Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Longer I Quilt, The Harder It Gets


This is the first “original design” quilt I made way back when. At least I thought it was original. I found the design in a McCall’s quilting publication, one of the few quilt booklets available in the 1970’s.

I changed it by substituting the natural muslin for the cutsey yellow print in the one in the book and I doubled the size of all the pieces.

I used Barbara Johannah’s half square triangle method (now a quilting standard) with 1/2 inch seams to make the triangles. I hand quilted it since NO ONE was machine quilting way back when!

I made the quilt top in an afternoon and quilted it in a few days.

I ended up with enough half square triangles for a second quilt as I didn’t read the directions thoroughly!

Of course I now know that changing out a few things on a design does NOT make it original!


Fast forward to this morning………..

The seeds for this design were planted several weeks ago. While they grew I had to do some weeding, add some fertilizer. some rain, some lightning and thunder and some sunshine.

I am struggling with Phase 2 on my current composition. I thought I’d add a soft light black and white shibori to the outer edges.

It took away the vibrancy I’d created in Phase 1.

So this morning I am trying a mottled yellow hand dyed fabric.

I think the vibrancy is back, but I don’t want to overwhelm what I created in Phase 1.

You can see both choices in this photo.

It is going to take me some time to made a decision and I will probably try out other fabrics in these positions.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Shibori Composition–First Phase Sewn


Looks simple doesn’t it?

It was anything but………..

I have over 35 pictures of different things I tried along the way. There were also many things I tried that didn’t get photographed.

Cutting the pieces and making them fit together was also a challenge.

There were a lot of inset corners.


This is where I started. I won’t show all the steps along the way.

I will be adding more to this. I had to get first phase sewn before I could make a decision on if and what and where to add to it.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Shibori–One Thing Leads To Another


If you have been following my blog posts you have seen some of these fabrics before.

Any time I create a composition and it does not work for me it gives me clues to something else.


This is what it looked like when I finished working on it last night. It’s getting there but it still needs a lot of work.

I have made a lot of changes to it today but my camera battery died again. Guess I need a new battery that lasts a little longer.

Monday, June 17, 2013

More Shibori Design Try Outs


While working on the design ideas yesterday I got the idea to try out this start of a composition.

The proportions are not right and it needs more work or it may be a false start.


This is the start of another design possibility. It would be so much easier if I could come up with some type of formula to use my shibori and other patterned hand dyed fabrics.

That’s not really possible as I am dyeing such a variety of colors, designs and sizes. At some time that may happen, but right now I am just trying to come up with compositions which make the best use of the fabrics I’ve dyed. I know not everyone works with shibori fabrics this way, but it is my working style at the present time.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Shibori Fabric Design Experiments



When working with these fabrics everything is a new experience. Each fabric is different.

This is the beginning of one trial with some of the fabrics.


I have used fabrics from quite a few different years dyeing activities that I am trying out.

I can see possibilities with these. When I photograph arrangements and look at them on the computer much becomes apparent that wasn’t obvious when I look at the design on the wall.


This is a little better than the last view. I don’t think I’ll be actually creating a quilt with it though.

Working this way gives me other ideas and tomorrow is another day, another composition with some of these fabrics and some others.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

What Were You Doing One Year Ago Today?

One of the things that makes keeping a blog worthwhile is I can look at previous years and see what I was doing. Of course there are some days I don’t post but I can look at the days before or after.

When I look at what I was doing a year ago today, I realize I am now enjoying what I did a year ago!

I am sure a year from now I will be enjoying what I am doing today.


My Studio: Accessories Finish The Room

As I have spent time in my newly reorganized studio my thoughts turn to using some of my quilts and other items as accessories and decorative items.

Studio decorations 2quiltsonfeltbookcase

Since my studio has a lot of windows and the long design wall it does not leave a lot of wall space to hang things. I have to think of other ways to hang quilts to make the room complete.

One solution I have come up with is to use a tension rod to hang a piece of felt to cover a bookcase.

I have pinned two quilts to the felt. This also makes it easy to change the quilts I display any time I want.

Studio decorationsofficewallbookcase

A French wood printing block and this quilt hang on the far right of the office area of the studio. Visible from the workspace in the office is the side of this bookcase. I had four 8 x 10 glossies printed of some of my quilts. I framed them with very simple black frames and they made the side of this bookcase so much more attractive.

Making my space beautiful and colorful inspires me when I am creating.

Often we have to think out of the box not only when creating art, but also when decorating a home or studio.

I hope this will give someone else some ideas.

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Significant Birthday


One of us had a significant birthday yesterday.

When I saw these shirts on my friend Rita’s Facebook page I had to find them. I was not successful and Rita steered me in the correct direction.

Like Rita and her sisters we hope to get an annual photo of us in the shirts.

If you can’t read the inscription it says “When my Sister And I get old We shall wear Purple

We will wear these until we get old and then wear them longer!

My brother Bill and SIL Mary hosted a wonderful dinner for the siblings.

And thanks BIL Clay for taking the picture.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Gazebo Is Ready To Enjoy


When we winterize the gazebo the cushions are taken out. Many things that don’t belong in it are placed inside for the winter.

It takes some time to get it ready to use.


The ice cream table and chairs are a perfect place for breakfast or lunch.

It is so nice to have a screened in area to enjoy the outdoors without being joined by the bugs.


