Category Archives: inspiration

The Real Scoop

    Thank you , thank you for letting me know that you are my friends and do read. I am usually upbeat and ready to try anything but there was a reason for my whining this time. (yes, I did say this time- I really hate fussing in my kids so I promise to be better.)

This is long but a good story. Fabrics mail ordered from Modern Organic Fabrics.

     The reason. Well, my husband suggested I check out the local art college here to see what they might have to offer, ( He realized it might- at least- last as a diversion for about a week about me yapping about where I am going with this whole art thing-he is very smart.) So, I  checked it out online and decided ok, I ‘ll see what they might have to offer me. Appointment on Monday with the academic advisor.

     I  was prepared and had intelligent questions and my work in hand for the appointment. I sat there in the waiting room, with two other moms and their sons. My name was called and the advisor said, “Colleen?” and I stood up. He said laughing,” I was expecting an 18 year old.” Went back in his office and explained why I was there. Figured out that I could take three classes as a guest student without having to formally apply and go through the portfolio process. I questioned him on the portfolio process and what I would have to do. He noticed my bag and asked if I had brought my work. In the same breath , he said he really didn’t have anything to offer a quiltmaker. But he asked to see my work. I asked how long the appointment was scheduled for-an hour. So, I spread out my  3 works and he looked at me and said-how about you explain your process. And I did. How about your inspiration? I did that too. Why did you choose these colors or line placement with the stitching? I did that too. He looked at me and said, “It takes guts to come in here cold like this and explain your art . You just did a portfolio presentation. I think you could benefit from these classes . Would you like to see the student work from these classes? ” So, I did. I was extremely patient with this young kid showing me around. A little irritated when he asked me if I needed to take the elevator or if I would like to walk a flight of stairs. Yes, a flight of stairs.

    When he was done with the tour, I thanked him. And I told him that he might like to think of quiltmaking as more of an art from now on. He agreed that he definitely would and he would enjoy seeing where I end up after a few classes here.

     I was crushed as I walked away. It wasn’t the whole quilt as art thing. I was proud of how I presented myself and my profession. It was the feeling- so old- thing. Of course I knew I was 30 years older than them.  It was the first time I really recognized I am almost 50.  I look at myself and I don’t see who I am now. A little grey and a little overweight. I just see who I use to be. I was so sad. Not really about how I look but the old part.   I am not a vain person and don’t really think about what I look like all day long. He was rude but I was old. A definite mid life crisis thing. I was sad.

    But, then, it changed. Now, I am slowly realizing there isn’t time to waste. I can push myself today and do what I want with my day which is to create with my hands. And the old can be experience. And wisdom. I just need to believe, that no matter what I decide to do, I can do it.  I am really glad I am old and have chosen not to stick one of those round earrings in my earlobe to stretch it out. The earlobe is really going to sag when you add another 30 years of old to it.  My art observation of the day.

    So, thanks for reading this really long explanation of why I was whining. A mid-life crisis.  I will continue to blog. And try to figure out where I am going. Off to sew.

    Be creative, my friends!


More Than One Year Later

     I can’t believe I missed this. I have been blogging for more than a year now. I looked back and this is my 170th post and I started last October. I remember how hard the first post was. I had a million excuses. I don’t know how to use the technology I might need. I have awful pictures. What would I say after the first few posts? Would anyone really care? Do I really want to be an artist ? Would others really care about hearing about all my mistakes  and this journey? Do I know anything that might inspire someone else?

    Well I figured out , in the end , I am just a gopher.( Not an artist yet :).   I need to stick myself out of the hole- a sometimes lonesome hole because I usually work alone-and see if anyone is out there. I love reading what you are doing. Thus, my blog list. Is anyone doing the same thing I am? Whether it be dyeing fabric, designing or just making something else fun to see. I am inspired beyond belief by others and I enjoy how freely others share their feelings and their process.

   I have done this, not only to share what I have done, but for the connections made. I thank you so  for the new friendships I have made. I couldn’t have believed a year ago I would have met so many new friends through blogging. And had an opportunity to meet and share their journey. I have re-connected with old friends and been able to share in their successes. Great big tears of joy I have cried for them and they don’t even know it because they can’t see me.I love seeing what their hands and mind have created.  How sweet is their success when they have worked so hard. And I was able to share in it because they shared  through their blogs.

