Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Super Granny

Well, I've had quite a different week. My mother fell (she hurried to answer the phone and sat down on the arm of her swivel-rocker!) and broke a bone in her neck - C-4 - and was taken to emergency. My SBdaughter called me and told me. I left the office and raced home, threw a few things in a suitcase and was driving out of the complex when my husband stopped me. My daughter made a plane reservation for me. So I went back to the house and found someone to take me to BART so I could get to the airport. I re-packed and raced off. Made it to the hospital while Mom was still in emergency. they kept her until Monday and then we brought her home. Check out her facebook page under "Super G".

Anyway, taking care of a disable adult is twice as hard as ataking care of a newborn! Good thing I love my mom. I can't see doing this for a stranger!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


No, its not a yogic mantra! OMM is a (quilting?) term introduced to me this week in a comment on my blog by I had mentioned what I called a UFO, my potential rick-rack quilt. Artquiltmaker said quilts weren't UFOs until one seam had been sewn. Actually, I think if one patch has been cut that makes a ufo but that is splitting seams. So today I am going to show you some OMMs.

This photo really inspires me. The color combos and the circles on straight lines is so cool... Think I'll leave the sneaker toes out, though! Ever notice how many quilt pictures have feet?

Wouldn't this be a great border for a quilt?

I can see this as a 3D quilt or patch on a quilt. There would be lot of beads, especially in the center and shiny fafric in the outside border.

It is fun to take a picture and then analyze it for an OMM. A quiet pasttime when you haven't got time or energy to actually sew.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I had the privilege of making a bedspread for a retired military couple out of their collection of molas from the San Blas Islands off Panama. They were really pleased with the result and I was happy to be given two by this lovely couple.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Recently I was asked to do some drawings of a goddess/witch for a Pagan convention. My drawings didn't get chosen for use but I had a good time doing them. I put info a the bottom of this post on her so you can understand the drawings.

I used dogs I love as models for the three-headed dog. Roxy, my dog is on the left, Red, my
granddog, is in the middle and the right had dog is from my imagination.
In this version the dog on the right is my cousin's dog, Sadie - a pretty little cocker spaniel.

Here is info from about Hecate, a Greek goddess.

Hecate, Greek goddess of the three paths, guardian of the household, protector of everything newly born, and the goddess of witchcraft -- once a widely revered and influential goddess, the reputation of Hecate has been tarnished over the centuries. In current times, she is usually depicted as a "hag" or old witch stirring the cauldron.

But nothing could be further from the image of Hecate's original glory.

A beautiful and powerful goddess in her own right, the Greek goddess Hecate was the only one of the ancient Titans who Zeus allowed to retain their authority once the Olympians seized control. Zeus shared with Hecate, and only her, the awesome power of giving humanity anything she wished (or withholding it if she pleased).

Hecate was usually depicted with her sacred dogs, although Hecate and even her animals, were sometimes said to have three heads and that they could see in all directions. Although usually depicted as a beautiful woman having three human heads, some images are fearsome indeed (one with a snake's head, one with a horse's, and the third a boar's head).

This farsightedness, the ability to see in several directions at once (even the past, present, and future) featured largely in her most famous myth, the abduction of Persephone. For it was the goddess Hecate who "saw" and told the frantic Demeter what had become of her daughter.

The goddess Hecate continued to play an important role in the life of Persephone, becoming her confidante when she was in the Underworld. Hades, thankful for their friendship, was more than hospitable, honoring Hecate as a prominent and permanent guest in the spirit world. Surely this had the effect of enhancing her reputation as a spirit of black magic with the power to conjure up dreams, prophecies, and phantoms.

So a little lesson on Greek mythology, illustrated by me.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Original designs

Here are a couple of pictures of my interpretation of coneflowers that I did on fabric for patches
in a wedding shower (? -or baby shower?) quilt.

I was quite pleased and surprised at how well they turned out. Someone suggested that I design fabric so I went to a lecture by a fabric designer. Sounded like way too much work for
me (as I am basically a lazy slug!). But I do enjoy making one-of-a-kind wonders.

