When the cosmos pokes you…

pay attention. Last week I poked myself three times and then dropped a needle on the floor. This reminded me of PYN–plant your needle. Not in your shirt, not in work–in your pincushion. I found my needle with my heavy duty magnet. The wand is fine but it is only magnetic on the tip so it doesn’t always work. I left the room and when I returned, I sat on my large. It must have caught on my sleeve when I left the room. Enough already.

I no longer have time to volunteer as a docent or hospital aide; however, I do find time to make quilted items for good causes–blocks for Pulse, fire victims in California, Vegas shooting, etc. This year, NW Modern Quilt guild will send a donation quilt for viewing at Quilt Con and we made placemats for Meals on Wheels. I also decided to make a house quilt for The House Quilt Project. These small quilts go to people who were formerly homeless and now have a home!

I started with a paper-pieced house found in The Foundation Piecer, Autumn 2001 (www.zippydesigns.com), both of which appear to have been discontinued. You can find back issues on e-bay. Then I added a Sue Spargo embroidery technique to give the roof some texture. Backstitch with floss (I used two strands) and then weave in and out with a heavier thread (#8 perle cotton). Her tip: weave in and out with the eye end of the needle to prevent splitting your backstitches.


Because I thought my house block was dull and depressing, I found some swirls from a previous project and made two more and the “home” lettering from a similar piece of fabric. I used a simple zigzag for the swirls and satin stitch for the lettering. The old swirls ironed down well–the needle didn’t gum up. The new ones and the lettering, however, gummed up, even after repressing with a very hot iron–to the point of scorching my parchment paper. I even tried steam. I’m going to experiment one more time with this Steam-a-Seam 2 before it goes bye-bye. Guidelines asked for simple hanging rings (pop-tops) but I crocheted my usual curtain rings instead.


P1140182.JPGYou can find more details on Jamie Fingal’s blog or you might have seen the call for entries in the Quilting Arts Oct/Nov 2018 issue (deadline is December 7, if you’re an over-achiever).


Placemats. Since it’s still fall, I bought some Real Tree fabric for the backing and binding and dove into my strip stash to make some improv mats. Do we ever really use up our stashes? I don’t think so, but I try. I took some of the leftovers to make a log-cabin-ish block which I’ll find a use for at some point. Final total: 53 placemats!

Can you see me now?


At our final Modern Guild meeting each year, we play Dirty Santa (a white elephant gift exchange) with handmade items and bring food. It’s a fun meeting. Here is my nifty-gifty–a pieced, small biscornu pincushion from self-dyed fabrics with beaded stiletto/accessory (hat pin).


I went home with a cool wallhanging made by friend Judy S.


TIP OF THE MONTH. In case you have to stretch a block just a little to reach the desired size, learn three ways to block a quilt block here.


Till next time–


Happiness is…

going on retreat with quilters. Thank you Liz E. and Denise G. for organizing. Camp Egan is a United Methodist camp and retreat center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. We stayed in Holliman Hall, which has a wonderfully lit work space, kitchen and rooms for sleeping–a very clean motel! We walked over to another building for meals, but who cares–someone else was cooking. We were joined by a mission group of young people who did rhythmic table banging, asked us to join in prayer, and let us cut in line. Sometimes being older has its advantages.

I brought a mini-iron caddy and a pile of microwave bowls to sew up

and took both classes, a zippered tablet pouch by Janet R.


and confetti landscape by Leeanna W.


I had an allergic reaction to my pouch fabrics which for some reason were unwashed so I didn’t finish that. The quilted pieces are washed and ready to finish. The landscape class was a little different than what I have done in the past–place larger confetti fabric pieces directly on batting with backing, cover with tulle, stitch down to hold in place. Here is my landscape so far. I laid down a fairly light background and have started adding rocks, covered with a light grey tulle. I used a postcard of The Witch Tree (named Manidoo-giizhikens, or Little Cedar Spirit Tree, by the Ojibwe). It is located in Grand Portage, Minnesota, on Lake Superior. A future post will take you more through the process. Photo by Charles and Joann Jordon.

