Oct 20, 2012

October Surprise

Have you ever noticed that some of the craziest changes, the ones that really affect your daily life, come completely out of the blue?

We've had a beautiful warm fall. The leaves just started changing last week. I love the complementary colors of the orangey leaves against that blue blue sky.

I had one of those big crazy changes drop in my lap on one of those impossibly warm beautiful days a few weeks ago. My quiet, comfortable one-cat home expanded in a completely unexpected way. Someone dropped these sweet little boys out by my parents house, and though I agonized over the decision, in the end I couldn't turn them away.

I don't have many good pictures because they don't stay still for long. Here is Sark in a rare quiet moment. A friend told me the other day that a person and a cat are one thing, but 3 cats are a family. And what a difference that is!  Our transition has been complicated by the fact that this is the first day I've spent at home since they came to live here. But we're all adjusting to the big changes and today we're having a lovely lazy nap-filled day.

Here's Bobby crashed out in a sunny spot. So for the record: I now live with three black male cats. Pistol is 10 and named for Pistol Pete Maravich. Bobby is 6-8 months and named for Roberto Clemente. And Sark is 6-8 months and named for Husky football coach Steve Sarkisian. 'Cause we like sports names around here. Also, Pistol is huge and Bobby and Sark are catching up FAST.

Hmmm, everyone's napping...momma's gonna go make some art!

Oct 8, 2012


I used to *intensely dislike* orange. Back in my traditional quilting days (as well as my crochet and cross stitch days) I never used orange. Orange, with it's lovely sidekick avocado, reminded me of 1970's kitchens. And not in a good way.

And then my sister-in-law wanted to decorate her 3rd baby's room in fall country colors. Orange, brick red, etc. And so I made The Dreaded Orange Quilt. And I fell in love with orange. Despite my calling it The Dreaded Orange Quilt, I really loved that quilt and it changed my attitude toward all the colors. I wish I had a picture to share.

Here's my latest orange quilt. Yes, it's wonky. Anna Turner from Sew Uniquely You gave me the fabric, a castoff from her wonderful hand dyes, and I didn't want to trim off any of that yummy color. I know orange is traditionally a fall color, but this reminds me of the warm intensity of summer.

I was inspired to try my favorite surface design techniques on hand dyed fabric after finishing this quilt which I colored with acrylic paint. The paint made the fabric pretty stiff so my favorite hand quilting with embroidery thread was tough on my hands. The hand dyed fabric was much easier to work with. I have a few more hand dyed pieces in yummy summer colors, so this may turn into a series. I'm looking across the color wheel from orange for the next one!

Jul 27, 2012

To live an ordinary life, extraordinarily

My ordinary world was knocked on it's side last week with the unexpected passing of my dad's lifelong best friend Mike. Mike lived an ordinary life as a husband, dad, grandfather, friend, teacher in a small town. And he lived that life so beautifully, so extraordinarily.

Mike and my dad in high school

Mike was quite simply one of the very best people I have ever known. Truly and deeply kind, caring, generous, smart, funny (silly!), wise, happy, principled, passionate. Mike loved his family, his friends, his community and life itself. He was always there for my family, always ready with a smile and a hug.

Mike with my cousins Sandi and Debbie

The photo above of Mike with my cousins conveys a little bit of what it was like to be with Mike. It was always a pleasure just to be in his presence.  His love of life was infectious.

My words feel so inadequate. Mike touched so many people and there have been so many wonderful tributes, including here and here.

Mike with his son Patrick at a Husky football tailgate.

 It's been a challenging week. My grief has been so strong, at times I've wanted to throw the covers over my head and hide from the world. And at the same time, my own ordinary life has been tugging at me. I hosted my own beloved family in my happy little home for the first time, a new friend had her first baby on Thursday, I was asked to be one of three featured artists at Sew Uniquely You next month. A brief glimpse at Facebook last night showed friends enjoying dinner with their families, a co-worker's baby taking her first steps, a friend leaving on a teaching trip, another friend watching her daughter play with a baby doll and a shopping cart. All of us living our beautiful ordinary lives. And I know that Mike will always be in my heart, just like he was in life, gently reminding me to live and love my ordinary life in an extraordinary way.

Thank you and a winner!

Thank you so much to the folks who donated to ovarian cancer research last week. Team Colleen ended up raising over $2800!!!

And the winner of my drawing is Amanda Jolley! Amanda, I think I have your address around here somewhere, I'll get the postcards in the mail to you on Monday.

Jul 17, 2012

Fight cancer and get a chance to win my art!

Ready to win some original art? I'm going to give this set of 4 paintings (painted by me!) to one lucky person who donates at least 5 dollars to ovarian cancer research.
Each painting is 5" by 7" and painted on a heavy Bristol card-stock type paper. They are suitable for framing or sending as postcards.

I've never hosted a giveaway before...mostly because it scares me to put my art out there in this way...
But a dear friend of mine lost her mom to ovarian cancer 1.5 years ago and this cause, the work for earlier detection, better treatment and someday a cure of this silent killer, has become close to my heart.

