Monday, April 27, 2015

Workshop Love and More

Why are all the workshops I want to attend located in England!  So many creative people in the styles I particularly enjoy, so many shops and venues for workshops, so many individuals who give workshops in their homes.

Marna Lunt is an artist I particularly admire for many of her creations.  She gives frequent workshops, and this one has a group enjoying making Marna's signature lampshades.

I would also love to be present at one of her Craft Afternoons!  You can find Marna at Made by Hand, as well.  I haven't been to England for several years, but when I go again, I'm going to schedule a workshop!

Congratulations!   My friend Penny Baugh has a wonderful layout celebrating her Lickety Split characters in the Spring/Summer issue of PRIMS!  Take a look!  And she has a new Unlikely visitor in today's post.

Studio   I've made a little more progress in the studio.  Doesn't look good, but at least, I've made improvements.  And I couldn't resist stopping to make a few more things.  I'll show you tomorrow, if I take some photos that don't show the mess.

Books/Reading  Some good luck lately over at my bookblog!  The Bone Season and The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon.  And from NetGalley, Craig Johnson's new Longmire novel and Kathy Reich's new Tempe Brennan novel.  Haven't reviewed the last two yet, but will get to them soon.

Saturday, April 25, 2015


I decided to clean up and organize the studio.  Big mistake.  From chaos to super-chaos.  This will take a while.

Before getting involved in creating a bigger mess, I was working on some Softies/Lovies.  When I discovered the idea of fidget quilts on Michelle's blog, she made a comment about how her mother had a "Lovie" that comforted her.

What if I made some soft dolls with plenty of tactile elements?  Would they be something that might benefit AD/Dementia/Sensory deprived individuals?  I began experimenting with some patterns (that are still in the process of being altered).  Below is the first attempt.  At first, I was so displeased that I wasn't even going to finish adding any details.  

I pinned him up for a while, but then I couldn't let him go.
  Added eyes.  And some embroidery.  
Made a pompom and sewed it on.  
Pinned him up again.

Gradually, I began to find him cheerful enough to overcome my dislike.   I've discarded my original pattern and will draw a new one, but have decided to call him my first Lovie, a kind of fidget doll--and will continue making more--when I can get my space organized enough to work in again.

Until I made and attached the pompom, 
he didn't work for me.  
The pompom did it.

And I made some more pompoms to attach to future Lovies.
Even a pompom from fabric scraps.

Now, I must get back to making my work space workable, again.
So I can make another fidget quilt and more Lovies.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Of Interest to Me

Holy Angels, 
a local residential facility,
provides an exciting and joyful life
to those who might otherwise be neglected.

My daughter and an old friend (that's you, Sheila)
are very much involved.
They are just two of the many heroes that
contribute to this wonderful facility.

Even the videos make me smile!
My lovely daughter with two friends at Holy Angels.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Serious Post about Media Influence

In the sixties and seventies, a push for more equal treatment for women emerged.  Some of us remember that period.  There were women who approached that concept with reason and logic and patient determination and those who were offensive in their criticism of women who didn't immediately take up the banner and preferred to stay home and raise their children.  

The role women play in society should not be dictated by men or women who want everyone else to think exactly as they do.  A woman can want a society in which women are offered equal pay and equal opportunities and are treated with respect and still not want to climb a corporate ladder herself. Belonging to a gender doesn't require all women to think the same or to have the same goals in life.

What is interesting is that the women's movement has not advanced much in the years that followed the public outcry for a level playing field.  One doesn't have to look far to see the overwhelming evidence, for example, that violence against women (and children) continues with a vengeance.  

Media shapes our opinions and our morals.  


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Crafting, Quilting, Reading


I want to make pom poms and have found some good instructions on line, but then I found an inexpensive pom pom maker and ordered it (and a book and more buttons) from Amazon.  My package, for which I was so eagerly waiting, was supposed to arrive on Monday.  But the delivery gods must have been confused by all the bad weather we've been having, and it didn't arrive.  Nor did it arrive yesterday.  

After checking the tracking information, I discovered that it had been delivered.  Just not to me!  This morning, I contacted Amazon and the problem has (hopefully!) been resolved.  They are re-sending my goodies, and they should be here tomorrow.  My thanks to Amazon for the prompt response.

Fidget Quilt #7

I've done a lot of hand quilting on some of the previous fidget quilts, but this one is entirely hand quilted--and even as small as it is, it took me hours and hours to get it done.  I love the process of hand quilting, but combined with the time it took on the beads and the quilting, I realize that given the purpose of these little quilts, I need to do more machine quilting than hand quilting.

The birds and flowers are machine appliqued in Syko style, machine quilting around raw edge fabrics. This is the same way I did Bryce Eleanor's drawings--fast and fun and a style I like.  I have already washed it because I wanted to see how the embellishments held up and because I love the crinkled look of a washed quilt.  Everything did well, except that the wooden buttons may age a little faster than expected.  The quilted beads did just fine.  The pocket is from a vintage napkin.


