Froggie Pouch


This little fellow is totally handmade. I drew him on green fabric with yellow for the eyes and tummy.

I cut out the funky circles from fabric I found for the lining and ironed it onto the black background. SHA-ZAM!!!

Here are the four panels for the outside fabric and the lining.

Here is the final project after adding the zipper, strap, and sewing it all together... It's magic!

Front view, open to show lining....

and back view ....

Wild biology

It's amazing what a few marking pens and a sense of wild abandon can do...
Originally I was quilting this piece with white thread to create trapunto-like designs and texture and it just wasn't working ...  the circles began to look like a bad case of measles and I thought I was going to have to consign it to the UFO (UnFinished Objects) pile.
But I'm learning ... if you just let a project sit for a bit it allows space for an "aha" moment to happen and change everything!  I woke up the other morning with this in my head and I've been tangling with fabric markers and quilting ever since!
It still looks like something biological to me, like blood cells dividing and dancing around.... hmmmm...

What's on YOUR wall? - WEEK 4


Oh goodie! A new obsession!
They are called Zentangles and making them is both an art and a meditative practice. I spent a couple of days going crazy with them: making them, reading about them, studying them late into the night and waking up with them on my brain.
The patterns are beautiful and I can see so many possibilities for free-motion quilting. I even have some flashes of insight for piecing based on some of the Zentangle shapes.

Loopy loops in the middle of the night

So, last night I kept seeing images flowing through my brain like a high tech slide show. Bursts of color. Yellow and black, thick outlines, flowing forms. I finally said to my brain, "OK! I'll get up!" and got my feet under me and walked them out to my studio/living room. I passed up the paper stage, just grabbed some muslin and a fresh Sharpie and began drawing... don't know what these are yet, or if they are cool or weird, but I am having a blast and will see where it goes!

What's on YOUR wall? -- WEEK 3

Wow... another week has blown by and knocked me off course!!! I've been taking care of "stuff" in real life, which is necessary, but I get cranky when there is too much of it!!! So now I'm back in the studio, playing and getting my soul filled up.

The red piece on the wall looked like this last week:

 Then it morphed into this:

AAAAAAGHHH!!!!  A red alert started flashing and a voice was saying "Danger, danger Will Robinson!!!" (For those of you not watching TV in the 60s, just ignore this.) I think the glare from all that red was causing a dangerous flux in the fabric of the time-space continuum... plus it lost the cool circles which were my favorite part...

So I set it aside for a bit. That's all you can do sometimes... and just wait for fresh intuition to tell you what to do. If you try to push it you can end up with a hot mess. Art cannot be forced, it must be allowed. I make the space for it and it does what it wants to.

What's on YOUR wall? -- WEEK 2

I'm going to post a photo of my wall once a week, no matter what stage a project is in - as a motivational tool.  Could be humbling at times... This week I feel okay about it though. I've been studying art quilts that I am most attracted to and asking, "What IS it that I like?" What is MY concept of beauty, of art?  I am setting out to define it so that I can make it. 

So, for today, here is my wall:
- the red piece is in process
- the blue abstract on the table is ready for quilting! (Just need to pin baste batting and backing and add label)

What's on YOUR wall?

Once a week or so (however it works best) I'm going to do something very brave. I've decided to take a photo of my studio wall... and post it, just as is. No editing, no waiting until it's further along, etc. I will show work in process, I will expose the underbelly of artistic endeavor. These photos show the raw beginnings of a piece, where I have just started to "play" with fabrics and colors. Usually I work from a sketch or pattern I've already committed to paper; but sometimes I like to start with the fabric, cutting and moving it around on the wall until the form begins to emerge, like this. Of course there are many more steps between here and the final piece, so it may end up looking totally different. As long as I am enjoying the process, it's a-okay.

Art does not just "happen," and it took me a long time to understand this. When a piece I saw in my head failed to appear in actuality, I was very critical of myself and would despair. Fortunately, I knew other artists and had watched them go through the struggle. They took classes, they read articles and books, they did practice pieces, they applied discipline to their craft. Why do we think art is different than any other endeavor? It must be developed and honed so that the work matches the vision. Ira Glass of "This American Life," describes it perfectly:

So... I'm thinking everybody has a "wall" (even if we can't see it) where they keep work-in-process.
What's on YOUR wall?

Blue tortoise

I was playing with these pretty blocks late one night (see below) and before I knew it this wonderful blue sea tortoise began to emerge. 

Here are a couple of the blocks in progress... 
I love the sea green and aqua colors and wanted to get the impression of light from the sun filtering down into the water.

However... the longer I worked, the more my turtle seemed to pull back into his shell. Like a true turtle, he was s-l-o-w!!! Everything that could go wrong, did. I ran out of the shade of bright blue fabric I was using, my thread snarled and broke, and I stitched the wrong sides together.

After an entire afternoon and evening of trying to force this reluctant fellow to become the gorgeous creature I knew he could be, I realized it was not happening. So I let him swim away to hibernate a little longer. Perhaps this summer he will stick his head out and join me in the studio again...

