Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Giveaway Winner!

UPDATE: Dolores has kindly passed the membership on to another entrant, due to time constraints. Fortunately, I still had the names on slips of paper, threw them back into the bowl and redrew: congratulations to marshaleith!

Congratulations to Dolores, who won the 6-mo. membership to The Quilt Show. Thanks to everyone who entered!
There were too many entries to do a random-number generation, so I picked the winner the old-fashioned way: by drawing a name out of a hat (or, in this case, a fabric Christmas bowl, of course!):
Sorry I misspelled your name, Dolores. It was early and I hadn’t had coffee :-)

We’re headed to New Mexico for the holidays (assuming no more crazy blizzards and that we can get through!) so I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, or other holiday, and a wonderful New Year! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011



Once again, I’m giving away a gift certificate for a 6-month membership to The Quilt Show (a value of $24.95). Membership gives you access to shows hosted by Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson, to classroom lessons, and to tons of quilting information and other goodies.

To be entered into the drawing for the gift certificate, simply leave a comment below.

Want another entry? Go to my Facebook page and click the “Like” button:

Want a THIRD chance to win? Visit my Etsy store and tell me, in a comment below, which item is your favorite (or, feel free to be honest if you don’t like ANY of the items! It’s all good):

The drawing will be held first thing Wednesday, Dec. 21, so your entries must be submitted no later than midnight Tuesday, Dec. 20.

Good luck, and Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

New Journals

I have been working SO hard to get ahead on the items for my Etsy shop that I haven’t had time to do any “fun” artsy stuff for myself. I think tomorrow is the day I’ll “play”--oh, who am I kidding, it’s all play :-).
Here are a few of the journals I’ve created to put in the shop:



The last one is actually a sketchbook that my son and I collaborated on. I created the spray-painted background, and my son “graffiti-ed” the fabric.
Ok, back to work!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sweet! 16

Ok, so I finally quilted something other than circles and stipples, thanks to my HQ Sweet 16. It’s SO much easier to focus on FMQing when you’re not wrestling the quilt around a domestic sewing-machine needle. Here’s the quilt (awful pic, I know; more on that later):

And here are close-ups of the quilting:

I did an all-over leaf pattern, with a flower pattern on the borders. It was fun (ok, yes, I’m a dork).
I’m still having problems taking full-length pics of my quilts. I can get the close-ups to represent the colors just fine, but there are problems with lighting when I have to back up for the wider-angle pics. We’ve had rain in Central Texas (hallelujah! finally!) for the past few days, so no outdoor pics are possible. I’ll keep working on it, though.

Back to work now!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Return to Etsy!

I’ve been busy busy busy the last couple of weeks getting my Etsy store set up. As many of you know, I had an Etsy store called “Dreamwork” before I got sick, but during my extended illness and recovery (almost 2 years!) I couldn’t deal with it so I shut it down.

Now I’ve reopened that shop with a few items, but I’ve also opened a store under the “Textile Traveler” name. This is my all-things fabric- and fiber-related store. Right now I have a few journals, a couple of baby (or lap) quilts, and a couple of pieces of hand-dyed fabric. I’ll be adding more items as time goes by.
I’m thrilled that I’ve already sold 3 journals!

This scrappy journal is featured today; it’s got fun stitched papers made of recycled junk mail, scrapbooks papers, and other interesting things:

I’d love any feedback you might have about the store or the items I’ve listed. Also, please follow me on Twitter ( and/or “Like” me on Facebook (

Do you have an Etsy or other online store? I’d love to hear any tips you have or experiences you want to share. Please leave a comment and let me know how to find your store!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Practice Makes . . . Better

A child’s quilt (but not a baby quilt, since the buttons could pose a choking hazard); the first thing I FMQed on my new Sweet Sixteen (woo hoo!):

  On to the next top that’s been waiting patiently for quilting. I’ll quit saying woo hoo! now soon.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I just finished this scrappy quilt top; maybe it will be the first thing I FMQ! Woo hoo!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Reconfiguring the Studio

This is my small sewing space; as you can see by the packages at the bottom of the pic, I have to squeeze in a Sweet 16 mid-arm machine in a 36x30 ft. table:

I did have a little extra time to move everything around, since UPS managed to damage the table for my Sweet 16 and I have to wait for a new one. I can't imagine how that happened; even if they can't read "this side up," you would think the pointing arrows might give them a clue:

My stash is stored in the wooden armoire and some of the drawers of the chests; things like interfacing and fusible and spray baste and transfer paper are stored in the tall shelving unit on the right; and WIPs and scraps and miscellaneous “stuff” is stored on the wire shelves.
So, I unloaded the wire shelves, moved them over to the left side (against the back side of the bookcases that face the tiny living room that’s left), added another wire shelving unit from another part of the house, and stacked all of my stash onto these units.

