Saturday, December 30, 2006

Postcard Craze

Yes, I'm a late bloomer. ;-) I have finally jumped into the fiber art postcard bandwagon and the ride is turning out to be quite a blast! Below are my first three postcards. I used leftover flower petals I had cut out for my photo display quilts and the background is leftover from Angry Rabbit. I love leftovers, or as David Walker would call them, "gifts."

I have 19 more ready for the final edging finish, and then off in the mail they go.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sew What

Finally getting around to posting pics of projects that I finished at least several months ago.

This is me in my new sweater. It turned out a little snugger that I'd like (I've got to remember to make sure the gauge is right before knitting or else lose some weight!) but it is wearable so I'll count it as a success.

My next project was making some breakfast service napkins. Our old napkins were embrassingly frayed at the edges. I could not find any commercially produced napkins that I liked at a price we could afford, so I found this light-weight denim fabric and made my own. Mark wanted napkins that were 1 meter square like they had at the palace in Vienna -- I told him to dream on. These are 16 inch square.

I joined a art quilt postcard swap as a means to encourage myself to get into my studio at start working! We don't have any workshops until February 2007, so this is our time off and I want to get in my studio as often as possible. Having a deadline for something helps! I completed my first three postcards on Tuesday, but I have to wait for the new camera battery I just ordered to arrive before I can post pictures.

Making the postcards are a lot of fun. It is a great way to dig into the scrap bucket and use bits and pieces of this and that. I keep a wastebasket by my sewing machine and I throw in all the pieces I figure I'll never use, but might give away to someone who uses bits and pieces. Well, I'm finding lots of useful pieces in there!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Cherry and Cherries

I have not forgotten about my blog, it's just that I have so little time and so much to do! I've been trying to find easier ways to post photos. I wish there were a one click option, but I haven't found it yet. Previously I had to first download the photos from my camera into iPhoto, then exported a photo in to a folder, then opened the photo in PhotoShop so that I could resize it for the web, then uploaded the photo to blogger. Way too many steps. Now I have discovered that iPhoto will do the resizing if I fool it in to thinking I'm exporting to a web page. This is great. One step elminated.

I tried, but I don't like the fact that if you click a photo on my blog you are then taken to the Flickr site and off of my blog. So forget about that option. Although, Flickr is a nifty way to have a photo album to share with friends and family.

So, anyway, here is a picture of my latest work. It is titled "Cherrys" because the image of the Dalmatian is of our former pup, Cherry and she is under a cherry tree branch. I made this piece for my daughter's birthday. I started and finished it on the same day! See what procrastination can accomplish - I waited until the last minute to decide on a gift and then had practically no time to make it - but thanks to next day delivery it made it to her doorstep on the right day!

We are finishing up our last workshop tomorrow, so hopefully I'll have more time to blog and actually develop a routine!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Blogging Neglect

Where has all the time gone? I always mean to blog more but I think my current lack of time to do much art is a big factor. I feel like every post MUST have pictures, and since I don't have a "one-click" way of adding pictures, procrastination is my middle name. I'm sure there must be an easier way and I'll have to research it in the winter when our workshop season is done.

I have been doing some work in my studio and have completed a piece that I call "Alpha" and it features screen prints of a photo that my daughter took of our previous Dalmatian. It is large so I have to wait for some good weather and my time schedule to coinside so that I can set up an area to photography the piece outside. I'm thinking for using the backside of the "icehouse" garage which gets good light and is out of the way.

I'm currently working on another piece that features more of the same photo screen printed.

My last studio day was spent making a small quilted piece to cover up the hole that Hudson ripped in one of the chairs in the second floor parlor. I used men's suit swatches that I got from Nieman Marcus. I just pieced the squares into a panel of about 15" x 20" and then quilted it with this fabulous heavy-weight thread by Aurill (or something like that) that I bought in Houston at the last festival. It adds great texture.

And speaking for the Houston Festival, I'm going again this year -- as a vendor! We decided to get a booth to promote the 2007 art quilt workshops at Hudson River Valley Art Workshops. I can't wait! Now, however, I'm scrambling to get everything organized for the booth. Thank goodness I already have hotel reservations.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Spring Has Finally Arrived . . er.. Passed?

