Friday, December 28, 2007

Beading Basics

While visiting in California, I've had the opportunity to spend some 
time with my nephews and niece. One afternoon we gathered around 
the kitchen table and strung beads to make bracelets for their mom
and aunt. David (top) attempted to string tiny seashells, but later made
 a stunning red and silver bracelet. Zachary (bottom)became a bracelet-
making machine! He created four bracelets and a camouflage wristband
 for himself! They were totally immersed in their projects, as you can see!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Blessings

My husband and I arrived in beautiful Santa Barbara last night to spend Christmas with my husband's family. Tonight our daughter Kate joined us. We will be celebrating Christmas with three other families and the holiday promises to be filled with conversation, children's laughter and the warmth of companionship. This is truly a blessing and we are so glad to be here.
Another little angel, this time a fabric and felt ornament, came out of a box of my Mom's things. She had it hanging up all year long, as she did many of my fabric creations.
I think of her and my Dad often during this season, but know that they are sending down their love and blessings especially during this festive time.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Surprise!

Two days ago, a package arrived in the mail and I was really perplexed as to who had sent it, since I didn't recognize the name on the return address.
As I debated on whether I should even open it, I suddenly remembered that I had won a prize in a giveaway on The Bunnies Bungalow, a blog by Debra K ! I was so delighted!
The box contained a lovely gold star dish, a star-shaped gold basket, two gift bags, a spool of ribbon and a lovely chocolate bar. The theme of stars and gold was wonderfully carried out and it amazed me that I had received such a thoughtful package from a complete stranger.
Debra, many thanks. It was a very bright moment in my holiday season and each item will be put to good use. I wish you and your family a wonderful, very happy Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Holly Angel

Here's the little paper angel from two entries back, this time done in fabric over felt with a painted face. Over the years I've made angels in many forms and always enjoy designing and embellishing them.
Lately I've been preparing for Christmas, decorating and buying gifts. Can't wait to spend time with family and especially my daughter. I'm hoping to have some good "hanging out" time with her and my husband. We'll be visiting some very dear relatives and I know we'll have a great time.
Knowing how antsy I get if I'm not working with my hands, I'm preparing some hand quilting to bring with me. We'll have plenty to do, but I'll bring some sewing and the old sketch pad for whatever ideas that happen along!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Holiday Card

I recently came across this card from a few years ago. The design elements are cut from fused fabric and mounted on a blank card. I love to use different patterns and textures to add richness to a picture.

I'm cooking up a "giveway" for my blog's first anniversary in January. I never realized when I began blogging how much I would enjoy it! It has given me a chance to record some of the work I've done over the past year, but the nicest part has been the great people I have met through our blogs. I am constantly amazed by the talented artists and writers whose work I otherwise would never have seen if it were not for links from other blogs. I'm also inspired by the work ethic I see in some people. Their constant flow of work and ideas makes me want to try out new techniques and produce more in 2008. I think that being open to new ways of self expression is what it's all about! Creativity is an important part of my life and I'm grateful to be able to share that with others

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Paper Angel

Here's a simple little angel, fashioned from parchment paper, a wooden ball and a circle of gold paper. I've used this pattern in various ways over the years, but love the stark simplicity of it done without frills, in natural colors. I'll show the same pattern with a totally different look in a future entry!

I was delighted to find out today that I was a winner in a give- away over at The Bunnies' Bungalow . This is a great blog, recommended to me by my blogging friend KJ over at Eye-Dyllic. KJ's blog is full of great quotations, vintage illustrations, and is always fun and interesting to read! You should check out both blogs - I'm sure you'll enjoy them!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Something New

Yesterday my husband gave me an early Christmas gift - the Apple MacBook on which I am writing this entry. I had an inkling that he had done this after he and my daughter went to the Apple store very early on the morning after Thanksgiving. Although they were getting a new laptop for Kate, I just had a funny feeling.....
The idea of learning something new (I had used only a PC before this) scared me no end, but my daughter assures me that I will be able to handle the new system and that she will give me personalized lessons when we get together at Christmas. How lucky am I !!
It did snow here last night and everything is white, punctuated by the remaining leaves in various shades of brown. It's a bit bleak outside, with a promise of more snow to come. A good day for getting some work done!!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Getting into the Spirit

