Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31st

New Years Eve.
I must admit it is my favorite night of the year. Time to reflect upon the year that passed and welcome in the new one, full of anticipation and curiosity as to what lays ahead. I never thought a year ago that I would be here now. I have done exactly what I wanted this year, by being in the studio, using my hands and making. Of course there are always things we want to make resolutions on, but instead of harping on the things I can do better, or my vices,  I just want to continue to do what I have been doing. Enjoy the balance that seems to have taken shape and live each day knowing that I am lucky and grateful! 

I must add a thank you/I love you, even though she never reads this. Babe, without you none of this would have taken shape. Your encouragement and acceptance mean the world, even when it makes no sense to you, you tell me to keep going. I love you. 

beds, boxes and tiny hands

I took a little bit of time before Christmas and made some handmade gifts for some small friends. By small friends I mean the children in my life. I started out making two of these, and before I knew it I had made seven. I still have a few more to make, so they will get their little boxes for their birthdays. I used a basic Chanel gift box, we had enough at work that I could grab some for my little project, and I then started making the smallest patterns I have ever made.

Each box contains a small "mattress-like" bottom cover, a tiny pillow, and a quilt.  I then added some finger puppets that I scored at Restoration Hardware on sale before Christmas. The whole box measures about 5" by 7", they are small and compact. The idea is that the child has a mini bed with a toy in it that they can take with them or play with. I remember loving small compact things as a little girl, Polly Pocket was one of my favorites. The pillows are about 1.5" x 2.5" so tiny and so cute. I really enjoyed making these, and the children seemed to enjoy playing with them too. 

This project re-in forced something that I have been trying to convey to children for a little while now. It is important to remember to use your hands and imagination, because with those two things any magical thing is possible. With all of the electronics available today, most children can program an 
i-phone before they can write their own names. I am fascinated by that and at the same time a bit let down, that the future generation is loosing all the craft that used to exist. So my mission is to introduce them to the handmade, and the importance of it. 

I signed each piece with "Don't ever forget to use your imagination"
I hope one day they can look at that and remember the magic of being a child. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

that time of the year...

It is looking a lot like that time of the year around here... The time when sparkling ornaments, and small little trees make their way out of hibernation and into the house. Christmas is not my favorite of all the holidays, however I do love decorating, and wrapping presents. There is something cozy about this time of the year, and I love making the house feel that way. It is also nice to take a moment, when possible, and think about all of the lovely things that have happened in 2012, thus far. The mantel is ready for a big man, with a white beard to break in and leave some treats in the stockings. (Still have to make one for the little four legged Achilles.)

The little cars are ready too.

As for the studio I have been able to steal a few moments in there to make this small quilt. I do not tend to buy a lot of Christmas or holiday fabric for that matter. However this line by Aneela Hoey was to much fun not to. I got it while I was in Portland, and I think it was actually on sale too. Hard to walk away from that. I love the little snow globes, and holiday sweaters on clotheslines, and since I have a lot of birds in my tree, it just had to come home with me. I am a bit further in the quilt than in the above picture, and hopefully will soon finish it, to enjoy for the holiday. 

The studio was actually clean for a couple of days. Being a clean person to begin with, it is usually not that bad. However there are almost always stacks of fabric, and ironing board and thread all over the place. "A working mess" I like to call it, the only mess I can tolerate. It really is nice when it is clean for a little while though, it only really gets that way when people are coming over though.

I was in love with this train made of gingerbread, and need to go back to admire it once more. It is at the Jefferson Hotel, here in Richmond. That is my step-dad Tom taking a peek at it, and if you think it looks big, keep in mind he is 6 feet tall! It contains 3,000 pounds of gingerbread alone. The tracks below, are even made of jellybeans and crushed chocolate. Brilliant! I love things like this built by hand! Especially now in an age of cell phones, tablets, pods, pads, fires, nooks and all the other crannies!  We took our out of town guests there and they really enjoyed it. A good place to remind children of this era how far a little imagination and hand-work can go! 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I finished this lap quilt a few weeks ago and with the weather being spring-like got some decent photos of it this morning. Below is a photo of what inspired this simple little blanket. I love the way that nature looks in the fall, everything is full of color, yet you can see the bareness beginning. For the first time this year I noticed how many soft grey, dusty, purple colors there are in the autumn. I do not use purple very much in my work, or home, but it fit in well and understated in this blanket. 

It was nice to put my big yard to use for photographing this piece, I love how the colors pop and blend in against the natural surroundings. A simple blanket, in construction and appearance, and it is definitely one of my favorites that I have made. 
I feel the change in the season, work has gotten busier, events and parties are all lined up. As thanksgiving passed I thought a lot about things that I am grateful for, health, family, friends, work, and time to play. The time that I have taken since the summer to spend in my studio, has definitely paid off, I have been busy working with my hands, thinking about making, and making. My sketchbook is filling up with more ideas, my fabric bin is ready to go. I have stopped giving myself a hard time for not being as conceptual in my work, and have let myself enjoy making based on aesthetic, technique and my current interests. Maybe its true what they say, that sometimes you just have to use your hands and make, and the thoughts and ideas will follow. My body of finished pieces is building up again, and I can't wait to enter some contests and perhaps enter a modern quilt guild after the new year. I know that I will not be in the studio as much in the coming weeks but I now know that is ok. Because somewhere along the way, I FINALLY learned the balance of life, work and studio. Sometimes one has to take the spotlight, but it does not mean that the others stop existing. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

inspired moments

A few images that I crossed the other day, and brought interest to me... 

