Way back in 2016, Melissa Averinos came to Chattanooga to teach a group of us how to make faces with fabric.  It was great fun and she taught us lots about creating portraits.  My first face didn't please me very much, and thankfully I had time to create another.  I liked it a bit more and even completed it shortly after the class.  Determined to try more faces, I cut and glued and made several more.  Then, as usual, I was distracted by something else and I stuck those portraits in a drawer and forgot about them.  

Somewhere along the way, in the infamous year of 2020, I completely lost my desire to create with fabric and just sat around making beaded jewelry. After making dozens of earrings, bracelets, and necklaces and lamenting my loss of mojo for fabrics, a friend sent a photo of her beautiful floral collage made with fabrics.  That little nudge clicked and I started searching for those old 2016 collaged faces.  It was a long search because I had no idea where I had stashed them.  I finally found them in a drawer stuffed full of paper patterns from old art quilts from years past.  I had even forgotten that I had saved so many of them, since I never, ever make the same thing twice.  I also uncovered a couple of portraits I had created of my granddaughter and found that I liked them better now, after they have "aged" a bit.  

In just a few days, I have them quilted and bound! Ideas have been swirling around like dervishes.  Hopefully my mojo will keep me inspired to play with fabric once again.  And I hope that some of you might like to purchase one of them before they are stashed into a drawer to be forgotten for another 5 years.  

Some people say this is a self portrait.  I don't really look that, do I?  

"Pouty Paulina" is 16" x 22" and come pout on your wall for $50 + shipping

"Sophisticated Sally" is 16" x 20" and could grace your wall for $50 + shipping


"Just Pat" 18" x 23" is available for $50 + shipping

Then there are these 2 characters.  I'll let you name them, but I think they are a couple from the 1960's Haight Ashbury.  
17 1/2" x 21 1/2" 
$100 for the pair

Back with more beads!

After making the decision that I must do something with all these beaded earrings, bracelets and necklaces,  my problem is taking the time to photography, edit, then take the time to sit down and bang out a blog post.  Then I must pull out my smartphone to post this latest offering on a couple more apps. I must admit that using a smartphone to accomplish this is a challenge to me.  I am always battling with that sweet little old teacher somewhere out in cyberspace, who wants to correct my spelling and grammar.  Then I have to mess with the photos to be sure they fit correctly within the parameters of the appropriated space allowed.  It inevitably happens that some of my photos get cropped inappropriately.  By that time, I give up and move on.   Anyways, I decided to open up the old blogger and work for here.  Here I do have a little more control.  

In selling a product there needs to be descriptions, dimensions, pricing and if you're lucky enough to sell something, packaging, invoicing, mailing and so it goes.  The older I get, the longer it takes me to accomplish anything.  Plus the fact that I am a bit lazy and not at all driven to be a successful business woman.  After all,  I am retired and I just wanna do what I wanna do whenever I wanna do it.  Whew!  I'm tired just thinking about it all.  

By now you are probably tired of reading.  If you have gotten this far.  So without further ado, I'll wrangle some photos onto this post. I have also posted these on Instagram and Facebook.  I hope you will enjoy seeing them here!

These are a collection of earrings that I made following a pattern written by a very talented Gwen Fisher   You may also find her on Instagram @gwenbeads.  I would love to sell you a pair of these cuties for $55.00 which includes shipping within the continental USA.  Let me know if a pair might appeal to you or if I could create a pair in a colorway that you might like.  Or if you would like to have a closeup of a specific color.  I will be happy to oblige.  

The next pair are a 1 off original design.  This means that I won't make another pair like this.  So if you are sporting one of these pair out and about (now that we are able to get out and about much more these days), you will not see someone else with earrings like yours.  Ever!  



You might notice the design is slightly different on each piece but the colors tie them together: teal, soft white. light rose, grape, blush on a copper background.  They are 1 1/4 " x 1" not including the earwires.  


$55.00 + $5.00 shipping and handling

More to come............


After an on again off again relationship with blogging, I am going to try to start up once again.  Realizing that once everyone became addicted to "other" apps which show lots of photos and are less wordy, I abandoned my blog to jump into the fast paced, instant gratification, and constant dinging of notifications that someone has just posted something.  Can you ignore that urge to drop what you are doing to see what 5 dozen folks have just posted?  No?  Neither could I.  So I turned off the notifications. When the change in algorithms and I had to search for all the thousand plus folks that I followed, that added to the frustration.  Of course, I will still post on the other apps, but spending hours of my day down that proverbial rabbit hole must stop. Or at least I will try to limit myself to far fewer hours in front of the screen.    

