"If you hear a voice within you say, 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." --Vincent van Gogh

Monday, December 31, 2007

Looks Like We Made It ...

Mom was a big Barry Manilow fan while I was growing up (maybe she still is!) so couldn't resist that title ...

I didn't get into my studio today like I'd hoped, so here's a pic of the earrings I made on commission. They are a little brighter (background is orange) in person, but it was hard to get a good pic. Thanks for all who gave me feedback on my first pair - I appreciate it very much! I was glad to get these in the mail today. I hope they make their new owner happy when she wears them!

So, I'm not really planning to make any resolutions for next year because it always seems like that is just setting myself up to fail, but I'm not beyond having a few goals, so here they are:

*To read a book, for pleasure, every month.
*To exercise more and eat local when I can (Dominos is local right? They do deliver, after all!)
*To visit the Farmer's Market once a week (see above)
*To set regular studio hours to create my art and KEEP THEM
*To continue to work towards my goals of publication and possibly enter some shows
*To produce at least one piece for Ami Simms' Alzheimers Art Quilt Initiative (I've wanted to do this for a while and just never have)
*To strive to finish the projects that are worth finishing, and re-work those that are not.
*To end 2008 with less debt than I started with

Gee, those all sure sound like resolutions! So here's a final one:
*I will not beat myself up for any of the above that I do not accomplish, but I promise to TRY!

I can't believe the month of December has come and gone ... hopefully I will blog more than in previous months (but not every day!!!) ... be sure to check back tomorrow for the drawing. You can still get in on it if you leave me a comment! :o)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Puppy Power!

Rosi came home today. What a sweetie she is! She's been great so far, and I just hope she will sleep quietly tonight. I know she is wondering where mom and her sibs are, but hopefully we are keeping her entertained. She loves her little braided rope. I'm not able to post a photo right now (I'm on a different computer) but I'll try to add one tomorrow.

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve - wow! Another year has come and gone. It's really unbelievable. I'm really hoping to make some progress on my gold and gray piece tomorrow, so hopefully I'll have something to show. I've got a few other ideas brewing, too. So many ideas, so little time! Isn't that the way it always goes?
Here's the photo I couldn't add yesterday ...

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ear-ringing in the New Year ...

OK, peel your eyeballs off the ceiling, I know that one was bad. I had a request for bottlecap earrings, so wanted to make up a sample pair. I'm looking for feedback, so please let me know what you think!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Introducing ...

Well, it seems I neglected to post yesterday. Not sure how that happened! We have been very busy the last couple of days, visiting many puppies and we have finally found the newest member of our family .... meet Rosi! We found her through a Rescue place and she will be joining us on Sunday.

I haven't had a dog since I was a kid. I have always had cats. Cats are so simple. You throw them in the litter box once and voil'a! they are house trained! Not so with dogs, but this little gal is so sweet, that we'll surely forgive her all that! We met her mom, who is a Wheaton Terrier mix (maybe part golden retriever - we're not sure - but she looks just like the dog from "Because of Winn Dixie"). She had the sweetest personality. Hopefully Rosi will be just like her. One thing is for sure - life is going to get interesting!!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What A Blast!

Here's how my gold and gray piece looks now ...

I added some curls of lavender cheesecloth strips, which seem to be standing out a little more than I'd like, but hopefully as I move on with the piece, they will become just an accent. Then I stitched the black organza to the stop and blasted it with a heat gun. Watching the organza disappear in the blast of the heat gun is so much fun, it's hard to know when to stop! I grazed the surface with a little more gold paint and next I will begin to work on embellishments to grace the surface. At least it is not so brown now, so the organza has served its purpose!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Looking Forward

We had a lovely Christmas day. The kids got to sleep pretty well last night, but my daughter had trouble staying that way. She came in at 2 am to tell me that she couldn't get to sleep and the hours were lasting days. We made them wait until 7 am. We're such meanies!

I've signed up for a monthly challenge called "Take It Further" - which can be seen here:

I like creative challenges, as they can really get me thinking and creating out of my comfort zone, and that is always a good thing.

Don't forget my blog-a-thon - I've only missed one day so far! Leave a comment and I'll have a drawing to celebrate the New Year.

I think we'll all sleep well tonight ...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I wish you love and peace in the coming year. If the skies are clear tonight, take a walk and enjoy the beautiful full moon. Have a wonderful Holiday!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

One Small Step ...

I managed to take the next step on my gold and gray piece. It was looking far too brown and purple, so that needs to be remedied. That's what I love about art - it's really problem solving, which my left brain truly enjoys.

So - remember those gingko leaves? The beautiful gold and green ones that I did not manage to use until they were completely dried out? I traced them onto some craft foam, cut them out and glued them to cardboard to make my own stamp.

