Saturday, January 25, 2014

Guess Who's Coming to Key West?

He's going to fit right in, especially with the tiniest Crocs ever.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Wednesday's Wanderings Revisited

I have thought about turning my Wednesday's Wanderings blog posts into a book. A couple of years ago I read about Blog2Print and I realized this was how I could do it. So when a discount code showed up in the inbox of my email recently and my friend Dina had the patience to help me, I knew it was the right time. The WW posts had to be extracted from all the other 2012 posts.

It took me 3 days to organize it, but 98 pages later, I had a compilation of posts to send to the publisher. Less than 2 weeks later, the book arrived. It's wonderful to hold it in my hands and leaf through a year of weekly mini quilts. Definitely worth it.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Settling In

As I sit here in Key West, I think about my friends and family up North who have been through a crazy winter. The snow is ending in the Philadelphia area this morning with an accumulation of 10-12" depending on location. This is a good year to be in Florida, especially when this is a morning view.

This week is Race Week. There are sail boats from all over the world. It is an amazing sight to see them transported down the narrow streets and then to see them race with their beautiful sails.

I find it amazing that there is always something going on here. This past weekend was the Key West Half Marathon (13.1 miles). I was a volunteer-NOT a runner. My job was to cheer them on. I got some curious looks when I broke into song, singing the Rocky theme (because I'm from Philly)!

Only in Key West will you see people running in tutus.

This coming weekend is the Arts &Crafts Festival. Last year I bought a great jacket. Maybe this year I will find something for Henry.

It doesn't take too much of an excuse for people to don a costume or what could pass for a costume. Here I am with my two friends, Ina and May Brit, heading to a pre-construction party for The Studios of Key West.

TSKW is an amazing arts center. They are moving to a new location that needs lots of renovations.

I need to apologize for my lack of blogging. We have been here for 3 weeks and I am crazy busy. Bailey and I walk the island each morning and there is a great gym where I Zumba or spin each day. I ride my bike everywhere and you can see this stay at home kind of gal has gotten into the KW scene- LOL.

I set up my sewing machine and design wall and have pretty much taken over our tiny downstairs. I am so glad that I have a patient husband who does not mind the mess. This is a peek of the project that has me completely engrossed.

I have taken lots of photos of my process and will share them soon. It is all silk dupioni and will measure 4'x6' when finished. I plan on finishing the top here and then embellishing it with beads and buttons when I return to PA. There was a limit to what I could bring, so I hope my house sitter is enjoying what I left behind in my studio!

The picking of the winner for Mary Mark's great book, "Forget Me Knot", is long overdue. I apologize for my procrastination. The winner is Maxine Oliver. You will love this book, Maxine. As soon as I get your snail mail address, the publisher will put the book in the mail.



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Double Giveaway

Today The Quilt Show is airing the second class in my series about making a free-standing folded fiber book.  In this class I demo how to make a page from a photo. I used one of the many photos I took of windmills as I bicycled around Holland.  You can use my technique to make a page for a fiber book or to make a pictorial or memory quilt.  Here's the link:
To see this class you need to be a member. To join, there is a cost involved, but it is worth every penny.  You get a lot of great quilting tips and info plus access to presentations by many of the best quilters around.

This week, The Quilt Show is doing a giveaway in conjunction with my second class.  If you submit a photo of a WIP to their website, you can win  a trio of fat quarters of delft looking fabric that I bought during my travels
 or a copy of my second book.  The book contains directions on how to turn "pages" into a book plus lots of tips for embellishing.

My second giveaway involves another book with a very inspirational story.  I met Mary Marks as a participant in a group of Jewish quilters.  (You know there are groups for everything.)  Mary has started a new career as a mystery writer at 70! Her first novel came out this month and it's a good read.   She modeled the heroine, Martha Rose after herself - a divorced, overweight, Jewish, quilter from LA.  The book is pretty funny and the solution to the crime is very ingenious. 
I am quoting the blurb on the Amazon page: Martha and her besties Lucy and Birdie are set to expand their Quilty Tuesdays by inviting newcomer Claire Terry into their group. Though at forty Claire's a tad younger than their average age, her crafty reputation could perk up their patchwork proceedings, especially as they prepare for the fancy quilt show coming to town. But when they arrive at Claire's home and find her dead inside the front door, and her exquisite, prize-winning quilts soon missing, Martha is not one to leave a mystery unraveled.
Thanks to Mary and her publisher, I am giving away a copy of this book.  Join me on Bloglovin' (see the link below) and leave a comment with your e-mail address.  I will pick a winner on Friday.

