Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reflecting on 2008 and the New Millennium

As I think back on 2008 it has been an eventful year.
NO, you are not going to get a report on everything I've done!!!!!!!!!!
Instead I'm going to share some photos from a very memorable New Year's Eve with you.
Who can forget New Years Eve 2000? We were all concerned about what was going to happen when the clocks and computers tried to change from 1999 to 2000. As it turned out there were no significant problems.
I did have jugs of water ready and that was about it!

This was the year my 8 grandchildren each received their Milllennium Quilts I made for Christmas.

Please click on the article and photo and they'll enlarge so can read the story about the quilts.

Jerry and I are showing one of the quilts to Uncle Joe and Aunt Sue. You remember Aunt Sue - she's the one who makes the great hand made Christmas cards but you can't see her, only a little of Uncle Joe's face!

For one family of grandchildren this started a tradition of sleeping in the living room with their quilts around the Christmas tree on New Years Eve.

The quilts are made to sleep under ONLY ON NEW YEAR'S EVE or other special occasions. They each came with a journal to keep track of where they were, who they were with and to put photos in.

The local grandchildren joined us for a New Year's Eve children's party. They made games, played games, ate lots of good stuff, made noise, tried to break the pinata, and watched the fireworks. The fireworks were one of the neatest things as all our neighbors were all shooting off fireworks and we were also seeing them on the TV right next to the glass doors. They all stayed up and welcomed the New Year in in New York and were still wide awake when we welcomed the New Year in Wisconsin. Then they fell asleep under their quilts.
The newspaper photo was taken at our party.
They made a time capsule which I have for safe keeping for them to open in ????.

I wish you all a Very Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

As 2008 is coming to a close. . . . . .

Time seems to spin faster and faster each year.
I am pleased to have finished 20 quilts in 2008. The two previous years I only finished 2 each year.
I have no UFO's.
It is indeed a good feeling.
Of course my upcoming solo show with 40 quilts in the show and numerous quilts for sale in the gift shop had a lot to do with that.
Somehow there's nothing like a deadline!

As some of you may know I celebrated my 25,000 day old birthday on February 29th!
What a unique combination to reach this milestone on Leap Day! I had a big party at my home in Florida with 64 guests. It was such a fun party as no one had ever been to a 25,000 day old party before. I got to make the rules!
There was a very strict no gift rule and of course no one who brought a bottle of wine considered it a gift! I did have 2 good friends who circumvented the rule by giving me a "hostess gift"!
I had intended to make all the food - appetizers and desserts - but being Florida so many friends brought something that I hardly had to do any cooking. My part was providing the Mardi Gras type welcome necklaces each with 3 flamingoes and a sun that everyone got as they came in. The people who finished the get acquainted game (all about me) recieved a lighted flashing flamingo pin. Flashing flamingoes were also given out to those who were an answer to one of the questions on the get acquainted game - and there were people there from various stages in my life who all live in FL now.
Of course flamingoes were evident both outside and inside any place I could think to put them. And I also provided everyones favorite beverages. It was dark when people left and they could then see the changing color light balls I had lined the walkways with. All in all, I have to say it was my best party ever.
I don't think anyone took any photos - they were all too busy having fun.

One more thing - before the rest of you quilters hate me because I have no UFO's I have to explain.
I have ONLY 79 works in progress!!!! I work hard to keep that number under 100. When it threatens to get over 100 I move some things to the rework or abandon list. Then I don't have to count them. I recently started another list called "Maybe I don't want to finish it". I don't have to count those either.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Seldom Inn

When I learned you can have M & M's made to say anything you want I thought that was such a neat idea. But - what could I put on them? Then it occurred to me "Seldom Inn", the name I christened our Florida home.
And I chose magenta and purple as these are 2 of the colors in my decor there.
I have a plane ticket to Florida for tomorrow morning.
I have decided to remain in Wisconsin until after my show.
Yes, it's cold, wet and unpredictable right now in Wisconsin.
And it is warm in Florida. Why would anyone make such a decision????
Well, if I go to Florida for 3 weeks, returning for my show opening January 25th the weather here is going to be very hard to take. If I stay here until after the opening I'll be conditioned to the weather and I will be able to tolerate it. So that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Here is one a dolls made from milk filters from the 50's. I asked my Quilt Art friends if any one had a picture and as usual they came through with several photos, directions to make them and even a place to buy the supplies! I'm not going to start making them. If you recognize this you probably were around in that time period. It all started when a friend and I were trying to out do each other with the tackiest thing we could think of. At the time my mom made these we thought they were beautiful and were thrilled to have one. Fast forward to the 21st century and they rate right up near the top as tacky! I have found several mail lists where these are discussed with fondness and people still are making there evidently. What would your pick be as the tackiest thing you could think of or have?