I used Pigma 0.1 markers for this drawing with lots of layers to make it dark. They are great for small, fine work. Anything bigger and I would use fabric dyes and paintbrushes. Have fun - try it!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Granny's Garden

Early in my quilting career I took a hand quilting, sampler class from Susan Bradford at the College of Marin. I made many 12" patches for the quilt. The center panel of "Granny's Garden" was one of the patches but it was larger than 12" and so didn't fit in the sampler quilt (which is one of my UFO's - top and back done, not quilted!).

At the time I was a member of MNAG in San Rafael. One of the projects put forth was a round robin. I had this ready to go so put it in and this is what I got back. I just loved it! Because of the name, I gave it to my mom.

Last week, when I was visiting my mom, I got to sit under it. I found it comforting to use a quilt I had had a hand in making.

Snails, snail's trail, and starry nights make a nice design. I was lucky, some of the final results of the other projects did not turn out so well.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Second and final wearable art piece

A British DJ was referred to me as a quilter who was open to making quilts, etc. for others. This guy wanted pants like The Who (?) wore in the 60's. He picked the fabric and gave me a pair of pants as a template.

I took apart the inseam to flatten the pants and proceeded to sew on the patches. I started at the top, laid the fabric face down at the bottom of the waistband, folded it over and continued in that manner down the legs.

I quilted them with a darning foot, free motion. It was a lot of fun. Can you imagine wearing these?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

At the farm and other quilting musings

"At the Farm" is my first wonky quilt done at a MNAG seminal with Gwen Marsten. It is small, about 20"x20". It was quilted by Colleen Granger of So Little Time Quilting in San Rafael. Colleen did a great job on this quilt. She quilted a cow jumping over the moon (I drew the cow), a farmer and family, the farm pick-up truck, a horse, pig and other farmy things. It is great fun to look at.

I worked at a Real Estate Office for a while and this little quilt hung in the office there.

Then I worked at another place and had my own office so I hanged it behind me on the wall. The first quilt I ever quilted was pieced by my Daly City daughter. It is on the left in the above photo. I quilted all the patches and entered it in a show.

The judges commented that the border should have been quilted, too. So I started doing that, got really carried away and then pretty bored with the quilting and put it away. I guess that I should add it to my list of UFO's!

The vest I have on is the first of only two wearable art pieces I have done. It is a tribute to my late cat, Bear. It, too was entered in a show. The judges hated the rick-rack on it. I started collecting rick-rack after that and have always intended to make a rick-rack quilt or piece of wearable art. Does that count as a UFO? Another to add to the list!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Two of my four granddogs

I have a special place in my heart for Beagles and Boxers. Had a Beagle who loved me a lot when my children were little and a Boxer for years when I was a girl.

Red Dog and Nixon are two of my daughter's four dogs. Haven't bonded with her other two, a black Newf and a white Maltese. But Red and Nixon are great.

Red dog lived with me for three months six or so years ago. He loved our hills and really muscled up running them when he got loose. Our neighbor ranch raises miniature horses which are about the same size as Red. He once got loose and ran over to chase the pregnant ones! That was great fun for Red Dog but didn't make the rancher too happy. We worked really hard to prevent another incident of that type.

Nixon, the Beagle, was the most beautiful puppy! He is a pedigreed 15" standard Beagle who has grown to be the size of a foxhound! He is the peacemaker of the four dog pack at SBdtr's. A real sweet dog. He and Red are great buddies. Red took him over when he was a pup and the connection has stuck.

Red Dog's name origin is pretty straightforward. He is a big, red dog.

Nixon's name is less obvious. The top dog when Nix joined the family was named Truman. So a dead president name was chosen. Later they got a cat who they named Reagan - the cat is red so I guess that works as when former pres Reagan was younger his hair was (dyed?) kind of red.

So, I suppose, if she gets more animal companions who are not already named there will be a whole cadre of dead presidents at her house!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Another Story Quilt

Here is a very bad photo of another story quilt I did for my nephew. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona and this quilt reflects that. I had family members draw on several of the patches. His mom, my late sister, drew one. That was one of the last things she did.

