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“Someday is Just Another Word for Never”

So, 3 Decembers ago I wrote:

In the (very fun) 2010 movie ‘Knight and Day,’ Cameron Diaz looks at Tom Cruise and delivers this line (after he talks about all of the fun things he’ll do…someday).  For some reason, this line stuck in my head…and I found myself thinking about all of my “someday” wishes.  

You know…get a quilt into the big show…get published…teach…etc, etc.  I have many very talented friends who, for one reason or another, haven’t taken the plunge yet.

Sometimes you need a catalyst.  For me it was Pokey Bolton’s inspired campaign to raise money for the Houston animal shelter, Friends For Life…an International Quilt Festival special exhibit just happened to mesh with a piece I’d already done, and I was fortunate enough to have “Neon Kitty” accepted. The thrill of seeing my quilt hanging at Festival was enough inspiration for me to begin taking many many more risks (yes and collecting lots of rejection notes along the way along with the joy of acceptance letters!).

Since then, I’ve had the joy of making so many more friends in our tribe…and, yup, collecting more rejection notices 😂…and enjoying the thrill of new adventures, some which were most definitely on my “someday” list and a few I hadn’t even thought of (designing a quilt for Windham Fabrics thanks to Janine Vangool 💜).

It’s that time again to plan and dream for the new year- I’ve already put in a proposal for one really big idea. What are you planning? I hope that you’ll pat yourself on the back for a terrific 2018…and, next year, take some risks and put yourself out there. You know what they say about “someday” 😉.

A Glittery Hanukkah Card! ✨

Ok so by now you probably know that I am a BIG fan of Sew Much Cosplay’s fusible Shine and Glitter products.

I can see tremendous potential for both now that we are into the holiday season- ornaments, cards, decorations, and more. My very first purchase, of course, was the black glitter since Jackson seems to find his way into an awful lot of my work ;).

For a high-impact Hanukkah card, I reached for the perfect blue from Windham Fabrics’ “Bedrock” collection (my new fave for near solids 😍). I fused a piece a little over postcard size (4″ x 6″) to stiff double-sided fusible, then added 2 elements: a golden dreidel (using a cookie cutter as template) and Jackson’s face (well half of it since he’s hiding ;)) from black glitter.

A little free-motion stitching: the outlines of the dreidel…Jackson’s eye and whiskers (the latter in 12 wt Auriful for maximum effect)…and we’re almost done! Pick a fabric for the back of your postcard, fuse, trim to size and finish with a zigzag stitch (I opted for a gold metallic thread).

Happy Holidays!

A Christmas Stocking for Loki 🐾🐾🎅🏻

A new member of the family means another stocking on the mantel come Christmas Eve!

My inspiration came from my Aurifil thread stash…

Oooh. Ok, now to the fabrics…

Mmmm. A little Modern Quilt Studio, a little Carol Eaton, and a batik I’ve had for years. I opted for the gold and green as the main fabrics…so, fused each to a piece of batting with MistyFuse and (after a very brief thought about hand-quilting), headed to my Bernina:

This kind of project is just pure fun and a terrific way to get some practice in with your BSR. I just zoomed around and stitched stems in green and the outline of poinsettia petals in red.

Next…trace the outline of a stocking, front and back. I remembered a great piece by Jane Davila in a previous issue of Quilting Arts Holiday and, amazingly, found it! (Who else misses that special edition magazine?)

I stitched around the outlines to lock in the quilting stitches and cut out…

Then thought about how I wanted to do a top cuff. Opted for a cream colored Grunge…MistyFused some batting to give it heft, folded over and them got to work on adding Loki’s name.

One of my favorite discoveries at Festival was Cheryl Sleboda’s Power Shine and Power Shine glitter 💜. I ordered some in gold and silver for holiday stitching (and of course black glitter for Jackson portraits), and thought this would be perfect for lettering on the stocking. The product has fusible on the back and a protective pressing layer on top, so you can simply trace or write and cut…

There you see the protective pressing layer…here is what it looked like after fusing and peeling:

So fun! Time to stitch around the letters in red, then stitch the stocking together:

And don’t forget the leftover quilted fabric! I was able to cut two 4″ x 6″ pieces to make gift-card holders…

Here is the finished stocking. I decided the red fabric was a little strong for the piece and substituted a piece of red silk ribbon.

On to the next holiday project on the list 😁!

Giving Thanks 💜🐾🐾

This year, our family has a brand new and very special reason to feel grateful for our many blessings…our little miracle kitten:

On a day in October, 10 years to the day after saying goodbye to a most beloved and special cat, something strange and terrible happened. Two Good Samaritans watched in horror as a car sped past their auto repair shop and threw a helpless four month old kitten out the car window into moving traffic.

Miraculously, the kitty bounced across the road and was not hit. This father and son team called the Hartford, CT Police Department and its Animal Control Officer (ACO) quickly delivered the injured, bleeding kitten to the vet.

Kitten “Loki” presented with significant, but not life-threatening, physical injuries including a nonfunctioning left front leg. Bad news is that the City of Hartford has no means to care for stray cats. Euthanizing is the only budget option. Good news, the kind-hearted ACO, Sherry DeGenova, is also the founder of a wonderful animal rescue shelter, Kenway’s Cause, and she transferred ownership of Loki to them (please check out their website https://www.kenwayscause.)

