Friday, May 31, 2013


Going to brag about my town again!!  Yep!  I was downtown again this week for a couple of meetings and rode the shuttle.  The electric shuttle is the greatest form of transportation in the city.  The convenience of parking the car in one place and then "shuttling" up and down the town is beyond words for me.  I hate trying to find parking and all of that getting in and out of the car -- nope, I don't like doing that.  I just park at the garage at the ChooChoo and head out for my errands.

While I was waiting for the shuttle to return -- it runs on a 5-7 minute cycle-- I was looking around at the boarding station and spied the parked electric shuttle with Claire Vassort's art piece. 
This project is a collaborative effort by CARTA, Public Art Chattanooga, and River City Company.

"Art in Motion celebrates public art's contribution to a vibrant community and also serves as a symbol of downtown revitalization efforts that span over twenty-five years."
There are five different artists participating in this program.
This piece is entitled Breath of Life by Claire Vassort and it is hand painted on silk.
I had the great pleasure of taking a class with Claire recently and learning the fundamentals of this technique.
Isn't this great??  I love seeing these shuttles going around town with local artists' work displayed on them.

Here is a detail of the tree!!  Cannot get enough of the beauty of this work.  I had to study it in detail as I was waiting for my shuttle to arrive.

This is another link to show you some more interesting things about my favorite city!
Thank you to Barbara Weibel for a wonderful blog entry.
Please come visit Chattanooga soon!!!  For all the quilters coming to AQS Quilt Week in September 2014, bring your families.  They will love "doing our town" while you spend time on the Show Floor and in classes.



There are so many sites that offer inspiration, tips, and support or encouragement and we all see these pop up on Facebook pages.  Many times I will "share" when I think it speaks to me. 

Rarely do I feel drawn to write about one in a blog, but this one really captured my attention.

I move in a lot of "mostly female groups" and it seems that with all of our moods, there are times when we forget how to be fair and non-judgmental.  It is enough that we use our own personal experience to make judgment calls, but, even worse, we are sometimes prone to use someone else's experience base to make a decision with regard to another person's style, personality, knowledge, or purpose.  Even when we were not there to see it first-hand.

I think we often forget that all of us carry a "her-story" that is not always evident to the public image we see when we meet her.  Sometimes a decision to dislike or criticize or judge the motives of another are based on something we have heard from another person in a situation where we have no knowledge of the circumstances or context. 

It is not my purpose in this post to discipline or to direct another's behavior.  My purpose here is to remind me and others to take a step back and re-think how we treat our responses and judgments until we have had sufficient experience to come to a fair and reasonable decision.

For me,  it is always sad when I realize that someone has totally misunderstood the reason or motive for another's behavior without taking the time to give the person "the benefit of the doubt".  Unfortunately we live in a time in our culture , it seems to me, that a lot of people are always looking for the worst in others, rather than trying to find the best and support the good in each other.

Okay, enough on this rant!!  I hope you have a great weekend and can find a way to let another "friend or acquaintance" know that you appreciate them and support them in their efforts in their craft/art.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Summer sewing for me will be slower than winter and fall.  My husband and I do Flea Marketing and we participate in 3 major Long Yard Sales.  Our first was in May and our next is in June followed by the Longest Yard Sale in August.  I am only able to squeeze a little sewing in here and there so I have to choose projects that will work with this kind of schedule.
I do get a bit of hand quilting and piecing done while we are on site at the Sales.

For a while now I have been thinking about doing a quilt using solids.  As I was browsing blogs recently I came across the
Pile 'o Fabric blog written by Alyssa Lichner

She introduced the 2013 Modern Block of the Month and I loved it!  Working with solids with a modern approach to a sampler 
quilt -- what more could I ask for?

 I now have two blocks done.  The blocks finish at 24 inches which means it will become a quilt much quicker. 

This is the first block.  The background fabric is Kona Charcoal with Kona Khaki, Kona Azure, Kona Curry and Kona Snow.  I love this palette.

The second block is a Stained Glass block.  I am excited about how this turned out. 

It is not a difficult project but precision is key.  Sewing long lines can be tricky if you are not careful. You must make sure your cutting has been accurate and your seam measurement must be 1/4 inch with no wobbly lines.

Also, I think that working with solids  requires you to have a strong design and great quilting at the end.  The quilting cannot be "buried" in the fabric patterns.  This gives me a challenge to improve my machine quilting on my domestic sewing machine.

