper, you name it, in between painted layers of diluted textile medium. I then cut out the flowers and quote. I also laid leaves you purchase for scrap booking along with the wrapping paper, etc. , then cut out each piece and sewed onto my quilted background. The stem was made with pipe cleaners which I wrapped with scrap fibers.

So here's a little peak at what I've been working on..had some sewing machine 'issues' so I had to dig out my Florida Bernina (my 1090, which I LOVE!). I'm going to take the newer Bernina with me to Florida to have its 'day at the spa'. It's been years since she was touched by someone other than myself and it's about time to set her free! The quilt shop is only 5 miles from the house, so I'll drop off my machine the day we arrive in Fl. I'll be busy the 1st week or two and hopefully won't need to sew anything. This is another project I'm working on for Christmas...I haven't touched my BJP and look forward to working on it again. But Christmas is a priority so....
And for family, here are pics from Thanksgiving. Kris always sets such a beautiful table and the turkey was great! Looks good doesn't it! It was good! Along with everything else Kris made.

This was Nick doing the 'snake'. Actually, he and I were lighting the candles on the table. He had to have all of them lit! When I went to snap the picture of the table, he scooted under it..but I bet he could do the snake dance!

This is Kris mom, Nancy, and Amber sneaking a piece of turkey.
Here's two of my girls! Amber and Ginny (Kris' niece & my summer helper in 2008!) Ginny had her hair cut and tinted and it looked really nice. Kris straighted Amber's hair and she looked so grown up. She's not smiling here but she did smile a lot that day!
Of course, I FORGOT to take any pictures when kids came to dinner on Sat.!!! I'm so mad! Ian is getting so tall! He's almost the same height as Bob but Ian's legs are a lot longer than his!! Of course, each time we see Kayla, she's even more pretty than the last time. She's doing good at Ball State and enjoys her program but studies do keep her pretty tied up. Of course their mom and dad (MaryJo and Ron) look great and are doing well themselves. We haven't seen them since the spring in Florida so it was good to catch up. We girls played Monopoly Deal, the card game. This is a GREAT game and makes a really good stocking stuffer. I think Kayla won 3 hands and MaryJo at least 2 maybe 3...poor me only won 1 game!

Well, it's back to the sewing machine...we just had turkey soup and sandwich for our lunch/dinner. I cooked the broth on Sat. night and just added veggies and turkey today. Good way to use up leftovers and I still have enough left for two more meals!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


My lemon and chocolate pies are finished! Both homemade and not store bought pudding or pie crust (not that there's anything wrong with that!). I'm a old, retiree so I don't have an excuse to 'not' make the real stuff! Our DIL, Kris, has been cooking for two days and being the great hostess she is, we know the food and family time will be great! Dawn and Jeff are doing their annual Thanksgiving dinner with Jeff's sister and family. Makes it nice for them to have time with his family as well. We'll miss them but I know they'll have a good time and good food (Dawn's cooking the turkey!).
This year we're heading to the kids earlier to watch the Lions game. We usually stay home until half time then head down! This will be nice and here's hoping the Lions win!!
So, I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. I'm certainly thankful for my family, friends and health. Can't get any better than that!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

November BJP and another book review!

I've posted before about Margaret Ball's 'EMBEADERY' book and how much I reference it! Once again, Margaret's book came to my rescue! I bought this book several years ago and even had a spiral binding put on so the book would lay flat when I'm following the beading instructions.
But back to my post...I had a design in mind for my November BJP but just couldn't figure out exactly how I wanted to bead my 'idea'. So, I did what I always do! Look at Margaret's book!
If you look closely on the right side of the picture, you see some orange tabs...those are pages that I marked for this month's project. Yes, there are several but I wanted to have several different stitches on my BJP. If you haven't read/seen this book and if you're a beader (newbie or not) and enjoy beading embroidery, this is a must have for reference and inspiration. I can't tell you how often I look at other beading books, and granted get ideas from them, but I always end up going back to Margaret's book for stitching!

