Saturday, April 13, 2019

And it began. The rebirth of my creative space, the studio! This is the room I value the most beside the kitchen. Not so much because I love to cook; I do, but I really like to eat more! 
The studio is my other right arm, a part of my body and extension of myself, I thought, and then it was all was destroyed, burnt to the ground, melted in the fire. It made me stop, take a deep breath and reflect on who I am as an artist. Everything is gone - what does that mean?  What would it mean for you?

If you’re like me, you can't stop making things or creating even when I have no paints, fabric, or tools of the trade. Then I realized that creativity has nothing to do with what is on your studio walls or in your drawers but what is in your head and heart.  It’s not stuff!  I feel a new freshness arising that can go any direction I want. I'm not tied to the past but still have all the sweet lessons I learned from each piece I created. So maybe this is more of a blessing than a loss - can a new direction be the ultimate creative gift?

So, I am looking forward to the future but first I need some tools to start my new journey. The first thing I needed and did not have was a pencil! Just a simple yellow # 2 pencil. l wanted to draw but all we had were pens from Holiday Inn Express. That just didn't do it for me. Another thing the fire does to you is make you value little things that you never valued before. Like the pencil. I have neglected how important this item is in my world.  As the young man expressed to me at the store counter, "Do people really still use pencils?"  I guess I'm not the only one who has taken the lowly pencil for granted. Happy to say I now have 10 pencils, very sharp and ready to go at a moment’s notice. I'm so happy.

I thought I would share the rebuilding of my studio and this crazy next phase of my creative life. You can survive without all that stuff but the pencil is still a much-needed tool.

And always get good insurance!
Studio Tour: This room is big enough to have my computer and sewing stuff all in the same room. Probably because I have no stash to store. We will see how this works in the future.

Right behind the computer table are my 2 IKEA tables that can be raised to 36" high if need be. The tall book shelves are also from IKEA. This side of the table is where I have been doing my cross stitches.
"Long and Winding Road" by Black Bird Designs. 

I just got a shipment of Hoffman of California batiks to make fabric kits for my classes, the web site and retreat. My new BERNINA 770 QE is on order! Can’t wait but in the meantime, I ordered a JUKI straight stitch machine off Amazon!  I also lost my previous JUKI in the fire. I had 8 sewing machines which included a Brother embroidery machine, Brother serger, 2 older BERNINAs and a BERNINA 750 QE.  Not to mention the Kenmore my sister and I used to make most of our clothes in high school. I kept all the machines together, when not in use, in my studio closet.  When we were finally able to see our melted property, I started digging around looking for anything left. I found 3 BERNINA knee lifts all in a pile and in pretty good condition. But no sewing machines.

My new large cutting table. It can also be raised and lowered. Got on Amazon. 2 sets of IKEA dressers that will hold future fabrics. The wall with the dog quilt will soon be a design wall.


I now have 2 rulers and a rotary cutter thanks to the great goodie bags teaches get when teaching at IQF.  
My first fabric where gifts from Paula Nadelstern and Kimberly Einmo. Thanks, girls!

And, to top it all off, the view!  It may not be the mountains with trees but will be a beautiful swimming pool. I look forward to the future.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Wedding China!

This morning I was going through a list in my head of some possession I lost in the fire. I am trying not to do this because it makes me sad but I keep reminding myself that it’s only stuff and I really did want to downsize some of our stuff. We have accumulated a lot of stuff over 36 years of marriage but having the largest fire in California history doing it for you wasn’t the way I wanted to do it! I was thinking more like a garage sale.

So as I laid in bed this morning, thoughts went through my head.  Oh, my grandmother’s pretty pink flowered China that I inherited.  I know it was expensive and she didn’t have many expensive items. It was given to her by a wealthy church member from the years my grandfather and grandmother pastored a church in Portland, Oregon. This lady loved my grandmother so much!  It was back in the day when most pastors where on a very limited budget and grandmother loved to serve tea in it when the church ladies came over.

During my morning reminiscing this is what my sweet husband Joe is hearing from the other room.  “Oh my grandmother’s pink china!  And, oh, my wedding china!”  He calls back from the other room, “What about your vagina?”....  I said china!   “Good, because I’m pretty sure we’re not covered for vaginas!”

Back to reality, I safely landed, in a pool of laughter!

Have a blessed day! And, remember, it’s only stuff! 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Day Paradise Burned Down!

Here is our #CampFire story. I was Houston, TX teaching 6 classes at the International Quilt Festival. This is the largest quilt show in the world.  Joe was planning to meet me there, bringing more patterns and books and to help me sell stuff at the Saturday Samplers.  I think he was afraid I would lose all the money I’d made before I got home or trade it for magic beans!

