Sunday, December 20, 2009

Got Snow?

(Embiggen to get the full effect on this one)


Several more inches fell after this

There's nothing like a snow day.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Houston Quilt Festival 2009

Well, I once again took a fun but *quick* trip to Houston for the International Quilt Festival. Here's the lowdown.

I took a super early flight on Tuesday and had lunch with my good friends Jill and Bill. Back in the day Jill and I were both engineers at McDonnell Douglas and were known as "the bookends" - we did just about everything together except quilt. It's always a highlight of my trip to get to see them again.

Tuesday night was the exciting awards ceremony - I was delighted to receive third place in the miniature art category. I of course saw Pokey (who presented my award), and fellow award winners including Sarah Ann Smith, Judy Coates Perez, and Candace West.

Wednesday morning I had breakfast with my good friend Debra Gabel of Zebra Patterns. Debra is both an amazing quilt artist as well as an incredible pattern designer. She'd been to quilt market and also had a booth at festival. Her CityStamp, StateStamp, and NationStamp designs were a really big hit - very unique and clever. I also had the pleasure of meeting her friends (and booth staff) Peggy, Dee and Sandy.

This year the luncheon where the top eight award winners speak was thankfully moved to Wednesday (instead of Saturday). I'd never been able to hang around until Saturday, so it was wonderful to be able to attend the luncheon this year. The tables were quite large so I didn't get to chat with everyone, but did sit next to Barbara Lies and Candace.

One side of festival that I've never experienced before is vending. I had the opportunity to help Debra and company with some last minute booth preparations and it was both fun and educational.

Wednesday night - preview night! For the third year in a row the delightful Lisa Ellis did me the favor of taking my picture next to my quilt. I think the next time I go I'll have to plan a little better and actually eat dinner with her or something.

I did my best to see as much of the show as possible. After wards Debra, Peggy, Dee and I headed out to get a bite to eat. We ended up at the House of Blues, and after all was said and done we now have the recipe for the Best Margarita Ever.

I met many other nice folks, and was happy to reconnect with others I've met at previous shows. My flight home was Thursday afternoon, so I soaked in as much atmosphere as possible before then and took one last look at all the great exhibits and show quilts. Once again a fabulous show and of course lots of friendly and creative quilters!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Eye of the Quilter

Once again the Houston International Quilt Festival folks came up with a great idea for a special exhibit - The Eye of the Quilter. Instead of quilts, it's photographs taken by quilters that they find inspirational.

While perusing thousands of photos on my computer in search of some entries, I realized that there are a number of things (besides my children) that I photograph over and over:
- I think I'm in contention for having taken the most macro photographs of flowers in the nation, if not the world
- reflections - in bodies of water, windows, and on cars
- water droplets and condensation on *anything*
- bare branches
- the Japanese maple in our yard in its autumn glory
- anything natural in our yard, whether flora or fauna - it's amazing to me the variety of things I've photographed on our property

I did enter three photos and have my fingers crossed, but instead of showing them I'll show several that were in contention that I didn't send. All of them can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Waterlilies at Brookside Gardens

The red maple mentioned above - this is part of the view outside my dining room window

A different view of the red maple

My youngest son's eyelashes a few years ago

I also noticed that sometimes weeks or months go by when I don't take very many photographs, but once I get on a roll watch out.

On another note, yesterday I got "the call" from the IQA that Last Dance won a cash award in the Houston show. That call really made my day!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Quilting Arts Gifts 2009-2010

On Friday I received my preview copies of Quilting Arts Gifts Holiday 2009-2010, and it's packed with great projects. It was really wonderful to see the wide variety of techniques this year.

Here's a sneak peak at the some of the samples I made for my two articles:

These are bookmarks that wrap around the book. They're really fast and easy, especially if you've made fiber postcards or ATCs before. Both of my samples were made from odds and ends I had in my studio.

These are the samples I made for a junior legal pad folio. There are pockets inside - one to hold the legal pad in, the other for receipts etc. The red one is my favorite. I was really tickled that in the photo in the magazine they included an open shot of the peach folio, and it had my handwritten mockup menu in it - actually a good representation of what we often have for holiday dinners.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

Yesterday morning I sneaked out of the house early, and went to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens on a little photo excursion.

I've passed the signs to the gardens countless times on the way to visit my family, yet never got a chance to check it out. I'm so glad that now I have!

These photos are just the tip of the iceberg of what you can see there.

Just one of the large ponds of lotuses.

There are not just lotuses, but water lilies, other marsh flowers, and a boardwalk through a swamp. As I walked along the boardwalk numerous birds and butterflies flew through the air and landed on the plants - difficult to capture in a photograph, but just beautiful.

There was not a tremendous variety of water lilies blooming in the large ponds at this time, but if you go be sure to look behind the park office. There's a little sign that says "more flowers", and there you'll find three small ponds filled with a variety of beautiful lilies.

