Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Gifts and Cup Cakes

Now that Christmas is over and presents have been given, I can show you the table topper I made for my sister. I did use a pattern from Kim Diehl called "Old Fashioned Hospitality," which is in her book called "Simple Comforts." I made it for my sister to use as a table topper. Since the finished size of the original quilt was too large for my sister's table, I omitted the outside borders (which I loved, by the way) to cut the size of the quilt down to around 40" square. The original quilt is more like 60" X 60". My sister moved from New England to Tennessee; she loves the New England symbol of welcome...the pineapple.
The center of the quilt is pieced; I used fusible applique to add the pieces. The vines were a real pain to do. Placement was really difficult and making all that bias wasn't much fun. HOWEVER, my sister was pleased with the result and so was I.

These are some closeups of the machine quilting done on my Janome 6500. The quilt is VERY densely quilted (as are most of the quilts I machine quilt). I used some freehand feathers I learned in my class with Sharon Shamber. 
I did get a bit too close to the edge of the quilt with those feathers.
Instead of using a fused fabric for the small dark circles, I made yoyos. I like the texture the yoyos add to the piece.
Today, I finished another cupcake pincushion. The pattern is from Pieceful Designs ( called "With a Cherry on Top." These are so much fun to make. The one from my previous post was given as a Christmas gift to a quilting friend. This one is all mine!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ain't It Sweet?

I actually have gotten a few things done in the past week or so. Here's proof...

I made a sweet little cupcake pin cushion from Pieceful Designs ( called "With a Cherry on Top." I used embroidery and beads to decorate it.
I also made eight little picture holders called "Wee Memories" from the "Quilting Arts Gifts Holiday 2010" issue. I followed directions in an article by Melanie Testa. Melanie suggests that we "tuck little photos of memorable moments inside." These little gems turn out to be about the size of a match book cover. Each will hold two small pictures. I think they'd be really nice to tuck away in a purse or pocket to pull out whenever I might need a pick-me-up.
No, Lisa Kudrow and Patricia Clarkson are not my close friends. I don't have MY "memorable moments" cropped to the proper size yet!
I've made some "Stack and Whack" Christmas cookies. One batch started as Christmas tree cookies; the other batch started as reindeer cookies.

I've also been busy looking through my new book by Jane Dunnewold. Did I mention I get to take a class from her in January?
It seems I also spend quite a bit of time observing the birds in my yard; I sure enjoy that. We've had some pretty nasty weather here in southern Indiana this past week. First, we had snow; then we had ice on top of that. I recently purchased a bird bath heater to keep the bird bath water from freezing. Since then my birds have a virtual bird spa in my back yard. I took this picture of a couple of birds enjoying the "spa" this afternoon. (Notice the water that has "slopped" over the edge from the little bird on the left. The one on the right was just venturing in.)
Other birds spent their afternoon eating at the "buffet" and...
slipping on the ice!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Exciting Information

I'm sorry it has been so long since I last posted a new blog entry. I am going to try to be better about it. I'm still dealing with some personal issues...among other things, I just lost a friend to brain cancer. However, I am going to be concentrating on the wonderful things in my life. (There are many.) 

First, you may have noticed the "fire" logo to the right. That is a link to another blog to which I belong. I'm joining eight artists on an "artistic voyage" in the new year. We'd like you to come along on this journey with us. Each month (starting in January) we will be working on a different technique. We will be working on shibori during the month of January. The supply list is on the site now, and the instructions (or where to get the instructions) will be posted in January. The nine of us will be blogging about our experiences with the technique along with pictures of our work. I'm SO excited to be a part of this endeavor. I'm planning on learning about a lot of new tools to put in my surface design arsenal, and you can too. Hop on over to the blog by clicking on the logo and become a "Follower." Be ready to begin with us in January. I'm hoping to hear about your experiences too.

Another tidbit is that LAFTA (Louisville Area Fiber and Textile Artists) is having a juried exhibit at the Jewish Community Center of Louisville. Here is the information. (I'm also placing the information in my "Upcoming Quilting/Fiber Arts Events" to the right, so it will be easy for you to find.) You might also be interested in checking out the new LAFTA website at

Dates of LAFTA Show

January 16, 2011 Opening of show
January 30, 2011 Opening reception, 2-4 pm
February 22, 2011 Closing date of the show

Jewish Community Center
3600 Dutchmans Lane
Louisville, KY 40205
(502) 459-0660

Patio Gallery Hours
Sunday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Monday - Thursday: 8:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Friday: 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
Saturday: CLOSED
This will be a great exhibit; don't miss it!
Also, for those of you who are interested...The Quilt Show ( is making a special offer. This is what they have to say...

