Dec 30, 2007

So, um, my hair turned curly.

Nope, not a perm. Totally. Natural. Ringlets. You must understand that I'm a stick-straight hair girl from a family of stick-straight hair girls. Oh sure, I've developed some annoying cowlicks the past few years, but it was a shock when I didn't bother to style it one Saturday a few months ago and discovered this. It's weird, but in a nice way.

Dec 17, 2007

Dec 12, 2007

This is my kind of bag...

For making at least. Just decorate a square (in this case quilted with perle cotton), fold up the corners and sew them together, and tack some ribbons on for a handle. This is my take on the Kemshall's bag project in Quilting Arts Gifts. It's a gift for a friend and I'm just delighted with how it turned out. In fact, I accidentally told her I wanted to keep it for myself. Oops. OK, what I really meant was "I want to make another one just like it for myself." She took this one home at noon to keep it safe.

Dec 8, 2007

Merry and Bright

So, as it turned out, I actually cleaned up a bit and put up the Christmas tree. Shocking. I haven't put up the tree since I've had Pistol (full disclosure: I've been pretty grinchy the past few years). But I decided since this is a Year of Change, I'll try to change my attitude about Christmas. Now we just have to wait and see about Pistol's attitude.

So far he's just watched. And then he got bored and passed out on the clean laundry pile. But I've added lots of shiny toys while he's been sleeping...

This is really a win-win for me. I'll either have the pretty tree to enjoy or I'll have a good story of kitten hijinks to tell. Maybe both?


Look at this gorgeous scarf! My excellent friend Shadan made it and wore it on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, mom and I drove out to the home of Elise Bozzo (hope I spelled that right!). Elise is a doll artist who has been crafting and collecting for years and years. She has 9 Christmas trees decorated with handmade ornaments. This is the Santa tree:

She also has angels, snowmen, Raggedy Anns, teddy bears and more. Elise's home is completely and beautifully decorated for the season and each piece has a story.

All this loveliness is inspiring me. Will I work on things in progress? Will I start something new? Will I clean the house so I can put up my little Charlie Brown Christmas tree?

Perhaps a bit of each...

Dec 4, 2007

Royal Quilt Tester

Thanks for the help Pistol, but this quilt is for the Divine Miss Mina, not for you!

Nov 30, 2007

Yep, definitely crazy...

This is the view from my closet. It's pretty here even when it's cold and snowy. The crazy part? I've been jogging. 5 miles this week. In the snow. With a Marine. Definitely crazy.

My friend Thomas started a 2100 club at work. The idea is to run 100 miles and do 2000 calisthenics (pushups, situps, squats, jumping jacks, etc.). There's a chart in the lunchroom to mark your progress. It felt REALLY good to mark off that first 5 mile box. And it turns out you don't get cold when you're running.

Nov 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I went for a short jog on the trail this morning. Lovely. Yes, it's cold and I'm a little bit crazy. I was going to do the turkey trot with some friends but one woke up with a terrible cold and the other accidentally refroze her turkey. I was already half-bundled so I headed out for some fresh air and exercise.

I have so much to be thankful for this year, most of all my amazing family, the support of my wonderful friends and my funny sweet little cat who makes me happy every day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 16, 2007

Dress #2

Here's another dress. #3 is on the painting table. Having lots of fun with these.

Nov 12, 2007


Sheila tagged me for this creativity meme. Go check out her Angel of the Rock quilt - it's really lovely.

1. When did you start and make craft?
I was always puttering around with something. Latchhook, candlewicking, making elaborate Barbie "houses" that took up the whole living room. At the same time, I was really bad at art in school and really good at most of the other subjects, so despite the puttering, I had this idea that making stuff wasn't my thing. Then when I was about 22, I decided to crochet a blanket for my new baby nephew. I loved it and after that I never questioned the need to create.

2. Why did you start creating?

I don't know. My mom is very talented and was always making stuff so maybe part of it was wanting to be like her. Looking back now I can see that there are a lot of very creative people on both sides of my family, so maybe it's just hardwired into my brain.