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Everyone who looked at this quilt said "WOW"!
So that's what I named it. It is about 98 x 50 inches in size.
I used decorator fabrics for this quilt. They won't fade as easily as quilt fabrics. It hangs in the sunroom directly across from the 10 feet of glass. I wasn't about to take a chance putting so much work into something that might fade quickly if I used quilt fabric.
It was designed for this wall. It was a real challenge to hang. It has a double thickness second back put on after quilting. That is open at the center to slide 2 pieces of foam core in. Slats are taped to the foam core to hold it rigid.
There are buttonholes in the backing fabric and holes in the foam core in the same location. Getting the holes in both to line up with the hooks on the wall was a major challenge for my husband and myself. I would compare it to a husband and wife trying to wall paper a small bathroom together!
Originally this wall was off white. When I did some redecorating I had it painted this high gloss green which really makes the quilt pop. After the wall was painted it was the painters job to rehang it.

I hope you enjoy doing the WOW puzzle today.

Click to Mix and Solve

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gradual Gradations 7

This is the quilt you saw in the background on the Christmas Eve photos.
It was done with fabric I dyed with a special method I developed. It was cut into strips and then manipulated.

Here is another view of the same quilt. It is hanging in the Anderson Arts Center during my previous solo exhibition. It uses the "tool" of intersecting fields of color.

This is a closeup of the quilting. You can click on it to enlarge it. The quilting was designed to enhance the curves created by the manipulation of the colors. I had to do a lot of starting and stopping when I quilted this. I tried to come up with a design that would require less starting and stopping but nothing else was appropriate for the design. This photo also is closest to the true colors of the quilt.
Today's puzzle is my other favorite Bella. She belongs to my friend Tommy Fitzsimmons.
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Friday, December 26, 2008

Once Upon a Time, a long, long time ago. . . . .

I used to quilt by hand.

I quilted this entirely by hand. It deserved hand quilting. Some quilts are better quilted by hand. When possible I like to see traditional quilts quilted by hand.
This is also one of the quilts that will be in the gift shop at my show in January.
The details about the show are in the top right column on this page.

I never thought my hand quilting was that great, but as I look at the stitches on the photo they're really pretty decent. You can click on this photo to get a closer look at the quilting.

The quilts I am currently creating call for the sharper lines and curves created by machine quilting. The effect of hand quilting would soften the strong graphic images I currently create and that is not what those quilts need.
That is one of the wonderful things about quilting - it's not a one size fits all art.

That is also one of the things I think about when creating the puzzles for you to enjoy. They are not a one size fits all thing as some of you like the easier ones and some of you love the challenge of a harder one with more pieces.

Tonight's puzzle is also another quilt that will be in the gift shop at my show. It is made from silk I marbled and the border is a gorgeous piece of deep red cotton sateen. The quilt actually hangs vertically and is a little narrower than what you see in the puzzle. I resize photos to make them fit the puzzle size better.

Click to Mix and Solve

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Eve and Day all at once

We celebrated Christmas morning on Christmas Eve day.
This was our first traditional Christmas brunch in the dining room since we no longer have to be concerned about spilled milk!
I make an egg dish with bacon, mushrooms, potatoes O'Brien, eggs, cheese and Lawry's seasoned salt.
We also have a fruit salad, cranberry-orange juice, milk, tea and coffee.
I'm not forgetting my daughter in law Julie's home made cinnamon rolls. Delicious.

After brunch we cleaned up and relaxed while watching a Christmas movie.

Then it is time to start preparations for our traditional hor deuvre buffet. Home made meatballs in my special sauce, boiled shrimp, ham,cheese and crackers, deviled eggs, veggies and dip, and to drink hot mulled apple cider.

After everyone has seconds and thirds we clean up quickly so we can enjoy the much anticipated opening of the gifts.

This is our designated Santa practicing his Ho, Ho, Ho's!

They're anticipating gifts.

Jared was excited when he saw the check. He wanted to know if it was to spend or save?

In addition to making quilts I make things with polymer clay. Jessica is showing the bowl I made her. When the kids made polymer clay things with me this summer they left their excess canes behind. I used them to make bowls, notebooks and pens for them and their parents.

Looks like Nicholas is trying to hide behind his bowl

Greg is showing the bowl he received.

Before we had our Christmas cookies we were wished a Merry Christmas in song. I wish I could have recorded it for you all to enjoy.
Now if you are thinking this blog is supposed to be about quilts, if you looked carefully you saw one of my quilts in the background of two photos. Eventually I'll share the whole quilt with you.

Now join the family in singing "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" as you do this puzzle.
Click to Mix and Solve

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Mandala

This is a piece of fabric I dyed. I love the unplanned and unexpected things that happened when the dyes blended as I created this. The bright colors make me think of Christmas lights.

