Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring Break

My daughter, Elisia, is home on spring break so I may not be posting as often this week. We have lots of plans for shopping, movies, eating out and just vegging out :-)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Pierre!

Pierre's birthday is tomorrow, but where he is it's already tomorrow (isn't it confusing trying to keep track of 10 hours time difference?) so I'm going to wish him a happy birthday. I miss him a lot, but we celebrated when he was home earlier this month. I hope the guys over there take him out for his birthday, or at least let him win at the weekly mini-golf tournament!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rhap Group

I have been getting together every other week with a few other quilters to work from Ricky Tims' Rhapsody book. I thought I'd take some pictures and show you the progress that the others have made. This one is Patty's and the colors are actually a little softer than the picture shows. Isn't it going to be wonderful?
And this is Jerre's on the wall in her fabulous studio. Another beautiful piece. She has a closet full of bright and beautiful quilts waiting for her to longarm quilt them, too!
Jan was on vacation so I don't have a picture of hers. Mine you saw a week ago: the navy, red and gold jacket back.
We are all finding it slow going and a difficult quilt to make. Definitely not a beginner project! I think the results are well worth it and it has inspired me to some new design ideas. Stretching is a good thing.
When I look at all the Turning 20 and Yellow Brick Road quilts I worry sometimes that quilters are only interested in things that can be completed quickly instead of making the beautiful pieces that require a serious time commitment. Of course it's nice to have quick patterns for that emergency baby gift, but shouldn't we all have some knock-your-socks-off long term projects as well?


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wendy's Video

Hey check it out! Wendy has a video online about how to use her cool super-easy TRIMplates!

Monday, March 23, 2009

My First Orchid

Don't laugh, but I just got my first orchid bloom and I'm so proud! Orchids are virtually impossible to grow well in Maine unless you have special rooms, equipment etc. (This is strange since they grow wild in the peat bogs of Maine.) Even after I moved to warmer climes I never tried growing them, thinking they were too difficult.

A year ago I decided to give them a try. So I did what everyone else does: I bought a flowering orchid and brought it home. The unopened buds promptly dropped off due to the change in light, humidty etc, but I was able to enjoy the long-lasting flowers. Then... nothing. Some plants died, others lived, but flowerless. Until now! This one flowered FOR ME! Yay!


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Long Beach Catalog!

As I get ready to go to Chicago I received the Long Beach catalog yesterday. If you ordered one or took classes last year yours should arrive in a week or two. It's a pretty slim catalog compared to what is offered at Houston, but it's also a heck of a lot closer to home for me!

Just breezing through there were no stand-out must-take classes, but I put question marks next to 19 of them! Now to whittle it down to 2 or 3.

The sad part was there will be no Bernina Fashion Show luncheon. I really enjoyed that last year and was looking forward to lots of friends getting to see my ensemble on the runway as it's meant to be seen. The ensemble will be there for informal modeling (although they couldn't possibly show them all in only 1-1/2 hours if they do it as they did at Houston), but mine wasn't shown that way at Houston, despite being one of the finalists. I recommend going to the informal modeling as it's a great way to see the ensembles really close, but mine are meant for the runway and not up close viewing. That's why I never enter them into shows; they're made for visual impact under runway lights. There are no fine details I would include for up close viewing.

Sorry to get on my soapbox. Back to perusing the catalog and whittling down the classes and events to the final few.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fashion Shows

Fashion Week in Escondido is coming up very soon. It runs April 6-11. I have tickets to a couple of the fashion shows; it should be fun to see what's new! If you want more info check out:

Someone else sent me this great website called Recycle Runway. If you think you've seen clothing made from recycled materials and they left you cold, check this out:


Thursday, March 19, 2009


One of my goals for this year was to work through some of the wonderful books I purchased last year. The first book I thought I'd try is Ricky Tims' Rhapsody book. I love the quilts, but naturally my thoughts turned to making a jacket. Three other women have joined me on this quest. We get together every other week to share our progress and discuss problems, etc. If it weren't for them I'm not sure I'd have gotten this far!

If you've read the book or been to one of the Super Seminars you've heard about his pencil technique for transferring a quadrant drawing to make a pattern. Here's the drawing from the back of my jacket, complete with the decorative bits.