If you live in the Baltimore/Washington area I highly recommend a visit. The park is open from 7am to 4pm, partly because the flowers eventually close in the heat of the late afternoon, so plan accordingly.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Devotion to One's Art

I was so pleased to receive an acceptance for this year's IQA show in Houston for Last Dance (blogged about here). I'd really wanted to make a "big", new quilt to enter, but life conspired against me. I love this little quilt so I'm happy it will have a chance to travel again.

Recently I've read some interesting posts on QuiltArt about whether folks prefer to read just about the art (quilting), or if it's better to throw in some personal goings on. Sometimes, for me, all I have time for is family life with three busy boys, so my quilting posts are few and far between. In the past year we shared our home for 7 months with a relative displaced by damage caused by Hurricane Ike, and this too impacted my quilt making. I somehow managed to write 4 magazine articles in that time, but couldn't spare the time or concentration to create a major new piece. Having Last Dance in my back pocket as a potential entry for Houston helped me to let go and relax a little this spring instead of going 100 miles an hour to finish a quilt in time. It's funny how things manage to work out.

When I'm strongly focused on finishing a quilt for a deadline it's hard to want to stop working on it. To my amusement I can see this trait in my youngest son, age 6. He LOVES to draw. He loves it so much that the elementary school principal called me to commend him on his creativity (that was a little surprising). Anyway, we were doing errands the other day and that did not stop his drawing. He carried an 11"x18" piece of paper and a pencil with him to Target, the pediatrician's office, and Radio Shack. As we walked through Target each time we stopped to look at something he'd squat on the floor, put his drawing on an available empty shelf, and draw. He also drew at the doctor's office and Radio Shack. I'd call that devotion to one's art!

A penguin, with an ice sword and ice helmet, riding on the back of a baby polar bear while fighting a sea lion. The back of the paper has a shark (or perhaps killer whale?) on it.

I hope that you're finding time for both your art, and some relaxation, this summer.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Spoonflower Fabrics

Back in March, following Sue Reno's lead, I decided to take the plunge and order some fabric from Spoonflower. These are the two fabric designs I ordered:

This is derived from the background of my quilt The Gathering.

This is derived from the background of a quilt design I'm still working on.

Overall I'm very pleased with the fabrics - the quality is good, and there's an impressive amount of detail. There was some banding, particularly on the top fabric, that probably only I would notice. I'm fairly certain this was a hiccup in the printing process, because there was no banding on other areas of the fabric with the same design elements and colors. For my purposes this wasn't a showstopper.

I ordered the fabrics on a whim, so did not order swatches to make sure the colors would be exactly as expected. I was OK knowing that this would result in some serendipity, but if you want your colors to match something you really should order a swatch.

Does this mean I'll stop printing fabric for my quilts on my own printer? No, but it's a nice alternative if I want yardage of a special design.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Miss May!

A number of months ago I was very honored to find out that "The Gathering" is going to be included in Martingale's 2010 Award Winning Quilts Calendar. I peeked over at their website the other day, and they have some preview images up. I do believe I'm going to be Miss May! I don't know how long that link will stay good, but it sure was fun to see the layout they've put together. I can't wait to see the final product.

(Edited to add: You need to click on the right arrow by View Gallery - my quilt is the first one after the cover image.)

Monday, June 08, 2009

Quilting Arts Article

I'm delighted to have an article in the latest (June/July 2009) issue of Quilting Arts. It's called "Digital Playtime" and discusses some of the steps I use to create the fabric for my quilts. I hope you like it!

I'm also looking forward to the next issue of Quilting Arts Gifts, where I'll have two projects.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bog Lilies

Last year I was invited to make a small quilt for the "New Focus" exhibit, curated by Kim Ritter and Judy Dales. The exhibit was held from December to February at the Coos Art Museum in Coos Bay, Oregon. Here's the quilt I made, called "Bog Lilies", a digital collage printed on silk.

I have a larger quilt nearly ready to print, but am waiting for a new supply of fabric. In the meantime I was delighted to receive an acceptance for "The Gathering" into the AQS show in Paducah.

The maple trees are starting to bloom here in Maryland and the birds are singing more and more every day. Spring is on the way!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival

This morning I was delighted to find out that The Gathering (pictured in my last post) won Best Use of Color in the wallhanging category at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival. Last month it was photographed for the 2010 Martingale calendar of quilts from the fall IQA show, so it's been traveling quite a bit. The calendar will be coming out later this year, and I can't wait to see it.

I've been working on an article for Quilting Arts, and submitted some potential ideas for the Quilting Arts Gifts issues, so we'll see how that goes. I wrote an article for the Winter 2008 issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited, and Sarah did a great job of blogging about that issue here.

Verizon came through our neighborhood a few weeks ago to lay cable for FiOS. There was ice on the ground, and they marked where they needed to dig with a brilliant orange paint. I took some pictures of the paint on the ice, as it created an other worldly effect (IMHO). This photo was not manipulated at all, other than to change the size.