For those who don't know, I wandered off into another world of fabricating. I have always had a fascination with beads.  Those sparkly, teensy pieces of glass originally made from sand quartz, soda ash, and limestone over 3500 years ago in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Many early civilizations treasure these small beauties.  Remember the story of Manhattan Island being bought from the Indians for $24.00 worth of beads?  

Today, most beads are made in Japan, the Czech Republic and Murano, Italy.  Always choosing the most difficult path, I chose to begin teaching myself how to make earrings, necklaces, and bracelets by buying books and watching YouTube videos.  (How did we ever live without YouTube how to videos!?). I followed directions and patterns created by others in the craft until I felt comfortable drifting off on my own.  And I chose to use some of the smallest beads available from Japan. Known as delica beads, an 11/0 cylindrical bead is 1.6 mm x 1.5mm with a center hole of .8mm. It takes 19 of that size beads to make 1 inch. Of course, that is not the smallest bead available, so naturally I make use of the smaller sizes as well as larger sizes.  Not to be too boring about bead sizes, I'll leave it at that.  The beads are woven on good old microfused braided fishing line using a variety of stitches.  It is a fiddly craft and takes a lot of time to complete a pair of small earrings.  A necklace or bracelet can take weeks. Beaded jewelry can take some very light abuse, but should be handled with care. They need to be kept dry and stored away from constant sunlight and dust.  If cared for gently they will last for centuries, just as the delicate beaded jewelry made years ago and now are considered museum worthy.  

As a improvisational quilter, one day I thought why not try improvisational beading. And that was just as much fun as the improv quilting.  The ideas and color combinations are endless.  And, as you might guess after off and on beading for a couple of years I now have an great supply of beaded jewelry.  And just like all the quilts that I have stacked up in boxes, they need to go to new homes. Here are few examples that I quickly and not too professionally photographed.  

I'll be working on that skill as well as adding sizes and prices in the coming days.  I hope you will enjoy reading and seeing them and maybe even make a purchase.  

portrait play

Several years ago, my son asked if I would make a quilt portrait of his best friend in the whole world.  Her name was Florna and she was the most wonderful lady.  We still miss her everyday.  Catch a snippet of her here.

So back to the purpose of this post.  Last summer, while visiting with my daughter, I snapped a few closeups of her best friend, Winston.  He is quite the lover boy and will win you over with just a glance at his eyes.  I swear there is something magical going on behind those soulful, sweet, sad eyes.  

Fast forward to January 2018, where I am moving back to doing some things that I have missed terribly, but didn't realize how very much I missed doing it.  Rather than geometric, modern, minimal, quilts,  my first love is representational quilt art.  And creating faces or figures using fabric makes for thrilling moments when my vision becomes a reality.  Enough with the chit chat.  I'll reveal the  photos of my fabric collage of sweet Winnie.  

All glued together and ready to go under the needle. 

before and after.

The long (64") strips have all been sewn together with a last minute design change.  I have such a difficult time knowing when to stop adding doses of colors here, there and everywhere. That more is more conundrum.  So there was this problem to my eye, and I thought by adding that bit of purples strips on the left side of the blues would make it better.  Letting it hang around like that for a few days, I sewed it all up.  Fini!!!  

But, no.  The blues oval-ish shape hits a roadblock on the left side and that was bothering me from the beginning.  The "fix" of the purple's strips didn't make it better.  It only highlighted the abrupt end of the blues.  An afternoon of seam ripping and tediously sewing in strips to replace the purples, I feel a bit better with this composition. Fini # 2

There are still issues, to my eye, that could be improved.  Since it began as an experiment, I have learned from it, especially as far taking the time for preplanning as to how something like this will be sewn together.  And keep the original sketch composition.  Maybe using larger pieces, shaped into similar compositions are more easily sewn together and the design more easily adjusted.  
  Time will tell.  

Next ~ the quilting.  

Searching for a new direction

had me stumped until I realized that I needed to clear off my studio space, the cutting table and ironing table.  Step 2 ~ pull out some fabrics and just do something.  Anything.  In cleaning up my space, putting away some blocks that didn't work with a previous quilt top, I thought to see what I could do with these quarter square blocks.  Got them placed on my design wall and thought, so blah! 

Step 3 ~ sew the blocks together into rows.  Step 4 ~ cut 'em up into random widths.  What could I lose, right?  

