Thursday, April 25, 2013


I have never been much into making Art Quilts.  Mainly, I did not think I knew enough about art and therefore could not seem to come up with an idea to put together. 

This year I decided to join the Art Quilt Guild in my area called GreatFul Threads.  This notion was to prompt me to get out of my comfort zone and tap into my "lost art" that everyone said was somewhere stored in my brain.  There are some really, incredible art quilt gals in this group and I have learned so much already. 

Last month the program was about collage and working intuitively to create a piece.  The presenter was Brenda, who does almost all art quilts with collage being her forte.  She had brought little packets to the meeting to give to us after her program.  She challenged us to take the materials in that packet and make a 9 x 12 collage piece.

I had an eclectic mix of items:

I had a piece of batik that was blues and oranges; another piece of batik in baby blue; a square of gold satin; a strip of novelty print with red dots and green stripes; a stripe fabric that looked like a man's tie fabric; red and green rickrack with some gold; two pieces of this stringy stuff in pink and purple; and a piece of some kind of fiber that was black and grey and brown fuzzy and 5 buttons.  Oh, and I had another piece of print fabric in that turquoise-y color.
My first reaction was to go at this with an abstract project in mind.  I was thinking that as long as it was balanced from side to side I could get away with just about anything.
So, I started putting things up on the design wall.
I added a couple of pieces of fabric from my stash:  the turquoise geometric at the bottom and the colorful kitties at the top.
Then I pulled a few more batiks and added those into the mix.

Finally I settled on sewing this strata together thinking that I would cut it in half, reverse the direction of one side and re-sew.  I did cut it in half, but I never sewed it back together.  In fact, I left it and came back later with another idea altogether.

So I took the strata part that was on the board and started playing with the other components.

Well, this was what emerged.  Very predictable and not particularly exciting or interesting.

I kept playing with it.  That piece of Christmas red and green rickrack was a riot.  Liked the idea of using it for grass, but somehow just putting it on the board like this left me thinking I was going to have to go to another plan.  This didn't even hint at making me smile.


Finally I made a little hill and had my house tilting.  I changed the door and added a few more items.  I used the blue batik and did a chimney and put a big ole heart in place of a window.  The design was made.  I added little jewels at the bottom for stepping stones and two little bumblebees in the flowers.  Smoke coming out the chimney would make me smile because it is obviously a spring or summer garden with those wild flowers and no one would have a fire going in the summer.  But, I had to use that fiber stuff somewhere and it made good smoke!  The strip in the upper left hand corner was a leftover from another improv piece I have started for a class I am taking.  I loved that fabric and thought the piece needed that to keep that house on the hillside.  Another piece of that is the door.  It is not the most free-form style of collage but I did layer elements and I think that qualifies to be a collage.

Now time to quilt it and bind it.  I used my walking foot and a thread that would blend into the fabric and started doing straight lines.  Well, mostly straight.  A few of them tilt and curve a little bit.


It was fun choosing some element to use for my guide to start the quilting and then just echo around it.
I love the way these lines make a V and the outside lines are a little curvy.

Three of these jewels are turned upside down showing the back with only one of them showing the gem color of turquoise.
It is finished and I love my first little art quilt!
Home IS where my heart lives!!!!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013



I absolutely love my town!!!  This is an incredibly gorgeous aerial view of the Bluff View Art District, the Tennessee River and Williams Island with the Pedestrian Bridge in the background.

Today I was playing Tilly the Tourist and seeing my town riding the Electric Shuttle which has a route to take visitors and locals alike from the Southside through City Center to the Aquarium.  It also travels to the North Shore.  What an easy way to get around our city!!!  I met tourists from Boston and Canada.  What fun it was to ask them why they chose our town for a visit. 

Their answer?  "It is so beautiful here!  And the people are so friendly!  Our shuttle driver gave us a commentary of the sights we were seeing as we rode to dinner last night." 

That made me smile.  Love Southern hospitality!!

I love seeing runners on the sidewalks and the sidewalk café tables.

The street marker post banners are changed on a regular basis. 

Although Chattanooga is my home town, I lived away for many years.  While I was away I often thought about those things that I missed.

Here is my rendition of "Dreaming of Home".  This quilt is paper pieced row by row and hand quilted.

The first row has the beautiful sun in a summer blue sky.

