Friday, August 31, 2012

Long Weekend

We have a long weekend coming up.  Anna has plans to go rafting with a friend.  Frank might be heading out of town for a business trip.  My plan is to continue working on art.  So I won't be going anywhere.

If you happen to be traveling and stopping in Ketchum, you could check out the dedication of four new designs on utility boxes there.  One of those designs is mine.  There will be a ceremony on Monday, Sept. 3 at 1 p.m. in the town square.

Here is the design I did for the box.  It is called Sun Spots (which I liked since it is in Sun Valley).

Here is a detail of some of the free motion stitching.  There is a lot of stitching on this piece.

Someday I hope to get up to Ketchum to see how the boxed turned out for myself.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I went to my yoga class for the first time this week since my surgery.  We had a substitute and only one other person was there besides me.  At the end of class, we did shivasana as usual for about 5-10 minutes.

Afterward, our instructor said he has heard some people say that shivasana doesn't even really start until after 20 minutes (we don't have a long enough class for that).  He also felt that in our society we don't allow ourselves enough time to relax.  (And we are talking relaxing to benefit mind/body as opposed to just wasting time.)

I know with my type A personality, along with our culture, this is so true.  Does our culture perceive us as being lazy if we are not constantly working on something?  Even when we are ill, we take some medicine and get back to work.

I know I'm am guilty of this.  Even though I was resting my body after my lumpectomy, my mind was wondering when I would be able to get back to doing my normal things and working on my art.

Even now as I am going through radiation treatments, I sometimes feel tired but still have deadlines to meet.  Why is it so hard to allow ourselves time to relax and rejuvenate our mind and body (or is it just me)?

With that in mind, yesterday I spent some time relaxing outside on the hammock after having done my free motion stitching for several hours.  Here are some views from my hammock.

What do you do to relax?  How often do you allow yourself to relax?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Artist is Working

It's been good to get back into the studio and start working on some artwork again.  Usually, I like to work on one piece at a time.  Occasionally, I will be working on more than one at a time.   But now, there several pieces in different states of completion on the design wall.

Concurrently, I am working on two pieces because they are using the same techniques.  I thought it would be more efficient to do each step on both pieces at the same time.  I am currently working on the free motion stitching on the first, while the other is on the wall patiently waiting it's turn for the free motion stitching.  If they turn out o.k., they will be entered in the Quilt National show for which the deadline is approaching quickly.

I have a completely unrelated artwork in progress on the wall. It has been partially pieced since before our trip to Scotland.  It does not have high priority, so it will remain on the wall for some time.

Here is another artwork that has been pieced since before our trip, but it still needs some work.  I'm trying to figure out if I want to un-sewn some parts and add in more warm colors.  Of if I just want to cut it up and try to rearrange it into something else (that's a little more risky).

I turned it vertical on the wall and liked that better.  I will probably work with it in that direction when I get back to it.  This is also a low priority piece.

After I finish the two for QN, I have another piece I would like to work on for another entry deadline that is actually before the QN one.  I hope I have time to make it.  Then, I have a commission piece I need to start.

I guess I better get to work.

Friday, August 24, 2012


This week I went to a friend's place to try indigo dyeing for the first time.  It is much different than dyeing with the Procion dyes that I normally use.  You have to have a warm vat (container) to dip the material in and you have to keep the different variables somewhat balanced.

Also, if you want a dark color, you need to do repeated dippings to build up the color.  The liquid is suppose to be yellow greenish in color.  Ours was more on the green side.  Below is some yarn soaking in the vat.

What's so interesting about the indigo technique is that the material comes out of the vat green and then as it is exposed to air, it changes to the blue color.  Below Mary has just taken the yarn out of the vat.

 The same yarn after a few minutes of being exposed to air.  I can't remember if this was the first dipping of this yarn.  For the fabric, the color would be much lighter.

Here are some of the pieces I did, after they have been rinsed and washed (just ignore the shadow on the fabric).  I see that I could have done a few more dippings in the vat to get an even darker blue.  The thread got darker more easily.  You probably can't tell from the picture, but the two thread holders at the bottom have variegated thread I dyed.