Thursday morning, after packing his suitcase, he was watering my new dahlia garden when he saw dark clouds in the sky. His cell rang, it was our son, Matt, who lives in Bakersfield (7 hours away) saying, Dad, I just got an alert for Paradise -  you’re under mandatory evacuations!  Joe got no warning, very few got any warning alert.  Then the phone went dead. Matt thought Joe was dead when power went out and the call dropped.   Joe saw large ashes falling from the sky and it got really dark really fast.  He started grabbing stuff and throwing them in the back of his truck.

 Now the miraculous part of this story. Two weeks before the fire we where watching TV and had a conversation about what he would do if there was a fire here and I was out of town. What would you grab?  He remembered that conversation and grabbed the meds, cash, computers and hard drives, financial papers and then got my quilts and wearable arts.  Some were in the studio but the award-winning valuable ones where rolled and stored in a closet in the guest room. He then grabbed the photo albums. My hero!  He thought he had time for a sewing machine or 2 (I had 7) when he saw flames across the street on our side of the creek advancing toward our home.  He jumped in his truck and started to turn to go out towards a main road we always used when he saw 2 good old boys in their lifted 4WD trucks  (his angels) doing about 50 miles an hour coming the other way to take the back way out of our little development.  He figured they knew something he didn’t  so he turned and followed them out and down Pentz road to safety at the bottom of the mountain.  He said that when they where filing down the hill, the car in front of him had a personal plate that read, wait for it..,  “itl b ok”.  He said he reached for his phone to take a picture and fat-fingered the camera into selfie mode and only got a poor quality picture of himself.

We are now feeling very blessed that Joe was so protected.  Yes, I lost 7 sewing machines, all my fabrics and many other projects, paintings, and quilts but it’s only stuff and can all be replaced.  Good news is,  I don’t have any UFOs (that’s unfinished projects in the quilting world) so I guess I win the guild challenge!  We are not sure what we will do or where we will live in the long term but, as everyone has seen,.  Paradise is devastated.  It will take years to rebuild.  There was already a shortage of builders in Northern California from the Santa Rosa fire last fall and the fire this summer up in the Redding area.

Everything is gone but we have each other and a new sweet baby girl to focus on. We are so blessed.  I’ll keep you posted on our progress and I send my love to all of you who have offered houses, sewing machines, fabrics, and even to do our laundry!  Thank you!  Please keep praying for us and you may want to talk to your family about what to grab if you only had 15 minutes to evacuate. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Renegade Thread Play class

I know I haven't posted in a while. Oh you lucky people I'm back and ready to blog.
I just got back from a week teaching at Empty Spools Seminars session 2. I taught a new class this time. Renegade Thread Play it was a hit if I do say so myself.

They got so much done and went home feeling more confident about "how to" finishing those nagging projects that they where afraid of  completing.
Most of the students have taking one of my fusible classes either Beachscapes class of the Fusible Flower class.

  When they got home they either froze on how to finish it or when they get home they have to go back to work and wont have the time to quilt.
We started out with a practice piece where they were allowed the freedom to make mistakes while learning a new technique.It’s very easy for me to give them permission but harder for them to relax and know its OK to make ugly stitches while you are figure this out and no one is judging them. 
Then they went to my simple flower pattern the Sunflower. Its broad petal are perfect for quilting and using what they just learned.
Then when they felt ready they went to their unfinished projects and with my guidance. They made great progress.

These are some of the quilts they now know how to finish!

I once asked some very skilled and talented quilters this question. “Did you start out with great stitch right from the beginning? And they all said, “NO, we have closets full of ugly quilts.” 

 So my new mantra is, You have to make ugly stitches to get to the beautiful stitches!  
We all have crapy quilts in the closet only no one is telling! So I'm telling you! 

So after 5 days of non stop quilting these gals where changed and a lot better at quilting than when they arrived. 
Cant wait to teach this again.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Quilting the Iris

I’ve had a lot of questions about “How to Do” the thread play on my Iris pattern. This cute flower has been featured recently in Keepsake Quilting Catalog and right about now many of you are getting ready to quilt your flower.  I wanted to pass on some tip and tricks to give you some ideas on how to finishing your Iris.

First off, the fusible web Keepsake is using is not Steam -A-Seam 2, so you have to be very careful about how much you iron your pieces as you assemble your flower. Too much ironing will not allow the Heat N Bond to stick to the background fabric. Not good! 

Assembling TIP: Lay your patterns layout guide on a foam core board the same size as the pattern.   18”x 22” will do great.