3. Why do you create?

Partly because I have to. I guess it's the hardwiring...I get itchy and cranky if I'm not making something. Also I find working with my hands to be very soothing and I love the "in the zone" feeling I get when I'm totally focused on creating something. Making something that "looks cool" is a tremendous rush and something I get a lot of satisfaction from. Creating has become such an integral part of my identity that it's hard to step back and analyze the why.

4. What do you create?

Quilts, embroidery, mixed media collage/paper quilts, delicious meals and baked goodies, home dec stuff, a bit of knitting and crochet, whatever strikes my fancy.

5. How has this changed since you began crafting?

I define when I began crafting as making the baby blanket for the nephew because that's when I really began crafting with intention. So back then I crocheted a lot and then I did a lot of cross stitch and then I did a lot of traditional quilting. The main difference is that I used to be happy using patterns and now I prefer to make it up myself. Same thing with cooking - I used to be content just following recipes, but now I consider a recipe to be just a suggestion. Also, having done this stuff for a while now, my skills have naturally developed to the point that the finished product is usually much closer to the initial idea than it used to be.

I'm tagging Melissa and Jenn and anyone else who feels like doing this meme. Please leave a comment if you do.

Nov 6, 2007

Dress #1

7" by 9". Mixed media collage? Paper quilt? Not sure what to call it, but this is what I've been trying to achieve - a combination of the painting/collage/paper with the embroidery/embellishment. Simple and whimsical, but with depth and texture. I left the edges unfinished so I can make more of these and stitch them together into a quilt.

Nov 4, 2007

I needed a hat

to wear for the First Friday artwalk downtown. It's November now, time to put away the cute sandals and bundle up in cute hats. I found this supercute crochet pattern by Melissa Rotert and whipped it up with a skein of Angel Hair yarn that's been hanging around for a while.

The galleries in downtown Spokane hold their opening receptions the first Friday of every month, so I bundled up and headed out with my friends Bridget and Carol to see the sights. These are postcards from 2 of the shows. On the left is a clay tile piece by Alice Fairbanks-Wilcox called Still Want to be Desired, showing at the Kolva-Sullivan Gallery. I love this piece and was very happy to see it was on the postcard. On the left is a collage of works from The Mask Show at Artisan's Wares. Lots of fun, whimsical masks by some of my favorite local artists, including Rik Nelson who makes amazing art from post-consumer recyclables.

Oct 28, 2007

You can't always get what you want...

but it sure is nice when you get cookies! Especially yummy spiderweb and pumpkin and ghost and BLACK CAT cookies!

I was having such a good day yesterday. I got some work done at the house in Cheney, I had a nice lunch with my friend Shadan at Chili's, I found this book:

I got two pieces of mail: the new issue of Gourmet magazine and a package from Aunt Susie full of the excellent Halloween cookies pictured above and a pair of black cat socks. And when I got in the car after lunch, Jake Locker immediately threw a 99-yard touchdown pass.

Good things were happening. It was a GOOD day. I just knew my Huskies were finally going to win a Pac-10 game. But no. I was wrong. Once again, a loss at the very end. Drat!

Oct 16, 2007

Feeling Fall-ish

I'm generally not a big fall fan. I'm all about summer and fall is when all the lovely sunshine and heat and flowers and bright colors go away. But there are a few things about fall that I really like:

Halloween. When I was a kid, it was all about the costume and the candy and the running around town trick-or-treating with my friends. Now, well, how could I not love a holiday that provides a perfectly acceptable excuse to wear bright orange shirts with black cats on them? So here's a little Halloween-y collage I just finished. It's 8" by 5.5".

Football. Favorite. Sport. Ever. Football is all wrapped up with happy memories of childhood and family and my dad. We are both obsessed and can discuss our Huskies for many happy hours.