Just hung the wreath on our front door and got a little thrill from that first bit of decorating! Taking
out the decorations, turning them over in my hands and remembering where each came from is such a lovely part of the season. Lights are starting to appear in windows and all sorts of ornaments adorn front lawns. It's fun to see how different people express their feelings about the season. For me, listening to a Perry Como Christmas CD in my car and going to a holiday craft fair is enough to give me a warm feeling. The weatherman tells us we may have snow this weekend - a perfect backdrop for festive decorations!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all of my family and friends, and to all who may happen upon my blog today, I wish you happiness and peace on this beautiful holiday! Here's to a grateful heart and an appreciation of all that we have, whatever it may be!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Fall in New England

What a day! Leaves are blowing and drifting, trees are becoming bare, and this all results in a blanket of yellow on everyone's lawn!
Like most people in this part of the world, my husband and I spent today doing lawn work. Bill raked leaves and I cut back our front bushes and cleaned up the perennial beds.

Here are a few of the trees around our yard which have yet to release their glorious leaves. More work for the future, but for now, so much beauty to enjoy!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Little Comforts

It's coming up to six months since my mother and dad passed away, their deaths occurring less than a year after my brother Joe died. There are certainly ups and downs in the process of grieving - waves of emotion when you least expect them, memories triggered by everyday occurrences or sights . So, when I saw this little book in Borders book store, it seemed like something that would be helpful and, well, comforting. It's a lovely book, with quotations, prayers and poems for all sorts of situations, and I love the sweet illustration on the cover.

There have been bright spots, too, during this healing time. My mom was a prolific house plant gardener, always able to start a new plant from a cutting, a leaf or a root. I, on the other hand, feel slightly squeamish when given a plant! Will this plant survive under my care, I wonder. A green thumb I do not have!

So, I was happily surprised when one of the plants I had taken from my parents' apartment began to bloom recently and I recognized it as my mom's Christmas cactus!!! How many years had I marveled at the beauty of this plant. I'm sure this is an offshoot of her original gigantic plant, but I feel so honored to have it! I feel like she's saying, "I'm still here, bringing beauty and comfort to your life! But, please, don't forget to water me!"

I'm pretty sure I can hear her laughing.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Oak Leaf Table Runner

I made this table runner in a class given by my friend, Carol MacDougall. It involved a lot of cutting, fusing and machine applique, but I just love the colors and patterns of the fabrics which were picked out by Carol and assembled into kits. It was fun to let someone else make the choices and to simply follow directions! I usually design most of what I make, but the class was relaxing and enjoyable, and it's always great to pull this piece out in the Fall.
Time to start some holiday crafts for gifts and for sale! I'm way behind!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

My Family

I have a great family - I'm so fortunate. Here we are at my nephew's wedding in September.
Bill is very patient about my projects scattered all over the house. If the dining table is stacked with fabric, batting, scissors and what-all, and I apologize, he'll jokingly say, "I see nothing!!"
Our daughter, Kate, lives in New York City and works at NYU. She is a creative force, making technical artwork and installations, a graduate of the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU. Much of her work incorporates her quirky sense of humor and always reflects her interest in ways of communicating.
My life is blessed in so many ways, but I feel especially lucky to have such a loving support system in my family. This is what inspires my art and crafts and allows me to try new things.
What could be more important?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Flower Magnets

Here are some samples of the magnets I made for the Fair this weekend. I think the many years I spent working in framing galleries make me feel like I need to frame everything!!!
Anyway, these are made from fabric and stiffened felt, and the little flowers are cut directly from lace trims. I really love to cut little tiny things and have to force myself to work larger! Now, what does that say about me? Hmmm....