My husband, Eliot, through this nonprofit and law enforcement relationships in Connecticut, connected with Sherry and Kenway’s to offer Loki some help. I was traveling on business and received his text “we must help”

Many x-rays later, it seemed like “Loki” was going to make it. His left front left leg was questionable (see it just dangling, below), but he had survived. After a few days of care from a loving vet tech/foster mom, it was time for us to pick him up and bring him home.

Before long, Loki had settled in on the sofa with Dad…

…and watch the Jets game with Mom (displaying all the appropriate horror of a good Jets fan):

We did physical therapy on his injured leg (and devised some kibble games that would encourage the use of his affected paw)…

…and it sure seemed to help because he now runs across the room like a bolt of lightning. Of course, he’s working on making new friends:

…and has ensured that we fall completely and totally in love with him.

We are so very thankful for this little miracle…and find great joy that Loki has joined our family…Happy Thanksgiving!💜🐾🐾.

3-D Kitty 🐾🐾- Gift/Ornament Idea

So, in the middle of a much bigger project I kept thinking, hmm, a larger version of my 💜 of the Home quilts would make an excellent play quilt (with Velcro-ed house, cat, sun, etc so that a little one could move the pieces around.)

Which made me think, hmm, I wonder if I could make stuffed versions of my cat Jackson? (Having read NO book on how to do this…keep that in mind as you read ;)…)

Aha! Easy. I sized up my cat outline:

…and traced on one of my favorite Uppercase Volume 3 fabrics (coming to you in the spring):

I fused the fabric to batting so that there would be a bit more heft as I stitched his facial expressions and whiskers…

And traced a reverse image onto another Uppercase fabric. And decided to try stitching right sides together before stuffing…

Do NOT attempt this at home 😂. After trying to inside-out and stuff…

ROFL, I unstitched and traced another backing…stuffing and zip-zag stitching as I went …

And thanks to my VERY well-tempered Bernina, ta-da:

So. What ideas does this give you for adapting favorite appliqué shapes to holiday gifts? 😁

Pet Portrait Challenge: Mono-tonal Pets!

One of the most frequent questions I received in last week’s (fun!) Open Studios sessions was: how do I handle my all-black dog? Or my all-white Maltipoo?

While these cuties are certainly more challenging than a high-contrast tiger stripe kitty, there are several tools at the fiber artist’s disposal:

    First step: use the photo-edit settings on your phone to maximize the contrast of the image. Play with the light settings to see which combination gives you the best image!
    Think texture: when choosing your fabrics, broaden your palette beyond quilters’ cotton. One of my favorite high-impact fabrics is silk dupioni- it has incredible sheen and a very pronounced grain which you can use to suggest the pattern of the subject’s fur. You can see where I placed on my friend’s adorable Westie and on our Jackson – on the spots where the sun was hitting their fur. In addition to different weights of cotton, silk and leather (take samples from stores, cut tiny pieces for noses 🐾🐾)…I am very excited about adding Cheryl Sleboda’s Power Shine in black to add even more surface interest.
    Thread!!! C’mon, you knew I was going to say that ;). For a white pooch, think about including every shade (off-white, cream, vanilla…) in different weights and fibers (cotton, polyester and wool). Aurifil cotton thread comes in an enormous range of weights; I love the 28wt for fur but it’s fun to mix it up. Here was my lineup for the Westie:

One unusual thread that I love for black fur babies is black metallic thread by Superior- it gives a very subtle shimmer to your fur-painting! Here is a closeup of another Jackson portrait where you may be able to see what I mean:

  • Fabric Ink! These pens can be your best friends when you want to create shadow. For instance, in one piece I stroked black ink under the chin of the kitty to further darken the hand-dyed black cotton…it can be subtle but you will find that it’s amazing how many shades of black exist!

Have fun creating! 🐾🐾💜

Uppercase Volume 3, “Circular Logic”😻

Is there anything better than receiving an email from the amazing Janine Vangool, asking if you would like some fabric to create a piece for her brand-new collection? 🎉🎉🎉

Actually, YES…when you receive another email from Janine telling you that Windham Fabrics liked the design and would like more of the same to be used as blocks for a larger quilt! (Insert major happy dance here 💃🏼).

So…a very relaxed weekend of creating the first one:

…was followed by the joy and frenzy of coming home from a business trip to a pile of half-yard cuts of the entire collection. Deep breath…MistyFuse all…noting possible combinations along the way:

Actually, yes…I think the beach scene is my favorite:

So, Jackson acquired a beach house…a ski house…a place in the city…spring and fall scenes…then I had to get a little creative when I discovered I needed to produce 9 scenes in all 😳. Ok…so, my cat had a blue phase:

…and had to take cover during a rainy day:

Working with Janine’s third collection is an absolute joy! Of course, I had a little help from miles of Aurifil:

…and somehow 9 were done by deadline…

The best part of all? Each of this kit’s “blocks” are 14″ and can be standalone contributions to Jamie Fingal’s amazing project for the Heart of the Home. (Next best, learning just how creative you can be on an insanely tight deadline ;).)

Thank you, Janine, for including me in this adventure!