Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hexi Heaven

How many of you find yourselves stuck somewhere with nothing to do? OK, maybe nothing to do is a laughable concept...there's always something!  But think about all of the opportunities that you could be sewing if only you weren't in the doctor's waiting room, or in the carpool line waiting for school to let out, or at that two hour soccer practice. Or maybe your significant other really likes to watch TV and you could take it or leave it but you want to spend your evenings with them instead of locked away in your studio all alone but you still want to sew! (um, could that be me?)... You get the picture. There is a lot of time spent just waiting. And if you're like me, sitting doing nothing is just short of pure torture.

Well, wait no more! If you don't already have a portable project to work on in those times, let me suggest that you start a hexagon quilt! "What??", you ask? "Isn't that hand piecing??" 

Why yes, it is. And it's EASY!

This is one that I've finished called Let There Be Light. 

I carried its parts around in a repurposed box in which I hot glued a magnet to the inside of the lid to hold needles. It went to the allergy doctor, to Little League, to pretty much was my grab and go project for a while. It's amazing what you can accomplish in your "spare" time!

I've designed a new one that I've started stitching on...this one is about 5x bigger than the one above. It has, oh, 3,000+ some pieces in it. Daunting, yes, but it is going to be gorgeous! Here's a sneak peek:

Give hexis a try! You'll never be stuck empty handed again. If you'd like to make Let There Be Light you can find the pattern on my ETSY site. The instructions are photo illustrated, step by step, and the pattern diagrams are in full color.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Featured Artist Friday - Kathy Alderman

This week I am introducing Kathy McCracken Alderman of  Burlington, NC. Kathy is a versatile artist creating in several media: painting, photography, silver wind chimes, whimsical totems and yard art. She has always appreciated art, but like so many women, Kathy focused her creative energies on raising her family. Once her children were grown she had a bit more time to explore her art.

A self-proclaimed "late bloomer," Kathy is enjoying her artistic endeavors. She explains, "By now most people have found their niche and settled down. Not me, not yet anyway. I'm still exploring and just having fun with the different media available to me. So far the paintings I have created have been using oils, acrylics, and pastels."

Her photography started as a way to remember the activities of her children and family and to capture the beauty of nature to use as reference for her paintings. She says, "The rolling hills and natural creeks of rural Caswell County provide beautiful vignettes for my lens. Whether here at home, along the coast, or by the banks of the White Oak River, 'Mother Nature' never fails to inspire me." While she initially took photographs as inspiration for her paintings, she has found that people want to buy them before she even gets a chance to paint the images.

Either way, I think her landscapes are quite beautiful! I love that they have a softness about them, yet a rich use of color. They have a peaceful quality that I can just get lost in. They remind me of home.

And this piece...LOVE it! I have a thing for tree people. I love how these just seem to float, juxtaposed with the high energy yellow background. Just dreamy!

Kathy has also been playing with antique silver, crystals, glass and acrylic beads to design beautiful wind chimes. She has had requests to use silver from families to create unique gifts that can be passed down through the generations, and she also has quite a collection on her own to choose from as well.

In addition to her silver assemblages, Kathy also creates whimsical totems and yard art.

She has work in several galleries including:
Burlington Artists League Gallery, Burlington, NC
Focal Point Gallery, Chapel Hill, NC
HollyHocks, Mebane, NC
Flying Dove Studios, Burlington, NC
Point of View Gallery, Burlington, NC
Alderman's Repair, Burlington, NC

She is a member of the Alamance Artisans Guild and a pending member of the Cosmic Cow Society. Kathy can be reached at

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Funny what happens when you refuse to resist the urge to click the "try the new interface" button. You end up changing the whole enchilada because there doesn't seem to be a button for "OK I've seen it, let me back now please"! It's a point of no return.

 I've been meaning to give this place a face lift for a while now anyway...but it's not quite there yet. For example, while I love lime green, red, black and white, I would like to have the option to change some of the text that now shows green to black, and it's not giving me that choice. And the banner isn't quite what I want either. I've still got some tinkering to do. And more than a few things to learn, I'm sure. :)

So bear with me as I update my look.  I'll try to sort it all out quickly.

And fearlessly!

Monday, February 20, 2012

It Finally Snowed!!!!

Well...just a little.

Our only snow of this winter fell just enough to be pretty and I was able to skim enough clean snow to dye about 8 yards of fabric!

Beats buying ice to get the job done :)

Footnote: To learn how I do this click here . :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Featured Artist Friday - MIA

Unfortunately I don't have an artist to introduce this's been one of those weeks! I do have someone upcoming though sometime in the next couple of weeks...a young artist who is having her debut show opening in March and I can't wait to showcase her unique pieces! You will love her!

Meanwhile, for this week I'll just ask the question:

Who is your favorite artist - current or historical - and why?

Two of my favorites are Escher and Picasso. I've always loved Escher's ability to twist reality and fool the eye. His mastery of tessellations is unmatched. And Picasso...the inspiration behind the name of my local fiber arts group The Beecassos. I love Picasso's wonky faces! When I was a new (translate: exhausted) mom I always said I felt like a walking Picasso! :) Sometimes I still do...

Like this week....

Since I can't publish their works I'll give you these links. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

You know, I've never been the "dozen roses" kind of girl. Oh, I've received them a time or two (literally, a time or maybe two :). What makes my heart sing is a single red rose. See, it's a tradition started many years ago when I was little.