Here's a close up of the decorative bits. On his quilts Ricky appliques these portions, but on a jacket I wanted some thing scaled smaller and an expert at machine applique I am not! I love problem solving like this and came up with the idea of stencils.

Here are the freezer paper stencils ironed onto the red batik I had chosen. Instead of using liquid paints I decided on Shiva Paintsticks because I know they're opaque and so will work well on the red fabric. I auditioned 4 colors: antique (non-metallic) gold, metallic gold, non-metallic slate blue and metallic blue.

I opted for the metallic gold because I liked the way it worked with the gold batik I had selected.

I still need to buttonhole stitch in red around the large fused pieces. I'm also planning on stitching around all the stenciled areas, but I'm not sure if I want to use gold Sliver thread or navy blue. I'm tending towards the navy blue, but if you have a preference drop me a note!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


My husband, Pierre, has left to return to Bahrain after his all-too-short 2 weeks of leave. Here's a picture of him holding hands (paws?) with his cat, Cushman. Cushy and I will both miss him.

This time it seems even harder, maybe because I already know how lonely it is living here with only the cats for company. I'm counting the days until he returns, this time for good.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wendy is Famous!

Wendy Mathson's book is out AND I found an online interview at the C & T blog. If you want to check it out try this link:

In the accompanying picture she's wearing her Storm at Sea jacket so I thought I'd show you mine. Both were done using her Trimplate technique. So easy and so accurate! I like hers better because she planned it; mine is just random.

Red Sky at Night Close up of the star on the back of Red Sky at Night. I hand-couched some cording around the star and added crystals to make it sparkle.

I haven't seen Wendy's book in any of the local stores yet, but when you see it be sure to grab a copy!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Jacket

I've almost finished my newest jacket; the only thing left to do is to make it a label, but I still haven't decided on a name. Lately I have been deciding on a name either first or as I'm working on it, but nothing came to mind this time. I think I tend to be too literal when thinking up names and wanted something more like the mood or experience it evokes... I'm still hoping for suggestions!From the front, showing the lining of cobalt blue polyester satin
From the back showing that I need to readjust my mannequin! I've lost weight and she doesn't show it, LOL.

The side view. Sleeves are always interesting to make because they don't always follow the pattern of the front and back. In this case I chose to make one vertical row only of the reverse appliqued Angelina.

A closeup showing the quilting and the beading. I think I like the beading as is, but I'm toying with the idea of completely filling in those areas with beads. I'm not sure I want to take away from the quilted Angelina though...

The lining (because they're bound my jackets are completely reversible even though I rarely reverse them) showing my first attempt at painting polyester satin. I used Jacquard Lumiere paints (on sale at Michael's!) and a peacock feather stencil I bought at the Stewart Gill booth.

And a close up of the stencilled feather.
It was a fun and quick jacket to make and I hope to wear it to Chicago in April. Say hi if you see me at the show!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

More Photos from my Garden

Having grown up in Maine there are certain spring flowers I love that simply won't grow here in southern California because it doesn't get cold enough in the winter. A small price to pay for the ability to dye outdoors most of the year, but this time of year I miss them, especially the lily of the valleys and the lilacs.

Instead I will show you a few of the plants from my garden.

Creeping thyme I just love the texture of this tiny leaved plant. I want to play with it in Photoshop and use it somehow...

Bougainvillea another texture I love is the papery thinness of the flower bracts

Aeonium (I'm not sure about the spelling on this one, but I've always called it Alice for Alice Cooper, don't ask me why!) In Maine I grew these as house plants and it's so much more fun to see them spread out in nature. I especially like the two-toned color variations of these.

And another. Can't you just see the possibilities of a Photoshopped picture of these?

A sprig of plum blossoms, which do remind me of Maine.

And more plum blossoms. It looks like we'll have some fruit this year. I just hope Pierre gets home in time to enjoy it.

Monday, March 02, 2009

More on the Angelina Jacket

I've been busily quilting away on the Angelina jacket. I hoping to wear it to the Chicago show in April :-) The back is all quilted using a variegated red violet and violet thread.

Here is a closeup of the quilting. Simple slightly curving lines done with the walking foot. Easy no-brainer, but somewhat time consuming. I'm listening to one of those sappy romance novels while I quilt and the time just flies by, LOL.

I'm still looking for a name...