Blah Meh! Yuk! Now what?  Check out my Pinterest boards for inspiration, where I found plenty.
One being Adolph Fleischmann. Especially his paintings with stripes of colors within an oval shape.  Step 5 ~ sketch some ideas with ovals or circles.  Something that I rarely do, as I normally go improving on my way.  Step 6 ~ add colors to the sketch.  Another rarity.  Step 7 ~ make more quarter square blocks in other colors. Sew them together and cut 'em up.  Which resulted in this.  

Today I began sewing these strips together.  While doing so, I made notes to self.  If I decide to try something like this again, remember to incorporate seam allowances in the design.  And perhaps cut the strips in one size rather than random sizes.  That would certainly make for ease of assembly.  As is normal for me,  I don't stop to think it all through.  Why make it easy when I can make it difficult.  
However, it will be interesting to see the final composition once all those seam allowances reconfigure my original shapes.  

Let's make 2018 great. 

"Just Thinking Out Loud"

It could be time for me to begin writing down my thoughts again.  So much time has passed since I took the time to write and post my thoughts.   Not to stir up controversy but hopefully to open up conversations.  I came across this old draft which I composed way back when. Unfortunately I began editing this and lost the original date. It was probably from sometime in 2012 after having spent a week struggling through a workshop with Nancy Crow.  No pictures in this post, so hit the X now if you might be looking for pictures.

I am so frequently inspired after reading blog posts from Elizabeth Barton and Kathleen Loomis.  They are able to compose their thoughts eloquently.  Often it seems to coincide with issues that I might be struggling with in my mind.  Do and don't.  Can or can't. Why or why not. These ladies are brilliant. It seems all I have to do is think of the questions, wait a few days and voila!  The answers are given in their blogs.  Waiting for me to take that inspiration and go with it.

The great thing about statements coming from Elizabeth, is that she does her research. She gives so much food for thought and makes me feel as if I am justified in questioning the grand world of art.  The great thing about Kathleen is that she has has such a grand way with words. I would never challenge her to a debate even on the color of a schoolbus.  She can drive home a point so that you can't help but see it her way. The are intelligent, talented ladies.  I can hardly wait to see what they have to say next. And what piece of art they might have to show next.  

Just when I wrote my last post about my experiences in Nancy Crow's workshop, feeling that pull between creating and processing in my own way rather than strictly following another method.  Just when I am really pulled between continuing to push to find my voice in representational (quilt) art or give that up to try my hand at abstract (quilt) art.  Why can I not just do both?  Hey, I scored well in both literary and geometry topics while in school.  Opposites, to my way of thinking. Left brain, right brain stuff, correct?  I enjoy both representational or geometric.  So why not do both.  I have seen so much geometric, abstract quilt art on the web, that frankly, as I actually said out loud (can't believe I did that) to Nancy in front of the whole workshop, that I have become, yet again, bored with most of it.  There is so much out "there" that it all begins to look alike. But then, I am not a learned art scholar, so who am I to judge anyone else's art.  I am only looking through eyes connected to my brain and that is the way I view it.  I continue to struggle to find something new, different, exciting.

I feel that each and every person is an individual with many facets.  I learned that from my two children.  They are so much alike, yet so different. Each one, as a child, learned by totally different educational methods.  Both of them are very talented and creative, but go about it in totally different ways.  Both of them are also very grounded and sensible.  They can both do many different activities quite well. Okay, enough Mom talk, but you get my drift? Mankind has been debating the questions for eons. "Beauty in things exist merely in the mind which contemplates them" said David Hume in his essays, Moral and Political, in 1742. 

What began my conflict is something that Nancy Crow told me. I was merrily creating pieced, landscapes, trees, flowers, which I presented in the workshop for her critique.  She said that I should decide what I wanted to do before I die.  She felt that I need to go home and do the work.  Stop taking classes. She said that I should decide whether I want to make representational (flower) or be a real artist creating abstract quilts.  I should just get to work and find my voice or style.  I interpreted her  words as the pressure to create quilts in an abstracted, non representational manner.  Yet, I don't want to be in one box.  I have been struggling to get out of the freakin' box and be what I am in the moment.  And be okay with doing that.  I want to learn all I can about all types of artistic expression that I can translate into quilt art.  

So around 2014-ish,  I joined the Chattanooga Modern Quilt guild.  I learned about minimalism,  abstraction, negative space, updating traditional quilt blocks into contemporary quilt blocks, etc.  After being distracted for quite some years in that style, I have realized that this would not be something I want to continue.  As much as I want to be included in the current trends, it is not what I really want to do.  It is just not my style, as much as I want to be liked or recognized by those who appreciate that style.  I keep saying that out loud.  To my friends.  To myself.  But I haven't had the strength to venture away.  

