Archive for the ‘embroidery’ Category

ugly is in

October 4, 2011

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then by all logic, so is ugly.  I behold the fish below, done in machine and hand embroidery on linen, as very very ugly; my kids see it and say “that’s cool”.  Go figure.  So  I thought I would share ugly with you.

Suzannah said MadeWell has an ugly sweater, their words, not Suzannah’s opinion (see it here).  It has sold out.  I guess ugly is in.


September 20, 2011

Random stuff from the at-the-moment-so-completely-disarranged-studio.

Spent way too much time making elephant cards (of sort, can’t really open them up and write on them, so I wrote on the back side of the ears!) and decorating envelopes for the kids in my Sunday School class.  Just decided to have fun and enjoy the making.

I was very pleased last weekend to learn that I had received Third Place in Original Design at the 2011 Georgia Celebrates Quilt show.  This was the second time I had entered this show (you may remember my blog post).  I love the fact that I won a ribbon, wouldn’t trade it for the world, except that there were some very labor intensive, beautiful, traditional quilts there that perhaps deserved a ribbon more than mine.  My take on this is that there should be a totally separate category for art quilts vs. traditional quilting.  Original Design is maybe not definitive enough.  But the judges still thought my binding “needs improvement!”  Heck, they were lucky I bound it at all!  That was the same comment I received about my first entry 8 or 9 years ago!  I wonder if anyone has ever done a perfect binding!

See what I mean about beautiful quilts??!!!

And mine proudly holding its ribbon…

You know how you feel when you have something good happen to you and you want to share it with everyone?  Having a blog is wonderfully satisfying way to share.  Thanks for listening!


September 11, 2011

Well, I worked larger.  This free motion machine embroidery of a beautiful little girl is done  life size or just a bit larger.   It perhaps doesn’t have the softness a portrait of a young girl should have but I tried once again to use my knowledge of color.  Thread just doesn’t blend as well as paint and pastel.  I am pleased that the size allowed me to improve the likeness and detail and I will try another.  Practice makes perfect!

The overall height of this piece is 14″.  I mounted the fabric, which was a heavy upholstery weight linen/rayon blend, onto stretcher bars.   I am thinking a colorful bird would look good like this.  One piece leads into another…

If the mother of this child recognizes her I’ll be thrilled.   But she may never read my blog….

(S)He’s Large… (not)

September 7, 2011

I have spent the last three evenings working on this face in thread.  I’ve tried to put everything I’ve ever learned about painting portraits  into it, including trying to push the color to the limit.  Not sure about it yet, but… I am encouraged to go further.  Or larger as the case may be.  These faces I have done lately are about 1/2 human scale.  I am anxious to see what kind of detail and blending with color I can achieve if I work larger.  Most of my paintings are larger.  Art teachers always tell you to work large.  Fill up the paper.  Bigger is better.  Think large.

But then, larger is not always best.  Just listen to Olive Oyl’s description of Bluto  (For Karen’s upcoming birthday!!!).

I’ll try to break out of the miniature mode and show you the results of my large thinking as soon as I can.

Where have all the fireflies gone?

July 31, 2011

Last night we went out to catch lightning bugs (or do you call them fireflies?) to no avail.   I saw a very few in the distance but was never able to get close enough to catch one.  Seems like all the lightning bugs have vanished so I googled it to find out if something has indeed happened to the vast numbers I use to see.

We  might be using too much pest control.  The chemicals can be indiscriminate about what they kill.

Or, we might just have too many lights turned on at night.  The bugs like the dark so they can flash for a potential mate.  Now all the streets are lined with  lights and while it may make some feel safer at night, I prefer the night dark.  – Have you ever noticed the number of lights on in your bedroom when you turn off the lamp?  Between 2 alarm clocks, TV gadgets, and the seldom put away iron,  our room is never pitch black.  I spent the night in my sister’s guest room recently (she lives way out in the country).  She didn’t have a clock in the room and no outdoor lights were on.  I think the darkness of the room was instrumental in a deep satisfying sleep. –  

What has that to do with the butterfly?  Nothing.  But I haven’t seen too many butterflies lately either…

Butterfly is free motion embroidery on water soluble stablizer, approx. 7.5″x6″.


July 27, 2011

I come from a family of smilers.  We nod, we laugh, we smile,  but seldom are we openly very enthusiastic.  I feel it on the inside but just cannot make my body react. That flutter of excitement stays deep, it doesn’t bubble to the surface so all the world feels excited with me.  But, forcing myself to show it, I want everyone to know that I am excited, I’VE BEEN PUBLISHED!!!

I am honored to be included in the Quilting Arts e-magazine, InStitches!  Yay for me!

Okay, settle down, enough of that.  Still smilin’ inside, though.

That upper right piece of art is mine.  In the article, I show how I use color pencils on a drawing and then turn it into fiber art using free motion machine embroidery.  I really was thrilled to be asked to contribute to this issue.  And, there are several other artists who show you their work and how to’s.  Some great stuff.  Here is the first page of my article.  I love the graphics the magazine editors/designers put together to title my work.

InStitches is now available here (at a $5 decrease, yes, I said decrease, from the last issue’s price).  It is an interactive magazine, you can click through to websites, increase picture size to study up close and even watch videos.  They managed to edit the 60 minutes of tape I sent (what is that called now that it isn’t tape?)  down to 7 minutes. It is hard watching myself talk with my hands, stuttering over words, not finding the correct one, and  sounding so so Southern.  But as my sister pointed out, I am Southern!

Do you know what linsey-woolsey is?