So after getting inspiration from Embeadery, I proceeded to pull beads from my stash. Now see if you can guess what I'm going to bead! Shades of blues, whites, purples and maybe even throw in some pale pinks!

This is my background piece for November. I quilted very little on the background this time. This piece measures 12" x 10" but it will be cut down to a journal size of 8 1/2" x 11 or close to that! No ideas yet on what I'm doing??
TaDa! OK, so you still don't know what I'm doing! Guess I better say or maybe not! Maybe I should wait to see what folks think and then I can always change my mind!! hmmmmm So what do you think my idea is?? Any comments??

And guess what! I won a piece 'mail art' from A Creative Dream's monthly give-away! I'm so excited that I'll be getting one of June's original mail art pieces!! I can't wait!!! And yes, I'll post a picture as soon as I get it!!
June's blog post on mail art got me started on creating those unique envelopes! Her blog, A Creative Dream, is certainly that! June is such a talented and creative person and shares her talent and creativity with her readers! Just check out her recent posts on creating a 'repurposed book' . She actually did four different posts on the ENTIRE process!! So very cool!! You can see the 1st post here. I know once you see this post you want to follow up with the other 3! Make sure you sign up to be a follower as well! You'll love the inspiration...and make sure to comment! Although, some of us tend to follow her blog and lurk rather than comment..I blame it on the wine or margarita's hampering the ability to type! But look what happened to me when I commented! I won!! Guess I must have entered before I had that margarita!

So off to do some 'unsewing' on a quilted piece I'm working on. Long story...ugh story...then to bead while watching our Lions play today! Let's hope for a win! Or at least a good showing..which they have done..but the win would be so much nicer!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Nancy Nurse is back!

Yep, SHE IS BACK! So early yesterday afternoon, Bob and I decided to go for a ride. OK, it was his surgeon who suggested we go for a the ER!! Yikes! Bob got up in the a.m. and actually said he had NO pain at all! Felt great and was actually smiling and had a song in his heart. OK, getting sappy but you get the point. He felt great. He was in shaving and getting ready to go to out for awhile and next I know he's TRYING to walk into the living room. I say TRYING because he couldn't put ANY weight on his leg!! Severe pain..oh no!!
Panic sets in; call the Dr.; Dr. said he might have broken the bone at the bottom of his hip replacement; panic sets in again and again!! Off we go to ER to spend the afternoon. Literally! But the good news is/was the bone wasn't broke! That's a big WHEW!!!
Appears Bob injured the major muscle along the side of his leg from the hip bone to the knee. We're (ME!) thinking that when he puts his socks on that he's stretching that muscle. This is where you have to have a picture of someone sitting on the end of the bed, pulling his leg just about up to his chin, putting on his sock(s). He looks like a circus act for the rubber man! Bob's been so proud that he can put his socks on but I can see where this little action has caused him problems.
Bob feels pretty good today but he's going to rest, use the cane and just be cautious when he walks. Also in our hospital ward today is Mandy! Yep, I had to take her in on Monday because she was limping with her right front leg! Not the leg she had the repair on..gezzzzz now what..turns out she and Bob have the same problem. Soft tissue injury!
So, my rounds and 'shift' are coming up so I had better get to work! It's a tough job but someone has to do it! Just hope the birds and fish hang in there!! Oh, yea, I did get some herbal meds for the fish - he was lethargic and not eating..turns out I was overfeeding him! Go figure! He's happy again and making his love, bubble nest! Just for me! I am loved!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

BJP 2011 and a book review!

I've been busy everyday but can't post pictures because most of my work has to do with Christmas gifts! Hence, don't want the recipient(s) to get a preview! Plus, I've been designing my fiber art Valentine that we do each year for Fiber Arts Magazine, Valentine challenge. Each year our CCC fiber group exchange names and mail our fiber Valentine to the magazine. Our group has been in their magazine and/or online catalog each year!

I also signed up for the BJP again for 2011! I've really enjoyed this year and look forward to starting next year as well. Although I do have to finish Nov. and Dec. I did work on my BJP yesterday but I didn't care for how the quilting was turning out so I pitched it! If you're interested in joining the BJP 2011, you can register online here and you can see my journals for this year here.