Thursday, October 25, 2007

New Work

Here is an applique picture which I just completed for my Arts & Crafts Society's show and sale, which will take place this weekend. It is a compilation of motifs cut from decorator fabric samples, which are available at a local fabric store. Even the lace was a very small fabric sample!
I think I cut apart three different floral fabrics and assembled the individual flowers into a "bouquet". The entire piece was simply stretched over stretcher strips and the back covered with a piece of stiff interfacing, with a wire for hanging. All of the picture elements were fused to the backing fabrics and sewn with a zig-zag stitch around the edges! The finished size is 12" x 16".
This piece was a pleasure to make with such lovely fabric samples to work with!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cats, Cats, Cats!

Okay, I realize that I am more or less fixated on cats as a theme. In September I showed you a little stuffed cat, which resembled, in position and general shape, a fabric picture of my cat Kristy which I had posted in March. And now I am sharing this needlefelted cat which I made in a class a few days ago!

Let me just say that I also like birds, people, flowers, leaves and houses as themes. Also landscapes, abstracts, faces and hands. But somehow I always go back to cats!

The needlefelting class was fun. I wanted to get the feel of it so that I can needlefelt strands of colored wool roving into an applique wool landscape I had made a couple of years ago. I'm thinking it will give it a more impressionist look. We'll see! I'll post a picture of it when it's completed!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Creative Encounter

Today I took a needlefelting workshop and, on the way home, stopped at a quilt show. As it was nearly closing time, I ran in and decided to quickly check out the vendors. The work at one booth looked vaguely familiar, and I soon discovered that it was the work of a friend from many years ago, Rosemary Hoffenberg. She was selling her beautifully dyed fabrics and some wonderful small wall hangings. This one caught my eye and I just had to have it!
Rosemary has a great website, which you can find here. Her sense of design has always intrigued me and no one can top her gorgeous fabrics. It was great to catch up with an old friend!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Country Fair

My wish of a few days ago came true yesterday as I went to a country fair in Topsfield, MA with members of my needlearts guild. It was a beautiful Autumn day and our focus was on the Arts and Crafts.

In the needlework exhibit, a clever shirt and tie wallhanging caught our attention, as well as a beautiful felted tea cosy. Most of the work - quilts, embroidery, counted cross-stitch, crochet, etc. - was very inspiring, and the demonstrations were well done and educational. I had never heard of bunka embroidery, but may give it a try after seeing this beautiful demonstration.
This wonderful quilt was part of the Beekeeping exhibit.

After seeing 4-H demonstrations, cows, chickens, floral arrangements, vegetables,etc., we agreed that it had been a fun day!

Monday, October 1, 2007


This is my favorite month! I love the crispness in the air on an October day in New England. The colors of the leaves, the chill in the air, the promise of winter... I know that many people hate to see the summer end, but to me, this is the most beautiful time of year.
I'm anxious for Harvest Fairs, walking through the leaves, even raking them!!(although I'll regret saying that when my back aches!)
Which reminds me, I'd better get to work on some items for my Arts & Crafts Society's Annual Fair later in the month!! I have a few projects started and will post them when they are completed!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fear of Flying

This fabric picture has a story behind it. A few years ago, my then 23 year old daughter Kate went on a solo trip to Mexico. Not being a great traveler myself, I was worried about her and the possible things that could go wrong for her as she traveled alone. On top of this, my husband found out that he had a business trip to Hong Kong and was scheduled to leave on the same day!
It was a stressful day for me, the professional worrier, but I could also see the humor in my situation, as my two nearest and dearest flew off in different directions while I stayed behind and fretted.
I'm a few years older now and don't worry quite as much as I used to. But as I wait today for my husband to arrive home from another trip to the Far East, I look at this picture and smile at the memory, grateful that everything turned out just fine.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Byzantine Bracelet

Here's what I have accomplished lately - a chain maille bracelet that I started in a class a few months ago. It is made from sterling silver jump rings. There is nothing terribly creative about it - simply learn the pattern and how to handle jump rings.....OK, the truth: it was hard for me and, although I had learned the pattern in class, once I let it sit for awhile at home I was totally confused as to how to continue. Fortunately one of my creative friends, SooKhim, helped me to get back on the right track! And my good friend Andrea put it through her tumbler and out it came with a beautiful shine! Finished at last!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Refreshing a Footstool

