Category Archives: Family

CREATE workshop in New Jersey

My daughter and I just spent 5 days at the CREATE workshop in New Jersey. We have never taken a large workshop in another city over multiple days before this. It was fun and I learned many new things.  The teachers were EXCELLENT. I enjoyed and appreciated each one.  Quilting is my main interest these days but this was a multi media retreat and I was definitely taken outside of my comfort zone. The following are the workshops that I or my daughter took.
Workshop #1 Introduction to Fusion Fabrics taught by Jane Davies.

Introduction to Fusion Fabrics
Start of piece
Size: Approx. 12″ square

Fusion fabric
Finished piece

Fabric confetti

In this class we covered a plain piece of fabric with Misty-fuse which is a paperless fusible web.  We covered this with different fabrics, added another layer of fusible and then sheer fabrics (or papers!) including organzas and netting.  We were able to add fibers or threads next and then finished with a final layer of Misty-fuse.  It created some interesting effects.  I’m not that happy with what I made during class, but I can see myself trying this again at home and then using it to make a purse, notebook cover, or other small gift item.

Workshop #2  Thread Painted Mini Art Quilt taught by Elin Waterston and Workshop #3 Hand Stitched Jewels taught by Natalya Aikens.

Thread painted sandhill crane with hand stitched embellishment (not complete)

Teacher Natalya Aikens holding her art piece.

These workshops were separate classes.  When I got to the Hand Stitched Jewels class, I decided to use this piece to stitch on. I’m not completely crazy about it, but I don’t hate it either!

Workshop #4 Text Tiles taught by Seth Apter. My daughter, Sandy, took this class and made this for me:

Text Tile
Size: approx. 6″ square

And this one for herself:

Text Tile

Workshop #5 My Mapology taught by OrlyAvineri. This class was about art journaling. The class was full (25 students) and many had signed up for the conference just to take Orly’s class. She had us use images that she gave us (including maps) to create art in our journal. We used paints, papers, inks and any other mediums we wished.

My art journal.

Teacher Orly Avineri’s art journal

Workshop #6 Textured Cuffs & Scrapbook Rings taught by Eva Sherman.  Sandy took this class and made 3 copper bracelets and 2 rings.  She has never done anything like this before and these things she made are beautiful.

Copper bracelets Sandy made and kept. (Gatsby is her dog!)

Bracelet and ring she gave to me!

Finally we took a class together.  Workshop #7 Collage, Texures and Composition taught by Lesley Venable. I had fun in this class, especially because my daughter was there, but collage is definitely not my thing! There are way too many choices of materials.  I love working with fabric and a sewing machine SO much better than this.  Sandy really enjoyed this class though and I think that her artwork shows that.

My collage

My collage

Sandy’s collage

Sandy’s collage

Workshop #8 Nesting Instincts Necklace taught by Jean Van Brederode. This class was about enameling copper to make a fun necklace. It was fired in a kiln at 1350 degrees for 2 minutes.  True confession – I bought a kiln 5 years ago to use for making glass beads and have never used it.  Here is another thing I could do with it if I got it set up.  I really love this necklace.

Nesting Instincts Necklace class

The teachers were all amazing and the students were fun to be in class with. I could write so much more about this fun retreat but I’ve worn myself and probably you out with what I’ve already posted tonight. Thanks for visiting my blog and taking a look at what I’ve been up to!

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Quilting while visiting Montana

Quilted table runner

Quilted table runner – ready for binding

My in laws have a summer “home” in Ennis, Montana.  My husband loves to go there.  I did too when my kids were young and his folks were there.  Now when we go, it is often just the two of us.  That is nice too, but he is often busy puttering with the opening or closing or general (unending!) maintenance, so this year I decided it would  give me more to do if I had a sewing machine there. The “home” is a one bedroom mobile home which was built in 1963.

Humble lodging

Humble lodging

It is in the Madison Valley with mountains all around and the Madison River within footsteps.  Great fly fishing!  I wasn’t sure if I could find a sewing machine store anywhere close so I did the next best thing – ordered from Amazon.  I ordered an inexpensive ($150) Brother sewing machine that came with a hard cover and walking foot.

Sewing in the kitchen

Sewing in the kitchen – Look closely

The machine came the day after we got there and it’s terrific.  It’s not my Bernina, but it sews great.  So look close at the picture, dark as it is (sorry!) and see how lucky I am – sewing machine, wine, little creek just out the window and a BBQ.  What more could anyone wish for?  Well, maybe an extra bathroom would be nice if it were more than just two of us staying here.

