Friday, May 29, 2009

Creative Block

My husband's brother and father are visitng us from Pittsburgh. All the guys love to fish. We have a place on a small lake in the Pocono Mountains. After spending memorial Day weekend there with the kids, my husband sent me home to do my creative thing. With a few deadlines looming, I was getting nervous (and cranky). With this gift of time, I feel the pressure to produce. Maybe I could finish 2 projects?

Alone in the house with only my puppy! I could sew and create to my heart's content. Cereal for lunch. Salad for dinner. Nothing could stop me now. I decide to work on a bedrunner for a book I am working on.

So why does everything take 2 and 3 times as long as you plan? Sometimes you're chugging along. Everything is falling into place and BAM!, you hit a wall. It's not working. You audition every fabric in your stash. You run to the fabric store (there's no time to order on-line) and buy way more 1/4 yd cuts than you need. One of them just has to work. Then I pace. Most of my pacing ends up in the kitchen and I grab a handful of pretzels or crackers or cookies. More pacing and more eating.

Eventually, it works. Sometimes this process takes a day and sometimes days. Sometimes, I look through my creative journals, looking at pictures I have drawn or cut out of magazines for inspiration. Art/craft forms other than quilts are sometimes my source. I liken my creative process to giving birth. It starts with great expectations and sometimes after a lot of brain crunching, ends with hopefully a beautiful finished project.

My quilts evolve. I do not plan the entire project before I start. I find that fabric does not behave the same way as colors on paper. I start with the "inside of the project". Once that is done, then I work on an inner border and then the outer border, and then my favorite part - embellishing. I just never know what is going to work for me.

So I am getting ready to quilt project #1 today. After quilting and binding, I plan on beading the short edges. With 3 days left before the boys return, can I finish another project?

Do you ever have issues? What do you do when you have a creative roadblock? Do you have any special rituals, or routines?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kent County Quilters

It all started with a pot luck dinner with a group of members at the home of the quilt guild's Program Chairperson. The food was delicious, and the women were all so nice and friendly. (I was staying at the home of a good friend of mine who had actually referred me to this guild. But the crazy girl slipped down the steps a couple of hours before my arrival and the doctors decided to keep her overnight for observation.) There was one dish that was so unusual and tasty that I just had to ask for the recipe. Eleanor was kind enough to share it with me. What a great dish for a warm summer's night. Thank you Eleanor.


24 Oz. Frozen Whole Strawberries w/syrup, thawed. ( I used sliced)
2 1/2 c. Water
3/4 c Sugar
3 T. Cornstarch
3 T. Water
1/3 c. Lemon Juice

2 1/2 c. Sour Cream ( I used Lite)
1 1/3 c. Milk ( I used 2%)
1 1/2 t. ground Cloves
1 1/2 t. Nutmeg
1/2 t. Cinnamon

Sliced Almonds for Garnish.

Drain Fruit, reserve liquid. Combine sugar, water, syrup & spices. Bring to boil and simmer 5 min.

Mix cornstarch & 3 T. Water; add lemon juice and add to spiced mixture.

Bring to boil; boil 1 minute. Cool to room Temp.

Blend in sour cream, strawberries, milk with spiced mixture.
Chill thoroughly.

Garnish with sliced strawberries.

Makes 8 generous servings.
The meeting took place in Chestertown, MD on Monday night. I talked about the many ways to put text on quilts, how the computer is a wonderful design aid and how to make story blocks. The next day was a workshop. It was a project to learn about using the computer for putting words and images on fabric and I also shared how I make my embellished edges. On the left are 2 samples of the project. It was a hands on learning experience as the participants were trying to match their fabric choices to their photo. My samples, couldn't have used 2 more different fabrics with the same photo. This was a great teaching tool.

We all really had a great time. Photos of a family trip to France, a cat named Sarah, a greyhound, a bride and groom in Napa, 2 rescue dogs, a family party and a family fishing trip were framed and embellished with many different types of fabric. The ladies all learned so much and I felt that I left Maryland with a whole new group of friends. I hope that they will make friends with their computers as new design aids.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


For anyone in the area, I am speaking at The Kent County Quilt Guild in Chestertown, MD on Monday night (5/18/09). The topic is Personalizing Your Quilts. I'll be talking about writing and printing on fabric with the computer and making story blocks. On Tuesday, I'm giving an all day workshop demonstrating using the computer and how I construct and design my uneven edges.
I would love to meet anyone that follows my blog.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Finished Bicycle Book