My dad's shop shared a wall with a florist. Only, the wall wasn't a solid separation between the two businesses. There was a connection...I can't remember if it was a cased doorway or literally a hole in the wall, but there was access from one space to the other through the back rooms, covered by a curtain. (Oh how the building code guys would have a fit over that these days! heehee! I won't get on my building code soap box. We're having happy memories here).  I used to love going to the flower shop's back room! They had fuzzy pipe cleaners in every color a kid could want and they would let me play with them. What fun!

The proximity of the flower shop made it easy for my dad to remember special occasions, and I dare say the flower shop owner probably reminded him sometimes too. It was there that the tradition of the gift of a single rose was begun. Every Valentine's Day, and birthdays too, my dad would give me a bud vase with a single red rose, white baby's breath, greenery, and a ribbon. Even after I was living a state away and married, Dad would call my husband and ask him to get a rose for me from him. He did this every year until he passed im 2005. Isn't that sweet?

And so, carrying the tradition forward, now I get three from each of my special guys. And considering that the number three is special to me, it's just perfect!

I'll never be a "dozen roses" kind of girl.

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Monday, February 13, 2012


In my youngest's art class they had to illustrate a poem. His piece made the art teacher's blog!

It's a little hard to see all the detail in the photograph...but it's filled with all kinds of cool Zendoodling. I especially like the sun! And in the raindrop on the shirt are the words of the poem.

Great job Will! Congrats for having your work selected for recognition!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Featured Artist Friday - Rose Wenkel, Burlington, NC

Welcome again to Featured Artist Friday! This week I'd like for you to meet Rose Wenkel, another of my fellow Cosmic Cow Society members. Originally from New York City, Rose came to North Carolina in 1972 where she raised her family. Then at age 50 she went back to school to get her degree in Graphic Design, after which she worked in advertising until she retired.

Art  has been a major part of her life in one way or another for the past 30 years. In addition to running an ad agency, over the years she has painted and taught classes in oils, watercolors, and mixed media. Rose says, "Upon retiring I went back to my paints and brushes once more, giving me an outlet for the many more years of creative thinking still unexplored."

Having lived in seven states and traveling extensively is reflected in Rose's paintings. She explains:

 "Often drawing from the many inspiring sights and experiences in my life shows in the diversity of subjects, while the bright colors reflect spirit and personality. Although primarily an oil painter, I often switch to watercolors and like to experiment with mixed media, finding new way to express ideas in art.

The one thing that ties my work together is color, bright bold colors that draw the eye and evokes feelings of all kinds."

And oh is that true! She uses rich, intense, saturated colors that just draw you in and keep your attention. Whether it's a soft dreamy piece or a bold abstract, Rose's use of color embodies her energy and joy for life.

Her work has sold locally, throughout the eastern US, in Italy and England. To see more of her gorgeous paintings please visit her website, or The Cosmic Cow Society, or ArtistRising

Images provided by the artist. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


When I was a little girl and my mom wanted to keep me occupied, she would pour out her button jar onto the bed and have me find certain ones. My favorite button to hunt for was the apple button. I happily would dig through all those buttons, letting them run like sand through my little fingers, until I found the apple, then I'd hide it in the pile and start all over again. That jar was one of the best "toys" ever!

Amazingly when she passed, that button jar was still part of her sewing things and I was happy to give it a place among my own. Once again I poured out the buttons and hunted for the was still there!

Isn't it funny how so many memories can be found in a simple little jar?

Buttons weren't just a tie between my mom and I. My dad often told stories of his first job as a teenager working in a button factory where the buttons were made of bone. They really did make use out of everything back then, huh?

So it seems to me, in remembering my family ties to buttons, a bit ironic that I have become a button maker myself....clay, polyclay, and plastic. Each one individually handmade and unique.

Of course, I had to make some apple ones...

I will be selling these, my hand dyed fabrics and more at the upcoming Forsyth Piecers and Quilters show March 16-18 at the Village Inn and Conference Center in Clemmons, as well as on ETSY, just as soon as I get my shop set up. 

I think Mom and Dad would get a kick out of me being a button maker! What's the old saying...?  "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree"....


Friday, February 3, 2012

Featured Artist Friday - Carole Donovan, Graham, NC

This week's Featured Artist is Carole Donovan of Graham, NC. Carole is a fellow Cosmic Cow Society member and a truly fascinating person to know. Originally from Australia, Carole moved to the US where she worked as a cartographer in California before retiring and moving to North Carolina in 2004. Always the adventurer, she enrolled at Alamance Community College to fulfill her dream of becoming an artist. In spite of her years of experience with drafting maps, she said the transition to fine art did not come easy to her at first, but she persevered, finding her passion for painting. For her painting is "one of the most distinctive, attractive, and gratifying forms of art."

Her pieces are diversified and the contrasts between the subject and the colors are sometimes subtle, sometimes bold and striking. She began with watercolor and went on to the other mediums to test the contrast of the layered colors and what she could get from them. Although oil takes a  long time to dry, she says it produces such fine blending that it is her preferred medium to work with. Sometimes she will work on 2 pieces at a time so one can dry a little before continuing on it.

 I particularly love her bold use of color and strong graphic style. She says, "I do enjoy using all the mediums and hope that my personality comes through in each piece I do."

Knowing her as I do, I'd say she succeeds at that quite well! She is lively and fearless and full of joy. You can't help but smile just being around her. Her paintings have that same affect on me....I think you will agree!

Carole is a member of the Burlington Artists League and Gallery  and the Artists of the Cosmic Cow Society of Greensboro.  She is also an instructor of watercolor painting at Twin Lakes Retirement Center. You can reach Carole at or by phone (336) 227-1338.