    Thank you for putting up with my awful pictures, my poor grammar and my, often, unedited posts. Thanks for your technology advice. Silly, silly girl that I am! Most of all, again thanks for your friendships and taking time to read out of your busy day.

    Guess I need to learn to say instead  of “I can’t do this” ,  “I will do this “.

     Be creative, my friends! I better think of a giveaway to celebrate.

A Treat for You

     For those of you who enjoy going to the Barn to study with Nancy Crow, I have a treat for you today. Judy Kirpich has been attending a two week master’s class and has so graciously been blogging about her journey. I haven’t had the opportunity to meet Judy but have only been reading her blog for about a year now. She is very talented and you will enjoy how hard she has been working there and her beautiful results.

     I am off to sew for two hours. My kids have fall break yesterday and today. They will still be sleeping or doing the chores I have written out for them before we go pick up their friends at 11am. A new strategy : I have written my studio time on the family calendar for the next week. I am way too grumpy without it.

Be inspired by Judy today! Thanks for taking the time to share with us.

The Workshop Queen

     I was asked last week who I had studied with. I couldn’t rattle the list off even though I know I have taken lots of classes.  Fortunately, I have lived in many different places over the twenty  some years I have been sewing. I didn’t always join a guild but when I did, I wasn’t disappointed. It is a good way to take a one or two day workshop to see if it is a technique or method you would like to add to your basic skill set.

 I have had some great teachers and some not so great teachers. But I did take a few minutes to answer that question for myself.

1. Ami Simms
2. Jeanna Kimball
3. Nancy Pearson
4. Ann Frishkorn
5. Harriet Hargrove
6. Mary Ellen Hopkins
7. Mary Stori
8. Maureen Noble

Non traditional
1. Elin Noble and Jane Davila
2. Carol Soderlund
3. Libby Lehman
4. Carol Taylor
5.. Velda Newman
6.. Ellen Ann Eddy
7. Marjorie Mcwilliams (Quilt Universtiy)
8. Melanie Testa ( Joggles)
9. Jude Hill (online)
10. Nancy Crow x 3

 I know there are some I have forgotten. Now that I have written it all down-wow that’s alot of classes! And  wide range of teachers and styles. I don’t have a burning desire to take another right now. Maybe next spring. Just want to work. I just wanted to have a better answer the next time someone asks me who I have studied with!

Do you have a favorite teacher or class you have taken? Why did you like it? Or is there someone you haven’t taken a class from but has inspired you?

Happy Sewing, my friends!


The Quiltmaker Has Returned

     Kind of. Just getting use to a new machine. The other dud needs to go far, far away. I just got tired of fighting with the constant problems-maybe I just didn’t need so fussy a machine.

     I took out some pretty, soft colors and started piecing a little baby quilt. Charity quilt time is soon coming.

Just a simple, industrial machine. One third of the cost of the others and she purrs. Happily.

Felt so good to sew again. But the warm 75 degree weather convinced me I should be outside.

Enjoy the weekend.

Be creative, my friends!

New Treats

     Every once in awhile, you need a treat. And the ones I really enjoy are the treats that people have made. The art that they have made is even better. I ordered two things for my little table here in VT. I am always losing my four most important tools on my table- I am messy but once I get started I don’t want to stop to look for things. So I ordered this recycled pipe vase from my new friend Paula. I have never personally met Paula-but she has been a great help to me.

I love it. It is smoothly polished yet it retains all of  it’s chips and worn spots to give it lots of character. In the past 48 hours of marathon sewing at night, it is trustworthy for containing my mess. Love it.

My other absolute treasure is this little clock. It has a temporary home in my barn while I work on dyeing and surface design. It keeps me on track when I get carried away at night. But most importantly, it just makes me smile. I am the proud owner of a Paula clock.  I had my eye on this one for awhile and finally did it. Smiling, I am and it’s perfect.

Not a great picture but I wanted to tell you about it as Paula is auctioning off a few of her clocks on e-bay. Just a few so go find out about her art. It all began with friend of her’s who handed me a card.