I finally was able to set a side a day to devote in the studio (Mark agreed to be puppy wrangler for the day) and I finished the piece I had in mind as a great thing to hang on our wall to celebrate Sping. I'm a bit late, but I'm early for next Spring! This is also my first experiment with pre-fused fabric that I then cut and iron. Well, it certainly speeds up the process and I like the clean sharp edge -- makes it look almost painted on. The title is Red Bud

I also finished the Robbi Eklow pattern-based piece that I began in a class with Robbi back in March. I added buttons to all the circles. I'm calling it Blue Dots. Now I just need to find a room to hang it in.

On a bit of knitting news, I finished this Turtleneck Shell. It turned out decent enough. However, now I'm thinking it is a very impractical item of clothing. If it is cold enough for a turtleneck, why would I wear a sleeveless shell? If I were to do it over, I'd at least make it just a mock-turtleneck.

Guests are going crazy over the Crazy Ties. After several people ask to see my Crazy Ties (after seeing them on the notecards we sell), I finally hung up a display in the foyer of the inn. Not the most classy of hanging devices, but it does the job and I've been selling the ties!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I still haven't had much time to do any creating other than finish my piece for the next CFA exhibit in California. (I'll post a picture of it once the exhibit is up.)

I have, however, had the time to enjoy the places the workshop painters are going to paint. When the students order a lunch from us, I deliver it to wherever they happen to be painting that day. This past workshop taught by Elizabeth Apgar-Smith, went up to Olana. Olana is the home built by Frederick Church, a founder of the Hudson River School of Art movement. On a clear day you can see forever . . . well, at least you can see the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains - a very impressive site.

But I was captured by things more close at hand.

First there were the Hollyhocks. (I'll have to look for this variety. The Hollyhocks I planted are still not in bloom.)

Then even more inspiring was Betsy's pastel tray - what a wonderful display of color. You can see a photo of Betsy's demo painting and the view on our inn blog.

Other good news is that I finished the fiber workshop brochure for 2007 and it has been sent off to the printers.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Lost But Not Forgotten

Gads! It has been quite a while since I posted anything on my poor neglected blog. Bad me!

Well, we are in our busy workshop season and I've barely had anytime to step into my studio -- or that's my excuse. But finally a deadline arose and I had to get in there and get busy. So in the near future the pictures will once more flow unto the blog.

In the meantime, I just give a quick rundown of the events of the past month or so.

  • My daughter, Adina, graduated from San Diego State! (Such a proud mom am I.)

  • Hudson has grown! He is now the terror of the office, having already chewed through the cord of one telephone and has forced us to move the computer mice and keyboards as far as possible from the edge of the desks. We've come into the office to find all sorts of windows open on the computer. That dog must be on the chatboards.

  • I was interviewed and featured in a multi-page article in The Greenville Local about my life as a fiber artist. Although, they did get a number of facts wrong and the picture of me was less than flattering, they did say nice things about my art.

  • I sold (or am selling) Bucephalos. He has barely been home more than a couple of month since he was finished and now he'll be gone for good. Boohoo and Yahoo!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Model for a Day

Lois Woolley, a wonderful portrait artist and instructor, is finishing up a workshop here at the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops and I had the pleasure of sitting as a model for her demo. Here is the result.

I'm still working on putting my studio back in shape to start working on my own artwork. It always seems that when stuff must be cleared quickly from the public areas of the inn, it somehow lands in my studio!

Someone left a comment requesting that I share what I learned from each of the workshops presented here. I actually have very little time to actual sit in on the classes, but most of the time for the few moments I do get to hang around the class or listen in on the conversations around the dinner table, I can pick up some real gems of wisdom. I'll try carry though with this throughout the year! I'll also try to post these workshop specific comments in separate posts so that it will be easy to search for them.

If you get tired of waiting for me to post about a workshop, you can always check out our inn and workshop blog where we post all the pictures we take during the workshops.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Puppy Spotted

I have a good excuse for not working on more fiber art - or so I tell myself! Hudson is in the house and you have to watch him like a hawk to keep him from leaving little "surprizes" all over the rug. He is not quite ready to be let into my studio on the 3rd floor -- so far from the front door and out to the lawn. But he keeps himself out of too much trouble by using the cuteness defence. You judge for youself.