My microwave bowls feature sugar skulls, which fascinate me–so much so that I did a self-portrait of myself as a sugar skull with a stream of consciousness essay on the label–all of which just popped into my head as I was working on this project–it wouldn’t shut up, so I wrote it down. I realize that sugar skulls are more associated with Dia de los Muertos, but I see it all as celebration of the departed.

Self-Portrait/Sugar Skull, quilted/embellished

after I’m gone

…when my job here is done I’ll be buried in my mushroom suit and weird wildflowers never before seen or named will sprout up along with daisies and Icelandic poppies and wind anemones and Johnny jump ups will play all day long and maybe into the night. Pluto will once again be a planet and you’ll find tan m&ms in your Halloween candy because they taste the best. In my new world there will be eclipses every month and stars will nova every night–watch for them because that’s me–everyone will be kind, color blind, and rewind. More people will be artists of some kind and have Fun Fridays and Silly Saturdays and stuff like that. the end.


Besides burial in mushroom bags (TED Talk, Mushroom Death Suit), there are green cemeteries sprouting up (see Green Burial Council), no embalming, good for the environment. There are none in Arkansas yet, but there is talk! And I think Pluto has once again been declared a planet.

I’ve run on long enough–need to get busy. We have really good color this fall. Have a safe Halloween. Till next time–


Five years ago…

or so I started taking classes from my friend, Suzanne Tourtelot, at ESSA (Eureka Springs School of Art)–Complex Cloth and Bookbinding. I got the bug for mixed-media art but really never pursued it. Now that my Janome is once again not working for quilting, I started the great purge and clean. Last week, I spent my time vacuuming the window frames and window coverings. We hired a family outfit to clean the gutters and siding; power wash the sidewalk and driveway; and clean the windows inside and out. After all of that, I went back to my rock painting and am almost finished. Here is this week’s rocks:


 I always have to do a ladybug–the cure time is for the glue for the googly eyes.

It took me three tries to transfer my drawing–finally dug out the graphite transfer paper. Because of the rock shape, I was going to quote from an oldie, “My Boomerang Won’t Come Back,” but when I looked the song up, it mentioned it was considered racist so hence, the tree frog.
P1130238The poppy on the rock is from several years ago. I thought I could decoupage it to the rock, but the PVA glue I used on both sides should make it waterproof–nice 3D effect. Note the crepe paper bud that is currently used. I will drop this off at the Veteran’s Memorial on November 11.
P1130236Edvard Munch’s, The Scream, with hands on the sides of the face.
P1130240Abstract ROYBGIV (Violet not showing).

So back to the beginning–that itch for mixed media. I am hoping that the Sculpture class, using recycled materials, at Crystal Bridges is not filled up. Regardless, I have signed up for an on-line class for 49 weeks–Wanderlust 2019–all about art journaling. I’m gathering up all my art supplies and papers and this will be a weekly Artist’s Date with my daughter. If you are familiar with The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, you will know all about Artist’s Dates.

Am I giving up quilting? No way. I just need a break to pursue something different and will either be done with mixed media art, or fit it into my life on a regular basis. I have always been a maker, but now I want to just make art for awhile. Most of my life, I felt that I was not creative. I have gotten over that. It will be a new adventure. Woohoo.

Till next time—


The purge continues…

but I still get the urge to do something creative. Last month, my friend, Jan W., brought a crocheted bowl she had bought to our monthly Van Go-Go Girls meeting. Then while shopping at JoAnn, I saw this yummy yarn on an endcap and bought it. I should have taken a picture of it before unwrapping, but it was Yarn Bee Stretched Taffy (Lollipop), 10 oz. (49 yards) of variegated bulky yarn that looks like wool roving. The yarn is wound into a large loop, so I just hung it around my neck rather than rolling it into a gigantic ball. Here is my round basket, apprx 7-inches diameter and 5-1/2 inches tall. If you crochet, the pattern is below. I used a P-hook and used the entire skein except for about 20-inches of yarn. You can adjust the size of your basket by making the base and side smaller.

Make a magic circle loop.

