Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sew Day!

'Twas the day after Christmas when all through the house,
The quilters were sewing with nary a spouse.
Shelby was tucked in her bed nice and warm,
While Lisa, Bonnie and I sewed up a storm!

Photo swiped borrowed from Lisa

I played the hostess and they were my guests,
Down in my basement....it was the best!
We set up machines, ironing board and three chairs,
And sat down to sew away all of our cares!*

When all of a sudden there arose a slight clatter,
I threw open the bobbin case to see what was the matter.
And what to my bewildered eyes should appear,
But a great big lint ball and thread wad, I fear.

First lint brush! Now oil can! Next, rotary blades!
On triangles, snowballs, and UFO I made!
Not hidden on shelf, but to the design wall**
Now stitch away, stitch away, stitch away all!

Bonnie sewed a gazillion HS triangles!
Lisa's yummy Snowball

I worked on my Storm at Sea UFO

Armed with chocolate and lattes, a healthy lunch too,
(and we had Christmas cookies, oh yes, quite a few!)
With a whole day to play, we had lots of fun,
I was sad when at day's end the sew day was done.

They packed up their cars with their projects complete,
Then scooped up Miss Shelby (that dog is so sweet!!)
And I heard myself say, as they drove out of sight,
"Happy Sew Day to all! Next time...overnight!" ***

(*actually there were to have been four chairs, but our friend Laura lost her beloved dog that morning and couldn't come. Our hearts were heavy for her)
(**really, it's laid out on the table. The old design wall is down and the new one isn't up yet...But who's getting technical here. It's poetry! Sort of... )
(***we have a weekend retreat coming up with our bee...but I don't think I'll get to go -waah!!)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Wishes

From my home to yours,
Wishing you the best of the holiday season
and many blessings in the year to come!

May you always be surrounded by the ones you love.

Friday, December 9, 2011

I'm Still Here

...and I can't wait to catch you up on all the stuff that's been happening around here. It's been production central, getting things ready for the Deck the Halls sale at Sawtooth and the Winterized Wonders art fair at my boys' school...decking my own halls getting ready for Christmas, and all the usual flurry of activities that go with...processing another contract for a guild lecture...and on and on. I have photos to upload and stories to share. And all of this will be forthcoming.

But meanwhile...life has dealt another harsh blow to Virginia Tech...my Alma Mater. And my heart is breaking for them...the officer senselessly slain and the family he leaves behind...the university population reliving a trauma from which I can only imagine was just maybe beginning to heal, if it ever really can from something so horrific as what they endured just a few short years ago...a young man so broken that he would commit such an act. And for what? Why? So many unanswered questions in this season of Peace on Earth.

I grew up in the town next door. My parents owned a business in Blacksburg. I spent four years learning and soaking up college life there. I worked both an internship and post graduation position in the Planning Department. It's a part of who I am and where I came from.

It's so easy to think that things like that happen "somewhere else"...but reality tells us that it can happen anywhere.

Please keep the Hokies in your thoughts and prayers. It's a great school.

And pray for peace.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Great Info

So...I'm stuck home, recovering from some dreadfully nasty virus (flu? plague? IDK) instead of being in Black Mountain on the annual fall quilting retreat. Bummer!! I'm going to miss that time with my quilting buddies!! I have so much to do but it will have to wait, and that's OK. Meanwhile I did make it downstairs to my desk today (yay!) and found a GREAT email post from Alyson B. Stanfield's Art Biz Blog in my inbox. Her guest Fiona Purdy writes about how to handle requests from charities for donations of your art. It is quite brilliant!

You can read about it here.

It really made my day. I get a lot  of requests. I have a big heart. I want to help everyone that I can. And I've made a lot of art donations. But I don't want to go broke. I don't want my work to be devalued by a low bid. And the fact of the matter is that no matter how you've priced that piece of art or what other pieces of your work have sold for in the past, the only thing you can write off on your donation is the cost of materials. Not your stated price for the completed work. Not the value of your time to create it. Not even the price it brings at the charity fundraiser. Most people probably don't know that...including the ones requesting your donation.

