Monday, September 29, 2014

Mr. Men and Little Miss Shirts

My precious nephew Alex turned one a few weeks back and my sister threw him a Mr. Men themed birthday.  She sketched and then cut out freezer paper stencils and made these adorable t-shirts for the whole family to wear at the party.  I think they turned out fantastic and super fun.  I loved these books as a kid and am so glad they're still around!

Mr. Tickle  (Dad)

Mr. Birthday (obviously for Alex)

Little Miss Chatterbox  (Mom- and lovingly appropriate)

Little Miss Hug (Anna)

Mr. Busy (Alex the busy Birthday Boy)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Art Quilts XIX: Permission to Play

If any of you will be in or near Chandler, Arizona from November 7-January 17, stop by the Chandler Center for the Arts Gallery, (250 N. Arizona Avenue, Chandler, Arizona 85225) for Art Quilts XIX: Permission to Play.

My dinosaur will be there along with tons of other great artwork.  It should be a wonderful show- the theme, storytelling quilts and playful quilts, is so much fun!  For more info, check out the Chandler Center for the Arts gallery page

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Weekend craftiness with the kids!

Mike's grandkids stayed with us for the weekend and we had a ton of fun hanging out together.  Walker is 7 and Raegan is 6 so they're really old enough to do cool projects and both of them love to craft and make things.   As soon as they get to our house they're asking to go out to my studio.  Interesting aside, ever since we built it, Mike and I have always call it "the building", but Raegan calls it my lab which is especially fun since the science lab is where I spend my daytime hours.

Anyhow, amid lots of playing at the park, ice skating, and feeding of geese and ducks (both normal and weird, anyone know what the two unlabeled ones pictured below are?) we had time for some crafting.

"regular" ducks and geese

unknown ducks?

 We made spoon people, and sculptures out of FIMO clay (alas not pictured) and Walker made a very creative minion in the style of Despicable Me.

 Raegan begged to sew so with my help she made her first quilt top.  She picked out the fabric and after some aborted attempts to rotary cut together (not such a good idea) I cut out the squares.  She liked playing with the arrangement on the design wall, and pinning/sewing/pressing (with a bit of assistance).  We didn't have time to quilt it, but she was super thrilled about her "blanket"  I'm going to layer it and pin bast it and the next time they visit I'll let her quilt it with the walking foot.

I'm so thrilled that both of them are so crafty and creative and am looking forward to spending more time with them (they just moved back closer to us).

Monday, September 15, 2014

SAQA Benefit Auction Starts today!

SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) is a fabulous group for art quilters around the world.  They sponsor and organize exhibits, hold classes and conferences, publish a journal, and promote many kinds of outreach on behalf of art quilters and fiber artists.  Every year they have a benefit auction with 12" x 12" pieces donated by members (all proceeds to support SAQA activities).

The quilts are divided into 4 groups (run almost like 4 independent auctions), and on each day of the auction the price drops.  For example, the first day for group 1 (today) the price for all pieces is $750, but at 1:45 tomorrow afternoon, it'll drop to $500, etc.  If there's a piece you love, better to snap it up early.

The auction for group 1 started today, check it out here: (  For more info on how the auction works and its schedule, see

My donation piece for this year (Cuttlefish) is in group 1, so is available now (among many many fabulous others).

Check out the auction if you have a chance!  There are bunches of fabulous pieces by a wide range of artists, and as the week goes on the prices drop to quite reasonable amounts ($75 at the end), so keep checking if there are ones you love!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Today (well really last Friday) was my turn for the Around the World Blog Hop.  I have no idea where this started, but I got tapped by Teresa from Third Floor Quilts.  Her artwork is outstanding, she has a very creative eye and excellent technical skills.  Definitely check it out. She's working on a series of black and white animal quilts right now; so far her cow is finished and is super fun.  She's also just finished writing a book about Japanese quilting and quilters, and I'm excited for it to come out!

1. What am I working on? 

Right now I'm finishing up (today!  tomorrow!) a quilt for a show deadline.  Its quite dark for me and features free motion cutwork and shadows reminiscent in technique but not style to two of my previous quilts:

I'm also starting a new quilt inspired by Ring Around the Mole, and have another quilt in progress similar in feel but much larger than my quilt in nomine Patris.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

This is the kind of question that I dread because I don't know the answer.  It's something I think about a lot since I think it's tied to the idea of having a defined artists voice or perspective.  Many of the artists I admire have such a clear voice. You can immediately tell one of their quilts just by looking at it, not because their work is all the same, but because there's just something about it that makes it clearly identifiable as theirs.

Anyhow, I don't think I have a clear voice yet or anything per se that sets my work apart.  However, I find I am drawn back to certain things over and over.  I tend to like graphic shapes and bold colors.  I use a lot of metallic threads, paints, and fabrics. I'm also drawn most often to non-cotton fabrics.  These two things combined might lead you to think I like sparkly, shiny finishes and fun textures and that's right!

3. Why do I write/create what I do? 

Because I have to.  If I'm not creating the noise in my head is unbearable.

4. How does my writing/creating process work?

I do very limited sketching by hand (something I've been working on improving) but most of my designing is usually done in adobe illustrator and adobe photoshop.  I definitely prefer to have things fairly well planned out ahead of time.   I'll typically work from a full scale print out of my design.  

My ideas sometimes come from nature, but more often they are related to some sort of science-y something.  I'm a cell biologist by day, and while I don't usually make things directly related to my research, I do usually have some sort of scientific or biological idea at the core of my pieces.

In terms of construction, my pieces are usually machine applique or appli-pieced (a la Caryl Fallert).  I do some paper piecing (epp and foundation) but I'm not usually much of a traditional piecer.  If I'm using cotton fabrics, I'll typically appli-piece, whereas if I'm using synthetic fabrics I'll usually machine applique and seal the raw edges with a wood-burning tool (to avoid fraying edges).  I also frequently make and use silk screens in my work.  They can help me achieve crisp shapes and letters with lots of detail.

I quilt on my Janome 7700, mostly free motion. I really enjoy the quilting process, and spend vast quantities of time in boring meetings doodling quilting.   I sometimes embellish with yarn, decorative threads, beads etc.

So thanks to Teresa for the invite!  Definitely check out her blog.  I love that she works so successfully in multiple different styles!  She lives in Houston so I'm hoping we can meet up in person at IQF this year.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Koala Teddy for Alex

It's super hard to believe, but Alex has turned 1!  I decided to crochet him a teddy bear, and I used the Koala-in-footie-pajamas pattern from Ana Paula Rimoli's Amigurumi Two!: Crocheted Toys for Me and You and Baby Too.  It's a fun easy crochet book I've had for a while.

I used just miscellaneous yarn I had on hand-  interestingly, all of the pajamas (except the beige/white stripe on his torso) is from a single skein.  I had no idea when I grabbed it out of the box, but apparently it wasn't just red mottled, but also purple mottled, blue mottled, and pink mottled.  The colors change really slowly too so it looks like he has one bluish leg, but I promise it's the same skein of yarn!  In spite of the weird color changes, the yarn is super soft so the bear is very cuddly.  Since Alex is so little, I stitched all the facial features/details (the star and the nose are felt) rather than using buttons or doll eyes.  I love crocheting stuffed animals and I hope he enjoys this one!

Happy Birthday precious precious Alex!