Thursday, June 30, 2005

Fiber Collage Course Progress Report

I am thoroughly enjoying the Fiber Collage course! First up are some quilt “sandwich” backgrounds. The small one is a test fabric transfer of my PhotoShop manipulated Rhododendron (see May archives). I am hoping to explore creating my own backgrounds for further embellishment in the near future.

Quilt "Sandwich" Backgrounds

Sketch and Appliqué

Next is my original sketch and the appliqué pieces in position, ready to be sewn down and further enhanced with decorative stitching. The quote I am going to add down the left side is: “You are my cat and I am your human.” - Hilaire Belloc

Sketch and Appliqué

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Nursery Web Spider and Babies

This Nursery Web Spider (pisaurina mira) has been living in my magnolia tree, keeping careful guard over her eggs in the little tent she’d formed from some leaves. Yesterday afternoon, as I walked around the tree, she kept shifting her position to make sure she was facing me. I’ve read that these spiders are not normally aggressive but I didn’t want to mess with her, so I waited until DH got home so he could photograph her. By then, her babies had hatched…

Nursery Web Spider and Babies

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

My Little Corner of the World

The little perennial garden right outside my studio door is where I sit and have coffee and draw and dream…

My Little Corner of the World

Monday, June 27, 2005

Sweet Pepperbush

Today’s sketchbook entry is a page of sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia) leaves. It’s another one of my favorite native shrubs that grows abundantly in the damp, acidic soil here. At the end of July, the spicy-sweet scent of the white flowers will waft through the house…

Nature Journal: Sweet Pepperbush

Friday, June 24, 2005


Here is the honeysuckle that is in the process of strangling my wonderful Allegheny Serviceberry tree. I figured I’d let it bloom once more so I could enjoy the sweet fragrance and I will attempt to carefully cut it away from the branches around which it has wrapped itself. Fortunately there are other patches of honeysuckle on the property, so all is not lost.

For my fellow bird enthusiasts,
here is a very interesting article DH sent me about the intelligence of black-capped chickadees.


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Miniature Cloth Santa

Here is a dollhouse sized Santa I designed to be held by a larger doll.
Miniature Cloth Santa

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Here’s Leonard finally clothed…“and in his right mind.”


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Italian Dream Challenge Doll Finished!

I just visited Susan Sorrell’s blog and you can still sign up for her fabric collage class, even though it started last week. C’mon, you know you want to! I just downloaded lesson 2 this morning and can’t wait to get into it!

I visited
Aisling’s blog yesterday, as I do nearly every day, and she has very generously made her course on keeping a personal history journal available as a free PDF download. Her web site is amazing and chock full of useful information for artists.

My Italian Dream Challenge doll is finally finished (Woohoo!) and she’s going to the studio with DH to be photographed this evening. I actually finished a little ahead of schedule – unusual for me…

I’m spending the afternoon outdoors, enjoying the glorious weather, drawing and doing some hand sewing.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Bargains and Thrift Store Finds

Last Friday’s visit with my sister was so much fun and yielded so many treasures! After a delicious lunch at the local diner, we went to the going-out-of-business sale at the craft store and I bought two big bags of polyfil, some fancy tulle in beautiful shades for making Fantasy Fabric, floral accessories, small Christmas ornaments for my Santa dolls to hold and some 18 count aida cloth to experiment with for machine cross stitch embroidery. We also went to the local thrift store and, for the first time in my life, I bought second-hand clothes! I got the coolest long denim dress and a belted denim vest ($2.50 each!) and DH got a shirt, unworn, with the manufacturer’s tags still on it, for $3.00! Hokey smokes! But the piece de resistance was the ivory chenille twin sized bedspread I got for making Santa outfits for $4.00.

I am finished the first lesson of the fiber collage course. How freeing it is to take big, uneven stitches, on purpose! I’m having a great time with this…

Friday, June 17, 2005

Huck on Pillow

Well, it’s his job to be cute and he does it so well… Huck is sleeping (like a little angel) on his own crazy quilted pillow sham (from a quilt set purchased years ago from the Spiegel catalog).

Today, DH and I will have lunch with my sister and I’ll pick up the fabric goodies she got for me last month at the church bazaar. We’re going to a little “mom and pop”craft store in her town that is, sadly, being forced to close because a big Michael’s craft store opened up nearby. It was a great little store, too, with a very wide selection of supplies. Anyway, everything is ½ price…

Huck on Pillow

Thursday, June 16, 2005

More PhotoShop Floral Play

Here is just a portion of a scanned piece of fabric onto which I had transferred an image using June Tailor Print’n Press transfer paper for Ink Jet printers. I am amazed at how well the detail holds up. The original photo was an interior magnification of one of the daylilies in my garden which I then manipulated in PhotoShop.