I do have a book review for you! I had ordered this book through our library a few weeks ago and I just loved it! SO, I splurged and it was delivered over the weekend. It's a great bead book written by Heidi Kummli and Sherry Serafini. Their work is just plain gorgeous!! Stunning!! Beautiful!! True, the book is primarily about jewelery but it has so much inspiration in it I'm having a hard time wanting to put aside my gift making and get busy transferring their jewelery ideas onto fabric!

Let's face it...all beading is made up of the same stitches. It just depends on how and where you put them. I'd highly recommend this book to any beader, whether it's jewelery or bead embroidery that is your favorite past time! This book is definitely coming to Florida with me (along with about 20 other books!). Even if you aren't interested in the book, do check out Heidi and Sherry's web sites (links above in previous paragraph). You'll be amazed!
And if you want to find the best price on the 'net' for any book, go to This is a great site that will find the book you want and list all the prices including shipping. You can find some great deals there! Which can be a good thing or a bad thing! We'll keep thinking it's a good thing!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Poetry Challenge Art Work

The Happy CCC Fiber Group
Front row starting on the left: Elsie, Michelle & Joyce
Back row starting on the left: Me, Karen, Carol, Debra & Chris

A talented group for sure and we had lots of food and inspiration to keep us talking for several hours! We were missing a few members due to other commitments, but we did SKYPE our member who now lives in Italy, Lois Ann! LA sent me her Inspired by the Masters - Van Gogh piece. Isn't it beautiful!!!
LA is so, so talented and she just had 11 of her art pieces on exhibit in Italy! She also does beautiful watercolor cards which she's going to be selling soon. You can see some of her pieces on my blog post here. I'll make sure to have the link to her Etsy shop when she is up and running which should be after the 1st of the year.

Now onto our 2010 CCC Challenge. This piece is by Mary (she wasn't able to attend our party). It was actually a picture of her Inspired by the Masters - Van Gogh art quilt (which is currently on exhibit) that she adhered to a large cardboard piece.
Mary placed the poem on the back of the cardboard in the leaves of the tree. Very clever and her actual quilt is beautiful! It's currently on exhibit with the rest of our exhibit.
This piece is by Michelle (my margarita friend!)! She had this dyed, muslin piece from one of our past dye camps and said she had the piece finished within a few weeks after the announced 2010 theme!
I had to show the back of Michelle's piece as well. Very nice job. Her poem was written by Mattie Stepanek. If you don't know about this young man, read about him here. Most libraries have some of his writings..check them out.
This piece is by Karen! And the most interesting thing about her piece is she made it yesterday morning before she came to the party!! It's based on the poem 'The Duel' by Eugene Field. OK, so I was raised in a cave and I didn't know of this poem but several others did! Talk about feeling like an outcast! geezzz Anyway, Karen did a great was SO cute! And actually a lot of work to do that morning! Each section was attached to 8 1/2" X 11" cardboard.
This is my piece based on a poem about butterflies (author unknown). I quilted the piece (8"x8"); then attached with hand stitching onto a gallery wrap canvas; rolled acrylic paint over the piece; painted the butterfly and extended painting leaves outside the piece; printed the poem onto Extraganza then attached w/ gel medium to the bottom of the canvas.

This piece is by Carol! She's been taking an online watercolor class by Jane LaFazio on Her piece was around 5" x 7" and very nicely done. She has several layers of tracing paper/tissue paper for the lettering.

This was a journal size quilt done by Debra. I won't say much more about this piece but will send you to her web site here instead. Some of you may recognize Debra's stunning work and winning quilts! Her piece was based on a poem 'Bird of Paradise'. This piece looks like a photo doesn't it.
Joyce's piece was based on....Mary Had A Little Lamb. It was actually a basket as you can see here. So much work involved in this! And so clever!!