Another inspiring workshop has come and gone. Laura Cater-Woods was here for 6 days with a group of 11 talented women, each with their own vision in their work. Laura is a great instructor and art career coach and I tried to sit in on as many of the discussions as possible to hear her little gems of wisdom. She is coming back in December 2007.

I'm still working on the Robbi Ecklow piece I started in Chicago. I was in the quilting phase when I had to lend my personal Bernina, a 1260, to one of the students in Laura's workshop. This was because we were having trouble with the new Bernina Activa 220 I bought as a rental machine for the workshops. It was having trouble with specialty threads, but it turned out to be operator error! I had looked at it, Laura had looked at it, and the student was a long-time Bernina user, too, but none of us realized that we had threaded the machine incorrectly! Luckily a quick call to the dealer showed us the error of our ways, but by then I decided that I'd just let the student continue to use my machine as she was so happy with it.

I wish I could find some 1260's to buy inexpensively to have on hand for the workshops, but they are still very much in demand and go on eBay for way over $1000.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

More Detail

I've been neglecting my blog and just discovered that I had some comments! I guess I'll have to check my settings because I thought that comments would come to me via email.

But anyway Carol and Debra asked to see a detail shot of Bucephalus, so here it is.

The square pieces are about a half inch square. I fused the pieces to a foundation fabric with Steam-A-Seam II and then stitched over all of them when I quilted the piece. They have held up beautifully, even though the piece was repeatedly folded(!) when on its tour with the Myths and Legends exhibit.

And speaking of fusing, I've really been itching to start in on some new projects after watching the fun everyone has had in first the Melody Johnson workshop and now the Leslie Riley workshop, that is just finishing today. (I think we are going to have to drag the students out -- they don't want to leave!) You can check out the class pictures on our inn blog.

And speaking of pictures, I just have to share the picture of our new puppy. We are going to pick him up on Friday when he will be 7 weeks old.

Hudson is the one on the left. He will be my sixth Dalmatian. If you've seen my website, you may have noticed a few of my pieces have some Dalmatian influnce!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Bucephalus is Back

The piece I created for the Myths and Legends challenge is finally back home. I neglected to get a good picture of it before I sent it off, or rather the pictures I did take were not the best -- I had cut off one side of the edge!

This is a piece with heavy Steam-A-Seam use. Now that I've finally given Wonder Under a try, I'm interested to see how something like this will be using WU instead of SAS. I'll let you know the results.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Where Does All the Time Go?

The Melody Johnson workshop is on its last day, meaning that practically a whole week has gone by since I got home from Chicago and I still haven't unpacked the fabric from the class I took from Robbi Ecklow. I did, however, unpack the project from the class and took a picture!

It's not exactly original work, but it was a fun exercise in fusing and color. I modified a few elements, but this will be a piece for "personal use" only. Robbi is a fun teacher and I plan to ask her to teach a workshop at the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops.

And while I had the camera set up for pictures I snapped on of the finished version of the landscape piece I was working on. I titled it "Oregon Landscape 1", as I plan to play with this format a bit more. This piece was just shipped off to California where it will be appearing in an exhibit at the Ironstone Vineyards in Murphy (which is a small town near Fresno).

Monday, April 10, 2006

Personal Shopping

Melody Johnson's workshop has completed their first day of the 5-day workshop here at the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops and boy, do they look like they are having fun! I wish I had the time to join in, but because I was away for several days, I had to spend the day working in the office catching up with all the paper work. Blah.

However there are perks! Such as a mini on-site fabric shop provided courtesy of Log Cabin Fabrics. I have my eye on several things, but don't want to deplete the selection before Melody's students get the chance!

I had a great time in Chicago at the Quilt Festival. I had meant to blog more while I was there, but . . . The one night when I might have had the time because Mark had gone home ahead of me, well, I decided to spend it fusing! I took a class from Robbi Eklow and discovered how wonderful Wonder-Under was. I had been a steadfast Steam-a-Seam user, but now that I have tried the W-U, I think I'll be using it more often. Anyway, I spent my last night in Chicago happily working on the project I started in the workshop. Thank goodness for irons in the hotel rooms! I'll post a picture of the piece later.

Tomorrow I hope to sit in Melody's workshop for a bit. She has been blogging about the workshop daily.

I rushed off for my entry for the SAQA: The Creative Force exhibit today. Nothing like waiting until the last minute.