Round 1: Make 6 sc in the loop. Do not join but mark the beginning of each round (I used a large paper clip).

Round 2: 2sc in each sc around (12 sts).

Round 3: (1sc in next sc, 2sc in next sc) around (18 sts).

Round 4: (1sc in next 2 sc, 2sc in next sc) around (24 sts).

Round 5: (1sc in next 3 sc, 2sc in next sc) around (30 sts). Base is finished. Do not tie off.

Round 6: 1sc in each sc, working in the back loop only. This starts the side of your basket.

Continue working evenly in sc for each round. I worked six rounds for the side and finished the top edge with a round of reverse sc. Finish off, pull the beginning tail to close up the center hole, and weave in the loose ends. You now have a utile work of art.

Till next time…

Budger is gone…

Our favorite hummingbird, named for a character in The Cowboys, has flown the coop. Last week we had five birds going crazy so Thursday I decided to film them. Battery in camera died; spare was dead, too. Rats. So Friday, I did manage to get a couple short videos, although we were down to three hummers. Now we are down to two, with fresh nectar (temporarily taken down because our roof is being replaced–hail damage from last spring). The last two are named Twitcher (won’t sit still) and Chirper (constantly chirps between sips). Hmm, can’t upload the videos. Will try to put them up on my Facebook page (bycandyp).

Moving on–since I’m not quilting right now, I gathered up my rocks and paints and have been working on Bella Vista AR Rocks. It should cool off in a week or so and then I’ll place them on the trails for relocation. I started with gesso.
P1130203 Then I painted one rock, and did all of the backs.
P1130216Here is my log cabin–what is wrong with this picture?
P1130217Here it is fixed, with the others, including the start of a ladybug.


As promised, my new dresser in my studio–I managed to fit almost everything in the drawers and now my Ott Lite is off of the floor and handy.

Next month I’ll be going to a quilt retreat and thought I would make some potholder bowls since I’ll be taking my travel machine. Go to the link below for 10 versions and pick the one you like best. I followed the first one but found the double Pellon Wrap N Zap batting too thick so ripped the first one apart and used one layer of batting. These are for my daughter. Next time I’ll try two layers of Warm n Natural. Just to be safe, use all cotton fabrics, batting and thread.

It’s interesting to hear comments from non-quilters. We were discussing our new HVAC (coming soon) and one of the guys asked if my quilt was a bar code–cool.

Till next time…P1120896


Again. My Janome is in the carrying case, waiting for a trip to the dealer. I disengaged the dual-feed device (heretofore known as the walking foot) so I could do some free-motion ruler work. In the past, the needle bar has moved to left of center. This time, the needle is toward the back and hitting the bobbin case. I am going to make an appointment this time and have the repair person show me exactly what is happening and how to prevent it or fix it.

In the meantime, I decided to clean and rearrange my studio. I started by emptying the two rolling plastic dressers to see what kind of space I had for a real piece of furniture. I put the FREE bins in the driveway and went to town (they were gone by the time I got back). Having never been to Haverty’s, I made that my first stop. Manager Matt steered me to a dresser in the back, discontinued line, one off in WHITE, which was really what I wanted–for half price. It was two inches wider than my space but I knew I could make more room. All I had to do was move everything to the right. Two days later, I now have a 53-inch space. Here is my dresser, which will be delivered on Wednesday. That gives me several more days to work on the shelving on the other side of the room. Thanks to more efficient storage, I was able to place all of my jars of dry dye in two containers that I freed up. Hopefully I will be able to find things in their new locations…  Cut and paste the link to see the dresser or wait till my next post.


Today I will be moving the rest of the dyeing/painting supplies to the shelf I emptied yesterday. I also managed to free up another shelf for fabric in a bin that has been cluttering up my space and my batting will go on the shelf below.

Last week, I started going through some items sitting around doing nothing but taking up space. I still had muslins from costumes I made for The Cemetery Club (more than 12 years ago) plus pants I was trying to make for myself. I cut off everything that had markings and now have white and ecru pieces that can be used with the scraps left over from Quilters.