Our challenge this year was so unique, we were unable to vote on the winner as we've done in the past. So, we put all the entries in a box and Elsie drew the winning name. Our winner was, TADA..Chris!! Now the sad part is I didn't get a picture of Chris' quilt! Yes, I got sidetracked yakking! It was really nice with pieces of pages from a book and quilted. I asked Chris to send me a picture and I'll make sure to post it. Chris was the one who gave us the suggestion for this year's challenge. She also won the book, Taking Flight:Inspiration and Techniques to Give Your Creative Spirit Wings by Kelly Rae Roberts for her entry.
So that was our challenge for this year. Michelle gave us some 'inspiration' by providing cardboard tri-fold pieces for next year's challenge! That should work out to be another interesting and unique challenge. So now to watch our beloved LIONS!!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The tree is up

The tree is up....

The fireplace is on...

Now just waiting for friends to sit and enjoy each others company!

Our annual CCC Fiber group Christmas Party is today. I'm all ready and just sitting here with the dogs (Cody came over to visit for an hour or two). This is our last get-together for the year so it's always a relaxing time with food, drink, conversation and of course show & tell! We also have a yearly challenge and this year is no different. The challenge is to make an art piece based on a poem. I know there are going to be lots of different techniques and I can't wait to see what everyone did. I'll post pics tomorrow before the Lions play of course!
And, yes, those are golf clubs beside the fireplace. Our downstairs family room is decorated in golf items Bob has collected over the years. Those particular clubs in the picture are quite old and I believe are made of wood. I leave a lot of the golf items up as that's our room and I don't mind mixing Christmas with our hobbies. Heck, my quilts are hung all over the house!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Out of sight, out of mind

Cool picture, right! Well..yesterday was our small Aussome fiber group meeting. My friend, Mary, brought her picture (same as above) and asked if I remembered it! YES, I did remember it, but I forgotten all about the picture. A few years ago, Mary asked if I wanted to make an art quilt with her. She was going to do the tree and I was going to do the woodpecker. Needless to say we never finished this project which isn't really like either of us but guess life got in the way. I went directly home from our meeting and found my 'woodpecker' project!

So onto the story...I was pretty stoked about working with Mary so I jumped right into this project. I was heavy into using print paste and fiber reactive dyes to paint with so that's what I did.
I traced the woodpecker onto white fabric and then proceeded to paint it with the thickened dyes. He turned out pretty good I thought but I did make two of them (above is an extra woodpecker I have).
This next picture shows my woodpecker in progress (you can see why I selected to work from this painted piece as the colors are much brighter. After I dye painted the 'bird', I sandwiched him between batting and backing and finished the edges off with satin stitch.
I then proceeded to attach actual feathers from my birds and store bought feathers onto the piece! I remember working on this piece in Florida and I think it was the first year we spent the winter there. I told the ladies yesterday that I thought I had at least covered the bottom of the tail but it doesn't look like I got that far. I remember spending lots of time attaching just these few feathers! Picking and choosing! It doesn't look like many but there really are lots of feathers attached!
And here is my stash of feathers! Yep, all from my birds..from cockatiels, to Australian Grass Parakeets to a Blue Front Amazon..lots of feathers to choose from but I can only use the black/blue/grey ones!
I'll have to see if Mary really wants to finish this. She said she never started on her tree so I don't feel so bad...but I'd be willing to finish it if she still wants to. If not, I might just finish it sometime myself. I don't have that many WIP's or UFO's or whatever you want to call them but this one will be at the top of the short stack for sure! As I said in my title of this post...Out of sight, out of mind. Hence, an unfinished 'bird'!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Saturday Outing

On Saturday, I had an outing all on my own! I posted awhile back about the exhibit my friend Mary had in Lapeer along with a glass artist. Well, it just so happened that the glass artist, David Hilty was having an open studio this past weekend. Of course with the Lions playing on Sunday I wouldn't leave the house so I elected to go visit his open studio on Sat. I'm so glad I did! In addition to purchasing some great Christmas gifts, I also learned some things on glass making up close and personal! It's one thing to see this art being done on the TV but another when you see these artists work in person. David has a studio in a separate building on his property and hold workshops as well. His art and art of some of his students/protege's are also on display around our town. You can check out his web site here to see where he is selling his art and more about his studio and workshops. The day was beautiful so I enjoyed walking around the property, watching them. Below is David making a pumpkin glass ornament. I forget the other two artists, which really makes me mad..but being old you have an excuse, right! David started out with just a plug of glass and kept heating, yada, yada..the fellow on the right was making the stem which you'll see being attached, cut and heated to turn it to a metallic color.