Socks. Now generally, my feet just want to be free. But they are also smallish and way down at the end of my longish legs and they get cold. Snuggling into a cute new pair of socks for the first time each year is as much fun as painting my toenails bright red for the first time in the summer.

See, it always comes back to summer. But I'll go ahead and enjoy fall in the meantime.

Oct 8, 2007

Yes Kitten, I agree...

Sometimes you just gotta stop and take a nap.

Sep 23, 2007

Fun with clay

Hey look! I finally made something. Something really small...but pretty! Actually, I've been puttering around with several different makings, but mostly in fits and starts. I can't seem to settle down to finish any one thing. I'm honestly a little overwhelmed with ideas.

So today I played a bit with polymer clay. Love love love this book - Mixed Media Mosaics by Laurie Mika. She makes the clay jump up and dance. I want to make millions of little pendants and mosaics. Today I made two. Well, I made some more, but these two are my favorites. I still feel overwhelmed and least I made something cute.

Sep 13, 2007

trying to find my rhythm

I've been a bit off kilter the past few weeks, just when I need to be establishing a new routine in my new home. The thing is, my routine is no longer completely dominated by stuff I have to do. There's more room for things I want to do (or at least there would be if I could ever get my stuff out of the old house). At the same time, I'm developing a pretty good idea of the way I want to live my life. So establishing the routine is a more mindful process this time around.

I want to include regular time for things like:

cooking good meals
listening to music
hanging out with friends
making stuff (art, quilts, etc)
blogging (and keeping up with blogs I like)

I'm trying to incorporate this stuff now...if I say I'll wait until I'm less busy, well, that day never comes. Even as the house stuff winds up, we are swinging into football season and many lovely weekends in Seattle, away from my routine.

Yesterday I listened to the latest episode of Alison Lee's Craftcast
The guest was Gabrielle Roth, a dancer/artist who spoke about the rhythms of life and how, if you can find your personal rhythm, you get into a flow where everything happens smoothly.

I can see the flow...I want to get there...but my rhythm is a little off. I feel like the awkward girl at the concert who's clapping half a beat off from the music. Off kilter. But getting closer.

Aug 30, 2007

My new pad

This is the new neighborhood. Lovely.

This window is in the studio and immediately became a favorite. The windowsills are nice and wide - perfect for kittens (or big giant cats who think they are kittens).

Love how the living room turned out - bright and fun.

The bedroom is quilty and cottagey and huge - this is just one corner.

Of course, now that I've pretty much got things the way I want them, I have to go get the rest of my junk from the house and mess it all up again.

Aug 23, 2007

Happy Birthday to me!

Yeah, I know my birthday was 2 months ago. What's your point? I subscribe to Oprah's philosophy on this point: "The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate."

So, I spread the celebration out and spent some birthday money on these two wonderful pieces by Debra Greenleaf Campbell.

These just make my heart sing. I purchased them on etsy and I'm just thrilled with how vibrant and wonderful they are in person.

I also spent some birthday money on a modest spree at Haberdashery, my favorite local needlework shop:

Yummy. I'm infatuated with the Caron Watercolors and Wildflowers threads and Haberdashery has a whole wall. The gals at the store know me as "the bright-color girl." ;-)

I'm busy getting settled into the new place and figuring out a new routine. The studio is about 80% unpacked, which turned out to be the perfect amount for me to quit unpacking and start playing.

Aug 9, 2007

The best part of moving is...

The boxes! And all the empty drawers and bookcases and other vaguely box-like shapes. So many places for a kitten to jump into!

Aug 5, 2007


I'm not really a bad blogger, I'm just a girl in the middle of moving house. Pistol and I are finally here with most of our stuff in our new place. I decided to rent for a year and take my time looking for the bright, funky cottage.

So here's a partial list of what I did yesterday, my first full day in the new place:

Went grocery shopping for the essentials (milk, juice, butter, ice cream, hmm, sensing a dairy theme here...I bought cheese too...)

Arranged the living room furniture

Went to the farmers market (corn, lettuce, blueberries, huckleberries, peaches, etc.)

