Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

We had a lovely Christmas in Lake Charles, Louisiana, then celebrated with my family here in Maryland. So now we're ready for what we hope is a wonderful New Year!

Christmas Eve sunset

Enjoying a carriage ride to see some lights

Christmas Day sunset 
Gotta love those sunsets across the water - always inspirational.

**I wish all of you an exceptionally happy and healthy New Year!**

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Fabric Fun - Fun Fabric

My lifelong fascination (OK, maybe obsession) with fabric began when my mother taught me to sew as a child. Her talent and passion for sewing inspired me tremendously.

While focusing on creating digital compositions to use in quilts over the last 10 plus years,  I've "relaxed" by creating hundreds of yards of hand dyed fabric, as well as many smaller pieces that were screen printed, painted, or monoprinted. I've used these fabrics to create small projects (like some of those found on my tutorials link), borders and backings for quilts, and occasionally small quilts themselves. Once a fabric lover, always a fabric lover!

As I learned more about Photoshop Elements and some of its capabilities, I realized that a number of the surface design processes I was using could be digitally emulated, and that's what my new Quilting Arts Workshop is all about! Here are two designs that were created in just moments that have the look of hand dyed fabric.

Faux Drip Dyeing

This fabric has the look of low water immersion dyeing

And here are a few projects created with fabric made using the straight forward processes shown in the workshop:

My new favorite shirt!

Sound interesting? Then stay tuned for more fun fabrics over the next few weeks, and check out the preview for my newest Quilting Arts Workshop - Digital Surface Design: Simple Techniques for Hand-dyed Fabric Effect and More

Thursday, December 19, 2013

New Quilting Arts Workshop!

I'm *so* excited that the Quilting Arts Workshop that I filmed in September is here! The digital download is available now, and the DVD is available for preorder (it will be available in January). It's called Digital Surface Design: Simple Techniques for Hand-dyed Fabric Effects and More.

In the next few weeks I'll be sharing a variety of designs I've created using the techniques in the workshop. 

All of these fabrics were created using the techniques in my new Quilting Arts Workshop
This workshop focuses on fast and fun ways to digitally design fabrics (as opposed to compositions, as in my first Quilting Arts Workshop.) Using simple techniques in Photoshop Elements I show you how to create a range of  beautiful artistic effects from crisp and graphic to soft and hand-dyed looking. You can even create designs that look like they've been discharged! I think you'll really enjoy the ease and flexibility of these techniques. Check out a preview here.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Updated Tutorial List - Have a Handmade Holiday

I've updated my tutorials to include one of my very favorite projects - a cell phone holder that I demoed on Quilting Arts TV Season Series 1300.

There's also a new link for some super easy and versatile little stockings that I demoed in the same series.

Both of these projects are fast enough to still make some before Christmas. Enjoy!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Winter Wonderland

It's been a while since I posted just a bunch of pretty pictures, so here are a few from today's ice storm. These were all taken in my side yard.

I hope you are all warm and dry!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Prepping for Open Studios

I'm very excited to be participating in Open Studios this year at the International Quilt Festival in Houston!  Here's a sneak peek at what I'll be working on:

Join me in Open Studios on both Saturday and Sunday, November 2nd and 3rd, from Noon to 2:00 PM. I'll be sharing lots of info on layering imagery and stitches.

I'll also be in the SAQA booth on Saturday from 2:30 to 4:30. If you're in Houston please stop by and see me at either locale. I can't wait to get there!

Monday, October 28, 2013

SAQA Auction - Final Group!

I just realized that the final phase of the SAQA 2013 Benefit Auction begins today! My quilt, Stellar Jay at Nepenthe, has lots of great company in this group. Check out this link to see the available quilts and support SAQA. And, of course, if you're in Houston at the quilt market or show,  you can see them in person there.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

QATV and a DVD too!

As some of you know by now, last week I had the pleasure of taping a few more QATV segments. Always fun!
My trays - ready for action!

