Falling from the shelves

Whenever I move things on seldom used shelves in my studio, something interesting always falls out! Today it was a couple of pieces from a class I took many years ago…so long ago that I can’t remember who taught it. So long ago that I’m not even sure what we were supposed to be learning.

I think it was inserting strips and manipulating fabric.

Don’t really know how to go about reconstructing the meaning behind this piece, but this next one was pretty straightforward.

I was able to play with them a bit and make some cards out of them.

But do you know the most important lesson that I learned today?

DO NOT and I mean do not EVER use ugly fabrics when you take a class! Because even if you learn a technique that you will not use again, the lesson will always look better with pretty fabrics!

Will be out of regular internet coverage for a bit, so I will post as it becomse available to me.


Coming attractions–

Short, short post to show you the gorgeous fabrics I got in the mail.

I’m working on a couple of projects with these and I’ll give you all the details as soon as they are ready.

Soooooo pretty!

Museum day

This was not a week for sewing at all. Monday and Tuesday were spent doing laundry, sorting all the stuff I took to Blue Lake with me, hanging with the grandson and being home again. Wednesday was an ‘organize myself’ day, with a little work on this,

and Thursday I went to the AQS show in Grand Rapids. That was fun but I took no photos–I find that I don’t go back and look at the work of others, so I am just enjoying it in the moment. Wonderful work, for sure.

It was also a day for connections. I met two of my social media friends for real, Jenny Lyon and Robin Koehler and we chatted as though we had seen each other every day! Great to meet them both.

And there was this vendor…………….a connection was made and there is the possibility of writing patterns using their fabrics. It’s got my brain spinning, but what is there to lose? Sounds interesting.

Friday was so much fun with the grandson. We try to take him to the Toledo Museum of Art occasionally and we always have a great time. The good time started right inside the door with an interactive art and music exhibit. The outdoor exhibits get a visit also and when I took this photo

I remembered that we had done the same photo before…in 2016, it turns out. Mr. AJ has grown a bit since then!

My plans for this week were to catch up on all my neglected garden projects, but that may be changed now. My brain is absolutely spinning with pattern ideas and that must be resolved so I can concentrate on day to day obligations a little bit, too!

I WILL get that lawn mown today, though. As well as being a necessity, it’s a great time for planning out a pattern as I work!

Prep and pack

My focus this week has been to get ready to teach at Blue Lake. I spent part of the time doing one of my favorite things…watching glue dry. Much more exciting than watching paint dry!

In consideration of ratio of students to sewing machines, we need to glue instead of sew some of what we wish to do. Houses will be made with a lot of glue, like this little one.

Fill in projects will include accordion books and soft fold up books like this one.

When it’s cut and folded it is the size of one the squares, and the picture is revealed.

All that’s left is to finish glueing another house together and pack up. I’m READY!

Personal sewing has taken a back seat, of course, and there may not be much to post about for the next 10 days, but I’ll share when I can…not much wifi at camp!

I have been adding pieces to my spool book project.

Sewing on the deck on a beautiful summer morning is heavenly! Last night I think I added the last bits of lace to this project.

Now on to embellishment and beads. And I finally found the type of spool I have been looking for to put it on…when it rains, it pours. None for months and then 5 or 6 at once. I chose these two and plan to make another book on the smaller one, too.

Looking forward to some quiet time in the woods…when not hanging with those wonderful, lively middle-schoolers. Their creativity does refresh me and astonish me so much! Can’t wait to see what they do with the faces project.

‘Sup, Dude?


Weekend fun

Another spur of the moment weekend trip for us and I did absolutely NO sewing. My family is originally from the Utica/LaSalle IL area and we decided to go back for a visit. The areas’s major attraction is Starved Rock State Park. It’s along the Illinois River, with limestone bluffs and canyons and trails and waterfalls……..lots of walking!

We have not actually walked those trails since our son was a baby, and things have changed a bit, for the better. There were no boardwalks or safety fences or STAIRS on the trails then. We stood on the bare rock, and didn’t dare get too close to the edge.

The view from the top of the rock is spectacular, and this will give you an idea of how high we are.

It is so much safer now, with these improvements and better for the area ecologically, too. Limestone wears down very quickly and hundreds of people go through the park every summer. Winter draws almost as many, especially since the eagle population has rebounded and they nest on a river island.

But the other half of the equation is the abundance of canyons in these limestone bluffs. Walking the trails, you look up and can barely see the sky.