I painted the stamp with gold Lumiere and pressed it onto the piece (since I couldn't find my breyer - but I know where it is now). Then I did the same with pewter Lumiere, but only painted a few select leaves. This is the result. The next step will be to free-motion some black crystal organza over the whole piece and then melt some of it away. I've got some lavender cheesecloth, which I'd like to add to the piece, and I'm trying to decide if I should add it underneath the organza, or wait until later. I'm a little nervous to add too much purple back in at this point, but my head is telling me to do it, so maybe I will.

I guess you'll just have to stay tuned!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

MOO Cards

I love these!!!

I splurged (a little) and bought some MOO cards from
http://moo.com/. They are 7x3 cm (approx 3x1") and you can upload your own pics - therefore I was able to put photos of my artwork on them ... and they are business cards! So my info is on the back. I think they're great. I can use them as tags, too. The hardest part was choosing which photos to use (I ordered 100 cards and could have put a different photo on each, but then I would have had to keep them all!) Of the 5 photos I chose, two I no longer own (the peacock feather went to a local friend and the pink cone flowers recently sold). The tie dye I am keeping and hope to quilt and embellish as a whole cloth piece. The orangish one was one of my Yupo experiments and I am keeping it, and the blue and purple one is still for sale. OK, did I mention that I just love these???!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Back In Business

Let's hope at least! DH has spent way too much of his time getting my computer working again. He's a sweetie - even if it did make him grouchy! Below are pics of some pendants (and earrings) I made using the technique in the Embellishments newsletter. The center one in the first photo is my favorite. After the holidays, I plan to make more of the paper towel pieces, and stitch them into some artwork. It almost feels like leather.

If you missed the article, it has now been archived on the Quilting Arts website and you can see if by viewing CPS Embellishments Issue #60 at this link:


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Time to Take a Break

I'm going to have to take a break from my blog-a-thon, at least until my computer is up and running like a normal computer again. I have had to come to the library to post this. But please come back in a day or so (I'm thinking positive here!) so I can share with you ...

*my Moo cards!
*my Paper Towel Pendants!
*Progress on my gold and gray piece!

Until then ...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Two Winners and Some Exciting News!

I drew two names this morning (well, actually I set my daughter up for the task) and the two winners for my 100th post drawing are ..... Sequana and Fannie! I'll contact you ladies back channel and have a goodie to you soon. Stay tuned for more opportunities and thanks once again to all who leave comments!

Now for the exciting news - a project that I've been working on was accepted by the magazine Cloth Paper Scissors (one of my favorites and a part of Quilting Arts) . Periodically they publish and online newsletter called "Embellishments" and today my project was published in that - so my name and idea have now gone out to over 30,000 people. That is just too fun. I wanted to post a photo of the project, but alas ... computer issues again. Durn computer! I'll share a photo as soon as I can, or you can go to the Quilting Arts (.com) website and sign up to receive "Embellishments" for free!!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Century Mark!

So, again, depending on whom you believe, this is my 100th post! I started blogging in February, so I guess that's not too bad a track record. I was tagged again, this time by Vivian, so I thought why not try to think of 7 more random things about myself - and I'll try not to repeat what I said before ...
1. I've been to 41 US, 3 Territories and 5 foreign countries (6 if you count each side of St. Martin/Sint Maarten as separate countries, which technically they are).

2. I played the violin for 7 years.

3. I can't wear pastel colors - I look like death warmed over (and sometimes just plain death!)

4. I'm a cat person.

5. I love the tropics, warm sand and palm trees, but I hate to sweat.

6. I would like to run a 5K someday (I am NOT a runner!)

7. I hope to add at least 2 more states to my tally (see above) in the coming year.

OK - that's done. I'm not going to tag anyone and if I get tagged again, I think it is safe to say I am out of random facts for a while!
I thought I would share a photo of some fabric I dyed the other day. The photo isn't too good - the color on the far right is actually black, but this shows you what you can get by adding various (small) amounts of black to yellow - gorgeous natural greens!

Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to leave me a comment - I'll draw a name from those who have commented Saturday, Sunday, and today and post a winner tomorrow!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My Very Own Wing Ding!

Isn't it great! My cyber-friend Elizabeth makes them. She uses recycled metal object, which of course is right up my alley! A while ago she was asking for feedback on part of her design. I told her I liked them so much that I was seriously considering buying one (sometimes she sells them in her Etsy shop). Well, she emailed me back and asked if we could work out a trade instead - lucky me! She said she has admired my composition notebook covers, and if I would make her one, she would make me a Wing Ding.
So I made the journal that appeared in my 12/2 blog post and received this lovely bird in exchage. The center body is a vintage metal cookie press disk. Isn't it wonderful! A true inspiration. Thank you so much, Elizabeth!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Whom To Believe?