I am waiting to see how this sampler comes along.  Maybe I will do a Quilt As You Go technique.  Never have done a QAYG, but it is on my bucket list.

Stay tuned for more of these blocks to come.



Wednesday, May 15, 2013


I spent two fabulous days learning how to do silk painting.  It was a lot easier than I had expected.  I learned a lot about the medium we   were working in as well as something about myself.  The thing I learned about myself is that I am a risk taker.  I jumped into this class knowing that I did not have a background in art and that, in all practicality, I could not draw.  Not to worry, Claire Vassort, the teacher was very thorough and made me understand that it is a creative process and all of us have the tools for creating within ourselves.

The first thing we did was mount our silk onto frames.  Then Claire provided us with some sketches that we could use as guides for drawing our own practice pieces.  I chose to do the tree. 

The first step is to outline the subject matter with a substance called gutta.  It works as a resist and creates the lines of the picture that you paint into.

This is my palette of inks.  These are DuPont inks that flow onto the silk.

My first practice piece is completed.  You can see the little "test swatch" tacked onto the side of the frame so I could audition the inks before application.

After doing two practice pieces we moved on to the first of our large pieces.  We were making silk scarves.
For this project I had to draw my own design.  No pattern from the teacher this time!
After looking through a few of the source books provided I decided I would try my hand at drawing a fish.  I love whimsical fish, dragonflies, frogs, etc.  This fish was going to be my first "original" drawing to work with. 
The fish and bubbles were drawn onto the silk with gutta.  Now I am ready to ink it.

This is the first inking I did.  I filled in all of my bubbles, the fish and the seaweed before I chose the background color.

One of my favorite colors is turquoise blue and I chose to do a light version for the sea water background behind my design.
Here is my finished piece:

When I signed up for this class I had decided that I would do something abstract-looking because I did not think I could do a drawing of anything that I would like to use.   I had some experience in doing washes in water color painting that I thought I could transfer to my silk painting.

After I did my fish scarf, I decided to do my next scarf as an abstract using turquoise, lime green, and yellow inks. A little purple ink was added for depth.  I also decided to consciously use rock salt as a design element.  Here is my piece on the frame still wet with salt sprinkled on top.

 The finish on this scarf stole my heart!
I love the texture effect that gave more dimension to the scene.

Love, love, love my two scarves!

Since we finished our assigned projects a little early, Claire offered us the opportunity to do a bonus piece.  I decided to try doing a very linear piece.
Here is a little gallery of other projects done by my classmates.
Let me note here that these three gals, Maddie, Trudy, and Pam all have a background in art.  Isn't their work amazing??

Credit to Claire Vassort.

Check her website.  She does awesome work at Silk by Claire.



Tuesday, May 14, 2013


My small group buddies and I had so much fun making Spiral Table Runners a few weeks ago at Decherd Needleworks Shop.  One of the gals in our group led us through the steps. 
 The first step was selecting fabrics; cutting them; and then assembling them into strata.

From the strata we used the Ten Degree Wedge Ruler put out by Phillips Fiber Company and cut our wedges.  We assembled them in the correct order as per the instructions.

This is the first side cut.  Then the second side was cut and we reversed the direction. 

Laying it out on a large surface made it easy to keep the arrangement straight and in order.  Now it is ready to sew.  The sewing was so easy.

                                     Here it is finished. 

I would like to do some more of these for gifts.  I want to try doing one without binding by using the pillow case turn technique and then quilting it.

For now this one is on display at my local quilt shop with several of my other quilts as quilt artist of the month.  When I bring it home I will proudly put it on my table.

This was such a fun, easy project that packs a lot of punch!


Monday, May 13, 2013


My friend, Denise, offered an introductory class to making an Art Quilt.  I signed up.

The first project was a pieced wall hanging using a slice and dice technique.  My project was destined to hang in my family room over the fireplace.

Here is the palette I chose: 

The background fabric is left over from another project of a few years ago.  I love the energy of the different colors.

Then I added the batiks in the range of orange/gold and blue/green.

The first block is a slice and dice.

These were the first week blocks we made.  This technique was fun to work with.

Our second block was a wonky log cabin. 

There were no directions as to how many of each block to make.  We were to choose our own layout and to make as many or as few of each block as we felt we needed.

I am calling this wall hanging  "Which Direction?"

The second project involves rusting some fabric.  I will post that later.



