Sunday, December 29, 2013

Patriotic Mini-Art Quilt

I know, we're in the midst of the big Holiday season and not in the mood for a patriotic holiday themed project, but,  if stores can have Christmas in July sales, then I can have 4th of July at Christmas blog posts! The truth is I made this Fourth of July project for a Holiday gift exchange with one of my friendship groups. I have been giving July 4th pieces for the last few years to members of this group and will be making a series of these type of mini's until everyone, including me, has one.

This piece is about 10" x 12" I think... I forgot to measure it before I gave it away! Oops! Anyway, it was a good project for trying out some different surface effects, including ruching. I have wanted to used ruched flowers for some time in my art quilts. This last summer I took ruching instructions (printed from the internet) and sewing supplies on a camping trip. While sitting around the campground during the day I worked on ruching while my girlfriend knitted a scarf. It made for a convenient carry along stitching project. I also found it pretty forgiving, which is good when you are sipping some wine and not paying close attention to what your hands are doing! I will show you the steps I used to make this mini in the next few posts. Meanwhile Happy fourth of July-mas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

This beautiful candle mat was made by Miriam Siegel and given to me as a Christmas present. Miriam hand embroidered the "Snow Happens" and juggling snowman. Her stitching is beautiful. It looks great on my coffee table. I'm leaving it out all winter in fact! Thanks Miriam and Merry Christmas to all of you. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Art Bombing

My house has been bombed!  Art bombed that is. 

Art bombing is normally referring to spontaneously leaving or making art in a public place. Mia Bloom does it on a regular basis. Well I had a fiberart get together and she was at my house and "bombed" it with her green GIFT board. It's painted cloth adhered to a board. It looks great in my kitchen! Thanks Mia!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

SAQA Fiber Reactions Show

I am fortunate to have two pieces in the Studio Art Quilt Associates "Fiber Reactions" show in Poway. It will be at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts, from December 3 through 27. There is an artist's reception on Saturday, December 14th in the afternoon. I will be there and I hope to see you there too. The postcard for the show is inserted below and it lists the artists whose work will be shown. The postcard art was done by Laura Bisagna, one of the artists with work on display. I love her stuff.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Side Bars!

Miami Blues - Adding the sides

The center 1/3 of this piece was laying in my UFO pile when I decided I wanted to finish something for the QOTW "Blues" challenge. I pulled this out and measured it. Luckily it was just about the right height but needed sides and a side design to go with the quilt.

I found more of the navy blue velveteen fabric used for some of the buildings in my stash and sewed pieces on for the sides and bottom. I had also used this in strips around the city and reflection, so it helped to tie things together.

The side design had to tie in with Miami, so palm trees seemed a natural. I used home decor sample fabrics for the palm trees, with some of the "specialty" gauzy fabric as well.  I also remember lots of  causeways over water in Florida, so I added some stitching to suggest that behind the palms.

I finished it by sandwiching and quilting the whole thing. The center had already been quilted, so it "pouf-ed out" a bit with the second layer of batting behind it. I liked that look and only did light stitching to prevent sagging in that area.  No one liked a sagging city, after all.  I met my deadline and got another city scape for my series completed. Its a nice feeling!  Now for my next project...

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Monday, November 18, 2013


Lately I've been posting about how I made my Miami Blues art quilt. As I described last time,  I started with a quilted 12" x 12" city scape. That piece is the main focal point of the quilt to the left.  
The 12" x 12"  "mini" was in my pile of small quilts waiting to be finished or incorporated into something larger. 

I wanted this to be part of my city scape series, but thought it needed to have a bit more to it. So what to do? What to do???? How about adding a reflection????

I didn't have any more of the background fabric used for the sky, so I found a denim print in my stash that I used for the reflection background. I cut building shapes from the same fabric I used for the "mini" or other fabric that looked pretty close.  I wasn't worried about making it exactly the same since it is a reflection and therefore is expected to be distorted. Just a suggestion of the same shapes, size and color would suffice.