While survival rates for other women’s cancers – like breast and cervical cancer – have increased dramatically in recent years, the incidence and mortality of ovarian cancer has remained unchanged in 50 years. This is primarily due to the lack of an accurate early detection test for the disease.
When caught in its earliest stages, survival rates can be as high as 90 percent. Regrettably, however, early symptoms of ovarian cancer are difficult to diagnose, are often misdiagnosed, or go undetected, which leads to nearly 75% of all ovarian cancer patients being diagnosed in advanced stages. Long-term survival rate for advanced ovarian cancer is only 10%.

My friend is raising money for the Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research in honor of her mom, Colleen. If you go here and donate $5 or more by 5 p.m. PST on Saturday, July 21, I will enter your name in a drawing to win this set of 4 of my paintings. Just let me know in a comment here or on Facebook that you donated. I'll draw a name and notify the winner on Sunday morning.

Jul 8, 2012

Makings of a summer

It's been a busy summer so far. Busy and glorious. My biggest creative project has been making these wedding invitations for my friend Jen.

I'm bubbling over with ideas but struggling to find time. I could whine about all the things that are taking up my time, but I'm trying to shift my mindset, thinking about changing my relationship with time. So far, I've discovered that a big part of my time problem is focus. There are so many things I want to do that I get scattered and distracted and I fail to use my time in a focused way. Friday night I decided to change that and I spent the evening starting and finishing this little bag. There are a lot more cute bag ideas where this one came from if I can just carve out more small blocks of time and devote them to one project at a time.

Of course, the need for focus applies to other activities as well. One of the things I really want in my summer is time spent swimming and soaking up the sun. That was my focus on the 4th of July! I'm happy to say I've already been to the lake twice and yesterday I went rafting on the Spokane River. It was amazing!

I also had lemonade and a mini blackberry pie from this best-ever lemonade stand a few blocks from home.  These guys were awesome. They even had sprigs of lavender and raspberry canes for sale.

And this weekend, Mom was feeling so much better that she and I went up to the Moran Prairie Strawberry Festival and enjoyed strawberry shortcake and some yummy vintage/craft shopping!

What are the makings of your amazing summer?

Jul 1, 2012

A message from Pistol

Hi there. It's Pistol. I just wanted to tell you how happy I am about summer.

I've been hanging out in the backyard A LOT! I like to help Thursday with the manly man jobs and get really dirty.

My new favorite thing is flopping on the sidewalk and rolling around. A lot.

Hope you are having as much fun this summer as I am! If not, you should try rolling in the dirt.

Jun 21, 2012

Dear Summer

If I agree to marry you, will you promise to never leave me?

Jun 17, 2012

Farm Chicks!

Hello blog, I've missed you! And I see that blogger has changed the posting interface to be really ugly and non-intuitive...because, ya know, I need less incentive to blog. Sheesh! It's not that I don't want to blog or that I don't have lots to blog about, it's that I never sit down at the computer anymore. Must find good blogging app for the iphone! (Suggestions welcome!) 

Anyway, if there's one thing that'll get me blogging, it's the awesomeness of the annual Farm Chicks show. This year was amazing, as usual. Here's some of what caught my eye: 

Serena always puts together a fun and funky entrance. The show is HUGE and this bright funky larger-than-life dress help to set the scale. 

I went to the show alone this year (mom wasn't feeling up to it) and at first I felt a little funny without my partner-in-crime. But I soon got lost in the visual overload. Every vendor (and there are over 200 of them) sets up their own beautiful little fantasyland.

There are lovely treasures everywhere you look.

And every detail is perfect. 

People even dress the part! 

Here's my loot! I've been pining for one of those locker baskets ever since I didn't buy one last year. And that packet of airmail letters just grabbed my heart and wouldn't let go. I don't think I'll even untie the string, they are so pretty just the way they are.

Thanks Farm Chicks for another wonderful adventure!

Feb 4, 2012

Adventures in Fashion Design

Back in December I got a call from the amazingly talented and lovely Sandra Wise of Pinky Herrera Designs
Among many other wonderful things, she made my dress for AshLee's wedding last summer.

She's working on a new line of men's dress shirts and wanted to know if I would like to collaborate with her. Would I?!?! So she dyed up some fabric and cut out some shirt pieces and sent them to me. And I got out my stamps and stencils and played to my heart's content.

The shirts are back with Sandi now, getting sewn up and ready to make their debut at Chance Fashion's February menswear show in Seattle next weekend. How exciting is that?!

Jan 23, 2012


Here's a little painting I made this weekend. It didn't turn out the way I planned it, but I like it anyway. Gotta let the art do its own thing.

Here's a peek at a bigger project I'm working on.
It was a lovely weekend full of making over here.

Jan 21, 2012

Dear January

I used to loathe you January. I found you dark and depressing and loooooonnnnnggg.

But then I discovered the potential of your quiet, unscheduled weekends. I learned to see you as an opportunity for creative renewal.

And now I'm bubbling over with creative ideas, struggling to focus on just one or maybe four things at a time, to really make the most of your lovely stretches of open time. And now you are flying by so quickly when I'm having so much fun.