Another project I've been working on is a database system to manage all the details of my art work. I know I could buy an existing software package to do this, but I think I'm too much a nerd to take the easy way! I had to do it myself. I use a Mac, so I chose FileMaker Pro for building the DB. I like FileMaker because it is cross-platform compatible and I'd like to eventually create a system to manage our inn and artworkshop business, because the one we use now is lacking some features that would be very useful. I haven't used FileMaker for quite awhile, but am having fun learning all the new features.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Chicago - What a Wonderful Town

Here I am reporting from the Windy City, although it is not very windy at the moment. In fact, the weather is quite wonderful.

I'm here with Mark to take in the International Quilt Festival and to distribute as many of our fiber art workshop brochures as possible!

The fun begins tomorrow, as I take a class from Robbi Eklow. Should be lots of fun. After the class, the show opens! Too bad I didn't bring a camera. They do allow photographs in a number of exhibits, but with all the shopping and viewing to do, who wants to be weighed down with a camera! I'll try to be descriptive in my posts.

Tonight we have decided to just relax in our room. I have knitting to do and Mark is watching food prep videos from the Culinary Institue of America on his computer.

Friday, March 31, 2006

One of My Favorite Inspirations

Adina got a new Intel Mac with a built-in iSight camera and it has some cool features that she has been playing with. She sent me some pictures that she created with it. I have made them my screen saver on my laptop, but thought I'd share them here as she is my favorite inspiration!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

New Work and New Inspiration

I finally got a picture of one of my recently completed pieces. With my piece "Angry Rabbit" off the wall and on its way to California, there was space to hang something new! Which was great, because this wall is also a great place to take pictures - plenty of good lighting.

This piece is for an exhibit with the California Fiber Arts that will be hung later this year in Half Moon Bay, I believe. The theme of the exhibit is "The Naked Truth." So this piece is called "The Naked Truth - The Whole Truth". The inspiration for it is the mix of negative and positive things we think about ourselves. The torso is pieced from fabric on which I printed either positive or negative phrases. The negative side is stained with coffee (I layed the fabric under our espresso machine station for several month - it was thoroughly dripped on!)

I'll be adding this to my website later on with a detail shot.

Now for some inspiration. I have been doing some Spring cleaning in the gardens and today I was cutting down the dried grasses in the pool garden. I was piling the bunches of grasses in the cart, but then turned around an noticed how beautiful the golden grasses looked in the afternoon sun. Now if I only had the time to act on this inspiration!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Days into Weeks into Months

So much for wanting to make daily posts! I don't think I even have enough post yet to join the Art Quilter's blog ring.

Well, I actually haven't had any time to do any arty things lately. This March is Spring Cleaning month at the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn and every waking moment is taken up with maintenance and preparing for the very first art quilt workshops!

I am so excited about the workshops. The first one will be with Melody Johnson, followed by Lesley Riley and Laura Cater-Woods. We have added new electrical circuits to the studio to accomodate sewing machines and irons. Each outlet is on its own circuit. We also replaced the hard uncomfortable stools with nice ergonomic work chairs (I'm sure the painters will appreciate this, too) and we order large 4' x 5' form core boards to be used as design walls. (I'd eventually like to make the actual walls of the studio pin-able design walls, but that is for another year.

Ok, so I do have some art news. My piece "Angry Rabbit" was accepted into the 38th Annual Textile Exhibit at the Olive Hyde Art Gallery in Fremont, CA. The exhibit runs April 14 to May 20, 2006.

It is so ironic that I hardly ever had anything exhibited in California until I left it! Now it seems that I have multiple exhibits every year. Below is an image of "Angry Rabbit". I'll miss it while it is gone because it is usually hanging in the front dining room at the inn. One of the art instructors last year called it "my masterpiece."

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Cake, Socks, Office Space and other Important Stuff

Not much quilting or fiber art going on -- I'm still working on quilting the landscape piece. So I thought I'd give a little tour of my office space at the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn.

This first picture is the view as you step into the office, which is located just off of the main entry to the inn. You can see the PC desk where Mark is busy working on internet advertising and google stats. The view out these windows is of the lawn and garden area at the front of the inn. I want to change the drapes to something more sheer and also get some tie-backs so that you can see the beautiful green lawn while working at the computer. This computer station is mostly used by Kimberly, our office assistant.