"To kick off the holiday season, TQS is unlocking your Basic Membership through December 31, 2010. That's right, you can be a Free Star Member for December. You'll have access to all the December shows and every class in the Classrooms, as well as the Daily Blog, Forums, Newsletters, and don't forget Weekend Fun contests. Log in today and start enjoying your FREE Star Membership."

This is a really good deal. You have access to free projects and lots of other fun stuff. Check it out.

Be sure to let me know if you decide to follow the "and Then We Set It On Fire" blog. It should be lots of fun (and even more fun if you do it with me).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Let's Be Thankful

It always gets my creative juices flowing when I look at interesting pictures. I use them as inspiration (or a starting point) for some of my pieces. Thanksgiving brought to mind all the things I have for which to be thankful. One is the beauty I see every day. Here are some pictures I took for "inspiration." Maybe some of them will inspire you too. At the end, I also have some pictures of my tables all decked out with some of my quilts for Thanksgiving and a picture of Libby. (Libby was too cute not to include!)

 Dome at French Lick.
Stone wall at St. Meinrad 
 Steps at St. Meinrad.
 Moss on a tree.
 My porch table all decked out with a fall quilt. This pattern is from Country Threads. (It is an old pattern. I don't know if it is still available.) That is my "Fall Tree" in the background--actually, it is three small trees. I have little wooden bird houses and pumpkin ornaments on it right now.
Homespun table runner on my dining room table.
I guess Libby wanted to be as close to me as she could be while I was writing this post. (This box is on my computer desk right next to me.) She sure is a special kitty; she has seemed to know that I needed some tender loving care these last few months.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Why I'm Not Getting Anything Done...and Some Miscellaneous Things

Okay, okay, I haven't gotten much done for a while now. It has been hard to get back into "creating" since my Grandma and Mom passed (11 months apart). I'm having a bit of trouble working through the grief. (I guess I just think it is taking me too long to feel better.) It IS getting better, though, as time goes on.

I would like to repost a picture of my Mom and the quilt I made her when she had to go into the nursing home. It is her birthday today (November 18). Happy Birthday Mom! I miss you.
This is the current reason I'm not getting anything done. I'm babysitting for my grandson, Cade. I had him all day today, and I will have him all day tomorrow. We always have such a good time. He sure wasn't ready for his mom to take him home when she came to pick him up tonight. That always makes "Mimi" feel good--Mommy...not so much! 
In addition, I didn't get much done last week while my husband and I were in Miami. (I did work a little bit on the beading for a piece I'm doing.) This picture is a view from our balcony. It wasn't raining, the weather was nice, and no rain was expected that day...yet, here was a beautiful rainbow. It had been even more vibrant, but it had faded a bit by the time I got my camera and got the picture taken. I'm thinking this rainbow means brighter days ahead. That's my story...and I'm stickin' to it!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Some Fall Inspiration

A couple of weeks ago I read a blog post on the Quilt or Dye blog about dyeing with natural materials. I thought the work was interesting, thought it sounded fairly easy, and thought that I'd give it a try. Check out Judith's post here Judith mentioned that she thought her piece with the leaves was "a lot of work for little color and pattern." She liked her piece using mums better. I didn't have any mums to use but thought I'd give the rose leaves a try. For good measure, I threw in some Black-Eyed Susans I was getting ready to cut down for the winter (just to see what they might do). My attempt at this process gave me a light "soft" colored piece of fabric. It isn't finished by any means, but I will definitely be putting some more layers on it and using it later on. Thanks, Judith, for the inspiration.
You can click on this picture to get a closer look at the piece. You can see the details a lot better. It isn't a great piece by any means, but I think it will be useable--and it was fun! The dark places on it come from the centers of the Black-Eyed Susans. I threw in a few purple flowers from my yard. (I don't know what they were.) I think that is what shows up as dark purple. The Black-Eyed Susans also caused some areas of yellow to show up.