The state flag of AZ is portrayed as well as a rattlesnake of my own design. The snake can actually be seen in this photo - it looks like horizontal brown triangles on a white field.

When I visited my nephew after giving him the quilt I didn't see it in his room. When I asked about it his dad said it was too nice to use! I make my quilts to be used so helped him clean his room and remade his bed with the quilt as bedspread. Hope it is still on his bed.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Circus

One of my daughter's friends has two little boys who share a room. She has made needlepoint pictures with a circus theme for both of them and wanted to carry that through in their bedroom. She asked me to paint a strip across one wall of circus themed characters. She provided the templates but I couldn't get them to come out the way I wanted so I painted the characters freehand.

It was a lot of fun and I am happy with the
end result. The characters are cute and they
match the needlepoint pictures

I used simple acrylic paints which are durable
and washable - important for a boy's room!

The older boy really loved the balloons and
talked to the mural as he lay down for his
afternoon nap. That was very rewarding
to me! The mom loved the end result, too,
but I was especially happy that her toddler
liked it.

If you want to do something like this, either freehand or with templates, purchase the best acrylic brush you can afford. That is a really
important point as it makes the painting so
much easier to paint.

Then go to a good craft store and get fresh acrylic paints. Fresh paint flows better and doesn't clump up.

I used a pencil to outline (lightly) the shapes
and then filled in the colors. One of the brushes
I used had a flat, round tip. I dipped that tip in the paint and touched it to the wall for the clown's round balls. A really easy way to do
round shapes.

The background (painted by the mom) was masked off with blue painter's tape, first for the white, then, when that was thoroughly dry, the red was masked and painted.

The designs repeat on the right and left. It is about four feet off the floor, just above the top of the changing table on the wall one sees as you walk into the room.

If you can find templates for any design you want you, too, can paint a mural on a wall!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Musings

Easter always makes me think of my younger sister who died three years ago. Her name was Barbara, friends called her Barb, but family called her Bunnie. The picture above was a tribute to her at the wake my daughters had the day before her funeral. She collected bunny memorabilia. Anyone who wanted to took one home with them.

Mom was great about having our portraits done regularly. She took us to the photo area of the May Company and they did a great job (as you can see from the picture of Bunnie at about age 5, above).

This is a school picture when Barb was around eleven (judging from her teeth). She was a great kid but a real handful for my mom. Bunnie was born when I was thirteen - a surprise as my dad had been told by his doctor he would never father anymore children!

As an adult she moved to Phoenix. My dad soon followed her and they lived together for the rest of his life. She provided him a good home.

Barb was a chef and she also trained wait staff at the various restaurants where she worked.

She got sick in September of 2006 and died November first of the same year. She had undiagnosed colon cancer. Her death is a real tragedy. We lost a sister and daughter and her son lost his mother.

So this blog entry is a tribute to my sister, Bunnie, who I miss just as much today as I did the day she died.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Beautiful California

Driving home from LALA Land is a mixed blessing. Airport waiting in line and security
hassles are avoided in exchange for traffic, a radio station I want to listen to and beautiful scenery. Also, my mom doesn't have to drive home from Burbank on the treacherous Hwy 5 all by herself. It really is a no-brainer. And it costs a little less, too.

I was busy as a bee while in LALA Land. From the moment I arrived until the night before I left I ran Mom around constantly. The highlight, of course, was the baby shower. Another good part was the food. We ate at Chilis (very poor service but good food), Mom's church for Lenten Fish Fry (really good food - the fish was delicious) and Black Angus. We arrived at Black Angus about 4 p.m. and had the place to ourselves. It was the first time either of us had been there and to celebrate that the wait person brought us some fried zucchini. That was really good. We each ordered a sandwich and didn't eat the bread. Mom had filet mignon and I had roast beast with peppers and onions. I substituted sweet potato fries for french fries. They were good but not as good as the ones I make at home! Better than FFs, though.