When I was decorating/furnishing the gazebo I used a LOT of candles. I thought I would need them for light in the evening since I didn’t think I had electric or lighting here.

Was I wrong….there are more outlets than some rooms in the house and an overhead fan with lights that can be bright or dimmed!

Some of the candles were disposed of this year, but there are still enough for atmosphere.


I took advantage of the two short solid walls to add decorative accessories.


This is the other short wall with the mirrored plaques.

Ahh, summer time and the living is easy! I am enjoying my outdoor living space. It is pleasant and calming.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


imageOur peonies are late this year. Usually by this time they would have been done blooming.


My favorites are the darker colors.


I picked a bouquet so I could enjoy them in the house.

They grow on the side of the house we rarely see so having them inside is the best way to enjoy them.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Sun Is Shining, The Temperature Is 83, Time To Plant My Garden


I love all colors, but I think my favorite color for my deck accents is red.


Well maybe green and blue are my favorites?

In case you haven’t guessed, my garden is glass. I LOVE colored glass and enjoy using it as an easy way to add color to the yard.

This is just the beginning, but I take my time making sure each vignette is in a spot you can see and is attractive.

I’ll do a little each day until I am satisfied with my “plantings”!

I compare this to making a quilt as it takes time to put the right pieces together for an attractive whole.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Westosha Central High School Girls Softball Wins State Title

Our girls softball team brought home their first ever WIAA  Division 1 State Championship.

They beat Bradford high school 12 –1.

A fitting end to their 22-1 season.

Congratulations girls, coaches and parents – a team effort!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Nicholas’s Graduation


Friday was Nicholas’s high school graduation. Their class had only 7 fewer members than my graduating class did many years ago.

There was no limit on tickets as even though he attends a public school the graduation takes place in the largest church I have ever seen.


Here he is with his parents and siblings.

He will be attending the University Of Wisconsin – Madison in the fall.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Grandpa Koeper’s Rocker


This is the chair my Grandpa Koeper sat in ALL the time. Whenever you came to visit you found him here.

When my grandma passed away and we were emptying their house no one was going to take it. It was big, heavy and out of style.

I felt it had to be kept and treasured so we became the keepers of it.


Several years ago my son Greg said he’d like the chair. I had it refinished and reupholstered for him.

The upholstery is similar to what was on it.

It fits perfectly in their home and is a very comfortable chair.

There is nothing like a rocking chair!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

My Bags Are Packed....

I'm leaving on a jet plane
don't know when I'll be back again....
oh I really do...but I love this song!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Did You Know That You Can Follow My Blog


All you have to do is go to the FOLLOWERS in the right hand column and sign up.

Then you will be notified each time I put up a new post.

It is so much easier than trying to guess when something new is posted.

I have had this feature on my blog for a long time but it was somewhat recently I made it visible.

This has doubled the amount of people who follow my posts.

You will no longer have to miss something enjoy.

Making My Own Sunshine With My Shibori Fabrics


Since Mother Nature didn’t have enough sunshine for our area today I thought I’d try and make my own.

I started with these fabrics.


Knowing how black sets off anything I added black borders.


Green is Mother Nature’s neutral so I thought I’d try it. It also is a variation of one of the colors I’ve already used.


Using both green and black is more interesting.

I am enjoying playing with the fabrics I have dyed and some of the compositions have possibilities.

Time will tell!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How Does One Turn A Man’s Suit Into Luggage?


After retirement most men find little occasion to wear the expensive suits in their wardrobe.

If we had donated them (they are a size few people wear) I knew someone would cut them up to make rugs or something.

I couldn’t bear to see that happen so I have plans to use them myself.


I bought a new computer travel case after a handler at the airport broke the wheel on mine. I travel as light as possible. The new case has room for my computer and a few changes of clothes. I know from experience I need just a little more than that. I remembered a small case I had years ago that had a bag on top that fit over the handle. I saw this gorgeous black wool gabardine suit in the closet. Perfect fabric, weight and color.

I was able to use one of the pockets on the front of the bag, the perfect spot for a boarding pass.

luggage cube straponback

This is the wide “strap” on the back that slides over the computer case handle. Notice the case has very little body. I chose not to add any stiffeners so as not to add extra weight nor make it more difficult to sew and turn.


I did use the suit lining on the inside of the case.


I used two of the pant belt loops to attach a shoulder strap from another piece of luggage.

That was not successful. It was easy to attach the strap, but since it the loops were so close to the bottom (necessitated by the zipper length) the bag flipped upside down when using the strap!


Here is the computer case with the luggage “cube” on top. It measures 9” x 9” x 9”.

I think it will be the solution to being able to handle my computer and everything I need on any trip.

When I need more than this I can just ship it.


This is a close up of how it attaches to the handle.

I think this set up will work very well for me.

Of course I only used a small portion of the suit. You may see many other projects made in imported black wool gabardine!

Monday, June 3, 2013

More Black And White Shibori Possibilities


I have made on decision from my previous compositions I have shown you using my black and white shibori fabrics.

I am now trying some new things using some of the same fabrics and some new ones.


Yet another composition.


I think using color detracts from the graphic qualities of the black and white.

I don’t think I will use any of these, but they have given me ideas for another direction to go with the idea.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

How Many Coffee Table Books Can One Own?


Yesterday I mentioned on Facebook I was getting rid of some of my Coffee Table books.

It started some interesting and funny conversation.

This is the first group of books I am parting with.