Now that I've done it a few times it's not nearly as stressful as before. Pokey does an excellent job of making it seem like you've stopped by to see her and she'd love to chat about your project or technique for a few minutes. Both of the projects I demoed are easy, fast, and fun, so I'm looking forward to sharing them once the links are up. One major bonus of taping is getting to hang out with other artists like Candy Glendening and Susan Brubaker Knapp. Somehow no pictures, but so wonderful to see them and also meet Michelle May and Laurie Ceesay.

I also am sooooo excited about the DVD that I taped. I've had the idea for it percolating away almost since I taped my last workshop and the taping has been scheduled for a long time. Vivika spilled the beans on her blog this morning, so I'll share a little bit too. My new Quilting Arts workshop focuses on creating artful fabric using simple digital techniques (as opposed to creating compositions like in my first workshop).

A few weeks ago you could have found me sitting on the floor muttering to myself amidst all of this:
Some of these are hand dyed and or printed/discharged etc., some are digitally produced
Yes, preparing to film a DVD involves talking out loud to oneself for extended periods, and also timing it. My family has seen this behavior before so they were not too concerned.

Here are some of my fabrics ready to take into the studio.

And a stack of some fabric printed from my designs:

What is hard to convey with still pictures is that this is a *fun* and easy technique. I can't wait until the workshop is released (sometime in 2014), and will be sure to keep you updated!

One parting shot with two of the many fine people who make taping the workshops possible, Vivika Hansen DeNegre and Helen Gregory.
Thank you ladies!
All the staff at KS Inc.Productions is amazing, and many thanks also to Jeanne Cook-Delpit, Bernina expert extraordinaire. It does take a village!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Abstract Inspiration

Here are a few photos from our trip that are more abstract - and much more likely to end up as part of a quilt than the people pictures.

Bubbles made by a busker in front of the Tate Gallery
The British Museum
A blurred British sunset

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Travel as Inspiration

My husband's job has required him to travel very frequently, usually on short notice, for the past few years. This is tapering off now, but in the meantime he has lots frequent flyer miles!!

We're trying to make the most of our time before our oldest goes to college, so we've been using the miles to take trips that we feel are meaningful for our kids' education. Plus, of course, it's fun! Two years ago we visited a variety of our great national parks, last year we went to NYC and drove the Pacific Coast Highway, and this summer we went on another truly amazing adventure. We've just gotten back from visiting London, Paris, Rome, Venice, the lake region of Italy, and part of Switzerland!

As you know, I love to take photographs. On this trip we of course took photographs of every major monument and historical place we visited. What was most important to me, though, was photos - often candid- of our family. Here are some of our family snapshots from this wonderful trip.
Stonehenge was closed - though we still got a peek from a distance in the lovely British countryside. These two are thick as thieves and I love to watch them together.
A cafe in Paris
Waiting for a wreath laying ceremony at the Arc De Triomphe
Vince will jump down some stairs at Versaille if dared.
Leaving the Forum in Rome. I love how they are all perfectly in step. You can just see Vince's head in front of them.
One bonus of the kids being older is that we now have some decent pictures of us!
Gazing at the lagoon in Venice.
Lending a helping hand in the Swiss Alps
Our crazy, funky hotel room in Interlaken.
A token pretty shot - sunset and a storm in Interlaken.
I came back feeling relaxed, happy, and inspired. I hope you're having a great summer too!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

2013 SAQA Auction Quilt

I'm delighted and amazed that I've somehow managed to finish three quilts this spring. I introduced the first one, California Dreaming, in my last post.

The second one, Stellar Jay at Nepenthe, is my contribution to the 2013 SAQA Auction.

I thought I'd share a little bit about how it was made. In a way it's a sister quilt to California Dreaming.

For the last few years my husband and I have been trying to travel with our kids to places that we feel are important for them to see. We've gone to Williamsburg and Jamestown, New York City, and a variety of our great national parks. Last summer we were fortunate enough to go to San Francisco and Los Angeles, with a fabulous drive in between down the California Coast.