From the heights, to the depths and no shortcuts! Soooooooo much climbing, and for every step up, you had to make the trip down to get out of those canyons. But it was totally worth it for those lovely waterfalls…that you can walk behind! My favorite kind!

With lovely pools beneath them.

I didn’t take photos of one waterfall and pool that was filled with joyous, laughing, wet children from a youth group. They were having so much fun!

We could barely move after we were done. It’s a bit different when you are a senior citizen than it was when we were young. We were able to make it to a lovely cafe and I liked the window treatments very much.

I think it’s a great use of all those vintage handkerchiefs you may not know what to do with. Of course, if they are precious to you, you won’t want to expose them to sun damage, etc. but do you want to enjoy them or hide them away to preserve them for another generation that won’t know what to do with them? Can you tell that I would USE them?

Had dinners with a couple of cousins and visited the museum that was once my grandfather’s workplace. Got some info about him there that I hadn’t known, so that was a bonus. We had some extra time and went to Galena IL, since hubby loves history and that’s the home of U.S. Grant. Turns out it is a totally charming town and may deserve another visit to just tourist around that area.

Our last minute weekends have been wonderful fun, but I do have things to get done now! Looking forward to some art group meetings, and Quilt University at the end of the month. Teaching at Blue Lake at the beginning of August–lots of decisions and projects to get ready for that.

Isn’t summertime supposed to be for rest and relaxation? Good thing I love what I do!


Decisions along the design path are extremely difficult for me. Most become pretty clear cut with a little study but almost always there is a wall. You can’t quite seem to make the decsion that will lift you over that wall and on to the finish line. Today was that day for me and this piece.

Good like this, right?  It’s a little piece of silk, though, so it needs some finishing. First thought was to satin stitch the edge, as I often do, and mount it on a canvas. No extra spark of interest that way, though.

Then I thought to mount it on wool felt.

Plain white, but it will have navy cording lines added to stitch the pieces together. Plain white doesn’t look too bad. So how about adding another layer? I have dyed cotton organdy that is semi-sheer and I tried a couple of pieces.

Darker, mostly navy with a bit of purple.

Lighter, lots of turquoise and shades of blue.

Can’t seem to make a decision. Does that mean none of the options are the correct one? Or only that I cannot see a solution that might be obvious to you?

Sticking point, so what did I do? Put this aside and stitched on the turquoise beast. It’s getting closer to the next step, but there will be a sticking point on that one also. I can almost feel it breathing down my neck. I hear that dreaded inner whisper…’focal point, focal point’. It’s gotta be time to step away and let my subconscious work on this for a while!

KEQ Dirty Dozen

It’s always easy for a group to have a Dirty Dozen Challenge because the limits are so flexible. But I have to say, I am looking at an extremely varied pile of objects for this one.

Our rules are very flexible, though. For example, we don’t actually have to USE the orange foam rubber shapes, but can reference them through stamping or painting or using just the shape. Same with the iced tea bottle. But still………..

I try to think about projects like this as I am falling asleep at night. Often I can work out construction problems or at the very beginning like this, my subconscious can come up with ideas while I sleep. This one, however, has not been making it easy to drift off.

I think I have the beginnings of an idea, though, and it’s wacky enough to even need those foam shapes!

It’s going to take more thought, though, before I truly have a good plan.

In the meantime, the group is going to have a simple stitching day Thursday, with a “Common Ground” beginning. I’m bringing squares of wool and silk and each of us is blindly bringing some embellishments to add.

Doesn’t it sound delightful to have a stitch and chat, with no real expectations? I’m looking forward to it, for sure.

Work on the turquoise big project continues, a few inches at a time. As eager as I am to start on the next phase of construction, is as slowly as I proceed on this one. I am glad that I remembered a trick from my hand quilting days.

You unwind double the amount of thread that you normally would and start sewing in one direction…but only pull that first stitch through to the halfway point. Then when you have used the first half of the thread, you go back and start the other half in the other direction.

And since I’m stitching around squares and rectangles, and it’s not easy to turn the entire piece, it’s much easier this way. Obviously half the starts and stops!

Slow living in the summertime, for sure. Always something like grass mowing or gardening or grandson time to pull me out of the studio. Summer in Michigan is so unpredictable that you have to stop everything and enjoy the delightful outdoor time when you can! Even when the deer make a delightful dessert of your beautiful hostas!

I am replacing some of those hosta with more deer resistant plants. Let them dine elsewhere!!