Sometimes I feel that doing the simplest, least creative project with fabric is very comforting and rewarding. I bought this little footstool a few years ago. It was inexpensive, covered with rattan, and had cheap wheels on the bottom. But it opens for storage and is just the perfect small size for in front of my chair. One by one the wheels fell off, and my husband replaced them with better ones. Then recently the rattan started peeling away (perhaps with the help of kitty claws?) and I was just about to ditch it when I decided to try recovering it. The fabric was a half price remnant and I had some batting left over from another project. Not as difficult as I thought, more comfortable than before, and a feeling of accomplishment for recycling something that would have ended up in the trash!!
The best part of the photo is the beautiful needlepoint pillow on the chair. This was made by my mother and I have always loved it. To the left of the chair is a stack of mostly craft and quilting magazines just waiting to be devoured!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Back to Blogging!

After over a month's absence, I'm back to blogging again! I've spent a lot of time reading other blogs and trying to decide in which direction I want to go - more fabric art and less craft, or vice versa? I finally came to the conclusion that I don't have enough fun with crafts. I made a list of things I want to make and discovered that most of them are crafts. My arts and crafts society has two sales coming up and that is a great incentive to get going!

Here's a kitty I made a while back, and on which I recently embroidered a little face. I did make the pattern myself and would be happy to share it, if anyone would like it. Next on my list are some fabric and felt magnets. The weather is (for now, anyway) turning cooler here in New England and it's a great time to sit out on my little screened-in porch and do some stitching!

Monday, August 13, 2007

"The Kiss"

A few years ago, I made this fabric version of Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss" as a special order for a client. (You can click on photo for a larger version.) The finished version was about 30" long - a large piece of work for me. Here was my chance to use all kinds of fabrics, from cottons to sheers, and a great opportunity to embellish with beads, buttons and sequins. The end result was quite glitzy, and my clients loved it. They had it professionally framed, but I never did see the final result. It was a new experience to work on an interpretation of an artist's work. I do love the decorative quality of Klimt's work and some day I'd love to do a version of one of Matisse's paintings for myself.

Friday, July 27, 2007


My creativity has been all but forgotten lately as we go about the bittersweet task of cleaning out my parents' apartment. My mother died four weeks ago today, just about four weeks after my dad's death. Such a shock.

My sister, brother and I have had our share of weeping, reminiscing and laughing as we find forgotten photos and memorabilia from the past. Apart from the furniture, knick-knacks and personal possessions, the greatest treasures are our own personal memories which we carry in our hearts.

I'm finding myself seeking some time for reflection, solace in time spent laughing with friends, and especially the comfort of time spent with my own family.

My good friend Debbie brought me two coneflower plants, one for each of my parents. I'm not much of a gardener, but the act of planting them with my husband became a kind of ceremony in a way. And seeing the lovely flowers each day gives me a sense of peace and appreciation for the kindness of a friend.

Thanks, Deb.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Cat Tale #3

We had beautiful, sunny weather in New England today. Early this morning I caught our cat Kristy stretching in the sun with a stone cat I use as a door stop. They are about the same size and look like pals on the carpet by the front door.
Like most cats, Kristy has her own special "hangouts" around the house, her favorite being our little screened-in porch. Sun, birds to spy on, insects to chase - did I mention sun? Cat heaven!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Country Wall Hanging

I made this wall hanging last year and sold it at our fall sale at Lexington Arts & Crafts Association. It's entirely made from pieces of commercial fabric pieced together with machine satin stitch. The little lace inner border and flower buttons added, I thought, a whimsical touch.
Making little pictorial wall hangings is something I've enjoyed for many years. I have a big box of fabric scraps backed with fusible web, and, when the mood strikes, it's fun to snip away shapes, iron them down, and stitch up a picture!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

For Mom

My dear mom passed away on June 28. Although she had been ill, her death came much sooner than expected. She was a kind, interesting, and funny woman who loved her family, all kinds of handwork, volunteering and doing crossword puzzles. She was a lady in every sense of the word.

