December 31, 2011


It's been a tough year for many people, and we've had a few bumps along the way too, however, I am very fortunate because my life is full of the things that are most important. I have a great family, lots of love and support, live in a beautiful location, and enjoy a peaceful, creative life.
I generally try to keep personal details out of my blog, but I'm going to make an exception because I'm so proud of my kids. Rachel is teaching high school in Boston and just completed her grad school applications, Sean lives in AZ and just graduated with his M.A. degree, and Jason lives in LA and was just promoted to VP of Music Licensing. Aren't they amazing?

The weather in Santa Barbara has been gorgeous, and I've been out taking lots of photos.
I love to watch these birds race back and forth as they try to avoid the waves.
Here's a simple structure that makes a big impact.
A pet cemetery, perhaps?
A fence with lots of character.
A view of the Santa Ynez valley from 2,000 feet.
A view of Lake Cachuma from 2,000 feet.
A view of the ocean from 2,000 feet.
The recent lunar eclipse.
I hope all of you have a happy and healthy new year!

December 24, 2011

A Piece of Paradise!

Here's my private piece of paradise . . . our mostly completed back yard. The plants, trees and grass are very happy, and so are we. I want to have a hidden garden in the area by the wheel barrel, but still have some work to finish that off.
We also need to build two patio covers over the living room and bedroom doors and need to finish some paths along both side yards. We have definitely made a lot progress though.
Do you remember this photo of our front yard taken in 2008?
Look at it now! The plants have really filled in, haven't they?
Our front and back yards both look beautiful now. Hard work does pay off! I've also been having a little fun with fabric postcards. A photo of hand-painted fabric was combined with other high contrast photos and printed on fabric. The purplish photos are the skylights in the convention center where the PIQF quilt show is held. They have been manipulated a bit and printed on fabric. Has anyone else ever looked up at these?

December 17, 2011

Long Blogging Break

I had many deadlines looming and was feeling a bit overwhelmed. I needed to FOCUS and that meant staying away from the computer. I hope I still have some followers after the long break.

Here are some fabrics that I've been trying to improve with a another layer of paint.
You might remember this one from a previous post. I used a banana slicer to do rubbings. They looked a little obscene, so I decided to disguise them with the purple squares. I think it needs another layer . . . maybe circles.
This piece turned muddy and dull and needed some spark. I added the grid stamp on top in a silverish blue. I think it still needs another layer . . . maybe circles! LOL
This fabric was really grey and ugly and was not usable for anything. I added the spokes and dots. The upper corner needs another layer but I haven't decided what yet.
This was a blue screen print on white denim. I filled the negative (white) spaces with dye-na-flow and it instantly became very colorful. I think this will make a nice bag.
This was a very pretty (pastel) background with very regular patterns printed on it. It was one of my first attempts at fabric painting. It was too pretty and too regular and needed some chaos. It's getting better, but needs something else. Maybe circles!!??

I would love to hear your ideas on what the next layer should be.

September 1, 2011

Things that Make Me Smile

This little guy made me laugh out loud as soon as I saw it. It definitely had to come home with me. I love the bouncing head and jazz hands.
Here's an innovative cat toy that comes with its very own jingle bell in the center. I think it will work great for printing some background texture. Amazing what you can find in the grocery store!
A new shipment of thread arrived with lots of yummy colors.
Why is this guy hanging off a billboard? It looked so real, it made me do a double take. Glad I had my camera ready.
My hormone quilt is finally done. Here's the back showing some of the quilting. I'll show the whole thing when the Fibervision exhibit opens at PIQF in October. Such a tease!
We have another exhibit in October at Cabrillo Pavilion Art Center and need lots of NEW work. Yikes! Back to the sewing machine.

August 14, 2011

Time Flies!