Unpacked some books

Had Amir the cable guy in to set up the tv and explain how to set up the internet ($30 if they just give you the stuff and explain it vs. $100 if they actually set it up)

Scrounged through the kitchen boxes to find what I needed to make a yummy salad (romaine, huckleberries, gorgonzola, fresh garlic, balsamic and olive oil)

Took a nap

Drove to Cheney to get essentials that didn't make it on the first trip (computer keyboard, mouse and cords, grandma's antique bowl, the new Harry Potter, jeans and tank tops, adorable Steve Madden shoes, etc.)

Set up the computer and internet.

Took a walk, met several local squirrels. The new surroundings are really beautiful. I just wanted to amble along and absorb things yesterday, so I left the camera at home, but I'll take pictures soon.

So here's what I'm considering doing today:

Unpack more stuff


Read, sew, catch up on blogs.

Hmm, wonder which will happen?

Jul 16, 2007

creative abandon

I had so much fun making this mess! I also learned something really important - I need to buy a timer for the studio so I don't have to carry the kitchen timer back and forth all the time. I did Julianna Cole's mail art exercise from Kaleidoscope by Suzanne Siminaitis. I really like this book - it's packed with great ideas and exercises and best of all, lots of advice on getting over perfectionism and just getting down to making stuff.

My hands turned out very pretty after my play session.

My postcards turned out very pretty too. This exercise involves gathering a bunch of supplies and then doing each step in a very quick, intuitive way. You have either 5 or 10 minutes for each step and you set the timer and stop when time is up. Ohmigosh is this liberating!

You actually aren't supposed to make anything pretty with this exercise, but I found that when I didn't have time to think, things just effortlessly fell into themes and pretty compositions. It actually would have been harder for me to make things unpretty. Hmm, wonder what that says about me?

I love how fresh these postcards feel. They seem so much better to me than something I spent a long time agonizing over, trying to be perfect.

I also learned that it's much easier to give yourself a short amount of time to do just one step rather than saying "I have one hour to make something." No pressure to make a whole piece, all I have to do for the next 5 minutes is slap some paint down. All in all, a great exercise and a really fun play session.

Jul 9, 2007

Hmm, blogger doesn't like titles these days. This little square is 5"x5". I've always been intrigued by the projects where artists make a small piece every day or every week. I've reached a point in my creative journey where I'm feeling the need to instill a bit of discipline in my working habits. I need to just do the work, do lots of it and quit being so precious about it. I tend to procrastinate because I want everything I make to be perfect. This is a really good way to not make anything and I need to get over it. So the idea is to make a little square every week or so, something small and simple that I can carry around and work on whenever I have a minute or two. And just go with the idea, make quick decisions and live with them, don't fuss and fret over it. So when something doesn't turn out like I want it to, like the beads in the center of the flower, just leave them and remember to not do it that way the next time. It was really hard to leave those beads there.

Jul 7, 2007

Yes I did have corn and raspberries for dinner. OK, I had some bruschetta too. With fresh garlic and gorgonzola. And I'm having raspberries for breakfast. Oh how I love summer!

The shoveling out of the house means access to lots of places that are usually closed off to the little cat. Here he is luxuriating on top of my shorts and t-shirts on a shelf in the walk-in closet. Wednesday he pulled everything on the first three shelves of the linen closet out onto the floor. And Thursday, when I organized the far-flung bead collection into those little compartmentalized boxes? A pile of bead tubes is one form of little cat heaven!

Jun 28, 2007

painting for sanity

I had to take a break from the endless shoveling out of the house. I was mentally exhausted. I needed to make something. I longed for the feeling of being in the creative groove. So I gave myself a few days off and started slapping paint around. For inspiration, I loosely followed the 2-for-1 backgrounds technique in the article by Chrysti Hydeck in the new issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. Except I painted one piece of fabric and one piece of paper instead of 2 papers. The fabric is the top photo. It was a good exploration of how different mediums behave on different surfaces. OK, mostly it was just a lot of fun. I think these 2 are done for now. Ready to line up some more fresh white and start again.