If you have read my previous posts, you know that my dad passed away at the end of May. I can't help but think that she wanted to be with him. They were married for 64 years and knew each other since they were children. She recently told my aunt that she was "crazy about the guy".

After she died, there was a heavy thunderstorm. When that had ended, my niece Amy stood up and said excitedly, "Look out the window!" We raised the blinds at her hospital window and saw a huge rainbow stretched across the sky.

Thanks for the sign, Mom.
We love you.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Family Ties

In the past three weeks, our family has suffered a great loss. My dad had been ill, as I wrote in my last entry. Then, without warning, my mom suffered a ruptured aneurysm in her brain, had endovascular surgery, and is still recovering in the hospital. Four days after her emergency, my dad passed away.

I have so many, many fond memories of my parents together, and as I deal with the shock of recent events, I take solace in remembering some of the funny times I shared with them in the past few years. When my husband, daughter and I lived in New York, I would sometimes come alone for a visit to my folks' home in Massachusetts. After dinner, following their custom, we would watch "The Match Game" and "Wheel of Fortune" downstairs in the playroom, which my father had built years before. Dad's finger was always poised over the mute button on the remote control, ready to cancel the noise of commercials. The three of us would shout out answers to game questions, or try to solve the word puzzle.

Mom was always the best player, but Dad was master of the remote.

It's a sweet memory.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

For Dad

I haven't had much time to post recently, as my Dad is in the hospital and I've been busy with family concerns. He is 89 and suffering with dementia, and it is so difficult to see him declining.
I'm showing a piece which I did about three or four years ago. I love roses and these peachy blooms were fashioned from several different peach fabrics while the vase is a sheer on sheer printed fabric. I stitched heavily all over it and used a little bit of embroidery also.
My Dad had a rose bush years ago with blossoms like this and once in a while he would present me with a single rose, the stem wrapped in waxed paper, when I came to visit.
This is for you, Dad.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Silver Clay Bracelet

Here is a gift I have just finished for my sister-in law's birthday. It is a bracelet with links fashioned from silver clay, separated by green glass beads lined with silver. I am not an expert at making jewelery, but I do enjoy working with the silver clay and creating a one-of-a-kind gift!
I found the toggle at our local bead store and thought it made a pretty addition. This is not the best photograph, taken under artificial light, but I had to get the bracelet packed up tonight so that I can get it in the mail first thing in the morning!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Needlearts Challege

My Needlearts Guild has a challenge for our upcoming show. Those of us who are interested in participating bought a yard of the same red flowered fabric which we were to use to create an original project for the exhibit.
Here's my result! The fabric had an Asian feel and when I saw some "Geisha" panels for sale at a recent quilt show, I knew that I had found my project. The ladies originally had very white faces, but I decided to shade their skin very lightly with peach Prismacolor pencil. I also used gold fabric paint on their hair ornaments to add a shimmer to go with the gold in the challenge fabric.
I'm looking forward to taking some pictures of everyone's work at the show and will post some of them on my blog. Meanwhile, if you live near Lexington, MA you can check out the show May 8 -26 at the Lexington Arts & Crafts Society on Waltham street. Here's the website:

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Paper Quilt

A friend sent me a paper quilt challenge which I decided to try. I missed the deadline, but decided to finish it anyway, since I have enough UFO's lying around as it is! I used scrapbook paper, machine stitching, stamping and beading. I'm hoping to make two more flowers and call it a series. Also, I was happy to find a perfect 12"x12" frame at a craft store, which makes framing easier. I took the photograph without glass on the picture, but will add glass and separate it from the artwork with narrow strips of matboard to avoid crushing it.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Fabric House Portrait

I recently finished a house portrait for a client. The project had taken me much longer to finish than expected, but my client was wonderfully patient and pleased with the final result!

