Saturday, March 31, 2012

Duck Zen

Monk: How is it when mind and objects are both forgotten?

Duck-yuan: Sitting sleeping with your eyes open.

Friday, March 30, 2012

1K Cards Project Update

March was a busy but interesting month for my 1000 Cards Project. During the first week I made enough to meet my quota for the entire month (I documented an entire quilt show with photographs that I turned into cards.) I could have skipped the next three weeks but I decided to press on and take my time experimenting. Here's what I accomplished:

Inspired by attending the show, I made a number of quilted and beaded cards using some new techniques I invented or read about in Quilting Arts magazine. I saved an old keychain my daughter made for me years ago by immortalizing her artwork in beads (top row, second from the left) and played a lot with background effects using Sulky Holoshimmer thread.

I tried to be a bit more daring with my mixed media cards this month. The snowman card is made entirely out of paperclay. I incorporated a prescription label to document my unexpected jaw problem and my dilemma with the pain meds (i.e. do I want to throw up every five minutes, or do I want to be in pain? Do I want to feel like I have food poisoning when I'm not throwing up, or do I want to be in pain? I chose pain and threw away the pills.) Encasing some trimmed scraps and cut threads in vinyl didn't turn out as pretty as examples I've seen in mags, and my paperclip-bubblewrap-clothing tag card looked much cuter in my head, but I've still got a lot to learn about throwing together stuff and making it look attractive.

I allowed myself to get romantic this month while making Spring sachets with some shabby chic materials I purchased from homesteadtreasures on Etsy. I love the feel and look of her French-themed ribbons and muslins, and I made one mini-sachet card to preserve a little bit of the French lavender that is now making my lingerie drawers smell heavenly.

I had a lot of fun with the cards I made from found/recycled materials around the house. Nothing was safe from me, not postage stamps, business cards or store tags. I even found a way to use a funny little anime sketch my daughter drew for me on notebook paper.

Along with the quilt show I documented in cards a lovely day I spent with my kids, and quilted a little holder to keep all the photograph cards tidy. At first I felt a little guilty for making so many photocards this month (84 in all), but handling Nightborn's release, a complicated manuscript revision and galleys that had to be proofed didn't give me many spare hours for the project, so I'm satisfied with what I accomplished in the time I did have to work on it.

Despite all the negative things that happened to me in March I didn't give into depression or bouts of whiny self-pity while working on the project. Instead I took refuge in it, and maintaining that positive focus really made a difference on some very bad days.

So that wraps up the progress on the project in March. I'm giving myself the last day of the month off to think about what direction I want to go in for April, and then I'll get back to work.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Playing Koi

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Sorry, but I am becoming a total flower pic slut.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Monet

Sometimes the world makes itself into art for you. This one is unretouched; exactly as it was the moment I clicked the button:

Monet would have been proud, I think.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring is Here

The flowers are blooming:

The critters are waking up:

And some are even ahead of the game:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


It's spring, which means it's time to tuck some new herbal sachets into the linen closets and lingerie drawers. Usually I make quilted sachets of new fabric, but I wanted to color outside the lines this year, so I tried some different materials:

These tea-dyed laces and ribbons are easy for me to stack and sew together before I bead them. With little sewing projects like these I can work by hand. I don't plan them out but go with the impulse of the moment.

One stamped image of a chandelier inspired me to get very creative with embellishing it:

I admit, my first try is a bit crooked, but I have a yard of more ribbon stamped with the same image so I can give it another go.

The beads are mine, but the cool laces, ribbons and stuff as well as heavenly dried lavender inside the sachets came from Homesteadtreasures on Etsy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ditzy Doves

You remember this precarious percher:

She built her nest on top of the bird houses this time, and we decided to keep away altogether so as not to spook her or cause her eggs/babies to roll/fall out of the nest. Which meant I couldn't take any photos of her twins.

Fortunately doves mature really fast:

The little ones flew away shortly after I took these two pics, but I won't complain -- they made it, and that's all that matters.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Quilt Show 2012

Illness and my latest release forced me to miss the county quilt show I go to every year, but I made up for it by catching another, smaller guild show I've never attended. Small quilt shows are much more personal, and everyone from the guild was delightful. I chatted with one very knowledgable lady about restoration and preservation, and later found out she is also an author and a professional quilter.

Here's one of her quilts:

The guild issued a basket challenge to their membership for the show, and all the challenge quilts were amazing. This is the one I liked best:

One quilter made this beauty completely out of silk scraps:

The only complaint I can make is that the lighting was not too great, so about half of the pictures I took didn't turn out. Still, it was fun and got me out of the house. To see a slideshow of the pictures I took that did turn out, click here.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Light & Darkness Tote

As requested, here are some close-ups of the Light & Darkness quilted tote that I'm giving away over at my author blog:

For this tote I used two fabrics: a new, sky-blue embroidered batik I recently purchased from JoAnn's and a multi-colored dark batik from my stash that I believe I bought from a quilt shop in Georgia.

Here's the dark side:

I wanted to make the tote completely reversible, so I double blind-stitched all the structure seams. Hand-quilted pieces are not easy to make reversible, though, as the back side of my quilting never looks quite as nice as the front. To solve this problem, I used Sulky Holoshimmer in dark emerald green to hand quilt big running stitches (Sashiko style) around the embroidery on on the light side. This created a nice abstract scatter effect on the dark side.

I sewed the shoulder strap (just a simple strip of the two fabrics sewn together) side-to-side to make it 100% reversible. think it came out pretty neat.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Eureka Tote Finished

Someone (you know who you are) asked if I'd post pics of the project I was doing with the beaded grapes. It's a little book tote, and here it is finished:

Front View

Back view


The outside is made from a panel of furoshiki quilted with emerald Sulky Holoshimmer, which gave it an elegant sparkle. I'll be giving this tote away (properly stocked with goodies, of course) as part of my promotions for Nightborn in the near future. If you'd like a chance to win it for yourself, keep an eye out for an announcement on my author blog.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Beading Grapes

I made a small beading discovery as I was working with some furoshiki, which is Japanese wrapping cloth. The one I was quilting into a bag had some widely-spaced grape clusters in the pattern:

I wanted to embellish the fabric in a different/unique fashion, and I didn't like the spaces in the grapes too much. My eureka moment happened when I placed some round faceted crystal beads on the fabric to fill in the spaces in the grapes.

This is how they look after I sewed them in place:

That looked so cool I had to try a variation, this time with some pearl beads:

Unless you have a particularly sturdy material you probably won't want to pile on this type of embellishment. But the effect is really cool, and makes the grapes pop.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Shelf Bipolarism

Caught this glimpse of my new release at my favorite brick and mortar on Monday:

It should be a high to see your book out in the world for the first time, and I try to enjoy it. Helps deal with new release depression over things you can't control, such as this one being sold ten days before the lay-down date.

But then Rachel Vincent probably has her problems, too. For example, everywhere I go her books are always shelved after mine, which is alphabetically wrong correct. Vincent goes before after Viehl. (Added: For some reason all this time I've known her surname is V-i-ncent but I've been seeing it as V-i-cent. So, never mind.)