Here is a sweatshirt jacket I started sometime in the last ten years. It never got finished and has been floating between my clothes closet and the studio. This is what it looks like now. I rolled it up like a jelly roll and put it in my strip basket. I am all done with sweatshirt jackets–they just don’t work for me. In fact I am all done with sewing clothes for myself, period. Time to move on.

That’s my story for this week. I’m going back to the studio to stir up some more dust and clear a path for the delivery people. It’s supposed to be a very cold, snowy winter for a lot of the country so I’m trying not to wish the heat of summer away (although I’ve really had it with the 80-90’s with high humidity). I just want it to cool off enough so I can dye some fabric in the garage and hit the trails again. Till next time…


Making chicken salad…

… out of chicken scraps. Long ago and far away, my friend Rita F. gave me a baggie full of half-square triangles abandoned by other quilters. I used them, adding some of my own, to make a small top for a donation quilt.


I was just going to sandwich this so I could practice some ruler work with my new foot and ruler; however, I thought it was awfully dull and searched through my stash. I found this piece which was going to be used for clothing–that never happened but it makes a pretty cool border.


Stay tuned for part 2, quilting Chicken Salad. Till next time…

Three weeks ago…

… I drafted a post and rescheduled it three times. Then I unscheduled it–some posts just don’t make the cut.

LATEST PROJECT. My art quilt group, the Van Go-Go Girls, chose an architectural challenge. Take an actual building or a piece of architecture, design a quilt 30×30 to 40×40, add some orange, finish by November. Some years ago, we were in Puerto Rico and I took pictures of the tile floors because they were quilterly and chose one for this project.

I started by drafting a 12-inch block on paper, adding some extra lines to accommodate the size I wanted. Then I drew templates and added 1/4-inch seam allowances. I cut out a lot of pieces incorrectly (pesky angles) and my pencil marks were showing on the white pieces–I see another improv piece in my future. I used a scrap of black Grunge (why didn’t I buy a yard?) and cut out one strip 1/8-inch too narrow. I managed to use it anyway for the 2-1/2 inch squares, one side being 2-3/8 inches. Here are the subsets before piecing together for all four blocks.

I partial-seamed the black square to the subset on the left, sewed the diagonal, finished the black square and then added the corner triangle. Remarkably, it all fit together. The center grey square was a little wonky but I managed to straighten it out when I quilted it.  I decided to add mitered borders to mirror the angled lines and they came out perfectly; however, they did get slightly distorted during quilting–and so it goes.

Quilting is straight lines with black YLI 100-wt. silk on the black border pieces following the inner piecing line and white Mettler Seralene polyester in the white pieces, traveling into the grey at times. I was able to quilt each quarter without breaking thread. After I started quilting, I woke up one morning and realized I had used no orange. I really didn’t want to blast in orange applique, so I quilted with a variegated orange Sulky 12-wt. cotton on the black in two places. You have to get up close to see it, but it’s there. You can see the print-out of the tile above, which was actually in black, grey, and white.
P1130056I have now taken a break for two weeks, redecorated the spare bathroom and have started making some new florals and freshening up existing wreaths and arrangements. I finally found more refresher at JoAnn (Panacea Decorative Accents Silk Flower & Foliage Cleaner), spraying outside. All floral sprays seem to work equally well, but some the flowers bled, perhaps because I forgot to shake the bottle. Here is the wreath for the bedroom. I wanted to maintain the wildness of the wreath while adding the colorful foliage.


Here I’ve auditioned placement, starting with five large sets of leaves, adding five smaller leaf sets and then three longer pieces with curlicue and berries–I took all the foliage from a large swag. I don’t have a wreath stand so I took a photo from above and then hung it on the door after hot gluing, filling in the blank spots. I used an old sewing machine needle for hanging.

I finally put the snowmen away and replaced them with a new arrangement.

The rest of summer I’ll be sprucing up the house so it looks like someone here actually cares, collecting things for Goodwill, and doing a general purge.