I began with a drawing based on photos of a vacation home on a lake in Maine.
I had the original drawing enlarged, then put the enlargement on a light table and traced the different components on Wonder Under on the reverse side of the drawing. I then chose fabrics for the house, trees, etc., and ironed the Wonder Under-ed components on to the backs of these fabrics. After cutting out these components, I reassembled the "puzzle pieces" and ironed them down to create the picture.

All pieces were stitched down with a zig-zag stitch, some textile paints were used for shading, flowers were hand embroidered, and a linen border was added. It felt so good to finish this project and to know that my client was pleased!!!

I've done many house portraits over the years, and doing this one reminded me of how much I enjoy the process. The main drawback, as with any handwork, is that it is nearly impossible to charge for the many hours that go into such a piece of work! It's an artisan's dilemma!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Snow in April!

Yesterday, my good friend Debbie came to my door with this Easter gift - a gorgeous African violet! Then, last night, we had a snowfall and I thought it looked lovely on the windowsill with a snowy bush right outside the window. Ah, New England - snow in April!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


Lately, my mind has been darting around, reluctant to focus on any one project. I have a commissioned house portrait to finish this week, a quilted paper flower in process, a new package of silver art clay just begging to be shaped into a pendant or earrings..... It's a rainy week and I have the blahs! Must get going tomorrow and jump back in!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Silver Clay Beaded Necklace

Today I completed this necklace, gave it to my mom and felt wonderful to see how delighted she was with it. I had formed the pendant earlier from silver art clay, embossed the design and had it fired. Then I added it to a necklace I had beaded in some of her favorite colors.
This is a new addiction of mine - silver clay, that is. I've taken a couple of classes and intend to take more. My friend Andrea is a gem for exposing me to this and other new crafts. She's a great influence and a wonderful artisan. I have several talented friends whose work I am hoping to show on my blog in the near future.
Right now I am working on a paper quilt square which I'll soon have ready to post!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Cat Tale #2

Our Kristy is a good little cat. She weighs around 8 lbs. and looks like a young cat, although she is actually nearly 14 years old. Part of her tail had to be amputated, due to an infection, when she was a 'teenager', so that only adds to her petite image! When our family moved from Long Island, NY to Massachusetts, she traveled like a good little sailor on the ferry to Connecticut. This fabric picture shows her looking suspiciously like she just pulled a flower from the vase. (It could happen!)
She is a real 'talker', and always greets me with a little chirp when I come into the room. She's our 3rd cat. We've had a Frisky, another gray tabby, a Whisky (Whiskers), a calico, and now Kristy. The fact that all the names sound similar has definitely been confusing!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Landscape with Handpainted Fabric

I finally finished this picture! I added stitching and a bit of shading with Prismacolor pencils, and also deepened the colors of the front piece of grass. I used some freeform machine embroidery and added a few beads. Also decided not to add trees - just go with the fluid flow of the different levels of ground. It was a fun exercise and I'm happy with the result.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

New Work

I am working on a landscape using all handpainted fabric. Our Fiber Art Network group had spent an afternoon two months ago painting fabric with transparent Pebeo Setacolor paints. Frankly, I was not that impressed with my own results! But later I started cutting into some of the fabrics after heat setting and was pleased to see a nice landscape taking shape. Then came a sense of pride in the fact that I had 'created' all of the fabrics myself.

Previously I had always used commercial fabrics with perhaps a handpainted fabric for the sky. The top photo was made with all commercial prints and machine appliqued with a zigzag stich. The bottom photo is my new effort with the handpainted fabric. I'm trying to decide whether to use straight or satin stitch, but so far I'm pleased with the progress of the piece. I may change out the two dark plum shapes for some slightly lighter colors, since I think they stand out a bit too much. Time to play, switch things around and live with the design a bit before stiching. I hope to have it done for my next post!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Home Sweet Home!

One of my favorite themes in fabric pictures or crafts is the home. For years I did commisioned fabric house portraits and I was always moved by the strong feelings my clients had for their homes. Several years ago my husband and I visited England and when we returned I made this little three dimensional cottage. It was constructed with matboard covered with appliqued fabric. Around the base I embroidered silk flowers. It is very simple, but looks sweet in a nook on my bookcase.