April Fools Amphibians

This little fellow hopped into my sewing area today ... 

He told me he was lonesome, so I made a friend for him.

Okay, technically a turtle is not an amphibian, but I couldn't figure out how to fit "reptile" into the title. They both still need quilting, but I can't decide on thread color. Bright lime green thread or glossy black?  Hmmmm.....  guess I'll go "fool" around in the studio some more...
Happy April Fools everybody!!!

Zip it!

I've gotten a little sidetracked lately by these little zippered pouches, a project of our Modern Quilt Guild. We're having a swap at the next meeting and I've been having a blast designing these. They're like potato chips; you can't have just one!

This one will go to the next guild meeting. We are each bringing a pouch we made in a brown paper bag so it is hidden from view - it will be interesting to see how they do the swap!  Can't wait to see what I get!!!  I hope this one delights the person who gets it!!!

The quilting was done in straight lines with a walking foot, with smaller spacing at the top and gradually widening toward the bottom to give it a nice texture.

I had fun with the polka-dot ribbon and cute lime green print fabric. The ribbon made a perfect handle!

This colorful little airplane pouch is the first one I ever made - and my first time putting in a zipper!  I was SO proud. It was a perfect gift for my sister on her birthday. 

The airplane was fussy-cut from the same fabric I used in a quilt I made for her husband, a pilot, in 2000!  It was so satisfying to find some still in my stash!

Here's a photo showing the quilting detail...

See the red-striped fabric at the end of the zipper? That is a cool technique taught by Suzanne at Strawberry Patches - we learned how to do it at the last Modern Quilt Guild meeting!

This Celtic-inspired bag was made for a friend who has a fondness for the emerald green isles...

The celtic knot was cut from gold-colored fabric, fused on the lighter green-striped background, and then satin-stitched around the edges. 

The quilting always shows the best from the back side!

The handle was made with the same fabric as the pouch and finished with a 
decorative stitch using dark green Sulky quilting thread. The pouch was lined with fabric matching the lighter green color. Viola!

Quilts by the sea

These are some of the quilts that live at my sister's house in lovely Cambria-by-the-sea.  I realized I didn't have photos of them so made sure to remedy that while we were there last weekend.

Hey, come back here!

I think my quilts are tired of being photographed. This one just up and dashed away during a photo shoot. Guess I just have to be quicker than they are!

"Emeralds" in the woods

"Square-Cut Emeralds"
34 x 24 inches

Today I finished this "modern quilt" and photographed it in our woodsy back yard. It was inspired by the "Pantone 2013 Color of the Year" Emerald Quilt Challenge, created by Ali at

2013 Emerald Quilt Challenge

I free-cut everything with my rotary cutter (no measuring, no ruler) for a "wonky" effect when the slight curves were pieced together, which reminds me of the Gee's Bend quilts. The blue-green squares represent square-cut emeralds, and the white stripe in the center represents the "sparkle" of the gemstone. I quilted it in one big spiral with my walking foot. I've included pictures of earlier stages of the quilt and the back ...

Putting the units together ....

I decided on the neutral tan, or beige, color for the background. And began playing with the idea of corners to create the illusion of a frame.

Here are alternate versions of the quilt, which I decided not to do because a) they take away from the illusion of the abstract emeralds, and b) they just don't look right!

Here is the back of the quilt, with my cutting table and computer in the foreground and UFOs on my wall. I notice a lot of quilting studios look similar to this, so I know I'm in good company!

Quilts quilts quilts quilts quilts

Since this is a brand spanking new blog, I have a lot of white space to fill! And why is there a three year gap in my quilting?

In 2009 I became so ill with a disabling disease that I could no longer quilt. I spent several years bedridden and using a wheelchair to get to doctor and hospital visits. A life-changing surgery in November of 2012 freed me and now I feel like a young kid charging out onto the playground! Being able to walk, sit at my machine, and drive to the fabric store are things I no longer take for granted.

So I'm blowing the dust off the Bernina and jumping in! Life is GOOD!

Take the Steps
54 x 38
Take the Steps, detail

A sampling of quilts

Here are a few of my quilting explorations so far....

  • Take the Steps - 2003, Juried into "Sacred Threads" Exhibition, Columbus, OH
  • Sarah with Guitar - 2008, private collection
  • Lake Quilts - 2004, Exhibited at "Les Femmes Artists" and televised on local NBC affiliate
  • Looking at You - 2006 - Juried into "Fragments" Exhibit, Museum of Art, Bakersfield, CA
  • Faces - 2007, Juried in "Portraits" Exhibit, Liberty Art Gallery, Yreka, CA
  • Dancing Green - 2008, Recycled Challenge, Quilting Arts Magazine, private collection

Sarah with Guitar, detail
Sarah with Guitar
28 x 20

Starry Lake
16 x 12

Moon Lake
16 x 12

Magenta Lake
16 x 14