Thanks Paula for the inspiration. And the great new art I have purchased.

Happy Summer, my friends!

Trying to keep up

     This is the week of flowering trees here in Michigan. I can’t believe my lilacs up against the house are in bloom  already! I cut off the top of the picture….but still pretty.

    I have said this before but it is really busy this time of the year. I can’t bear to look ahead more than one or two days and am running to the grocery store like it is the european market and I can leisurely browse through the items being creative about what will be for dinner. Not. There is no time for that and I must conquer the whole what to eat for dinner in the midst of this chaos.

     Worked yesterday on machine quilting one of my tops and designing a commission quilt. I wish I could say I enjoy this commission process. I think it’s much easier to sell what you have made rather than make what someone else wants. That is an understatement, isn’t it? But it’s coming together. Do you pull your end stitching through by hand after you have ended machine quilting or do you backstitch by machine? It seems to add another step into the process but does look neat. I haven’t decided if it is worth it. Any thoughts?

     I found another book for you last weekend at the quilt show. I love, love , love it. Just a book to dream with and one that you will look at again and again and see something appealing and different each time you look at it.

      If you don’t want to buy it,  go to one of the big book stores, get a cup of coffee and just sit and look at the great pieces in it. But don’t have a super caffeinated latte too late in the day. It will keep you up all night.   Don’t ask me how I know this. (You can get a serious amount of stuff done after you have had one of those drinks-I am not sure I want to know how much caffeine is in them….)

     Well off to run errands today. Hope you have fun creating today.

 Happy sewing, my friends!

The Art of Patience/Scavenger Hunt

     As a Physical Therapist for 25 some years, I always considered myself a patient person. Loved taking time with people and cheering them on as they healed. As a mom of nineteen years, I am fairly patient. But, I am only a teensie bit patient with my foot healing. I had grand ideas of doing all this hand sewing. But that is proving to be difficult if you need to have the foot above the level of the heart for forty eight hours. Hard to sew on your back! I can knit on my back though and am working on a hat. One more day of foot elevation and three more days of no driving. No crutches though.

     I have  found some really fun stuff for you to browse through. Another scavenger hunt:

1.  General fun:
   The month of April is quilting month at Sew Mama Sew. Go to the blog and there is a new post each day with  fun tutorials and giveaways. If you are new to sewing quilts, this is a great month to follow this blog.

2 Thermofax Screen Printing:
   If you have ever wanted to try thermofax screen printing, there is a giveaway on this blog.  Lynn Krawczyk does some really interesting things and I have recently started reading her blog. A good review of paints used  for screen printing this past week.

3. Hand Carved Stamps and Water Painting:
   Amazing Vimeo tutorials on making a hand carved stamp at Geninne’s Art Blog.( I love her banner. ) If you scrool down on the right, you can pick up this tutorial. She is very talented as well. She is also a self-taught watercolorist. You can see a Vimeo of her at work painting as well. Good stuff.

4. Dye resists
Terri Jarrod Dimond uses a flour paste resist with dye on her fabric. Great results and another nice tutorial.

I could keep going but this should be a good start on some inspiration for you.

Happy Sewing, my friends! Make some art for me. Let me know if you find anything interesting.


A Nice Surprise

     I had a nice surprise yesterday. As I was checking my little blog list, up popped my name on Frieda Anderson‘s blog. I won a contest she had for naming one of her patterns. It is a beautiful piece of Jack -in the Pulpits which I have always been fond of. And there is the name  I chose right on the pattern-Woodland Treasures. Frieda does beautiful work -her hand dyed fabrics are very unique and machine quilting is exquisite-combine that with flowers and you have award winning pieces.  She is a kind and encouraging teacher as I took a class from her last fall. For naming the piece, I have won a copy of this new pattern.

    I purchased some of her hand-dyed fabrics last winter. And the rest of the story is on her blog today.

   This is how nice it is to be part of blogland-the connections and fun you can find here. It was a great way to celebrate my 100th post yesterday.

    Off to celebrate this holiday with my family. Hope you and your family/friends have a blessed Easter!