July 12, 2011

Working on fabric I bought several years ago, I stitched a crow using free motion machine embroidery.  I thought it would make a great pillow but when I placed it on my pillow form, it looked boring.  So I pulled out a needle and thread and started making French knots.  There are a lot more dots that don’t show up in this scan. It still may not be exactly what I wanted but it is growing on me.  Now to make it into a pillow.

I was curious what this cloth is.  I don’t know that I was aware of what it was when I bought it, I bought it cheap!  It feels like cotton, is very heavy and has a loose plain weave. I went searching for a name for this fabric.  I know some fabrics like batiste, broadcloth and buckram from my days working for Singer Fabric store at Cumberland Mall (did you even know that Singer sold fabric along with sewing machines?) way back when I was college, but I had no idea that there were as many different classifications of fabric as there are.  Here is one site with a long list but it doesn’t have pictures.  Any ideas what mine might be?


July 6, 2011

I have been wanting to do some poppies for some time and was motivated after having bought poppy pods from the Marietta Farmers Market a couple of weeks ago.  Actually, I wanted to do the pods themselves but went looking at poppy photos and the reds were screaming to be subject matter.  I have long admired the work of Lisbeth Zwerger and used her illustration of a famous poppy field‘s grey background for my own.

They walked along listening to the singing of the brightly colored birds and looking at the lovely flowers which now became so thick that the ground was carpeted with them. There were big yellow and white and blue and purple blossoms, besides great clusters of scarlet poppies, which were so brilliant in color they almost dazzled Dorothy’s eyes.

“Aren’t they beautiful?” the girl asked, as she breathed in the spicy scent of the bright flowers.

“I suppose so,” answered the Scarecrow. “When I have brains, I shall probably like them better.”

“If I only had a heart, I should love them,” added the Tin Woodman.

“I always did like flowers,” said the Lion. “They of seem so helpless and frail. But there are none in the forest so bright as these.”

They now came upon more and more of the big scarlet poppies, and fewer and fewer of the other flowers; and soon they found themselves in the midst of a great meadow of poppies. Now it is well known that when there are many of these flowers together their odor is so powerful that anyone who breathes it falls asleep, and if the sleeper is not carried away from the scent of the flowers, he sleeps on and on forever. But Dorothy did not know this, nor could she get away from the bright red flowers that were everywhere about; so presently her eyes grew heavy and she felt she must sit down to rest and to sleep.

(You guessed that was from The Wizard of Oz, didn’t you?)

My printer/scanner died a couple of weeks ago and this is the one we had in reserve.  The colors are much more subdued than  in the original, the orange in the edging doesn’t even show.  It uses the same color ink cartridges as the old one but the printing quality is lacking also.  Guess I will put up with it for a while.  Just believe me when I say the poppies look lush on the original!!!

admitting defeat

June 11, 2011

The little wrens are not going to make it to the quilt show.  I’ve tried and tried and kept on working long past the point that I think I should give up (you know, that point where you think it will never work out and your life would be better off if you just threw it all in the trash).  I finished it up to the point of putting on binding, but…no matter what I do to it, I just don’t like it.  Shame, because I really like the little color pencil drawing.

I am showing it to you anyway.

I think it may look nice cut up and made into pillows…

I looked at the info for the quilt show again and see that my deadline wasn’t the 10th but the 15th!   I sat at the sewing machine last night determined I would have something to enter even if it just remotely resembled a quilt.  (Guidelines state that a quilt has 3 layers and is held together with some form of stitching.)  I pulled out those cabinet cards that had gone thru the fire (see here for explanation ) for inspiration.  I found this gentleman, he looks so handsome and distinguished, doesn’t he?  Sadly, I have no idea who he is so I may just make up a story for him.  I stitched his image on a small “quilt.”  Still needs binding but I think I will enter this.  What do you think?

I can see in comparison of the two on the screen that I may tweak it a bit, after all, I have 4 more days!  Here is the original cabinet card.


Thanks for compliments on the bird quilt.  I feel I need to expound my comment about just not liking it.  I think there are some good parts to the quilt but mostly, I didn’t succeed in getting the feel that the little sketch had.  There is not enough depth in the quilt that I had in the sketch.  I didn’t capture what I really wanted to capture, hence, it is not a success to my eyes.

Regarding you persuasive comments to enter the quilt anyway, I have heard you should not show work if you don’t consider it your best work.  Although I did my best in the quilt, I think with practice and trial and error, I can make it better or closer to what I want anyway. I do really like the quilting pattern and you will see that in the future!  Something gained from the effort!

Here Comes the Bride…

May 17, 2011

‘Tis the season of weddings.  And someone pointed out to me over the weekend while attending a wedding that flowers are most numerous now.  Is this the reason brides choose this time of year?  I myself had a June wedding many years ago.  Funny thing about the flowers at my ceremony, I never saw them.  Other than what I had in my hands of course.  And they didn’t show up in any of the photographs (don’t ask).  So, I really have no idea what I paid for.

I was commissioned to create something for a wedding gift recently.  Jennie and I decided to use an engagement photo as reference for the piece.  After gaining permission from the photographer, I created this piece using free motion machine embroidery.

Brides these days many more details in their weddings to fret over  than I did.  The one I attended this weekend was beautiful to the nth degree.   I imagine the wedding of the recipient of the above was designed every bit as beautiful, not to mention the one that took place in London last week.   I have to wonder about the desire and effort and cost that go into making the perfect day.  The rest of your life will not begin to compare but I guess that isn’t a consideration when you are young, in love and experiencing a day about which you’ve always dreamed.   I wonder how far this will go before the pendulum swings the other way and people get  married in the parsonage with 2 attendants and a corsage like my parents did or some variant of it.  Perhaps the longer the economic downturn lasts, the simpler weddings will become.

I have a marrying age daughter but I have been informed that I have no say in how, when and if she marries. I think I will take her up on that.