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.