The Child Garden by Catriona McPherson 

Although I wondered at first if I'd like it, the plot and characters engaged me completely very quickly.  I spent a lot less time in the studio and a lot more time reading because I got so involved.  This was a NetGalley offering (love me some free books!), and I'll have to hold my review for my book blog until closer to publication.  

That doesn't mean I can't tell you to look for it when it does come out!

Just Interesting

One of my favorite sources for news is The Guardian.  I like many things about this source, including the fact that it has a uniquely British take on what happens in the world.  As Americans, we are accustomed to looking at the news from our own sources which are often biased by party affiliation or agenda, so I like seeking other sources that avoid that particular dilemma of Republican/Democrat, conservative/liberal leanings.  I'm sure American sources have mentioned the following, but I missed it.

 The world population is currently seven billion, but there is a 70% chance that the number of people on the planet will rise continuously to 11 billion in 2100, according to ground-breaking analysis. It overturns 20 years of consensus that the global population will peak by 2050 to about nine billion people.

Eleven Billion!  That is positively scary.  Here is a link to the entire article.  

Monday, April 13, 2015

Workshop Love and So On

Jessie Chorley workshop

Of course, I'd love to attend one of Jessie Chorley's workshops, 
but I'd also love to wander through the shop itself.


Details of fidget quilt #6

 The bead can be moved about in the netting.

 A little needle weaving and a chain to manipulate.

 The organza contains buttons and beads that can be manipulated.

The braid adds texture.

Pompoms and a netting flower have also been added,
but I may be adding more tactile elements.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Working On...

-a tiny hand sewn/quilted piece that will eventually be a pocket on a fidget quilt

-an old button, covered with a piece of batting and muslin and embroidered
-quilted fabric beads.  I saw these on Silly Boo Dilly's blog a long time ago and fell in love with them.  I finally ordered her instructions from her Etsy Shop and have another way to use scraps and keep my hands busy.  These little beads become a bit of an obsessive/compulsive habit.  I've made many more since taking the above picture.


Recent finishes:

 Michael J. McCann's new book Sorrow Lake.  I enjoyed his previous series featuring Hank Donaghue and Karen Stainer and hope he hasn't abandoned them, but I enjoyed this first novel in his new series as well.  It introduces Detective Inspector Ellie March of the Ontario Provincial Police and Detective Constable Kevin Walker.  An excellent police procedural with no emphasis on the gory or bizarre.

Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea is the story of a young girl who, after seeing The Magnificent Seven, leads her three friends on a journey to the United States to find seven Mexican men to smuggle back into Mexico to defeat and rout the banditos who have invaded their village.

A fascinating look at both Mexico and the United States with great characters!  

Delano Ames' She Shall Have Murder, written in 1948, is the first in the Dagobert and Jane Brown series.  It takes place in postwar Britain and is full of humor as the amateur duo attempt to solve a murder.  I will definitely be reading more of this series.  Delano Ames himself was quite a character and worked for British Intelligence during WWII.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Fidget Quilt #5

Finished!  "Ribbon Pull" or fidget quilt #5.

 The little yoyo and button anchors one end of a piece of sparkly gold elastic.

Another butterfly and a "snippet roll" 
made from scrap pieces of fidget quilts
adds more texture.

I got the idea of the ribbon pull from Next Comes L's page from a quiet book

 She got the idea from The Imagination Tree.

I was excited to find such great ideas!

The next one (#6) is almost finished.  It is a completely scrappy quilt.  
I'm working on ideas and small items for embellishments
for the next quilt (#7).

Monday, April 06, 2015

Workshop Love #3

Julie Arkell at Hope & Elvis

Julie Arkell gives a lot of workshops and must be an inspiring teacher because I've noticed that participants often attend more than one of her offerings.

Her whimsical papier mache  creatures are so lovable.  

More casually established groups offer something similar to a book club,  strictly local   monthly gatherings where crafters and creative people meet and share.   Monthly Challenge groups and art parties also sound like fun.  

Do you participate in workshops or local groups that offer creative outlets?

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

April Fool's, Odds and Ends, Books

Bryce Eleanor bugged Amelia for several days about what pranks to pull on April Fool's Day, and Amelia gave this serious thought.  She did something to the faucet so when B.E. went to brush her teeth, the water was blue; Googly Eyes in fridge; a spider in her sandwich and a cotton ball in her cupcake.  School lunch was not what she was expecting.


I'm nearly through with fidget quilt #5--as usual, enjoying the process.  I've also taken time to play with scraps, making odds and ends to be used in future projects.

 Advanced Reading Copies that have arrived in the mail.

Read my first book for Carl's Once Upon a Time reading challenge (fantasy, fairy tales, myths, etc.).  This is year #9 for Once Upon a Time--I can hardly believe I've been participating in this challenge for nearly a decade. 