The picture above is inspiration for a quilt. The colors speak to me. I don't want to do a pictorial quilt - but a color series would be a lot of fun. I took lots of pictures at sunset on the way home and will work it into something soon.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Baby Quilt

Last Thursday I rode down to LALA land with SBdtr. She dropped me at Mom's Friday morning.

We had a full agenda on Friday - lunch at Chili's - which is never good as the service is slower than the proverbial molasses in January! The food was good, however. We aretrying to use up a gift card Mom got for Christmas. That visit on Friday would have done it IF we had remembered the card! Then we ran a bunch of errands Mom needed help with and ended up at St. Clare's (Mom's church) for the last Friday fish fry of Lent. the food and service there were excellent! And I got to meet many of Mom's friends.

We went home and rested for a while, then pulled out Upwords (by Milton Bradley games) and proceeded to play three games - Mom two, me one. Upwords is a really fun variation of Scrabble where one builds words up instead of over a board. Ill take a picture next time I go down so you can see. Haven't seen the game being sold anywhere in a while. If it isn't made anymore that is a shame because it is fun and fairly fast.

So what does that have to do with the baby quilt and the baby's mama pictured above? Well, on Saturday we rose early and got all 'gussied' up and drove 78 miles to Yorba Linda (Mom navigated so I still don't know where it is!) for the baby shower.

It was a great shower, some new games I hadn't played before which were a lot of fun, great food (my cousin's husband is a gourmet chef), and about 70 very nice people! It took two hours for Little Mama to open all the presents.

Mom and I had a very nice time. It was lovely to see how well loved Little Mama is and how much everyone id looking forward to the new baby. Grandpa is rubbing his hands in anticipation! I gave Little Mama and daddy a lifetime guarantee on the quilt. When it starts to wear out, all they have to do is let me know and I'll make another! I have the next on percolating in my brain already!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sunflower quilt

This little quilt is one of two hanging in my home so I look at it every day, without really seeing it anymore.

Sunflowers is a small quilt I did in one day at a class with EBHQ. It is three dimensional with some fusing and overstitching. I find it interesting to look at it in a photo and analyze what I would change if I were doing another one like it.

First of all, there is not enough contrast, the only real dark is the vase. The lizard and other reds come across, to me, as mediums and everything else is light. I would make the sunflower leaves and stems darker or at least outline them with satin stitch so they show up. Now one can't really see what they are.

I love the way the flowers turned out and wouldn't change anything in them.

The borders are kind of wonky which is OK as I am the princess of wonky (Gwen Marsten is the Queen of wonky) but the binding is really bad. Next time I will make a bias binding. I did my first bias binding on the baby raggedy quilt (see a previous blog entry) and it was easy and looked nice.

I'm pretty happy with the yellow leaves and their background of green. The look of floating, falling leaves comes through well.

Next time the lizard will be climbing on something rather than ephemeral sky floating! It was supposed to be a window but that can't be seen in this rendition.

So next time you do a quilt photograph it and do an impartial analysis to see if it could be made better.

Willow Wood Quilting

Last month my quilting buddy, Judy, fell and broke the pinkie finger of her left hand. Since she is right handed she thought it would not slow her down too much. As it turned out she needed to have pins put in the bone (OUCH!) the following week and things went down from there. We met for coffee the Sunday before the surgery and I volunteered to help her get ready for "Voices in Cloth", the show in Oakland put on by EBHQ every other April. It is to be held April 10 and 11. The quilt pictured is an Amish style using Cherrywood Fabrics hand dyes which Judy quilted on her long arm. We started sewing the binding this morning as she has to deliver it Saturday by 4 p.m.

The center of the quilt is plain with only "X" quilting on the patches. But the outside border (pictured above) is beautiful! We got about one-third of the quilt bound. If Judy sews every spare minute it will get done before Saturday at 4!

Above is pictured a silk doll quilt in the process of being bound (by me). Judy scaled down her quilting to fit the small size of the quilt.

If you need a local long arm quilter, contact Willow Wood Quilting at 510.835.2536 or 510.381.3392 and talk to Judy who can still use her long arm in spite of her broken pinkie.