To experiment, I took one piece of fabric, folded it in half and then pleated it.  I held it together with rubber bands.  This is what it looks like.  I think it would be interesting to try smaller pleats.

I also had a piece of blue-green fabric on which I had sewn rows of long running stitches in a kind of wavy pattern.  The stitches were pulled tight to crunch up the fabric. I think a few more dips in the vat to make the color darker would have created more contrast.

I also tried over dyeing a pink piece of fabric to see if it would go violet.  Hmm, kind of.

I definitely have more to learn about perfecting the technique, but it was lots of fun.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Rainbow of Color

Last week I managed to do my annual dyeing of fabric.  Now I have a new rainbow of color.

Monday, August 20, 2012


I've created a book based on my Color Fields series.  It is self-published since I used Shutterfly to make it.  I have one copy of the book.  Does that mean it's published?

Last Christmas, I received a Wacom Bamboo drawing pad for my laptop as a gift.  Inside the box was a coupon for a free book from Shutterfly.  I thought I would use it sometime to see how the printing looked.  We have used Blurb for one project.

Before we left on our trip to Scotland, I realized that the coupon would expire while we were away. So with about two days before the trip, I sat down to create the book on their site.  I knew I wanted to do a "catalog" of my Color Fields pieces and I needed to do it simply since there wasn't much time.

I was fortunate enough that the amount of free pages (without having to pay extra) was just enough.  I was able to put one artwork on each page, have a title page and a page with a little bit of explanation about the series.  I put the pieces in numerical order.

I had to get the 8 x 8" version in a hard back to use the coupon.  I did have to pay shipping, so it wasn't totally free.  I think it turned out pretty well.

Now, I'm trying to decide if I want to bring it to the opening reception of my Color Fields exhibition at the Boise State University Special Events Center on Sept. 13 from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. (If you want to get information for events like this that I may not always announce here, you can sign up for my quarterly newsletter and announcements here.)

The exhibition only has a selection of the series.  The book shows all the pieces.  I'm not interested in trying to sell copies of the book because they would be too expensive.  However, it would be nice to be able to show people the entire series.  But I also don't want it to "walk away."

Here is the front cover.

Title Page.

Binding Edge.

And a couple of inside pages.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Tan & White

I decided to try my white ink on a tan paper.  Someday I'm going to try the white ink in a dip pen instead of using a brush.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Climb to Conquer Cancer

My husband knows a gal at work who was helping to organize the American Cancer Society's Climb to Conquer Cancer, which was this past Saturday.  He asked if we wanted to get up early Saturday morning to participate in the climb up Table Rock.

I was thinking about going for a walk that morning anyway and said sure.  Anna came, too, although she wasn't so happy about the getting up early part.

The sign-in and start was at Quarry View park.  There was coffee and donuts available.  After some announcements, we started hiking.

Since it was early in the morning the temperature was not too hot, yet.  On the way up, there was a nice little breeze.  It was frustrating for me, though, because I haven't exercised in several weeks and that made it harder to climb than I thought it should have been.

Why haven't I exercised for several weeks?  Well, because now I have my own personal battle to conquer cancer.  Before our trip, I found out I had Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) in one of my breasts.  Something was found on my regular mammogram that was different from previous mammograms.  After a subsequent mammogram and biopsy, the diagnosis was DCIS.  I am so fortunate that we caught it early and it is non-invasive.

I had a lumpectomy several weeks ago and will be starting radiation soon.  I will be fine, but just like climbing that mesa, it is one step at a time.

I am just 44 years old and I have been having regular mammograms since I was 40.  This diagnosis was not a lump.  Not something that could be felt.  It was only detected because of the mammograms.  So I would encourage you ladies over 40 to get regular mammograms.

at Quarry View Park.

Frank with his pre-climb coffee and Anna with a new stylin' shirt.

Going up.
 At the top.  I'd climb that mountain everyday just to receive the hugs I got from Anna at the top.

Another view from the top.
 This lady was amazing and climbed the whole thing with one leg.

Heading back down.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Black and White 3

Here is another white on black drawing.  But this time I also did some black on white drawing (the houses).  I cut them out and glued them to the black paper first.  Then drew in the white ink.

Thursday, August 2, 2012