I've been really busy . . . work seems to take up way too many hours, but I did manage to fit some play time in too. The annual Fiesta celebration just finished here. We went to the mercado, ate tamales and tacos, and listened to some bands including Seymour Duncan (a local), and watched some Spanish dancing. It's fun, but there are so many tourists in town, it's difficult to get around.
I went to IQF Long Beach which is a Special Exhibit only show. It seemed like there were less quilts this year, and there were definitely less vendors. The SAQA exhibit Sightlines was my favorite exhibit. I really liked the way the pieces led from one to another, very clever. Unfortunately, for the vendors, I was in a don't need anything mood, and only bought 2 packages of topstitch needles and 1 yard of fabric.
Unfortunately, another local(ish) fabric store is going out of business. Mr. Baron wants to retire after a zillion years in business and couldn't find a buyer for the Camarillo store. I'm really sorry to see this store close. I purchased my Designer I, my sewing table and drawers and many, many yards of fabric there. Do you remember seeing my fabric wall in 2007? If so, you know I don't need any more fabric. At 70% off, I couldn't resist. I tried, but I lost the battle, and ended up buying 14 yards. Such a good deal!
Here it is, all washed and rolled, ready for its home on the wall. There seems to be an ongoing controversy surrounding fabric washing. I have read some pretty opinionated posts on the subject, but I think you should do whatever is best for you. I'm pretty sensitive to odors, and I'm pretty sure the chemicals in all the fabric I own would make me really sick. I don't take any chances, I wash everything before it enters the studio. What about you? Do you wash?
The backyard renovation continues. Progress is happening, but it doesn't really look it. Plumbing for irrigation, rototilling, etc. We've had several visitors, my BIL, our daughter, and our son will be here later this week. At this rate, the landscaping won't be finished until the end of September. That's okay though, I would rather spend time with family.
I'm quilting my hormone piece that will be on exhibit at PIQF. Nothing like waiting till the last minute! Here's a small section.
Hope you're having a great summer!

July 29, 2011

Little L.A.

What is Little L.A.? It's a catchy challenge title. L.A. stands for Los Alamos and it is VERY little. The challenge is to find inspiration for a quilt within twelve blocks. There are so many interesting pieces of history everywhere you turn. The inspiration could be color, shape, or texture. Anything goes.
Here are several interesting compositions I found.
A ship that has been dry docked.
A gate.
A rusty wagon wheel.
Side of a barn
If you attend PIQF in Santa Clara, there is a good chance you will get to see the results of this challenge in 2012.
The deadline for my 2011 PIQF hormones piece is looming. I've finished the design and now it's time to quilt! For me, figuring out how to quilt it is the most difficult step. I don't have much time left to think about it, and I'm pretty sure that is a good thing.

July 28, 2011

Shibori Weekend

Last weekend, Andi led a 2 day shibori dying workshop. 12 Fibervision members had a blast in this exhausting workshop. The first afternoon was spent painting the fabric with dye and letting it dry. This part was pretty quick and easy. No soda ash was added to the dye on the first day, so all the colors mingled and created new colors on the second day. We spent a fair amount of time wrapping tubes, rope, and beads with fabric. Then we spent quite of bit of time mixing, and sloshing in colorful dyes. Then we spent a lot of time untying and unwrapping all the pieces and rinsing all the dye out.
Most of my pieces came out beautiful, but I got a few uglies too.
Here is the under-painted fabric that has lemon yellow, fuchsia and red/orange. I used the highly technical splatter technique.
Here it is after it was folded, wrapped and dipped into teal dye.
Here's another under-painted piece that has blended stripes.
And here it is after wrapping, tying and dipping in purple. ooohhhhh, I like this one a lot!
This piece was plain white fabric that was wrapped and dipped into black.
This piece was previously dyed (and fixed) with green, blue, and fuchsia splotches. I created a the circles by placing brass circles between the layers of fabric, and clamping the layers together.
If you decide to try this with a group, here's a helpful hint. Write your name on tyvek and attach it to each piece of fabric you dye. Your name will still show, no matter what color you dye with. That's a lesson learned the hard way!

July 15, 2011

Fun Train Trip to Carlsbad

I'm not sure where my week went, but it flew by, just like the speeding train we took to Carlsbad. hehe I shot the photo below while speeding though Los Angeles. I set the camera speed high and the ISO high, braced myself, held my breath, and hoped for the best. You're not impressed with this photo, are you? Who would be?
I shoot 80% of my photos as a jpg and RAW. If you shoot in RAW mode and capture all the digital information, there is a lot of things you can do to reclaim the details in the photo. Here's the new and improved version. A little different, isn't it?If you don't have a camera that can shoot RAW, this before and after photo could make you think twice about a new camera! I love cameras and software and was a graphic designer for 20 years, so this is right up my alley. It's not for everyone though.Back to our trip to The Front Porch Gallery in Carlsbad. Me, Andi Perejda and Ranell Hansen spent 10 hours on the train in one day! Sherry Kleinman and Linda Miller hopped on in LA. The trip down was fun and went by quick. The first 3 hours on the way back were fun, but the last 2 were exhausting. Mary Tabar, the new So CA representative, had lunch with us and gave us a ride back to the train station. I made some new fiber friends, so it was all worth it.
The gallery was packed during the reception. Fortunately, they have a nice patio outside and it's one block from the beach, so there was a nice ocean breeze.
Andi and Linda