Detail: Daylily Ink Jet Print on Fabric

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Old Floral Card

Here is a lovely floral card that was included in an EBAY auction of cool old stuff I got for $9.95. There was a shabby wooden cigar box, a couple of old photos, a Tuck Easter postcard (dated 1909), a doily, a small leather Catholic prayer book published in 1899 with a souvenir card from a priest’s ordination (1915) tucked inside, two small vintage sleepy eyed dolls, a skeleton key, a rhinestone pin, an old Oneida Community rose embossed sugar spoon, a wooden spool of thread and a thimble… Anyway, I thought the floral card (it has a couple of pansies!) might be nice printed on fabric and included in a crazy quilted project - and you are welcome to it. Click here for a high resolution image that you can right click on, save, and print out to 3x5 inches.

Old Floral Card

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Fiber Collage Class

I signed up for Susan Sorrell’s fiber collage class at and I’m sure glad I did! I really didn’t want to take on any more projects at this time but I just couldn’t resist those charming little quilts. I needn’t have feared being overwhelmed because Susan has broken each lesson down into small, manageable tasks. The class started today and it looks like so much fun! Can’t wait to get started playing…

Monday, June 13, 2005

My Sewing Table

I had a pretty productive weekend. I finished the first Santa, “Leonard,” for the new web site. Hopefully, we’ll get him photographed this week and he can be added to the “Shanty Clauses” home page. I’d like to get that uploaded as soon as possible. I have two more Santas so far in varying degrees of “doneness.” Hope to start on three more this week.

When I first got my sewing/embroidery machine, I was having a problem with thread unwinding from the spool and getting stuck and jamming the machine. It was very frustrating. The problem was solved when DH gave me
Madeira’s Incredible Threadable Embroidery Box for Valentine’s Day (He’s so romantic…). It not only stores the thread but it acts as a separate thread stand next to the machine. You can load six spools at a time into the top slots. It just works out so well. Here is shot of my sewing table with the machine threaded from the box. And dig those sexy cheetah print scissors

My Sewing Table

Friday, June 10, 2005


Smilax (or greenbrier) is a native vine that grows abundantly in the yard forming graceful arches. There is a species (with narrower leaves, I think) that is used by wedding designers to drape over arbors and canopies.


Nature Journal Page: Smilax

Thursday, June 09, 2005


I love this flower! The original bulb was planted long ago and came from DH’s grandparents’ garden. It blooms faithfully every year – in the most magnificent cerise-like shade. Unfortunately, the color you see here is not quite true to the real-life color. DH tried hard to adjust it in PhotoShop but this is as close as he could get.


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Quilting Arts Magazine

This past winter, I entered Quilting Arts magazine’s Guardian Angel Challenge. I had never entered a challenge before and thought it would be a fun excuse to try some new techniques. They say they photographed every entry and, sure enough, upon close examination, I finally spotted my little creation partially peeking out from the very center of the centerfold (she’s the pink and lilac number). All of the angels are sweet and the featured themed angels are nothing short of spectacular. In fact, the whole summer 2005 issue is outstanding – so many new ideas to try! A nice big set of Caran d'Ache Neocolor II water-soluble wax pastels is definitely on my wish-list!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

My First Santa

Here is a picture of the very first Santa I ever made. I used Tammy Orme’s “Woodland Traveler” pattern in the 1995 Better Homes and Gardens Santa Claus magazine, but I needle sculpted the upper and lower eyelids (as well as the nose) and painted and antiqued the face. I made the vest and hat of crazy pieced wools and velvets. Gosh, it seems like a lifetime ago…

My First Santa

Back of Santa Vest

Vest Back

Monday, June 06, 2005

A Favorite Quote...

I read recipes the same way I read science fiction: I get to the end and I think, “Well, that's not going to happen.” – Unknown

Friday, June 03, 2005

Snowballs in Spring and Little Hitty

Looking at these big snowballs (from my foundation-planted Viburnum bush) in June reminds me of all the work I need to do to get my Santa dolls ready for the upcoming Christmas season. In addition to the new Shanty Clauses with their own web site, I’ll be adding a few Santas to my Just Clauses site. One will be a Father Christmas holding a Hitty doll that can be removed for dollhouse play and then placed back in Santa’s arms for safekeeping. Below is a painted cloth Hitty of my own design. Her classic hairdo is sculpted from Delight modeling compound. That is just the coolest stuff! Once gesso is applied, transition from cloth to clay is pretty much seamless. I need to get busy and make her a little holiday dress.

Viburnum Flowers

Hitty Doll

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Stitched Underwater Scene

DH’s parents treated us to dinner on the Ocean City boardwalk the evening before last. We dined, alfresco, on the patio of a restaurant overlooking the ocean. Later, we saw (through binoculars) a cargo ship and a huge barge being pulled by a tugboat about twelve miles off the coast.

Here is a scan of a little underwater scene I stitched a few years ago, inspired by Judith Montano’s
Elegant Stitches. I always intended to turn it into a card for my FIL (who used to go deep sea diving) but never got around to it. The background fabric is a small piece of commercially made batik. I think it’s an example of how a seemingly complex background can add depth to just a few simple stitches…

Stitched Underwater Scene

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Backyard Path

DH bought himself a Garden tractor last week and has been clearing a walking path through our woods out back. Here is a photo I took the other day of sunlight filtering through the trees (oaks and pines) onto the path. Notice the huckleberry and wild blueberry plants – pretty typical of southern NJ forests. We both love living here...

Backyard Path