Saturday, May 11, 2013


So, it's Mother's Day.  My precious mother lost her battle with cancer at the early age of 62 and has not been with me through the greater part of my adult life.  I miss her and so often remember things she said and things she did.  She had some funny little  sayings and ways of expressing herself that my sister and I often laugh about.  My daughter remembers her "Gran" as being the adult in her life who never said "No" when she wanted to play in her costume jewelry and sit on her vanity stool for hours trying on Gran's earrings and necklaces and admiring herself in the mirror.  Yes, I do miss her!!  And I know my daughter still misses her, too.

I was a very young woman when I was widowed with an eight-year-old daughter to raise on my own.  Those years of being a single mom were some of the toughest I have ever had.  I was afraid that I was not giving her everything she needed to become a responsible adult who would make her mark and contribution in the world in the best possible way.  Oftentimes I was so very strict and would discipline her to the point that she thought I was demanding perfection.  To me it was not striving for perfection, but, rather, it was pushing her to be the best person she could possibly be for herself.

There were some testy years in there as she spread her wings and I tried to keep her wings clipped a little closer than she liked.

A writing assignment that she was given in high school produced a paper that I still cherish.  I have framed it and I keep it in my studio where I can read it often.  As I recall, it was her Religion Class and the textbook was the Bible.  The students were asked to choose a scripture passage to use for the basis of their theme and to write about a person that had influenced their lives.

I will share what my seventeen-year-old daughter wrote:

                                     A VIRTUOUS WOMAN

A wife, a mother, and a friend, of nobler character one cannot find.
She is more precious than all the treasures of the world.
Her husband admires her and values her opinion greatly.
She loves him and gives to him what he needs completely.
She not only promised to, but she does love, honor and cherish him,
and he the same of her.
She works hard on anything she does, especially caring for her family.
She wishes only the best for her children, and is willing to go to any price to get it, even when they don't realize it.
She may be small in physical height, but to me she stands above any mountain or monument.
She cares for others, and in her job she wishes and succeeds at making people feel good about themselves.
She seems to always know what to say when I need it most, and even when I do not receive her words well, she understands.
She wants me to be independent; and with a teacher and example like her, how could I not be so?
She takes care of the house, the family and the job - and with all these, only the best will do.
She expects much from her children because she gives them much.
She's there with a listening ear and an encouraging word always available to turn to.
Many women do noble things, but she surpasses them all.
She scolds when it is necessary and loves when it is needed and she always cares!
Some say "there's no place like home", I say
There's no place like Mom!"
                                             Heather Neeley
                                            Girls' Preparatory School 
                                            Source:  Proverbs 31

This is the same daughter that now has two sons of her own and I see her excelling in loving and teaching them to be the best that they can be. 

Thank you, my sweet daughter, I love you with all my heart!!

It is indeed a "Happy Mother's Day"!



Thursday, May 2, 2013


This was my first time to attend AQS Quilt Week in Paducah.  I have been several times before in Nashville and Knoxville. 

It was a rainy day when we boarded the bus and headed out of Murfreesboro.

The rain did not dampen our spirits as we chatted and rode.


One of the gals had this very "glitzy" hoodie that kept the rain out and reminded us of Mardi Gras.
This was just too cute for words!!

Love this huge welcome poster at the Convention Center:

Show quilts I liked!

Vendors' booths are always fun --  lots of fabric, new rulers and notions, etc.  But what I like to see are the different floor coverings.  This time there were two booths that had floor cloths that the vendors had made.
This one was an artist canvas painted with house paint.

The other one that I liked was made using multi-purpose cloth that was primed and then they had glued fabric on with ModPodge and then sealed it with shellac.
Both of these are now on my "want to do this" list.

Here are a couple of pictures of sample quilts for patterns that were being sold in the booths.  Both of these have my attention for future projects.  Of course, I came home with some other patterns too!

I did not buy much fabric this time because I had just stocked up a while ago, before I knew I was going to this show.  Nevertheless, I made lots of mental notes of fabrics to check on at my local quilt shop for later projects.

I enjoyed stopping at the Grand Rapids Convention Center's booth to see what they had to offer for information for the next AQS Quilt Week Show in their city.

It was so convenient to go ahead and book rooms if you wanted to.
I am looking forward to going to that Quilt Week also!

Enjoyed my day so much and met some wonderful people and talked to some new-to-me vendors.  It was great to be promoting Chattanooga AQS Quilt Week in September 2014!!!  We were asking everyone if they knew about our show and inviting them to come on down for some southern hospitality!