July 5, 2011

Cloth Paper

Each month, after the Fibervision business meeting and lunch, we have a mini workshop. This month, Lorna showed us how to make cloth paper.
I rummaged through my closet, gathered all sorts of paper, foil, dyed paper towels and painted dryer sheets. We slathered the papers with generous layers of diluted Elmer's glue, stuck it to a muslin backing, and set it aside to dry.
It's very colorful and quite stiff. I really have no idea what I'm going to do with it, but I will probably make more of it. It's the perfect technique for all the "stuff" I've saved over the years. Lorna has done both machine and hand stitching on her cloth paper and says the more you stitch, the softer it gets. She has made some wonderful mixed media pieces using the cloth paper.
One more tool to add to the tool box. Thanks for organizing the workshop, Lorna.

July 3, 2011

Fabulous Patio

Here it is . . . the long awaited patio. 1,000 square feet of outdoor living! Yippee. The black flower pots are covering the metal thingees that will hold the posts for the future pergolas, one over each door.The patio came out better than I imagined. I'm thrilled because rarely does anything live up to my imagination. After talking to the owner, Jose, his biggest problem is when the customer doesn't know what they want or can't communicate it clearly. Obviously, I didn't have that problem. They took my basic idea and ran with it. If you ever need concrete and live in southern CA, call Martinez Concrete & Pumping. They are a fantastic team.My DH likes to assign labels to everything, he calls this giraffe! I hadn't thought about it, but I guess it does. LOL
We will seal the giraffe next week which will bring the color out even more. Right now it looks aged, and we really like it. I hope it looks good once it's sealed. Knowing me, I will drop paint on it. It's not a matter of IF, it's a matter of WHEN. I don't want to deal with guilt, so we'll seal it right away.

July 2, 2011

Front Porch Gallery: Carlsbad, CA

I'm really excited about the upcoming exhibit at the Front Porch Gallery in Carlsbad on July 9, 2011. I'm sure this is going to be a great exhibit because there are some great fiber artists represented. Here's a partial list: Jane LaFazio, Jamie Fingal, Rose Hughes, Terry Waldron, Kathy Nida, Smadar Knobler and 5 of my Fibervision Friends, Andi Perejda, Jeanne Surber, Ranell Hansen, Susan West, Pamela Price Kelbaum, and yours truly.
I am really excited that I was chosen for this SAQA exhibit. Honestly, I feel like a small fish in a big pond. That said, you can probably imagine how excited I was to see my quilt on the invitation (top right). Andi's quilt is on the left side. We're the bookends. Very, very cool!
We (Me, Ranell, and Andi) will be catching the Surfliner southbound train, and will arrive just in time for the reception. It's going to be a long day, full of fun, friends (new and old), laughter and our fair share of wine (I'm sure).
If you live anywhere nearby, please stop in, I would love to meet you.

June 27, 2011

Embroidery While Blindfolded

Katherine Loomis and Terry Jarrard-Dimond had an interesting collaboration awhile ago about creating embroidery while blindfolded. This idea intrigued me and I decided to give it a try. Katherine and Terry spent 12 hours each stitching, while I spent around 6 hours on my piece. I may continue with it, you just never know.
I was taught that my stitching should look good from the front as well as the back. I had to let go of that thought, and I did. For me, the most difficult part was being blindfolded. I don't like things covering my head or face, so being completely submerged into darkness was difficult. Once I adjusted to my situation, I actually became very peaceful. Without sight, the rest of my senses heightened. Muscle memory kicked in and supplied me with the details that I needed. I couldn't see what the stitching looked like, and I didn't care, I liked the way it felt. Creating art, even while blindfolded, made me feel good, and I'm happy to know that I can enjoy creating no matter what happens to me.
Now I'm curious to try my hand at blindfolded painting. You never know, it could be fun!