That’s all my fabric! Everything! (Ok, except for fabrics other than cotton, such as silk, sheers, wool, etc.) It’s not as much as I would have imagined, and I was a little worried about my sweetie expressing shock at all the fabric I had accumulated. She glanced at it and said, “oh that looks nice.” Woo hoo!

THEN, I moved everything all the WIPs into drawers, all the interfacing, etc. into the armoire, and all the scraps into the scrap bins in the bottom of the armoire.

That leaves this space available for the Sweet 16 (once we carry that heavy tall shelving unit into another room):

And aside from getting my Sweet 16 (woo hoo #2!), the best part about fondling all that fabric—and getting it out in the open and right in front of me—inspires me to do lots of amazing things.


Gotta go work!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sneak Peek

Just a quick check-in to let you know I’m still here, and a sneak peak at something I’m working on . . .

Have a great week!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Moving Forward

Lest you think I’m hiding away grieving for my old job, think again! I like to say I’m “examining my possibilities.” I really am, but it’s much more complicated than that. More on all that later.
In the meantime, I’m getting around to some of those things I’ve been putting off for years, like airbrushing fabric. This is fun! I’m going to do more of it.


Splotches are not fun, but learning to avoid things like that is all part of the process, right?


Good news: Temperatures in Central Texas will finally be below 100 this week—maybe even in the upper 80s!

Bad news: The winds were furious today; combined with sparking wildfires that quickly spread across drought-ravaged areas. I’m thinking good thoughts for my friends, family, and neighbors throughout the area.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A New Beginning

Today was my last day at my “day job.” Like many who work in high tech, I was laid off. Actually, I was laid off twice: the first time was 8 years ago; I panicked, rushed into a job that wasn't right for me, and, and after a two-year stint in hell, came back to work for this one. I’ve been there this time for 6 years. I would have stayed, probably, for as long as they wanted me, just because that’s how I am. I’m easily bored with day-to-day activities, but at heart I’m a long-term gal.

I thought being laid off for the second time would be easier, but I was wrong. That sense of shame at losing one’s job runs deep in those of us who are optimistic romantics, who believe that if you work hard, life will treat you fairly and reward you accordingly.

This afternoon, I had a chance to review the projects I developed, pioneered, or worked on over the last 6 years as I gathered files together for my portfolio. I quickly realized two things: 1) I do some damned fine work; and 2) they were idiots to let me go.

I think it’s easy to forget our accomplishments, especially when it seems like no one sees or appreciates them. Often even we don’t recognize their value like we should. Perhaps our accomplishments, taken one at a time and spread out over months or years or decades, seem small or simple or incidental and routine, so they are easily forgotten, easily overlooked.  When we pull them all together, though, those dull scraps suddenly become a colorful patchwork of value, a tangible reminder that we were (are) here in the world, engaged in living and working, even if no one--including ourselves--notices much.

Have you looked back over your accomplishments lately? Do you track your projects? keep a written or visual log or diary of your accomplishments? Even if you don’t, try flipping back through the photos you've taken of your work, the blog posts you've written describing it, the emails you sent announcing with pride and relief that you finally finished that project.

What do you see? What does the quilt of accomplishments that you’ve created over the last few months months or years or decades look like? Draw that quilt around yourself whenever you need a little psychic “hug.” And don’t forget to show it off; it never hurts to make sure others see and appreciate the value you offer.

As for me, I'm at the edge of the abyss, peering into the darkness to try to see where the path heads next. I'm going to go slowly so I don't trip over anything. I may need to stop and feel my way along frequently, and I'll probably rest often. And I'll carry my quilt along with me as a reminder that I'm capable of some damned fine work.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rose Petals

Thanks to everyone for your kind comments about the Rose quilt that I blogged about yesterday:

A couple of people asked this: how do you get the curved/wavy outside edges on the roses? Unfortunately, I didn’t take pics of the process as I went, so I’ve reconstructed the steps in (very primitive) drawings to try to illustrate the process. It’s harder to explain how I did it than to actually do it, btw.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I used a typical crazy-quilt type block. I started in the center with the pink or red fabric for the rose, then kept moving out until I switched to green and completed the block. At that point, I had a 5-sided “rose” that I wasn’t crazy about because the edges were straight:


To add a wavy edge to the rose, do the following:

1) With the block right side up, lay a piece of “rose-colored” fabric right-side-down against the block, along one edge of the rose
2) Stitch the fabric down to the block along the straight edge of the rose
3) Flip the stitched-down fabric back and press


4) Trim the stitched-down fabric so that’s wavy.
5) Sew the next piece of rose-colored fabric down along the next edge, flip, and press
6) Continue to add pieces to each of the 5 sides of the rose
      7) Once all the rose-colored pieces have been stitched down, pressed open, and trimmed, sew the edges down to the block with matching thread. I used a zig-zag stitch.