I am so excited. I put the pages of the book together and it's done. There were many ways that I could construct the book. I decided that I wanted to be able to see all of the pages at once and chose an accordion style. Thinking about vertical or horizontal, I chose vertical so that I could hang it on the wall and everything would unfold. I used double sided fusible Pelltex inside each of the pages to make them stiff. Then a little beaded edge embellishing and ta da!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Cover Page For Cycling Album

If you have been following this thread in my blog, you know that I have been working diligently on a fabric album devoted to my love of bicycling.  Today I finished the cover – Hooray!Cycling Album Cover

The center panel was given to me by my friend, Kelly.  She found it on one of her journeys about 2 years ago and I was just waiting for the right project for it.  The side pieces are silk dupioni with a little cotton detail.  The top letters are fused and hand stitched,  The botton letters are the foam stick-ons that you can buy at the local craft store.  I spray painted them gold and then anchored them with metallic thread.  Glass button are the final embellishment, wrapped with some thread.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cycling Album – Last Page

Day #6 and this is my last page – except for the cover.  Cycling Album P.  5

For this last page, I wanted to try and do a collage piece.  I first used a fabric marker and wrote cycling vocabulary on the background fabric.  It’s a whole new language that I’ve learned since riding in my adult years.  You need to stabilize the fabric first with either contact or freezer paper.  After heat setting it, I layered it with batting and quilted it. Then using an actual bicycle chain ring, I prepared the fusible facsimiles out of black organza.  I very carefully fused it to the background.  The balancing act was using a setting on the iron that was hot enough to activate the fusible, but not too hot to melt the organza. I stitched around the chain rings.

Then the square were fused in place and stitched down with metallic thread and then adding toothed locker washers from the local hardware store that remind me of gears.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Day #5, Page #5

Continuing my album journey.  I have finished my 5th page in 5 days.  This is so doable  when you break it down this way.  So, for my 5th page …..drum roll please:

This page is about my cycling travels.  I have prepared for this ever since I started taking my bike on trips.  I try to pose my bicycle, sometimes with me and sometimes without me – to show off the locale.  I have been so lucky and have ridden my bicycle in so many wonderful places.  It is an exciting way to really see our country and other countries.  I pieced these photos with the blacCycling Album P.4k fabric. 

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The rectangles are shrink sheets .  You put them through the computer, cut them to the desired size/shape and then shrink them in the oven.  (Like the old fashioned shrinky dinks.)  I know of 2 companies that make them: and  You may be able to find them in your local crafts store.  I have also printed photos on them.  I punch holes in them before I shrink them and use the holes to sew them on.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Day #4, Page #4

I devoted my 4th page to my hero, Lance Armstrong.  To watch him ride up those hills during the Tour de France is so inspiring to me.  I cannot imagine how his legs are burning, and how his body is telling him to just get off the bike, but his brain is telling him to keep going and that he can do it and he  just continues to turn those pedals.  Inspiration to get out there and just do it!

Cycling Album P. 2

The photos were printed on EQ printables with my computer.  The bicycles across the bottom were screen printed with Print Gocco.  “Hero” was designed with my word processing program and then fused on.  The Livestrong bracelet is real.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Day #3, Page #3

So far, 3 days and 3 pages done

Cycling Album P.1

I used a photo from my bicycling trip to Girona, Spain and printed it on EQ Printable fabric. The orange fabric was overdyed bicycle fabric. And then I printed words onto commercial fabric with my Epson CX4800 using durabrite ink, which is permanent. Embellished with beads.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cycling Album – 2nd Page

Day #2 and page  #2.  I’m on a roll.

Cycling Album P.6

This project is a great opportunity to practice machine quilting.  The pages are 8”x10” and are so easy to maneuver.  For this page, I printed the small tags with the computer and fused them to the background.  Then I layered the background and the batting and machine quilted it, making sure that I secured the fused words.  Then on top of all of this I fused and hand stitched the bicycle.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

New Project

I have always wanted to make a fiber journal. I have a workshop coming up the middle of May and I have decided that I could use this format to demonstrate a lot of my techniques to personalize a quilt. I knew the perfect theme would be my love of cycling. I have been saving stuff for just this opportunity.

My goal is to do a page a day for 7 days and on the 8th day, construct my album. So, come back and visit daily to see each page.

1st pageCycling Album P.3

I used a quote by John F. Kennedy and printed it on fabrics using my computer. Ric rac is framing the quote and sequins were attached with beads. I stitched the “pennies” onto silk dupioni with metallic thread, by hand.