Row Two includes Flying Geese over the mountains. 
This row shows the deciduous trees in the three seasons before they lose their leaves and the evergreen tree that reminds me of the only color left in the winter time landscape.

No quilt about home would be complete without fish.  We have the river;  and I grew up spending time on Chickamauga Lake. Of course, I cannot leave out the plants here.  There are so many native flowers in this area so I chose to put those in my last row.

I spent a lot of time hand quilting this piece and while I did that I thought about home, family, and friends. 

So, I guess, this could be called a story quilt.  In this full picture you can see the mountains in Row 2 and my little house in the woods on Row 3.

And my label . . .

says that it was made in 2004.  Cannot believe that was almost 10 years ago.
Lil Bit likes it.  She would not get off of it so I could get the pics.  I had to bribe her with a treat!! 
I am so excited that the American Quilter's Society Quilt Week is coming to our town for three consecutive years starting in 2014.  Just wait until these quilters see our town.  I know they will find lots of things to give them quilt ideas and inspiration!!



Monday, April 22, 2013


Paths like this always get my attention and beckon to me to follow.
Most of my life has seemed to me to be this kind of path.  Some parts of it were known to me and very predictable; while other parts of it were obscure and I did not know where it would lead until I reached it.  Of course, there are still parts I have yet to see.

I have taken many side trips off my life journey path and one of those was when I chose to start quilting.  I did not grow up with quilters being very evident to me.  Until recently I was totally unaware that my grandmother was a quilter.  I just received one of her quilts from my cousin a few months ago.  It is a treasure for me, of course.

One of the turns in my path was to be invited to join other guild members of mine on a retreat to St. Mary's Retreat in Sewanne, TN.  It was a retreat to work on a Mystery Quilt Project led by Donna Vogel and Judy Pitts.  I was a brand new quilter at the time and lacked confidence in quilting so I knew I would have to rely completely on my leader.  At the end of the three days I did have a completed top.

It is very subdued in color.  I chose the focus fabric and added the other fabrics just the way the leader had said to do it.  I think it came out okay for my first time.  This weekend retreat turned out to be a real epiphany for me and launched me into wanting to learn everything I possibly could about quilting.

For many years I had been leading Workshops for women on leadership, spirituality, and confidence building.  The more I thought about this quilt the more I knew I could use this pattern as a visual to get my message across in my Workshops.  I wanted to "make a quilt" on a design board to illustrate the points I was teaching in the Workshop.

So, I started working on a plan.  I decided to use colors as a basis for the topic.  This would determine the palette of fabrics I chose.

The square at the top is my focus fabric and it represents all the parts of my life:  my family, my faith, my dreams, my goals and future experiences I will have.  It contains a mixture of colors and designs.  My life and that of others are a mixture of colors and designs.

This focus fabric has a dark background.  Something to give strength and depth to the pattern of clear, crisp autumn colors.  This fabric is the backbone of the quilt palette.

The black symbolizes truth seeking and knowledge.  Truth and knowledge serve to emphasize the vibrancy of the other colors of our lives.

The second fabric chosen is the gold for harmony.  A small tight pattern -- it binds together our many parts.  Harmony is critical to our true happiness.

Brown fabric represents neutrality.  It gives us grounding -- a firm foundation.  A part of our lives must always be grounded for security and safety.

Purple signifies royalty, but it is also symbolic of power and spirituality.  Each of us must treat ourselves with respect.  Give ourselves worth.  That is the  royal treatment of power and spirituality.

Pink stands for love and happiness -- it shows the power of a small amount of love in the whole of our lives.  In the completed quilt you will see how powerful this small strip becomes.

I chose green -- balance, calming, healing, prosperity -- which gives the eye a rest from all that it sees.  We must keep balance in order to be calm and experience prosperity and healing in our lives.

Red represents strength, health, vigor --  these are three elements that are needed to under gird a busy, meaningful life.

The first step was to cut strips from these fabrics in varying widths of my choice and then to sew them into a strata.

From the strata we would make some large blocks which would then be cut into triangles.  Our lives are made up of a strata of responsibilities and obligations and people all sewn together into the block of who we are.  On a regular basis those strata blocks of our lives are cut up into triangles and rearranged -- our children grow up and leave; our jobs change; our interests diversify; we experience the loss of loved ones;  and each time we are cut apart like this we become a little bit stronger and wiser.  However, we are still made up of those original pieces of fabrics.
These triangles will now be re-arranged to make new blocks. 