DIET AND EXERCISE. I quit exercising the middle of July–it was just exhausting me so that I couldn’t do anything else–and went off the South Beach diet. I have no appetite for hours after exercising and end up eating two meals a day. This is not effective. So, I’ll be resuming the exercise at an easier pace, adding Tai Chi for stress management, and going for a low-carb diet with lots of fresh veggies, fruit, and lean protein. I can’t quite do Keto or Atkins because I don’t tolerate fat very well. If this doesn’t get me to my goal, I am pretty much out of options.

RECYCLACRAFT. I lined these large lids with sticky-backed felt for bead trays.

THE HUMMER GAMES. We have had a lot of hummers even with the heat. They are so fun to watch and they have the sweetest peep. The males chase each other off the feeder, then one sits in the Bradford waiting. Then they chase each other off again and finally one will get to feed. They were buzzing me while I was cleaning the florals on the landing. Till next time…



I did pay attention in geometry class…

except for that one day, hot n humid, no a/c at school (Orlando), B.O.R.E.D., and I fell asleep. Sr. Ambrose, a big-boned gal (NOT from Southern Alberta), kicked me out of class. I was painfully shy even in high school, but the next day I came back to class and all was well. Anyway, I ended up with this odd-shaped table mat that I wanted to be a rectangle to fit on my hutch, and using a compass and figuring angles seemed tedious.

First I traced around it on newsprint (I save packing paper, iron it, roll it up), subtracted 1/4-inch seam allowance, drew a rectangle, traced the odd shapes, added 1/4-inch seam allowance and indicated straight of grain. Woohoo. Since I didn’t need the pattern anymore, I inked it in so it would show up on camera.

I then added strip piecing to the two remaining corners. I just need to layer and quilt.
P1120976TIP OF THE DAY: Cover up the edges of your batting to prevent lint from transferring to your quilt top, especially if the top is dark and you’re using light batting.


UPDATE: I am hand-stitching down the facing on Less is More. The long sides are done. This is my most successful facing to date (no pleats). I use Susan Brubaker Knapp’s method. The only thing I do differently is, in Step 3, I do not pivot at the corner. I sew the long seam edge-to-edge, and then sew from the unfolded edge to the folded edge. Find her excellent tutorial below.

P1120967My domestic chore today is to put away my snowmen. I left them out because winter was hanging on for so long. I have meant to put them away several times and in five months I’ll be hauling them out again. Le sigh.

P1120959Final Answer: Microsoft Edge does not play well with wordpress. After a long live chat with wp, I tried Chrome, which I used to use to write this blog; however, Chrome did not even recognize me and I was having more trouble with that so, my links will have to be copied and pasted. And sometimes, there will be duplicate photos. I apologize, but that’s the way it is until Edge decides to use extensions. Sometimes, it is what it is. Till next time…


OD-ing on orange…

I have had the green claustrophobic blues–the shrubs on the roadside kiss the sides of my car, the trees form a tunnel of green, meeting in the middle of the road from both sides–so what better antidote than to take all my orange scraps and make a reversible table runner to go with my Aurora Borealis reversible quilt (see previous post). When I made the quilt last year, I had all these skinny strips left and made a sample block.

I finally found where I had shoved all the orange scraps–into a drawer in the spare bathroom. We had company on Christmas Eve so I had to put some things out of sight so we could actually eat in the dining room. C’mon, a lot of you eat on TV trays, too. On finding my sample block, I decided I didn’t want to do this so I started playing. Didn’t like these either.
In the end I decided to do some minimal piecing surrounded by the navy blend. (That’s a warm fuzzy given to me by a student years ago–I keep it on my design wall.)

I added the trimmed strips left after squaring up the quilt as a 1-inch unfinished inner border.
P1120915Lastly I kept improvising orange blocks for the backing and added a border. I have now pinned the quilt sandwich, trying to keep the front and back lined up. I need to bring my machine in again and will quilt it when I get it back in a week or so. In the meantime, I will layer two potholders, one table mat and this odd shaped piece that I will turn into a rectangular mat for my hutch.
P1120947The orange scraps have traveled outside to one of my trees. I noticed this a week ago, but yesterday, I noted that the orange has multiplied. Maybe it’s the heat–it was 99 yesterday and so far, only 96 today. I’m melting. Till next time…