This next picture shows the left side of the office. The desk is Kimberly's desk. All those thin shelves are used to hold the supply lists for all of this years workshops.

This final picture show the right side of the office, which is where my desk is located.

Now on to more important matters. I think I mentioned the sour cream chocolate cake I was thinking of making during the last snow storm. Well, here is a picture. I decided on the sour cream cake because Mark had a lot of left over sour cream between workshops and it had to be used up somehow! However, the problem with making a cake between workshops is that there is no one else to eat it but me!

Adina gave me a couple of fun pairs of socks for Christmas. Below is a picture of one pair. And to "kill-two-birds-with-one-stone," my feet are resting on top of a scarf and hat I knitted mostly while on the train going between Vienna and Innsbruk - a wonderful 4 hour trip on the fast, smooth, and clean European trains.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Studio Lives!

It feels so good to get my studio straightened up so that I can actual work on something creative. My studio is small so it doesn't take much to get it unworkable.

I took a bunch pictures after it was cleaned so that I have a record of that brief moment when I could clearly see all the table tops and the floor.

This first picture is to the right as you go in the door. It is my storage wall -- a mismatched bunch of what ever leftover furniture I could find around the inn that could be used to store stuff in it.

This next picture is to the left as you enter the studio. It is my fabric storage wall and you can also see my no frills design wall - a piece of foam core board just leaning against the wall.

This last picture is looking straight into my studio. My view out the window is to the front of the inn, but it looks black because I took the picture at night.

Now for the fun stuff. This is a picture of the piece I created after I finished cleaning up. It is inspired by the pastel painting technique taught by Susan Ogilvie. Susan taught a workshop here at the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops last year (and she will be teach two here in 2007). Her work is fantastic. Before beginning a painting, she prepares a board with a textured paint so that the brush strokes create a raised surface. This prep paint is usually in a bright color like an orange or red. Then when she paints an image with pastels over this prepared surface the texture and bits of the unlying color show through.

So in trying to "replicate" this technique in fiber, I used an underlying layer of a bright orange/red patterned fabric and then cut "brush strokes" into the image to reveal the under layer. My brush strokes are just meant to be representative.

I am still in the process of adding lines of stitching, but overall I am pleased with how this turned out and I think I'll explore the technique a little more.

Then because Mark is sick with a cold and someone "must" keep him company while he alternates between watching the Food Network channel and DVD movies, I'm working on a knitting project -- my first step beyond scarves and hats! It is (hopefully) going to be a sweater jacket. What you see in the photo is the back piece and the two front pieces. I'm currently working on the sleeves. I hope this sweater doesn't turn out to be itchy beyond what I can stand. Generally wool does not agree with my skin. Everyone keeps telling me that it is just the grade/quality of wool that is the problem. The yarn for this project does not feel particular soft. I bought it as a kit from Rams Wool because it was going to be my first real piece of clothing and I didn't want to guess about how much yarn I needed or what type. Well, if it doesn't work for me, someone is getting it as a present, so watch out. ;-)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Storage of Stuff

We got a light dusting of snow last night. I love the snow. Hopefully, we'll have some on the ground for the next workshop!

It's time to start clearing out my studio so that I have the room to start creating once again. My studio tends to become a storage space when we don't have a specific place for stuff that we need to store, such as for the dining room table decorations. I'm trying to build a collection of decorations that change with the seasons. But at the moment we don't have any designated storage space for the decorations that are not currently on the tables! This is the new Valentines decorations.

Plus my studio is already packed to the gills. So to actually have the space to work on a project I have to sort of redistribute the stacks from one surface to another.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Now I've Gone and Done It

Yes, I've finally given in to temptation and created a blog of my own. Now let's see whether I can find the time to keep it fresh and interesting.

The plan for this blog is to not only record my Crazy By Design moments, but also the happenings around our inn, The Greenville Arms 1889 Inn, and at the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops, of which I'm the art workshop director.

My first bit of news is that I've made my first Crazy By Design sale for the year! Elizabeth Apgar-Smith, who is the painting instructor who just taught a watercolor workshop here, bought one of my Crazy Ties for one of her sons. Below is a picture of a similar tie.

Well, that's all the news that is fit to print at this moment. Now is the time for another latte!