Each time our life blocks are cut up and rearranged we have to "square them up" in order for everything to fit together the way it needs to to complete the project.  "Squaring up" in life may mean we have to "sliver" off the rough edges and add a little touch of finesse and kindness to the way we act, respond and react.

After the new blocks are formed, several are joined together to give the larger block that will create the components of the pattern to the finished quilt.

In this quilt pattern, two distinct blocks are created.  They are now ready to be assembled into the final quilt top.

We still have the same original pieces we started with but they have been cut apart and re-sewn several times.  Our lives are just like this.  We have the same parts of ourselves we started with but life has made many cuts and re-sews to create the person we have become.  Just as you can see in the quilt, there are some strong parts that stand out and there are other parts that play a secondary role in the background.  We have our strengths and talents.  Some are stronger than others.  Notice how that small strip of pink (the strip representing love) draws your eye into the block.  Being loved is powerful.

This quilt is from a pattern written by Mary Ellen Hopkins called, "Hidden Wells".

Just like the path that has an infinity point that we cannot see, this quilt has hidden wells of interest that you might not see at first glance.

I used up the fabrics to make the back.

And my label includes the phrase, "Made with love not perfection".

 I have enjoyed sharing a little from my Life Diary so you might see a little bit more of who I am.



Saturday, April 20, 2013


Well, really my birthday was on Monday and I was one-year-old but my mom was out of town so we had to wait to celebrate until she came home.  I wanted to wait 'cause I knew she would make it special for me!

Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot to tell you this is LilBit and I am writing on my mom's blog AGAIN.  But I have lots to tell you.

First of all I came to live with my mom and papa when I was very tiny - only 1.5 lbs. and Papa could hold me in the palm of his hand.  I was snuggly and wiggly, but so happy to come to live with them.

See how tiny I am.  Well, everything is tiny except my head and it's big 'cause I am so smart and I have to have room for my big brain. 
I told Mom not to take pictures of me in that pose again.  It is not flattering at all!
This was my little quilt with my favorite toy, my Snoopy dog.  I used to sleep with it every night, but then one day I chewed off his ear and Mom said he went away to live somewhere else.

But Miss Sharon brought me this neat purple pig and I love her!!  I like to play fetch with Mom and Papa after they have dinner at night. 

The groomer thought I needed to wear a hair bow and a collar.  Well, I don't like hair bows and that collar is uncomfortable.
Now I wear a harness and let my hair fly loose.
Papa brought this Harley home for me.  It is just my size.
Want to hear a secret?  That is not a puppy harness.  Nope, it is called a running vest for ferrets.  Well, it fits me perfectly.  I feel very safe when I wear it and my mommy lets me walk on that long leash.   We take lots of walks when it isn't raining or too cold. 

And, sometimes, my mom carries me in this neat carrier that my papa brought to me.

Isn't this just super neat?  When I ride in the car Mom says I have to ride inside this and she hooks up the seat belt to hold it in place so I don't fall out or get hurt.  So I usually just take a nap until we get where we are going.

That's my lunch box with my food and my water glass that we take when we go for long trips.
It is Scooby-Doo!!!  I think I love him!  He is so handsome!!

 My papa brought it home to me from a Yard Sale. 
Ooh!  I like Yard Sales.  I will tell you about going to Yard Sales later.  I have some neat things that I got there.
Uh-oh, here comes my mom --  gotta go!


Friday, April 19, 2013


Day Two got off to a great start with this beautiful sunrise.

Here are some shots of the landscape around the retreat that we could see from the large windows in our workroom.

These are the very chickens that provided us with fresh eggs daily for the wonderful meals we had.

Some projects got underway on the first full day:

Sharon started working with her purple strips.

Carol is putting together the last of the blocks for her Scrappy quilt.

 Linda had all of her strips prepped and ready to go.
Jean is chain piecing blocks for a wedding gift quilt.
Robbie worked on her needleturn applique.

Barbara is all set up to do some more rows to her "Muddy Creek" quilt.
Some finishes started happening at the end of the day,


Linda S
We had each brought five-inch blocks to put into the drawing.  These were all red, yellow, or blue.  This is a small example of the squares that were in the brown bag that Carol won.
So much happened during the day and I did not get pictures of every thing.  I am still collecting pics from others to share.