There is someone in our family who shall remain nameless who used to decorate his house with thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands) of lights. More than one person has referred to The Griswolds in Christmas Vacation when talking about this house!
Click to Mix and Solve

Or is this the real Santa Claus??????

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Santa Please Bring Me. . . . . .

Jared brought his list to Santa so he was sure Santa would know what to bring him.
He pointed out the items on the list to Santa.
I don't see Nicholas list. He must have remembered to send his letter.
Will he get the present under the tree Christmas morning that were on the list?
Is this the real Santa?

Do you think Jared had a Rubik's Cube on his list?
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Monday, December 22, 2008

Spirograph Quilt

Digital Camera Fun
When I changed this quilt into this circular design it reminded me of the Spirograph's my children got from Santa. Do they still make them? I still have two sets up in the studio.

The men very seldom came up to my studio. One year when we had so many people here my son brought over a big screen TV and set it up in the studio. Of course after dinner we knew where to find the men!
The Spirographs are on one of the lower shelves at the right of the photo. When we were building the addition my husband had to carry our granddaughter up the old pull down stair way so she could see the roughed in studio. She said "Grandpa, this is where my shelf is going to be." That area is still the grandchildren's shelf, although they find things all over the studio to use to create things.

Santa came to visit our house when our oldest son was 3. I saw the gauze Halloween type mask Santa was wearing and thought this is going to spoil his relationship with Santa for the rest of his life.
But he just looked at Santa and he truly believed. "Oh, Santa" he repeated over and over. Was this the REAL Santa or is he yet to appear on my blog?

Click to Mix and Solve

I decided I would check up on Spirograph before I sent this. I found this on line version you might enjoy at:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Red Sky At Morning

This quilt has an optically dimensional appearance to it.
I created these strip pieced units according to a formula I devised. I played with them until I was satisfied with the arrangement. The gray vertical strips contribute to the dimensional appearance. This is one of the quilts that will be in the gift shop at my show in January.

You won't see this one in the gift shop. I just taught myself how to change the colors of a photo.

Red sky at morning, sailors take warning
Red sky at night, sailors delight.
I'm sure we didn't have a red sky last night. This has been the coldest day we've had this season. Not only is it cold, we have a lot of beautiful fluffy show that the wind is blowing every which way. Our temperatures today ranged from -2 degrees to a plus 5!
When the wind let up I could see it blew open the door on the shed on the "Back Forty".
There is too much snow to even wade through to close the door. It would mean shoveling 2 feet of snow to move the door. Fortunately the shed is empty. And in 3 or 4 months the snow will melt - I hope. And it's really not the "Back Forty" - it's only the "Back Thirty"! And make that 30 feet!

I should be in Florida where it was 77 degrees at noon.

I think it is time to think Florida. I hope this will make you feel like you are in Florida enjoying the sunshine.
Click to Mix and Solve
This is my sister in law Carol enjoying the lanai in Florida. The quilt on the wall is Apple Blossom Time. It is done in decorator fabrics. It attaches to the wall with industrial strength Velcro. We can take it down when we are not there.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Time To Trim The Tree

Digital Cameras Fun
I've created some Christmas ornaments for you with a few of my quilts.

Digital Cameras Tools
I hope you enjoy them.

Process photos from digital cameras

This "real" tree belongs to my sister Karen, her husband Clay and their dog Bella.
It is a very interesting artistic metal tree decorated with woodsy ornaments, perfect for their home on the lake.

Bella is today's puzzle. Bella is always so excited to see me. I've used my favorite cut, "the lizard cut", for this puzzle.
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Friday, December 19, 2008

My Favorite Santa

My favorite Santa appeared on my blog last night but I wanted you to see him better.
Here is a close up of him. He is my very favorite Santa.

He is holding rolls of quilting fabrics. In his hand is a spool of thread and the sewing basket the doll holds has thread, scissors, fabric, pins and a thimble. He is a most appropriate Santa for me.

I had a wonderful evening tonight hosting a dinner for my siblings. Last year on Christmas Day we were all together without our extended families. I enjoyed it so much I decided to invite them all here. Of course it is always fun when the entire family gets together but there is something special about getting together with just the sisters, brother and spouses. We had a wonderful dinner and lots of good conversation. I furnished the main course and each one of them contributed to the meal.
I'd like to introduce you to my sisters, brother and spouses.

I am the oldest and after me comes Karen.

This is Karen's husband Clay.

Next in line is Connie.

Our brother Bill is the youngest.

Here is Bill's wife and our favorite sister in law Mary.
I think you can tell by looking at everyone what a good time we had.

Bill feels we always do more girls stuff rather than man stuff. So in his honor he and his lovely wife Mary will be your puzzle tonight. On the wall behind them is one of my quilts. I do hope I get a comment from their son Craig when he reads tonights blog and does the puzzle! After all, I am his favorite Aunt Kay.
Click to Mix and Solve