May I not have more than one voice, Nancy?  I feel that I have 2 fairly strong voices in the representational and also, a bit of the geometric. Having strayed for too long from this, I now feel a bit more justified in deciding to express myself with these 2 voices.  Here, a bit of soprano and there, a bit of alto. Or in my case, I should say a bit of bluegrass and a bit of jazz.  I hope to continue to learn more and become better expressing my vision with each try.  Here's to hoping that 2018 will bring a final end to this struggle.  And discovery of what is really hidden inside me, waiting to kick that box wide open. 

Does anyone else have this struggle going on?  Why or why not?  

Blogger gone rogue

It seems my blog is doing all sorts of things without my input or assistance.  My apologies to anyone who maybe receiving emails of my old posts or weird notices with other people blogs.  Meanwhile I am trying to get to the bottom of this.  And well shoot.  Maybe I'll start blogging again. ☺

Improv Month

A couple of years ago I had the privilege of spending some time with two talented ladies from Gee's Bend, Alabama.  (If you don't know the history of Gee's Bend, I highly recommend that you google them.)  Mary Ann Pettway and China Pettway were there to guide several of us ladies as we tried to let go of our structural inhibitions.
This is Mary Ann with a small piece that she put together during those 3 days.  I feel that these women and their family members were instrumental in bringing art quilting and the modern, improvisational look to the forefront in the quilting world.  I will always be grateful to them and thrilled that their art was discovered.

What an amazing woman

Inspired by these women and by my local (Chattanooga) Modern Quilt Guild to try my hand at a modern look,  I took a break from patterning and had some fun!

small improv 1
11'"x 11 1/2"

small improv 3
11 1/2" x 11 1/2"

small improv 5
11 1/2" x 16" 

small improv  8
27" x  26"

Playing catch up

After returning from a lovely trip to the great northwest, I didn't have too much time to follow up on the fast and fun, cut and paste quilts that we played with in the Freddy Moran workshop. I did manage to get a couple more pieces pasted together and even quilted 2 of them!
sample to explore raw edge quilting on the pasted pieces
15 X 27

completed piece began on day 2 of the workshop
27 X 46  

more playtime
36 x 54
soon to be quilted 
Next I  was off to Italy for a few days.  What can I say, my cousin, Beth, twisted my arm to the point that I just couldn't say no to her offer to join her along with a group of other delightful folks.  Being my second trip in 2 years, once we arrived I felt more comfortable being able to set out on our own with a smaller group, and had a fabulous time.  From Montepulciano, to Rome, to Sorrento and the Isle of Capri, it was non stop gorgeous scenery, food and wine, and superb company.  I cannot wait to return.  Maybe next year?  I won't bore you with too many vacation photos.

We are so excited ~ having a burger at the airport ~
ready to go

View from our hotel in Sorrento


the beach at Sorrrento

Trevi Fountain ~ I tossed in lots of coins to assure my return

the highlight of the trip
seeing the Pope Francis up close and hearing his sermon
in St. Peter's square  

the Mediterranean Sea ~ ahhhhhh

Hope that wasn't too many photos to be boring

Back to Tennessee again, for a couple of weeks and I was off to Arrowmont.  I attended a workshop on shape resist and natural dyeing taught by Joan Morris.  I really can't say enough about this class.  Joan is a fabulous teacher and a world class artist.  She has been working with shibori/shape resist and dyeing for 30 years, and made it look sooooo easy.  And, all of the folks in the class were a delight to play with.  A hugely talented group, I must say.  I was so inspired and can't wait to do more.  Unfortunately, I was so engrossed in the class that I failed to take many photos of the class.  But here are a few of my results.

my karamatsu design
cotton backed silk, with tannin and mordent 

Pulled and tied off then dyed in natural indigo

the stitches are cut and pulled  

cotton side of the design after being ironed ~ a soft indigo color

the silk side of the design after being ironed ~ a shimmering blue green  ~
silk does not take natural indigo dye as well

more karamatsu ~ not yet ironed 


mokome on silk
not ironed.  
This is so intriguing and challenging. I didn't think I would ever return to hand stitching, but this has revived my interest. I want to make clothing using some of the designs and perhaps even incorporate it into my art quilts.  The fun never ends.  There is always something new around the corner.  Never say no to learning a new technique.