        I hope that helps! There’s probably a simpler way to do this, but this method worked for me :-)

        Friday, August 12, 2011

        Roses (Not) on My Table

        A while back there was a discussion on the Quiltart list about using scraps to make quilts. I’m a compulsive scrap saver, and sometimes when I’m too nervous to cut into that gorgeous fabric I bought, or when I’m not really sure what kind of quilt I want to make, it’s easier for me to start playing around with stitching scraps together.
        These blocks were made in crazy-quilt fashion. I initially moved right from the red & pink of the roses into the green, but the flowers looked too blocky. I ended up stitching another layer of pink or red to the edge of each flower, then flipping it open, trimming it into a curvy shape, and stitching down the edges. I like the softer, curvy edge of the flowers better than the original “crazy-quilt” block.


        I quilted each block as I went, then put them together using Fiona’s Quilt as You Go (QAYG) tutorial. I love putting quilts together this way, because I don’t have to wrestle a large one under the needle of my small machine, but I’m still having some problems with the stitching. My walking foot a,nd feed dogs don’t really “grip” the multiple layers of fabric well and move them through the machine at an even rate, so any of the stitching that shows can look very uneven. I had a lot of this bad stitching showing on the back, and unfortunately it was white thread against a pink background, so I ended up painting the thread to match the fabric. You can still see the stitching, but you have to look more closely now :-)


        Not bad for a bunch of scraps, dont’cha think?

        Thursday, June 16, 2011


        The bad news is that I finally had to take to my bed after 3 days of this cold. I thought I might get off lightly, but it dragged me down after all.

        The good news is that I’m not feeling too bad, so I’m using this opportunity when I’m forced to “be still” to catch up on things like my blog.

        I’ve mentioned a couple of times lately what a tough time I’m having getting anything done art- or craft-wise, so I signed up a few weeks ago for Quilt U’s Log Cabin class. Here are some log cabin blocks I’ve created:


        The one above is a “traditional” log cabin. Here’s a “courthouse steps” version:


        And a “curved” log cabin block (where the dark strips are wider than the light strips; this results in a curved or wavy look when they are pieced together):


        I’ve been playing around in Photoshop Elements with these blocks, trying to decide how I want to piece them together.  Here’s one idea for the blocks I have currently:


        Right now I have 16 blocks that are 10-1/2” square, so I’m actually thinking I’ll make some more blocks for a larger quilt. We’ll see how I feel once the cold abates a little.

        I’m also taking Elizabeth Barton’s Quilt U class, Working in Series. I’ve dug my design journal out—something I’ve neglected a while—and started working methodically through some ideas. It feels good to slow down and take things step-by-step. I don’t have anything to share yet, but I will soon.

        Take care everyone, and try to stay healthy! Oh, and if you’re Central Texas, where we’ve had 64 days over 100 degrees so far this year, try to stay cool!

        Monday, May 30, 2011

        The Haul from the Dye Bucket

        Every time I run across David Taylor’s work, I’m inspired to dye fabric. Not because he dyes fabric—he doesn’t, as far as I know—but because the hand-dyed fabric he uses in his work is so beautiful.

        I guess some part of me thinks that if I only had the right fabric, I could create something fabulous.

        So, here’s the latest haul from the dye bucket:


        Not enough to really inspire me yet, but it’s a start!

        I hope you're all having a lovely Memorial Day weekend!

        Thursday, May 5, 2011

        Any Excuse!

        It had been a little over a year since I had a hospital stay, so I guess it was time.

        I called my doctor Monday morning because my blood sugar was crazy high all weekend (500-over 600). She told me to go the ER, and of course they admitted me.

        Turns out my poor, tired pancreas may have finally given out. After the pancreatitis three years ago, the doctors were surprised that it was still producing insulin, so this wasn’t unexpected.