According to the "dashboard" this is my 100th post. According to the listing on my blog, it is only my 98th. I'm not inclined to add 'em up and see, so I thought I would have a little give-away... anyone posting a comment today, tomorrow, or Monday will be entered into a drawing for something from me. Hope you will leave a comment!

I was going to share a photo of a really wonderful piece of art that I received in the mail, but those computer issues have reared their head again, so you will have to wait. Hopefully tomorrow!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Confused ...

In spite of what the rest of the country seems to be dealing with, it has been incredibly warm here. In fact, we have set a record high the last four days, and today was warm and sunny as well. I found this little guy in my front flower bed, nestled amongst the brown fallen oak leaves and bronzing nandina ... a bright red Gerbera Daisy, looking very Christmassy if I do say so myself. I just love these flowers. They come back every year and seem to thrive in the baking summer sun. I'm not usually treated to their beauty in December, though. Which reminds me that my camellias should be blooming soon. I'll have to go check them out.

The curtains were hung in the kitchen with care ... woo hoo! I got them done, and hung in time for my friend's holiday party tomorrow night. Here are the photos. I absolutely love the one above her kitchen sink. What a gorgeous window. And the valance fit perfectly! The bay window came out nice, as well, but bays are such a pain to deal with that I have a hard time enjoying the finished product. I am grateful that they are finished and that everything "fit"!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Well, at least I got my photos to load! Here's the beginnings of my gold and gray piece ... like I said, it's too brown. Hopefully an overlay will help. I don't really have a plan, just doing what seems like it needs to have done. We'll see where I end up. I'll keep updating my progress here!

And here are 3 of the valances, draped across my dining room table. Isn't that fabric gorgeous? I finished the 4th one today and I'm off to Lowes to pick up some boards so I can mount them. I will be glad when they're finished. Hopefully I'll be able to take a photo after they've been installed.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Moving Right Along ...

No photos today. I got 3 of the 4 valances made (still need to attach them to the boards and all that fun stuff) and started on the background of my gold and gray piece. It is more brown than gray, so I am going to try to amend that with a layer of black netting. We'll see how that goes. At this rate it will be a few days before I'm able to get back to working on that.

Our computer is having storage issues, which is why I can't upload the photos that I was going to share today. Some days are just like that I guess. We are going to a Carolina Hurricanes hockey game tonight, so that will be fun. But first, my daughter has dance class which means another hectic afternoon of running around town. Fun Fun.
OK, I lied. Here are two from the "archives" - these are postcards I made last year for the holidays, before I started blogging. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Living in the Projects

That's how it is ... always a million projects going on! I did manage to get 4 Christmas gifts in the mail today, and to get to the bank. Nice to cross those tasks off my list! I am working on some valances for a friend - 4 windows, all different sizes, but the same type valance. Hopefully I'll remember to take a picture when they're done. The fabric is really nice and I think they'll look great - just a lot of work to take on at this time of year!

I picked up these Gingko leaves at a park a few weeks ago. I was hoping to work with them while they were still fresh, but no such luck. They are all dry now, but well pressed and I will still work with them when I have some time - just have to handle more carefully I guess. I might trace some of them to make some stencil patterns or something. Not sure yet.

If you are interested in more free images, here's a link to another holiday countdown:


It's awfully generous of these folks to share these images ... now if I could just find the time to save them somewhere. Another project, I guess!

Don't forget to leave me a comment! See 12/1 post for details. I'm going to have a give-away in a couple of days. See if you can figure out why.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Clematis Revisited

Back in August I posted a photo I took of a Clematis flower in my garden. You can see the post and the photo here: http://stitchandpaint.blogspot.com/2007/08/in-my-garden.html Not long afterwards, one of the groups I belong to, Surface Design, issued a challenge to use a photo as inspiration to make a fabric postcard. I offered my Clematis photo for this challenge, and it was one of the ones selected.

Yesterday, Franciose in Belgium posted her results for the challenge. Click on her name and it will take you to her blog so you can see the results. I absolutely LOVE the way that she interpreted this photo! It's a gorgeous abstraction.

I haven't made any more progress on the gold and gray idea. Karen left a comment suggesting I add some lavender to the piece. I thought that was a great idea and I'm going to try to work some into it. I'm always amazed when people see colors like that in unlikely places. Thanks, Karen. Today I am going to tie dye some more socks. And grocery shop, start the laundry, try to get the Christmas decorations up, wrap some gifts, attempt to locate my countertops, get to the bank, and the post office ... fun fun!

Until tomorrow ...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Summer Remembered

We seem to be sitting in this pocket of warm air, while much of the country deals with ice and snow. It is near 70F today with highs expected near 80 tomorrow. The only reminders that it is December are the leaves on the ground and the darkness that falls so early this time of year. Well, that and the Christmas lights!