Fiona has a wonderful way to make it a win-win situation. Really...go read her post! What a great idea!

And if you aren't already a subscriber to Alyson's blog, you should be! She's great at helping you find your way through the twists and turns of being in the business of making art!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Catching Up

Things have just been hopping around here lately! What have I been up to? Let's see...

I've been teaching...
Altered Surfaces - rust dyeing, stamping, discharging, and gelatin plate printing
(Here Deb and Lynn show off their awesome creations!)

Silk Scarf Dyeing...

I've been making clay buttons...

which have now been glazed and fired and I need to go pick up :)

I've done 2 festivals...

One the weekend of the hurricane and one the weekend it turned cold and rained! LOL! Yes, outdoor festivals are a hit or miss kind of thing. I can't say that it's been a highly successful adventure yet, but it's been on my list of things to try and I want to do a few more before I make a final judgement on their feasibility as part of my studio business. I don't like the unpredictability of the weather...

After all, gallery exhibits are climate controlled! I've had two openings in recent weeks...

This is a traveling exhibit curated by my friend Kathy Brusnighan (seen left). A gift to the community, these inspiring and encouraging pieces debuted at Circa Gallery in Asheboro, NC on Sept. 15 and will be exhibited in hospitals and galleries throughout central NC through the end of 2012 where the exhibit will conclude at the Center for Creative Leadership. For more information on the exhibit and a schedule of locations visit Art With Purpose.

We all had a great time at the reception! Thanks Circa Gallery for hosting us!


(my piece is in the lower right..."Consider the Lillies (Even When the Sky is Falling)" hand dyed fabric collaged to canvas with dimensional flowers)

 Another fun reception! This show is at Sawtooth in the Davis Gallery and will run through November 17.

My pieces from L to R:
"Rest" and "Relaxation" (stacked)
"Sam"  (daughter of a longtime friend)
"Faith", "Kay Oss", and "Clara T." (whimsical)
"How Do You See Me?"  (interactive, changeable piece)

I've been hard at work on a memorial commission piece...but I can't show it yet...

The boys and I enjoyed an evening at the Dixie Classic Fair. My favorite part...the fancy chickens!

And of course, there have been lots of soccer games...

And baseball games, including a FUN! trip to Myrtle Beach for a tournament at The Ripken Experience!

Well, that's it in a nutshell!
(Did I mention I love coffee?)


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Color Me Proud...Uh Huh!

It didn't take long for the youngest to have his sketchbook assignment chosen for the teacher's blog, seen here . This one was illustrating song lyrics of their choice. I think the Zac Brown Band would approve.

The youngest is really getting into colored pencil drawing, which fascinates me. See, in my earliest creative days I was totally into crayons and color, but once I started formal art lessons I was all about pencil drawings. The regular kind - black and white. And ink. Stippling was my most favorite there. Well, until I started painting I guess, and then my love for color kicked back in where it's been happily ever since. :)

Anyway, I'm really enjoying seeing all of the posts on Art Over Time! I love seeing what the kids are doing in middle school art. I hope you will pop over there and have a look through for yourself.

Meanwhile, here's another assignment by the youngest  for your viewing pleasure:

Yep. Mama is proud of her boys!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

You're Invited

An exhibition of Portraiture
September 22-November 17, 2011
Davis Gallery at Sawtooth School for Visual Art

Featuring work by;
Jeffrey Cates
Steve Childs
Karen Fridy
Betti Pettinati-Longinotti
Tom Ogburn
Mark Spangenberg
Mary Bailey Thomas

Artists’ Reception; Friday, October 7 from 5-7pm.
Gallery Hours: Mon - Fri 10-7, Sat 10-2
336-723-7395 http://www.sawtooth.org/

Friday, September 2, 2011

Like Mother Like Son

I'm so excited that both of my boys are taking art class in school this year! It was a given in elementary school, but in middle school they have to choose it as an elective. They both did this year and they both got it. They both got the same teacher, but in different class periods. I'm impressed with the fact that there are two art teachers at their school!

The eldest's first sketchbook assignment can be seen here on his teacher's blog. Yes, a big grin came to my face when he told me she chose his work to post.