Lay your parchment paper or a Teflon pressing sheet over the Layout guild and pin to board so they won’t move while building your flower. Lay your pieces for your flower on to this layout but DON’T iron anything in place until you have it all laid out!  Just use straight pins to hold everything in place until you have the flower assembled. The foam core board is now you bulletin board and when you are done you can iron right on this board and on the parchment paper. I show this in the pattern.

This is the technique I use when making my flower when Iv used Heat n Bond. And I have made all the kits that Keepsake has been selling just to make sure it will work for you.

This quilt is by Susana Font-Fontenot from Texas.

Let Quilt
Here is a great quilted example of the front and the back my Iris pattern. 
Below I have also drawn with my iPad pro on some flower pictures to give you an idea of how to curve your stitching lines while quilting.
Its all about making this flower look lace-y with ruffles in her petals. You achieve that by how you curve your thread. Now this is all free motion quilting done on my BERNINA 750EQ. 

 80/12 Top Stitch or Jeans Denim Needle

I’m using Sulky 40 weight Rayon thread on top and in the bobbin.

Please copy and prints the drawings below to look at while you a quilting.

I would be changing my thread all along the way.

If you are still nervous about free motion thread play on your domestic sewing machine.  I have my Reneged Thread Play class on where I walk you through the steps to master painting with thread on flowers. Plus how to fix all the little thing that pop-up while we are work with that beautiful sewing machine.

I want you to be successful, that is why I do this. It’s not for the money, believe me!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Pin For Every Purpose

Who get excite by straight pins?  Not me for sure.  But when I can't find them or they are all bent or sticky from fusible web I realize how much I need the little buggers. 
I'd rather collect pin cushions over straight pins at least they are cute.   All sewers need straight pins and I found you need a verity for different project.  I didn't know that. 

I wanted to educate myself on the  straight pins story.  So to the internet I go.  I had no idea there are so many different kinds of pins.  I also needed to find out what works well through paper, fabric and fusible wed, all at the same time  and I did.  At the end of this story from Threads Magazine. I will tell you what I found out works best for my fusible technique.

The articular is called:      

A Pin For Every Purpose
Any pin is just the sum of its parts
The seemingly endless variety of straight pins can be daunting, unless you break each pin down into its five main components: head, point, thickness, length, and metal content. Just figure out what your needs are in each of the five areas, then seek out a pin with those qualities.

I suggest that you buy a few basic styles for the kinds of sewing you do most, such as dressmaker, extra-fine, and quilting, and then think of the other pins as problem solvers. In other words, if you come across a situation where your stash of basic pins can't handle a particular project, such as applique, supplement with applique pins. And with every pin you purchase, it's a good idea to keep a portion of the packaging somewhere in your sewing room, and tape one sample pin onto the label as a reference. When you run out of your favorites, you'll have all the information you need to replenish your stock.
Pin heads
From left to right: Flat; pearlized plastic, plastic flower-head, ball-shaped plastic; glass (yellow and blue); and metal (brass and silver).
Plastic-headed pins
 WARNING: Some plastic pin heads can melt under a hot iron and adhere to the fabric.
HeadThe head is the most recognizable part of a straight pin. What it is made of dictates if it can be pressed, and the shape determines when you should use it in the construction process.

Flat Also called "no head," this pin may be pressed with a hot iron. It's also good for handwork, as thread doesn't get caught on it. A flat head can be difficult to see on busy or textured fabrics, however.
Plastic Ball-shaped plastic heads come in different sizes and colors, and may be pearlized. Wide, flower-shaped plastic heads are the easiest to spot, and because they are flat, they come in handy when you need to lay a ruler or tape measure over a pinned area. They are also a good choice for lace, eyelet, and loose weaves, as the large heads won't slip through the holes in the fabric.

Glass This small, ball-shaped head is fairly easy to see, and won't melt when touched with an iron.

Metal Metal balls aren't common, but they can be pressed with an iron without fear of melting.

Tip: Use only the best-toss the rest. If a pin becomes bent, dull, or rusted, don't hesitate to throw it out. A less-than-perfect 1¢ pin can wreak havoc on your $10-, $20-, or $40-a-yard fabric.

The points of pins should slide cleanly into fabric without causing snags or unsightly holes. Different fabrics require different types of points.
Sharp These all-purpose points are a fine choice for loosely woven, medium-weeight, and heavy-weight fabrics.

Extra-sharp More defined and tapered, this point passes cleanly through delicate fabrics.

Ball point Created especially-and only-for knits, this point is rounded so it slips between the loops of the fabric and doesn't pierce or pull the yarns.