I just love the fall. This year it has been so dry around here that we didn't get the usual beautiful fall colors. However, I did get some really pretty leaves on a bush in my backyard. I'm thinking I might do a fabric piece with some paint and threadwork from these pictures. Aren't the colors and textures wonderful!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Shiisa Quilts Wins and I Do Too!

Recently, the Quilters Newsletter blog asked for quilters to submit their favorite quilt shop and explain why they liked them. Of course, there was a prize for the winning nomination. Well, my nomination for Shiisa Quilts in Bloomington, IN, won! I found this box outside my door this morning. When I opened it, I was TOTALLY shocked to find this...

If you'd like to see what I had to say (and visit the Quilters Newsletter blog), check out this blog entry...Shiisa Quilts Wins!...and if you are not familiar with Shiisa Quilts, it is well worth your time to stop by. (See the website for directions and hours of operation.) Tell Janet (the owner) hello for me while you are there. If you can't make the trip, you can still check it out by visiting their website at You can shop, take a look at their blog, get directions, and so much more.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Patoka Valley Quilt Guild Fall Retreat

The Patoka Valley Quilt Guild held their annual fall retreat at the Drury Inn in Evansville, Indiana, the last weekend in October. It is always fun to see what people will bring to work on each year. I did capture just a few of the items on camera. Enjoy...
Robin got this pattern called New Wave from a blog called "Oh, Fransson!" Check it out at This site has GREAT free pattern downloads.
Ann made this quilt for a challenge. It had to be between 20-24 inches square and have three stars (each a different size and made using a different method).
Marge got this pattern from the Moda Bake Shop--
Robin likes brights...can you tell! This pattern is from Happy Holdiays by Atkinson Designs.
Mary Lou quilted this sweet quilt for the guild's Comfort for Kids project. 
Vicky made a quilt top from a jellyroll. 
This is a mystery quilt from "Quilters Newsletter Magazine."
Sandra worked on the hand applique for her Baltimore-Album-style Halloween quilt.
These blocks are REALLY intricate! 
This is another jellyroll quilt. 
Phyllis made a purse (Mini Bow Tucks by Penny Sturges). I LOVE the use of the peacock fabric. 
The room was a bit small, and we kept blowing a breaker (thus losing power to our machines); but a good time was had by all anyway! 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Visit to the St. Meinrad Archabbey Library Gallery

In October, the Saint Meinrad Archabbey Library Gallery featured wall hangings made by textile artist Joanne Weis of Louisville, KY. Her work features hand dyed fabric and intricate surface design and has been exhibited in invitational and juried shows in Louisville and across the region. This series of work is called "Holy Ground." It explores man-made spaces and activities that heighten spiritual awareness. It is work from Joanne's graduate thesis show. Much of the work is for sale. Let me know if you are interested in something, and I'll contact Joanne for you.
I got pictures of some of the pieces in the exhibit. Enjoy...

"Mayan Creation Story"
(silk, hand dyed, appliqued, and embroidered)
 "Holocaust Remembered"
(silk, hand dyed, screenprinted, and embroidered)
"Hagia Sophia, Istanbul"
(silk, hand dyed, screenprinted, embroidered)
 "Copic Swatch #1"
(silk, hand dyed, screenprinted, embroidered)
(silk, hand dyed, screenprinted, embroidered)
 "Bunya Gathering"
(silk, hand dyed, screenprinted, embroidered)
 "Green Corn Ceremony"
(silk, hand dyed, appliqued, embroidered)
 "Incan Temples of the Sun"
(silk, hand dyed, screenprinted, embroidered)
 "Japanese Tea Ceremony"
(silk, hand dyed, screenprinted, embroidered)
 "Newgrange at Winter Solstice"
(silk, hand dyed, screenprinted, embroidered)
I am so inspired by the layers in the cloth from which these wall hangings are made. Each layer adds to the complexity of the pieces and draws the viewer deep into the work. These pictures, in no way, do the pieces justice. There is beading and hand embroidery (among other things) that just don't show up on the original photographs, so be sure to click on the pictures to enlarge them and see more detail. I think you can click again to get an even closer look. If you ever get a chance to see Joanne's pieces in person, please take the opportunity to do so. You'll be inspired too.