Once I got the reflected buildings in place I covered them with strips of a loosely woven fabric I get at Joanne's called "specialty fabric". It is in the bridal fabric area. I have purchased pieces of this in just about every color they carry. It has a sparkling quality, does not fray, and is semi-transparent. I have found many uses for it in my art quilts and find it often is a good substitute for Angelina fibers, but is much easier to use. I have included a close up of this fabric below. 

I was satisfied with the appearance of the reflection and of all the features on this quilt, that is the one most commented on. 

So I added a bit of border stripping and it was not about 23" x 15". I wasn't really sure if that was all I wanted to do, so back to the UFO pile to wait for further inspiration. 

Next post - adding side bars....

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Monday, November 11, 2013

It All Start As A 12" x 12" Mini....

My last post showed the finished "Miami Blues" piece I recently completed, which is 24" x 36".   This quilt was built around a 95% completed 12" x 12" mini city scape. About a year or more ago Deborah Stanley gave me a hand dyed piece of home decor fabric that had a lot of interesting shapes on it. Deborah had laid it on some metal work and then painted it. The intricate shapes in the metal work showed up very subtly in the fabric after drying. I loved the look of the swirls and semi-organic forms and wanted to emphasize them by quilting around them. The photo below shows a detail of the quilting and the shapes in this fabric.

I have been working on a series of city scapes and decided to use this fabric as the sky for a small city scape. I had a photo of the Miami sky line from a trip I made there and used that as my basis for building placement and shape. I wanted to keep the buildings relatively low so I didn't cover up the sky.  I stitched the buildings down and then quilted around the swirls. The fabrics used for the buildings include cotton, velveteens and organza's.  The center of the photo below shows the initial city scape that I made. 

I added some embroidery stitches to the buildings to make it more interesting to look at and these photos show some of those details. You can also see the sky stitching in the top photo. 

After completing the embroidery work I put it in my box of UFO's, edges unfinished. I guess I was waiting for a better idea to come along.  My next post will describe the next steps I took - the  reflection area. 

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Miami Blues!!!

QOTW had a challenge to create a piece based on the theme "The Blues". The piece had to be 24" x 36" and landscape oriented. It was due the second Saturday in September. My schedule was pretty hectic this spring and summer and I wasn't really planning to make an art quilt for this challenge due to lack of time. But, I was talking to some art quilting friends at the Long Beach festival in August and started to feel bad about not supporting the group. I knew I had started an art quilt already with blue in it and decided to try to finish it out for this challenge. Fortunately I was able to get it done in time and here it is.

I call it "Miami Blues" because it is based on a photo I took of the Miami skyline from a cruise ship. I will post more about the process I used to make it in the future. In the meantime, I hope you are having a wonderful day and as always, thank you for visiting my blog!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Maps Exhibit at the Houston International Quilt Festival!

If you are going to the Houston International Quilt Festival this year, be sure to check out the QOTW Maps Exhibit! This exhibit got a lot of interest at the Long Beach festival in August. I have a piece in the exhibit based on the California Mission Road - "El Camino Real" (shown below).

The exhibit is wonderful for the artistry and the wide ranging interpretations of the theme of "Maps". The show dates are October 31 - November 3. The back of the postcard for the Long Beach Maps Exhibit is shown below with a listing of all the pieces and the artists who made them.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Kestrel for Julia

One friendship group I belong to has been working on an exchange of sorts for the last several months. Each person in the group provides fabric to the other members with some guidelines for making a block for that person. Recently I have been working on a block for Julia. She provided us with a floral fabric with a black background and a solid pale yellow fabric. She wanted us to make a 12-1/2 inch square for her, any design, adding two additional fabrics. Julia is a good friend of mine and we have shared stories about birds that nest in our yards for years. She has a pair of Kestrel hawks that nest near her yard every year. She has told me stories about the baby Kestrels flying into her garage and their other misadventures. I decided to make her block with a baby Kestrel as the main event.