Squeeee!! :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cue the William Tell Overture

Haven't had time to post in a while...classes, vacation, more classes, field trips to IKEA in Charlotte(fun!!), art fair. Oh, and back to school stuff!! Seriously, August should have at least one more week added to it. I don't know how I managed to cram it all in! :)

And...I've been working on this:

She got her hair today. I'm just giddy over making progress on this one! It's done with my hand dyes and will be in the "Faces" exhibit at Sawtooth Gallery in Winston-Salem. Opening reception is September 22. I'll have other pieces in the show too. Some yet to be made. I have three weeks.

Meanwhile, I have another piece in the works for the "Courage" show which opens on September 15 at Circa Gallery in Asheboro. I have two weeks to finish it.

And I'm working on a commission piece too.

<: O
(It may be a while before I post again...Wish me luck!! And please send chocolate!)

* Footnote: the piece for "Courage" is finished and delivered! Yay!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I have a bad habit of going for long periods between posts... but I have good excuses! Really  :)

I've been busy this summer teaching Kids and Teen Camps at Sew Original and it's been lots of fun! There were two "I Can Sew!" camps for kids, one teen camp and today wrapped up the kids "I Can Quilt!" camp. I'm utterly exhausted...in the best way possible. It's been great sharing the love of all things fabric with these kids!

I managed to get some photos of Quilt Camp...enjoy!

Prior to camp the girls picked out their fabrics, which I pre-cut for them so we wouldn't have to deal with rotary cutters and the accompanying potential hazards thereof ...  :)

They learned the joys of chain piecing...

Row piecing...


The joys of pin basting...just look at these happy campers!

Then it was on to the quilting. These girls were FEARLESS!!
Sew girls, sew!!

And look! TA DAAAAA!!!!!
All that's left to do is flip and stitch the binding to the backside and sew on the labels. I should have taken pictures of the labels...they were so cute!! They each designed their own.

I'm so proud of these girls. They worked hard and had fun!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Leash on Life

If you remember from these posts, earlier this year I started a program called Creature Comforts to make pet beds using quilters scraps that would benefit the Forsyth Humane Society and its related programs. Last Tuesday my sons and one of their friends went with me to the New Leash on Life graduation ceremony in Winston-Salem. New Leash on Life, or NLOL, is a program where qualified inmates in the NC prison system are paired with dogs who need training. Working with volunteer professional trainers, the inmate trainers work intensely for 8 weeks teaching the dogs basic training, agility, housebreaking, and socialization skills. At the end of the training period they celebrate their achievements with a graduation ceremony and the dogs who have found forever homes are presented to their new owners. A few days later a new class of dogs comes in and the training begins again. This local chapter is sponsored by FHS, and there are about 20 other NLOL programs throughout NC.

There is a great video about the program here.

At this session's ceremony I was honored to present  NLOL with 5 large pet beds for their ongoing use! It was so inspiring to see the work that goes into training these dogs...I asked one of the trainers how long each day they spend with the dogs and would you believe the answer? 8 - 10 hours a day! And let me say, these dogs are smart and well behaved...the perfect fit for a new forever home.

I love this program and how it fits so well with the mission of Creature Comforts. Everything - dogs, inmates, and yes, even fabric scraps  - finds new purpose. Like I said in my presentation, I truly believe that everything - and everyone - has a purpose. Nothing is just for throw away.

photo courtesy of S. Belcher
Here we are unloading the pet beds! I'm so excited to be making this delivery!

Program coordinators and a trainer greet the new owner of one of the dogs :)

The trainers showing off the dogs' new skills...they were really good!

Gifts for some of the program coordinators, made by an inmate. These were carved out of soap and are really neat. I wish I could show the face of the trainer who was presenting them...he had the biggest smile!

A lot of work from a lot of people went into making these first 5 beds. Even my oldest pitched in helping chop up scraps for the filler! Knowing that there will be that much less stuff in the landfill and that what would have been thrown out has now been put to a good use makes it all worthwhile. It may be a small thing, but just think what would happen if more people did something, even if it's just small?