Below is David shaping the glass and when it's the size he wants he'll drop in a mold to get the pumpkin marks.

The molds below are what David used for the stem (smaller mold) and the pumpkin shape. You can see more on the process in the two video's. So very cool! I did also make a stop at our local cider mill since it's on the way home! Picked up some apples, applesauce, great pickles! and of course some donuts! They aren't sitting so well on my stomach..maybe if I only ate one I'd be ok!! hmmmm
Today (Sunday) I did get my downstairs all decorated for Christmas! Yep, tree is up and mantle is decorated! We're having our annual Christmas party at our house this Sat. for our CCC fiber group. We always have a good time and our yearly challenge is due as well. Tomorrow is our small Aussome fiber meeting and I'll be anxious to hear all about the opening ladies went to on Friday. Oh, Lions lost today...23 - 20...sad loss...they should have won. Well, there's always next week. They certainly didn't have anything to be ashamed of today. I thought they played great!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Yep, it's my baby's BD today! 42! Yikes! I did head down to kids last night and we got to celebrate Darrin's BD. Reason being, he's in the Iceman Race in Kalkaska today! They headed out around 4:00 a.m. to drive up to Kalkaska..yes, that is dedication! I'm dedicated but not to running/biking in 20 degree weather nor getting up at 4:00 a.m. to punish myself. Although, for Darrin, he gets up at that time daily to head to the gym or work out before he goes to work!
Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!! Mum is thinking of you and hoping you're drinking lots of water even though it's freezing outside!! It was 25 degrees @ 9:00 a.m.
This was a 'bumpy' cake we had for Darrin and yes, he needed help to blow out the two candles! he he

We filled up on great Mostaccioli from Italia Gardens and I picked up the cake from their local bakery. Yum! I bought grandpa and I two cupcakes to have tonight..along with butternut squash soup that Kris made! Kris is a great cook and I tried some of the soup. It was SO good! I have fresh bread and now the soup for Bob and I for dinner tonight!

Kids wanted to have the candles lite in the dining room. Kris had the entire house decorated for Halloween and it was so cute!! I should have taken more pictures of the decorations.
Pictures are out of order but family is just interested in seeing the kids anyway!
Nick really does smile a lot but not always when he's getting his picture taken (gets that from grandma!). This is his flag football that he has signed by his team and his medal for playing. I really enjoyed going to those games as well. His last game was a week ago and Amber only has two games left which will be played as a double header (go figure, for kids, a double header!) next Friday.
Oh, while Amber's playing basketball, Nick is on the other side of the gym playing basketball and sitting with his 'harem'! I thought this was so funny when the two little girls walked up to him and sat down.
So last night was also our opening for the Inspired by the Masters art exhibit. You can read more about it here on our SAQA blog post. You can also see some of the artwork which will be on display on that post as well.

Obviously, I didn't attend nor did our other artist, LoisAnn, who now lives in Italy. LA and I didn't want to miss the opening so I made up a stick with our pictures on both sides and gave to Mary to take with her. Before I took the 'stick' to Mary, I walked into the living room and Bob had the stick on my chair. I started to laugh as he said "well, you're never here sitting in your chair so I thought I'd put your picture there and pretend you're sitting with me". I had to take a picture as I thought that was a hoot..little things make me laugh now a days!
For my family/friends out of state, here's our girl playing basketball! She's in green top far right and the girl who gets the ball! I didn't get any video's of her making the baskets or all of the rebounds she got! Way to go, baby girl!!!! Love you!!