From the M.S. November issue, love the fresh root veggies. 

Leftover birthday flowers, in the entry way desk... love that little owl, and the color of the snapdragons! 

Tomatoes in November! Yep that's when they bloomed in the yard.

More leftover birthday flowers, love the combination of these colors in roses, so soft, and delicate. 

words and books

I have been pretty obsessed with Heather Ross fabrics, designs, and even the surfboard, for a while now. I love her use of borderline childish and kitsch designs in such an elegant looking way. Everything she designs looks classic, and aesthetically pleasing. For the past couple of months I have been trying to buy her old, out of print, fabrics from etsy, and any online reference that still has them. While they have become pricey, I have found most of them and love using them in special projects. 

I was excited when her new book came out, Heather Ross Prints, It has a complete reference in the back with all of her prints, new and out of print. Along with a CD that can work in the computer to upload fabric designs to anything including fabric, wallpaper, wrapping paper, and stationary. I was especially excited when Sandra ordered an autographed copy for my birthday, complete with a Gnome drawing! So in love with this book! 

Another book on my birthday list, that I received was the new autobiography of, Kaffe Fassett, I love his use of color and pattern in his work. He is an interesting person with a rich history in the textile world. I can't wait to read this! 
I have been on a huge book kick lately. For my birthday I asked Sandra for a long list of them, and sweetly I was gifted all of them, complete with some signed copies!! Along with art, making, and decorating books, I have been reading up anything that crosses my path lately. Inspiration from words in books, magazines, blogs (I love the mix of words and photos in blogs), and anything else that crosses my path. I love the inspiration that can come from words on paper. One of my favorite things to do is to stay up very late into the wee hours and read.

stitching along

The small lap quilt, I have been working on, all began with the love I had for this group of fabrics I put together. I first made pillows and loved them so much that I wanted something for myself. I do not usually use a lot of purple in my work, however it is almost a grey purple and that works for me. Mixed up with lots of grey and brown tones, and a kick of coral, it is a nice combination. 

I am almost finished with the whole thing. The top stitching is finished, I used my new sewing machine to create a decorative stitch on the top, which I really like the look of. 

For the first time, I am not swearing off the binding of something! I went slowly and carefully with it, tried a new way of folding it and stitching it to the quilt... So far it is going on well, and looks better than I normally have it look! Can't wait to finish this thing, today is the day... I think. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

another year...

Sandy, the nightmare hurricane seemed to leave us unscathed here in Richmond. I send well wishes to anyone up north, and hope for a recovery to normal everyday life soon! 
The election is over, and everyone can take down their tacky lawn signs, and stop the nasty ads on television... the best part, and I won't speak too much of it, because this is not a political blog... I am pleased with the outcome!!

My life never seems to calm down, and honestly I don't think I would like it, if it did. Being busy means life, and that is a good sign. I celebrated my 29th birthday yesterday... Strange to think of myself as that, not that I think I am old or anything, just that the passage of time happens quickly and somehow you wake up and are 29. I share a birthday with my younger sister, yes we were born the same day, 8 years apart. So yesterday was here 21st! We celebrated together and had a really nice day and evening, surrounded by friends and good times. I still remember the day she was born, I was a bit annoyed with her presence on my day, however now its mostly just fun! her real present was a Madonna concert a few months ago, and above are just some little souvenirs. Yep, I call her Beluga, no idea where it came from, but that has remained her nickname since she was born! 

Between the election, birthdays, weddings, Halloween, and life in general, I have not been posting on etsy as much, however I have been making myself a little something. I fell in love with these fabrics together so I am making a little lap quilt. I got a new machine for my birthday and have been playing with the decorative stitches. I love the look of them. I will still hand tie and stitch some quilts, but when I want a fast outcome it is nice to have the option. 

Really enjoying the new machine, it is still simple like my old one, but has more options on stitches. I really prefer to use simple machines to complicated, over-computerized versions. I think the basics, and classics, get the job done and still show the hand of the maker. Which to me, is an important step. 

Wow what a jumpy post, from storms, to elections, and machines! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Started a small lap quilt this week, and am almost finished with it. Fun fabrics, soft prints, cozy. Made some invites for a family event, got the laundry done... sitting here, awaiting this storm they are calling "frankenstorm". With the history of my neighborhood I may not have power for a while, I try to stay optimistic, but I prepared this time. Finishing the small things, that make a big difference, that need power to work. Got some wine, and apple cider beer, pulled out our banangrams game, and the lanterns.  I even managed to iron out some fabric and cut some hexagons, there is always hand piecing that could be done by hand and lantern light.

These storms make me nervous, and uneasy. Maybe it is a control thing, but I hate not knowing how it is going to go. Hope everyone stays safe and warm!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chihuly, the master of glass.

Over the past couple of years Richmond has been home to some wonderful art exhibits. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, was renovated and with the renovation came some great works of art. At the moment Richmond is lucky to be home to the Dale Chihuly exhibit. I have been impressed with his work for a while now. It is always nice to see a fellow craft person, and how they take their craft to the next level. His works are beautiful and captivating, I could stare at them for hours and never tire of looking for new things. Below are a few snapshots that I took at the opening night. 

The boats were one of my favorite things. the glass orbs are fantastic. 

How could you not fall in love with his ceilings... 

Brilliant, native American inspired works. Subtle and beautiful.