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Time For A Challenge

I really enjoy the idea of challenging myself, whether it is a commitment to growth or discipline. In the past, these have included my Wednesday's Wanderings blocks and concurrent blog posts in 2012, riding my bicycle across the state of NC, losing 135 lbs and relosing 60 lbs five years later. The idea of artistic growth appeals to me right now, but because of my Henry commitments, I want to keep it simple.
I bought myself a small sketchbook and I have this great set of markers. My plan is to combine lettering, sketching and journaling. If there is a name for that, please let me know. Eventually I'll make up my own name. It is to be a daily ritual not to last more than 15-20 minutes. I'm not the best at drawing, but I do know that practice leads to improvement. My plan isn't to be Leonardo DaVinci. I want to keep to my own style and keep it simple, whimsical and in the vein of folk art. (My inspiration is the watercolor art journaling of Jane Davila,
So, once a week I will share my pages with a humble heart. By sharing, I am making that commitment to keep on going and maybe by New Years Eve 2014, I will be proud of my lettering and sketching. It's all experimentation and these are my rules:
1. Do it daily
2. The page is to include a word, a sketch and writing.
3. The three items listed above do not have to be related.
4. The page should not take more than 15-20 minutes.
5. No erasing.
6. I will share it weekly with no explanations necessary.
7. Play, experiment, enjoy and no excuses.
So with those rules in mind, here is my journal and my first week of pages.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

It's A Great Day!

I have had a great relationship with The Quilt Show ever since I traveled to Colorado to tape a show about my Mexican tile quilts and my book !Quilt Fiesta! I am always happy to work with them and their partner The Quilt Life magazine. They approached me last summer about doing a classroom series. I love making my freestanding fabric books and have never before shared how I make them, so I said I would do it if that was the subject.

I created a book called Dutch Wonderland, about my Bike & Barge trip to Holland (I know it's small but I can't seem to make it bigger) to share my techniques. It was a time consuming process since I had to make multiple copies of the steps along the way to demo. My dear friend Nancy Humphreys spent the day videoing me. (Hubby and I decided we needed an impartial videographer.) Nancy is the most patient and kind friend that I have. Imagine having to do retakes and listening to me say the same thing multiple times and watching my goof ups for hours on end. Thank you Nancy.

I am thrilled to be able to share this link with you:

It gives you free access to view my first class in a series of 6 classes. During this class I share a bunch of books that I have created. The next 4 classes are about how I made the pages and during the last class I share how I turn the pages into a book.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Choosing What To Bring

We drive down to Key West each Winter. It's always a full car. Of course I need to bring Bailey and my sewing machine and definitely fabric. This year, there was also the Adirondack chairs I bought out in Amish country made of poly something or other. I chose a bright aqua for our small deck. I think they will look great, but they take up a lot of room in the car. Thankfully they fold and we do have an SUV.

Oh and there's the sewing table with a drop-in place for my sewing machine that I bought at Joann's during the Christmas sales. That will replace the 4ft table I have been using for the past 2 years. It should help my shoulders. So I am limited in the amount of fabric that I can bring.

I have had a drawing on my design wall for a couple of months. My goal is to make it out of Dupioni silk. Since I work intuitively, I am not sure which colors I will need. I am also teaching a couple if silk workshops in 2014, so I need to make a few more samples. The result of this planning is that I need to bring all of my silk. This is one overstuffed bin.

There is sewing and there is sewing. The silk sewing is brain intensive. It requires designing and choosing colors . This type of sewing can be work. There is LOTS of trial and error involved AND lots of pacing. Sometimes it works and sometimes no matter what I try it just doesn't look right. So I need a counterbalance.

The counterbalance is mindless sewing. This usually involves cotton scraps and some type of basic geometric block, using up fabric that I already have in my stash. I'm not sure yet which patterns I will use, but I brought the fabric to make 3 bed size quilts. I put this fabric in a nifty clear bag that you suck the air out of to compress it.

I threw in some zippers just in case I need to make some zippy pouches and graph paper and teaching paper just in case I have an idea I need to work on. I am so afraid of running out of sewing projects, as if this could possibly happen. And if it did, there's a nice little quilt shop just a few blocks away.
Well, I better start sewing, otherwise I will have all this fabric to bring home with me. At least there will be room in the car.