Jun 25, 2007

Strawberry Fields

Mom and I drove up to Siemer's Farm on Greenbluff Saturday to pick strawberries. Lots of other people had the same idea, but there was plenty for everyone.


Sunday I puttered, potted plants, watched Amelie, had a lovely lime dinner party to celebrate my birthday. Havana Garlic and Lime Chicken, Strawberry Limeade and Key Lime Pie. I was having so much fun I forgot to take pictures.

It was a lovely, summery, strawberry and lime-y birthday weekend...

Jun 20, 2007

I am woman...hear me weed-whack!

I weed-whacked today! I'm so proud of myself!

OK, to really grasp the magnitude of this accomplishment you must know that the weed-whacker is a ginormous gas-powered super-duper weed-whacker. The better to whack Canadian thistle with, my dear. When we bought it I could barely lift the thing.

So when I say I weed-whacked, what I really mean is, I've been on a steady workout program for several months now and it's paying off. I'm strong enough to whack humongous nasty thistles with the Ginormo-Whacker. I'll be 37 on Sunday and I'm stronger and fitter than I was at 27. Yay me!

Jun 13, 2007

Ah, Summertime...

My very favorite season is finally here! I am loving the warmer weather and the beautiful flowers and the blue blue blue sky.

Here's my farmer's market bounty from Saturday. Well, most of it, I didn't think the hunk of smoked salmon would look very charming in the picture. The farmer's market situation in this area has improved quite a bit over the last few years. Now you can even get kittens. I was very tempted by an ADORABLE grey-striped baby cat at the humane society table, but cooler heads reminded me that I had an ADORABLE giant baby cat at home. They were right.

There's a little bit of art happening as I plug away on my piece for the Kress Gallery show. Mostly though, I'm busy with a major haul-out and clean up of the house as we get it ready to sell. For entertainment, I've begun house-stalking, looking for the perfect little place to turn into my bright funky cottage. Wish me luck!

Jun 1, 2007

Sometimes you get poppies...

Gardening up here on the West Plains is always an adventure. In addition to whatever you plant, you also get "blessed" with whatever comes in on the wind. Usually it's Canadian Thistle.

But sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes you get poppies.

May 30, 2007

Time to get (a little bit) serious

Eeek! The Kress Gallery show has been expanded to two months this year - August and September. Which means I need to get very busy getting my new piece together. This is a design I began developing in a Caryl Bryer Fallert workshop a few years ago. I learned a ton about coming up with and developing abstract designs, in addition to the skills necessary to actually put them together. Monday I started cutting and sewing. It felt REALLY good to get absorbed in the process again.

May 21, 2007

Lucky Lucky Me...

I'm the happy happy happy owner of this beautiful quilt:

My excellent wonderful talented friend Julie Huffman made it for a challenge/lovely gift for me! I was so surprised and happy, I think I spent about an hour petting it when it first arrived. The colors! The circles! The quilting and the beads! The awesome friend who made me a beautiful quilt!

May 10, 2007

More about mottling

The excellent mottling effect I've been getting with my fabric dyeing experiments is mostly a product of laziness. I like to use the simplest methods possible. The basics of the mottling are: squish as much fabric as possible into as little dye solution as possible in a fairly small space. I've been using generous fat quarters in a 1/2 cup of dye in small tupperware containers from the dollar store. As you can see from the photo, there's nothing scientific about the mottling. I just smoosh the fabric down into the dye and then leave it alone for 3 hours. No stirring. I use the methods in Dyeing to Quilt Quick Direct Dye Methods for Quilt Makers by Joyce Mori and Cynthia Myerberg.

Here's my batch of yellows. I did squish the fabric around a bit about halfway through the dyeing with this batch, so there's still mottling, but it's not as extreme as the earlier batches.

Here's Pistol pretending he's the mighty king of the savannah.