Here is the finished block. I added some hexagons because that is another of Julia's favorites. Those were my first ever hexagons!!!

To paint the Kestrel I took a photo I had of a baby Kestrel and traced its outlines onto the yellow fabric. Then I put some "No Flow" over the area to be  painted to prevent bleeding of the paints in the fabric. Here is the drawing on yellow and a photo of the No Flow product I used.

I painted most of the bird with Tsukeniko Inks mixed with textile medium. The bird was floating in mid air so I decided to "ground it" by adding a tree stump. Here  is the bird about 2/3 done with the stump drawn in.

Here is a close up of the stump. Sorry the focus in the photo isn't better. My bad!!!

Here is a close up of the finished bird and stump. I took some liberties with the colors so the bird matched the floral fabric.  I used Inktense pencils to add the darkest values at the end.

I hope you like it and thanks for visiting my blog!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Wings and Finishing the Assemblage

The wings for this bird were made from seashells. I was concerned that the sea shell did not have enough surface area to stick to the violin body, so I partially filled the shell with Spackle. Once cured the wings were glued to the violin body. My final touches were to repaint the front of the violin body. It had seen better days and needed a bit of a remake. I glued a crack in the wood, and then painted it with acrylic paints. I also repainted some stripes on the handle. I am pleased with the way it all turned out.
Avian le bois
 This assemblage and other art work may be purchased at the auction for the New Life Project to be held on October 12th. The postcard for this fundraiser is shown below. It should be a fun event!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Head and Wings - Assemblage

The head for the bird was part of the violin handle, part of a saxophone key guard, and part of a wire photo holder. I bent the key guard so it curved to match to violin handle end. I then glued the wires to the key guard so they looked like top feathers on the bird. The top feathers and key guard were glued to the violin handle using gel super glue, and then I used jewelry cording to add some additional security to hold this in place, and add an additional design element to the piece. Here are photos of this work at various stages of completion.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Assemblage Tail Feathers and Bird Feet

The tail section turned out to be one of the more challenging parts of this project. I had to connect metal to metal, bend metal, weave ribbon and then wedge the finished tail section into the photo holder to secure it to the cigar box. Many thanks to my hubby for his help with several of these steps.

The tail section was made from a wire rack used for grilling, and parts of a vegetable steamer. I bent the grilling rack handle to make a "U" shape and spread out the tines. Then I epoxied the steamer parts to the tines of the rack. Last I wove ribbon through the holes in the steamer rack  both for artistic reasons and to adhesion. Here are photos of the front and back of the tail.

The feet were much easier. All I had to do was remove the business end from the handle of two spatulas. Husbands are very handy for that sort of thing. Then I glued these to the cigar box, and added some buttons. You can see the feet in this photo.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Making an Assemblage

I thought I would give some information on the making of my bird assemblage for the New Life Art Project. I was allowed to select from bins of old musical instrument parts, and when I saw the violin body it looked immediately to me like a bird. Perhaps this is because I love birds, spend a lot of time watching them, and like to incorporate them into my work whenever possible. Or perhaps it just looked like a bird. You decide. Anyway, the next thing I saw was what I believe to be a key guard for a saxophone. That looked to me like the eyes and beak of bird too. So, there was no fighting it anymore, I was going to make a bird from these parts.

Step one is to gather together the musical instrument parts and other miscellaneous found objects I had on hand.  The photo below shows the musical instrument parts I took. I ended up only using the violin body and key guard to the left of the violin. The other parts will have to wait for another idea to inspire me.
assemblage parts

Step two is to consult with my good friend Linda who is a genius with found object art. She helped me figure out what else I needed and then we were off to second hand stores. At the second hand store we found a spatula and grilling utensils that we thought could be feet and tail feathers, sea shells for wings, and a photo stand that would help to support the violin body. I also later picked up a vegetable steamer. That made for excellent tail feathers.