The next production focus will be beds for use at the FHS adoption center. Stay tuned! :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Back to It...The Rush is ON!

I can't believe June is almost here! It's going to be a busy month...I hit the ground running June 1 with the installation of the Cosmic Cow Society group exhibit at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center , opening reception June 3, 5-7:30 PM. Also opening June 3 is the faculty exhibit at Sawtooth from 5-7PM. Pass the clone please! :)

From there it's full steam ahead with shipping work to Sacred Threads and then making final preparations for teaching Summer Art Honors at Sawtooth and 3 kids/teen camps at Sew Original. I can't wait!! I love being around all those creative young minds! I may be the teacher, but I always learn from them as well. Be on the watch for lots of photo postings!

Throw in there some Elementary School graduation celebrations (how did my baby grow up so fast?!?), and other end-of-school-year festivities, and before I know it, it will be July!

Bring it!! It's going to be a fun summer!!

(image from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net )

Monday, May 23, 2011

Time Out for Some Family Fun

The recently promised photos of the Ornamental Fiesta class will be forthcoming...I would have finished two in class had I not driven to Asheville without Bernie's power cord! DOH!! Hard to do the sewing part without that, huh? Oy. I was able to borrow someone's machine to do part of it, but I still need to satin stitch the edges, stitch down the metal, and do the embossing. I will say though, that it was a really fun class and I can't wait to show them off!! If you ever get a chance to take a class from Judy Perez, don't miss it...she is a great teacher :)

Meanwhile, this past Friday was my husband's birthday...and not just any ordinary one, it was the big 5-0! He was in Minnesota all week on a business trip and flew home on his actual birthday. I started to have the crowd at the baggage pick up area sing to him, but he's not one for calling attention to himself and I figured he might just jump on the conveyor belt and ride right out of the building. So, I refrained. :) We did, however, stop at Bibb's, one of his favorite BBQ restaurants, for dinner on the way home.

The real celebration came Saturday night. We hosted our "Grub Club" and extended the guest list with his parents, brother, sister, niece and two surprise guests - his college buddy and wife - whom we hadn't seen in about 11 years! He had no idea they were coming! He came home from our youngest's baseball game and there they were. It was great! It was a night of Italian feasting with homemade raviolis, pasta Alfredo with chicken and sausage, salad straight from my garden, fresh NC strawberries, and more. Good food, good friends, good conversation all night, and kids running all over the place!

Coach Jim prepares to blow out all those candles...

On Sunday we spent the day at the Winston-Salem Dash game...it was hot but fun, and they won! Go Dash!

Even the sky was showing love...see the heart? :)

It was a great birthday weekend!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What the ????

Blogger seems to be doing wacky things with my photos...all of a sudden they are showing up as little empty boxes! You can click on them and pull up the image but you don't see anything in the post. Any ideas what's going on??? HELP!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fun with Ink!

I've been having the most fun!! My guild - Forsyth Piecers and Quilters - booked a Tsukineko Ink workshop with the brilliantly talented Judy Perez, held this past Saturday. I've been wanting to learn what to do with these inks for a while now, and have been looking for an opportunity to have Judy here for a class ever since we met a couple of years ago when she was in Winston-Salem on a personal trip. When I saw Asheville on her calendar I jumped at the chance to book a class in Winston-Salem, only 2 hours east of Asheville.

It was 6 hours of bliss!  :)

In this class Judy teaches two different methods for working with the inks, and she provides images to work from so you don't have to get bogged down in trying to think up something. It was a relaxed, really fun day! Look what we did!.....

Judy (right) giving tips to Joanna White

OK, we didn't do these...Judy did! Aren't they amazing?

This is my first test piece...learning to get the feel of it using the Fantastixs

My second pieces, done mostly with the Fantastix. I call them "Alien Fruits"  I was in a playful color mood :)

This is Fred, my seahorse. I love him madly! He is what I created in the afternoon using paintbrushes in the second technique Judy taught. Be on the watch for Fred to turn up in a future art quilt...

Asheville is hosting Judy's Ornamental Fiesta class and I'll be heading up there for that this week, so tune  in later for more pictures!