Close up of piecing

Close up of piecing

This log cabin table runner is an unfinished object that I started quite some time ago.  I had 18 blocks made up but not all sewn together.  It started as a kit for a lap size quilt but I realized that it would look quite nice on an antique side board that we have inside our front entry at home where we tend to drop mail and keys.  The 18 blocks are the perfect size.  I have sewn them all together and quilted it simply with the walking foot. While trimming I did some measuring and one end is almost 3/4″ wider than the other.  How come?  The wider end is the one I did on the new machine!  Obviously the 1/4″ mark is different enough that with all these seams, it added up to be that different.  I will have to be creative with attaching the binding in order to try to “equalize” it.  The binding will be added tonight so that I can hand sew the back side tomorrow when we drive to Yellowstone Park.

Here it is in place, back at home!

Addendum – The pattern for this log cabin block is by Edyta Sitar and is called Cross Roads. You can find the pattern here.

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Looking forward to the Zakka quilt project

Have you been sewing along with the projects from the book Zakka Style? It’s been fun to see all of the different versions of the projects starting from the beginning of the book.  The first project was a tote bag and it took some time to make up.  However, since then, the projects have been very quick and relatively simple.  The idea with the Zakka Sew Along is to read the guest blogger’s notes for that week’s project on Monday and make the item up and link it by the following Sunday.  I’m going to be traveling some over the next few weeks so I thought I had better look ahead.

Japanese fabric charm pack


There is only one quilt in the book and it is coming up in a few weeks.  I have a charm pack of Japanese woven fabrics that I’ve been saving for just the right project, and I think this is it!  My squares are 4″ and the pattern in the book calls for 6″ but that does not deter me.  I will just add more rows/columns to make the quilt the same size.

Zakka Quilt - book and pencil diagram

I made a sketch to help determine materials and sizes needed.

I’m considering sewing this together with my serger.  I have never sewn a quilt together this way before but all of these fabric are rather loosely woven (especially this linen) and I think it might be a good idea.

Quilt layout on design wall

I did not get last weeks project (mini magnets) done due to travel for my husband’s birthday.  However, I still  feel like I’m ahead instead of behind because I’ve got this quilt all cut and ready to sew.

Happy Birthday Dear!

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Studio Gatz – handcrafted gifts and more!

Check out Studio Gatz.  My daughter, Sandy,  just opened this online store and it has some wonderful handcrafted items including cards, pillows, glassware and dishtowels.  She is also mixing in some vintage items. If you need a special gift, this is the perfect place to look.

Studio Gatz

Studio Gatz – Vintage Finds & Classic Designs

I was the pillow maker this past week.  These pillows are made out of linen or other textured fabrics.  I covered the cording and added it to the edges (I was told the pillows HAD to have this).  Most have a hidden zipper in the back with a decorative fabric strip doing the hiding.  Sandy wasn’t sure she would like the look of this but we both loved it once I did the first one.

Linen Hexagon Pillow

Linen Hexagon Pillow – Front

Linen Hexagon Pillow - Back

Linen Hexagon Pillow – Back

I used this tutorial from Sew Mama Sew to insert the zipper.  It made the zipper a breeze and so beautiful.  I  think the back looks just as good as the front.  Don’t you?

Black Hexagon Pillow Front

Black Linen Hexagon Pillow

Back of pillow – hidden zipper

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Today is my 30th wedding anniversary

I got married 30 years ago today and see those 5 bridesmaid dresses and 1 flower girl dress?  I made them!  Wow, have styles changed.  Just the fact that we all wore long sleeves seems odd now.  The dresses are all out of date but the important thing is that the marriage is still going strong.  Part of the reason for that is because he encourages my creative pursuits.

Check back soon to see my Zakka project in progress – but I had to take a time out today to remember my wedding and making those dresses.  My apologies to the groomsmen who I cut out of the picture!

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I finally have time . . . to start a blog!

I’ve been admiring all the quilting blogs that are currently out there.  So much inspiration!  My time has been spent doing lot’s of things over the years.  I’m a mother to three daughters who are now all in their 20s. My career was as a registered nurse and I was fortunate enough to be able to work part time instead of full time while my girls were growing up.  Those were busy years!  Marriage, work, church, dance lessons (my girls, not me), Girl Scouts, volleyball, band, and a lovable golden retriever thrown into the mix.

Somehow I have always found  time to sew.  Why?  Because I have three daughters! My sister has two daughters and my brother has one (and one son – the only male cousin).  I learned to sew in home economics in 7th grade and have always loved to make things.  I learned to smock when my oldest daughter was a baby.  My girls and nieces grew up in smocked dresses (as did their dolls).  Or at least wore them until about the age of 8 or 9 when they no longer wanted them.  I even learned how to do french hand sewing by machine (talk about an oxymoron) so they also had fancy lace dresses for special occasions.

Smocked Easter dresses

I found the time to sew back then, in between everything else that was going on.  But I never really felt as though I had time.  Dare I risk jinxing myself now?  Because I feel as though I finally have time . . .

. . . to sew

. . . to quilt

. . . to blog

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