Here is a little bit of how I used these items:

The black shape shown below is the photo holder. It is in the shape of a person wearing a graduation gown and holding a diploma. It had three bent wires out of the top of it that you slid photos in to display. The wires were removed and used as top feathers on the head.  It may have started its life as a present for a graduate, but it is now holding the violin body to the top of a cigar box.

Here you see the wires secured to the key guard and used as  top feathers on the head.

assemblage head

I'll show a bit more on my next post. That's enough for now.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Assemblage - "Avian le bois"

This summer I participated in the New Life Art Project. This project is a mechanism for funding music lessons for underprivileged kids. Artists are asked to convert old musical instruments and their parts into art, and then donate them for an auction fundraiser.  I chose to create a bird assemblage from a violin body and other second hand objects. I call my piece "Avian le bois", which  is a twist on the violin term "Avee le bois", meaning "With the Wood" (source - .  Here are photos of my finished assemblage.

The postcard front and back for the New Life Art Project are shown below.  The art items are on display at the Showcase Gallery in Costa Mesa. The auction will be held October 12th. I hope you have a chance to go to the gallery to see the display and even attend the auction. Maybe you'll find something there you just have to have!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

SAQA Benefit Auction Will Begin Soon!

The annual Studio Art Quilters Association (SAQA) fundraising auction runs from September 9th through 28th. It is a great opportunity to purchase fiber art pieces.  I have donated the art quilt shown below, "Nature's Energy Drink II" to this auction. I hope you will check it out and consider purchasing your own fiber art piece! To get auction details click on the link below.

SAQA Auction

Nature's Energy Drink II

Monday, August 5, 2013

Anthem Story will be at the AQS Grand Rapids Show

I made this quilt for a Flying Geese Quilters Guild challenge last year based on the theme "History Lesson - An Event in American History". My quilt was one of eight selected to represent the guild in the American Quilter's Society national competition called the "Ultimate Guild Challenge". Our eight quilts have been juried in as semi-finalists and will be shown at the Grand Rapids, Michigan AQS show.  The show is August 16 - 18.  I'm honored to have had my quilt selected and shown.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Learn to Make "A Slice of the OC"

If you are interested in learning art quilting techniques, sign up for my class where I teach you to make this quilt that I call "A Slice of the OC". It is based on landmarks in Orange County, California. I will be teaching the class at Flying Geese Fabrics in Tustin, California on August 17, from 10am - 4pm,. It is a pretty fast project that you will start in the class and finish at home. The store has a kit that you can purchase that includes the top fabrics and trims. You will need to provide the backing, batting and some other supplies. The class cost is $40, and I don't know right now what the kit cost will be.

The Flying Geese Fabric Store is located at 307 El Camino Real, Tustin, CA.
Their phone number is: 714-544-9349.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Maps Exhibit at the Long Beach International Quilt Festival

Come see the Quilts on the Wall: Fiber Artists special exhibit "Maps" at the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach. It is a wonderful display of fiber art based on 18 different artists' interpretation of the theme: Maps. 

The show runs from August 2nd - 4th and is at the Long Beach Convention Center located at 300 East Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA. I will be at the show throughout the weekend. This is the last year Quilts Inc. will have this show in Long Beach, and I will miss it when it is gone.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Maps - El Camino Real

Quilts on the Wall is doing an exhibit called "Maps" for the Quilts Inc. Long Beach International Quilt Festival this year. That show will run August 2, 3 and 4 at the Long Beach Convention Center. I am co-curating the Maps exhibit for a second year. This is a juried exhibit with this years' jurors being Beth Smith and Karen Cunagin from Visions.

"Maps" is a wonderful display of art pieces. I hope you have a chance to see it. I was fortunate enough to have my piece juried in to the show. It is based on the El Camino Real road that runs though the California Missions. I will be talking about the techniques I used to make this piece in future posts. I show it below. I hope I see you at the show.