Some sewing projects require long pins, other ventures may do better with short, stubby pins. Pin length used to be listed on packages as sizes (size 12 = 3/4 inch long, etc.), but most pin manufacturers now just list the actual lengths.
Applique/sequin This 1/2- to 3/4-inch length is the best choice for applying appliqués, trim, or sequins, as you can position many pins close together (below left). Long pins, in comparison, overlap awkwardly (below right).
Short lengthLong length

Dressmaker/all-purpose If in doubt, reach for this medium- length (1-1/16- to 1-1/2-inch) pin. It is appropriate for all sorts of garment sewing.
Quilting pin
Quilting Made especially for pinning through many layers of fabric and batting, this 1-1/2- to 2-inch pin is also garment-friendly, as its long length hardly ever slips out of place.

To avoid marring fabric with pin holes, choose the thinnest pin to accomplish the task at hand. Unfortunately, we discovered that the naming convention, as it relates to actual diameters, isn't consistent among manufacturers. So the best thing to do is roll a pin between your fingers to gauge its actual thickness.
 .4mm, .5mm, .6mm and .7mm or .8mm.
.4mm The thinnest traditional pin we found was a .4mm "Patchwork Pin (Fine)" by Clover. It passes beautifully through the finest of sheers.

.5mm Called "extra-fine," "super-fine," "silk," or "satin," these .5mm pins are recommended for fine, lightweight fabrics, including some sheers.

.6mm Most all-purpose pins are labeled "fine," and are best paired with medium-weight fabrics.

.7mm or .8mm Although harder to find, these diameters are great for thicker fabrics like heavy wools, denim, and quilted layers. But they do leave large holes in their wake. 
Insect pinsInsect pins: superfine and rust-resistant
Forget bugs, this very skinny (size 00 - .3mm) and flexible spring steel pin is a great choice for fine fabrics. Originally created for insect collectors and entomologists, the double-coating of black enamel-to, yuck, resist insect fluids-makes them easy to see, plus they're rust-resistant. Indigo Instruments

Metal content

A pin's content is important, especially if you are allergic to certain metals. There are six types: stainless steel, nickel-plated steel, nickel-plated brass, brass, and chrome-plated steel, which is the strongest option. If you aren't sure of the metal, test it with a magnet; stainless steel and brass pins won't cling.

Put through a salt-water test, only nickel-plated brass passed. To test the rust-resistance of various metal types, we spritzed each pin with salt water. The results were surprising, as nickel-plated and chrome-plated steel should only rust if the plating is damaged; stainless steel should offer the best resistance. Brass tarnishes, but any residue washes out.
Left to right: Stainless steel, nickel-plated steel, nickel-plated brass, brass, and chrome-plated steel.

The bottom line
: Never leave any pin in fabric for very long, especially if you live close to the ocean's salty environment.
Specialty pins
 Left to right: Skirt pin, button pin, curved pin, traditional pin.

Specialty pins
For certain projects, you need special pins. The ones shown here aren't always available at the local sewing shop, so you may need to order them.

T-pin This 1-3/4-inch-long thick pin can pierce and hold hefty upholstery and outdoor fabrics.

Fork Fine and 1-5/8 inches long, this two-prong pin curves up at the end, which allows you to pin hard-to-handle fabrics, like lining, without lifting it. Also use to align stripes and plaids.

Glow-in-the-dark If you drop this pin, simply turn off the light, and look for its glowing head.

Tidy Similar to the fork pin, but flat and square. It was created to secure doilies, arm covers, and slipcovers to furniture.

Pleating This fine, strong, sharp pin doesn't look all that special, but is 1 inch long, which allows you to perfectly pin out pleats.

Twist The thumbtack-like plastic head and short corkscrew shaft hold slipcovers and mattress pads in place.

Safety pins
Safety pins won't wriggle free or stab you as you sew. They are available in a range of metals and colors, as well as sizes: size 00 (3/4 inch long), size 0 (7/8 inch long), size 1 (1-1/16 inches long), size 2 (1-1/2 inches long), and size 3 (2 inches long). 
Safety pins
 Left to right: Skirt pin, button pin, curved pin, traditional pin.
Skirt Also known as a kilt pin, this decorative pin holds skirts and kilts closed.

Button The bump in this pin holds delicate, non washable buttons temporarily in place.

Curved The bend makes basting quilts easy, and ensures that the layers never shift.

Traditional These pins can be used for sewing, quilting, and crafts.

I use the Wide, flower-shaped plastic heads.  they come in handy when you need to lay a ruler or tape measure or Iron over a pinned area. I iron only from the back of the fabric so not to put the heat of the iron right on the pin. i don't want it to melt.

I have also found that to remove the sticky fusible that can build up on your pins use a wool pincushion while working, the lanolin in the wool takes the sticky right off! hope this helps you like it helped me.