I have some possibilities on my Kindle and will check the library for more.  Love reading fantasy and fairy tales.  There are always great suggestions on other blogs that usually make my list longer than I can accomplish.

 I read  Thorn by Intisar Khanani last year, and it is on a flash sale for 99 cents at Amazon (today only through April 7).  Thorn is a wonderful re-telling of the Goose Girl fairy tale and the money will go to a great cause (more on Intisar's blog):
Nab YA Fantasy novel "Thorn" by Intisar Khanani for 99 cents April 1- 7 and help bring two young brothers home. (Links below.)

Described as "unflinching and exquisite," "Thorn" is a story of choice and betrayal, justice and compassion. Recommended for fans of Robin McKinley and Mercedes Lackey.

All proceeds from this sale will go towards helping a good friend cover the cost of international adoption of a pair of biological brothers with Saethre-Chotzen Syndrome--a condition that results in brain damage unless treated. Evan (age 7) and Raymond (age 9) were each given up at birth, and were unable to receive treatment for their condition. They have been in an orphanage in Eastern Europe since birth. You can find out more about the boys and Jamie, and link to their blog, here:

Our goal is to raise $2,000 over the course of the week. International adoption is prohibitively expensive, so every dollar helps. Your help can make it happen! Share, tag, buy, and give "Thorn" as a gift to your loved ones! Anything you're able to do is deeply appreciated.

Thorn will be available at the following retailers:

Amazon (worldwide):

Barnes & Noble US:

Nook UK:

Google Play:
You can read my review here.  

Monday, March 30, 2015

Mon. and Workshop Love #2

I adore Janet Bolton's work!

Her workshop at Hope & Elvis.

I'm working on the next fidget quilt.  While I'd planned to make another one without binding because it is a little faster, I forgot when I was making the sandwich that I intended to turn the quilt sandwich inside out, and got the back pinned on for a normal quilt.  Now, I have to make binding, but I'm going to try to sew the binding on by machine instead of hand sewing as I usually do.  Since this is another new experiment for me, I'm hoping it turns out.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fidget Quilts #3 and #4

Alzheimer's patients often exhibit repetitive behavior and and fidgeting.
  • Fidgeting - Someone with dementia may fidget constantly. As with pacing, try to distract their attention and offer reassurance. Try giving the person something to occupy their hands, such as a soft toy or worry beads, or provide a 'rummage' box containing interesting objects.  (source:  The Alzheimer's Society)
Fidget quilts provide a way to occupy the hands.

I've finished two more quilts to be donated.  Mary plans to donate hers for Easter, which is a nice idea.  I may wait until I have 8 or 10 ready.

Number 3 is complete, I pretty much tossed it in the flower bed for the picture.  I need a way to hang things outside.


I mentioned in an earlier post that I might use some of Bryce Eleanor's drawings for a quilt, and I still would like to do that, but we didn't get around to doing any drawing on her last visit.  

Somewhere I saw some applique animals with arms and legs loose and decided that a person with AD or dementia might enjoy the "face" aspect as well as the various textural items. I've looked and looked for the site (thought I'd pinned it, but no such luck), and there was so much colorful inspiration there.  I'll share it when I find it again.

Anyway, I drew a silly dog on paper and made the applique elements for f.q. #4.   The result is my favorite so far.  Skipped the binding on this.  I meant to include some tags before turning the quilt, but forgot.  

Both quilts went through 
the washing machine before I took the pics.
They survived in tact.

I have an idea for #6 that I'm going to try,
then I'm making more silly animal quilts
with floppy ears and arms and legs.

Happy  Mid-Week!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fidget Quilt #3

My biggest problem is too many ideas.  Next is that I'm so slow.  

The embroidery is time consuming, but one of my simple pleasures.
  The binding is another time consumer, but another process I enjoy. 
 Need to make some without binding--it would be much faster, 
but don't think I would enjoy making these
 without some of the other time consuming details.  

Also, these little quilts give me the opportunity to experiment.
 I benefit from the pleasure, the learning, the practice, 
knowing that my mistakes don't matter, 
and the hope 
that the patients who receive the fidget quilts will enjoy them.

Details of #3.  
Flannel, minky, and fleece with a block with a pocket on top. 
 I stuck a bit of overgrown ornamental cabbage in the pocket.

Love the way the soft fabrics feel,
but I don't really know much about sewing them.
They are a royal, stretchy pain to work with.

 I knew I'd find a purpose for all of the fabric cord
I made a while back!

Lenten Rose

Finished #3.
Working on #4!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Workshop Love

I love posts about workshops. 
 Love seeing the messy creation part
 and the lovingly crafted products. 

Mrs. Bertimus posted about a workshop at Daisy Moon that looked like such fun!

Hen's Teeth is always giving workshops. 

 Hope & Elvis is hosting one of Hen's Teeth workshop on March 14. 

They learn, have fun, and come away with a handmade piece.

"Oh, to be in England..." for one of these workshops!

Yes, I am envious.