My husband and I taking a little break outside the car to enjoy the view.

The day we left Monterey we went down the coast, oohing and aahing at every turn, until we reached Nepenthe. Some folks may be familiar with it because it's a very famous restaurant, but quilters and knitters might also know it as Kaffe Fassett's childhood home.
Here's part of the spectacular view from the patio at Nepenthe. The dining room wasn't open, so instead we each had a little snack while drinking in the fabulous views. Lucky for me, this handsome fellow perched right in front of us.
How could I not include him in a quilt?

First I upped the contrast, removed the background, and created a screen print like, black and white image of the bird and the railing.  Kaleidoscope Kreator was used to make the kaleidoscope in the background from part of the imagery in California Dreaming.
For a long time I thought that this was ready to print, and was reasonably happy with it. Eventually, though, it began to seem too busy. On a whim I added an additional element at the bottom, beneath the bird and behind the rail. Can you guess the design source?
This (or a photo quite like it) was manipulated to get those soft stripes. It's a photo of masking tape in our foyer that I used as a guide while painting subtle stripes beneath a chair rail. Something about the white balance was off, so in real life some of those stripes were blue. What compelled me to photograph the strips of masking tape? I don't know, but I'm glad I did. To me the horizontal stripes really seem to ground the piece. Of course I also upped the saturation a bit and made the greens a little limier.

It's hard to see the quilting from the photo of the front of the quilt, so just for kicks here's a photo of the back before the facings were applied.
Making this quilt brought back some of the wonderful memories from an amazing trip. I hope it brings at least a little measure of that happiness to the eventual owner.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A New Quilt - for Dinner at Eight!

OK, it's been a loooong time since I finished a "big" quilt. I'm constantly making small samples for publication, and have made several quilts for donation in the last few years, but nothing much bigger than 12"x12". Hence I'm *very* excited to show you this new work! Without further ado - California Dreaming:
 I made it specifically for the juried invitational exhibit Dinner at Eight. I'm very honored that my quilt was accepted for the exhibit, and will appear at International Quilt Festival in Long Beach; August 1-4, 2013, and International Quilt Festival in Houston;Oct 31- Nov 3, 2013. 

California Dreaming is 24"x60". It's a digital collage comprised of  several photographs I took while on vacation with my family in Florida and California last summer. (The pelicans are from Florida, the grasses and flowers from California.) The theme for this year's exhibit is "An Exquisite Moment". This quilt represents the exquisite moments I experience with my little family on vacation, free from the everyday stresses of work, school, extracurricular activities, and all the minutia that go along with them. The three pelicans represent my three sons, ages 15, 13, and 10.

If you enlarge the detail photo, you'll be able to see better that on the flowery parts I repeatedly stitched over the lines of the flowers, adding some weight to those areas.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Tomorrow is the Big Day! FFAC 2013

For quite some time now Virginia Spiegel has done a tremendous job of raising funds for the American Cancer Society with the assistance of many fiber artists. This year she's come up with a new twist - A Year of Art. Tomorrow, February 12, and Wednesday, February 13, there are two ways to participate for this great cause - an auction and a drawing. Here's how it works.

The auction includes artwork from 11 well known fiber artists.

The Inspiration Month Drawing is a fabulous opportunity in that one lucky donor wins the entire prize pack from 27 Inspiration Sponsors - all together they are worth more than $1500!! You can enter by making a donation of any size to the American Cancer Society during the event through Fiberart For A Cause's donation page on February 12 or 13.

I'm so pleased to be among the 27 Inspiration Sponsors. I'm donating a copy of my instructional DVD, Digital Collage for Quilt Design from Start to Finish, as well as four beautiful fat quarters of fabric hand dyed by me.

I hope you join in by bidding on some of the beautiful artwork or donating with the chance to win that amazing prize package. So far Fiberart For A Cause has raised $220,000 to fight cancer - let's keep the ball rolling!