        The good news is that Type 1 Diabetes treatment has come a long way, and with the improvements in monitoring and medications, it seems like it’s possible to live well with this disease as long as it’s managed well.

        The other good news is that I had an excuse to create a new bag to carry around my test kit, my insulin, my log, etc.:


        This was a piece of “leftover” fabric I created by adhering scraps to batting, adding a layer of sheer fabric, and quilting with lovely heavy thread. My bags are still somewhat rudimentary since I’m still trying to get the hang of zippers, but it will work just fine, I think!

        Friday, April 8, 2011

        Zippety Doo Dah!

        So, as I was getting ready for the yoga retreat, I went to pack my little art-supply kit. You know, that ugly plastic box that all the pencils and things rattle around in.

        What I really need, I thought, is a lovely little fabric bag for my art supplies. You know, the kind with a zip . . . zip . . . zippppppperrrrr (that's me shuddering). I've never put a zipper into ANYTHING, and I've never understood how to put a zipper in.

        How does a zipper foot work? How do you get the zipper the right size? Why does the foot have to be skinny? Oh, I've read all about putting zippers in, numerous times. But I've just never really understood the concept.

        This time, though, I decided that I just needed to jump right in and create a bag and put the darned zipper in. I started with some painted fabric I've had forever, layered it on batting, and free-motion quilted it.

        Then, I just rolled the rectangle over so that the two long edges were touching. I put one long edge right sides together with the zipper and pinned it. I got out the zipper foot for my Husqvarna Viking machine (which doesn't actually look like any zipper foot I've ever seen)

        and put it onto my machine. I spent about 30 minutes trying to figure out how to sew with the foot, and finally took it off and just put a regular foot on (with a channel underneath for the zipper teeth). I stitched one side of the zipper to the long edge of the rectangle, then realized that somehow I had sewn the zipper on upside-down, backwards, and inside-out (or something). I ripped the seam out, started over, and managed to sew it correctly this time. Then I sewed the other side, turned the tube inside-out (and unzipped the zipper half-way, stitched up the sides, and trimmed the zipper.

        Voila! A zippered bag! Not the most perfect zippered bag, but zippered nonetheless! I happily went to transfer my art supplies into the bag and realized that it was too small. I had measured for the length of the pencils, but didn't measure the size of my little watercolor pan set. Back to the drawing board. . . .

        This time I started with  a small UFO that has been driving me crazy for a very long time; sadly, my photos are SO disorganized that I couldn't find a before pic. At any rate, I used this UFO to create a larger bag; this time, I made sure that everything, including my small sketchbook, would fit. Here are both bags together:

        Hurray! Two zippered bags. I feel like a whole new world has opened up to me, and I can't wait to make more!

        Thursday, April 7, 2011

        Fruits of Spring

        A couple of weekends ago we took the grandbaby (ok, he's 11, so the babyhood has passed; maybe I should refer to him as our lovely grandadolescent) to Sweet Berry Farm to pick strawberries. Here's our haul:

        We ate quite a few of these luscious berries and froze most of them. Last night, I finally had time to can some strawberry preserves:

        And now, I'm off to toast some bread . . .

        Wednesday, April 6, 2011


        I’ve been super busy. My mom invited me months ago to a yoga retreat at the Hindu temple and ashram, Barsana Dham, just outside of Austin, and the date crept up on me before I realized it. I considered bowing out, but I’m SO glad I didn’t. It was incredibly restful and energizing, and reminded me of why and how much I love yoga (not just as a physical exercise, but as a spiritual practice).
        Here is the temple at Barsana Dham:


        And a close-up of the temple’s beautiful gold doors:


        This is my 80-something mother (still going strong, no doubt due in some part to her regular yoga practice):


        And a less humble resident of Barsana Dham. This fellow sits on a picnic table for most of the day, looking at his reflection in the windows and preening and fluffing himself:


        We started with early morning yoga sessions, but most of the retreat activities were talks and workshops. It was a wonderful experience, and I am grateful for the time I was able to spend with my mom.
        Btw, if you are interested in reading more about yoga and meditation, this is a great site:

        Wednesday, March 30, 2011

        Sunny Delight

        It was a gorgeous Spring afternoon in Central Texas, and I finished work early. Hmmm . . . what to do, what to do. Oh look! Spray paint!


        And stencils:


        And some canvas that I picked up who KNOWS when or where. All of that equals lots of fun:


        I think I may make some canvas journals or journal covers out of this.

        I also had a piece of muslin that I was using as test fabric; I think I’ll be able to cut some great little pieces out of this to reuse at some point.