I thought I would share with you one of my favorite photos from our trip to the beach last August. I just love the sandpipers, and watched this guy fish for quite a while.

I started picking out fabrics for my gold and gray quilt. Here's what I pulled from my stash. I need a dark fabric, and I think I will proceed by painting up some dryer sheets in the colors that I need. I really love the ways these look together, so think I'm on the right creative path at the moment.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Gold and Gray

First off, thanks to all who have visited me and left such nice comments this month. Don't forget, if you leave a comment during December I will enter you in a drawing on 1/1. I have already sent a little something to the first person to leave me a comment this month, and I will be doing at least one more mid-month giveaway, so check back often! ;o)

Bradford Pear

This autumn I have been captivated with the golden leaves against the gray tree bark ~ that last vestige of color before the leaves are swept away in the tide of the seasons. I've noticed it lately in the Bradford Pear trees that are so prevalent here. The leaves are golden, with a touch of orange, and simply glow against the gray/brown of the tree. In looking over the snapshots I have taken this fall, apparently the appeal of these colors has been with me through the season. No photos of bright red trees (though there were some this year that were simply stunning) - just "that" gold and "that" gray over and over again... in my fading balloon flowers (now gone and cut back, awaiting spring), and in the laden branches (now bare) of my hickory tree.

I want to capture these colors in fabric and make an art quilt from their inspiration. I do think the batik I bought a few days ago (the one on the right in the photo) would be a good one to use. I'll have to see what else I have, and what I can make. It's hard to find time to create this time of year, but these colors are calling me and I might have to find a way to listen.

Balloon Flowers

Hickory Tree

Friday, December 7, 2007

Holiday Treats

I don't have any photos to share today, so I thought I would share a recipe. These are so delicious and perfect for the holidays. I can't claim that I created them, and you can find a very similar recipe HERE, but they sure are wonderful! Enjoy!!

Strawberry Fudge Balls

8 oz cream cheese, softened
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips, melted
3/4 c vanilla wafer crumbs
1/4 c strawberry preserves
1/2 c toasted almonds.

Beat cream cheese, with mixer, until fluffy. Add melted chocolate and beat until smooth. Stir in wafer crumbs and preserves. Cover and refrigerate one hour. Shape into 1" balls and roll in chopped almonds. Store in refrigerator, or freeze up to 2 months. YUM!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Earth's Magnetic Pull ...

**December Blog-A-Thon ... see 12/1 post!**

There must have been a blip in the earth's magnetic pull yesterday, because I went to the post office and then my car seemed to be pulled unexplainably into the parking lot of a nearby quilt shop. Hmmm. That hasn't happened for quite some time. They were having a sale on batiks and I picked up 1/2 yard of these 3. They are wonderful and I'm excited to use them. I especially love the one in the middle, it really caught my eye. I might have to go back and see what else I can find on their shelves ...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Happier Feet and then some!

**See 12/1 post for Blog-A-Thon details**

I've received two wonderful gifts this week ... my friend Carolyn, knitter extraordinaire, knitted these funky wool slipper boots - don't my tootsies look toasty?!

And my friend Tracy sent me, among other things, a boatload of really cool bottlecaps and this amazing pendant that her husband made. It is absolutely stunning. It's made from three types of wood, small (about 1" x .5"), seamless and smooth as a baby's, well, you know! It is an amazing piece of art and I'm thrilled to have it. Visit Tracy's blog (click on her name a few lines back) and take a look at the amazing scarves she's made for Christmas presents!

Thank you both for your generosity!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Happy Feet!

**See Dec 1st post for Blog-A-Thon Info!**

I tie dyed some socks yesterday - aren't they fun? I'm going to wear a pair with my jeans today. I will definitely have happy feet!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Tis the Season - for football!

**See Dec 1 Post for Blog-A-Thon Giveaway Info**

I was reminded this weekend that football makes me cranky. Too much of it anyway, and there is too much of it this time of year. I enjoy a good football game now and then, but around-the-clock college all day Saturday and pro all day Sunday is just too much. Needless to say, nothing got done around here without considerable nagging from me. Blah!
I made some magnets with my kids' pics - I think they came out great! They are now my favorite magnets!!!
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

A New Journal and A Free Site

**See Dec 1 for Blog-A-Thon Info**

I sent this journal off to my cyber-friend Elizabeth. She makes amazing use of recycled materials. Check out her birds - Wing Dings - aren't they wonderful? The background is a fabric I dyed this past summer, which didn't turn out so well, so I overdyed it. It's pretty interesting now! And here's the promised photo of my dried paper towels.

Someone recently shared with me a link to a free online art zine called "Whatever ... Whenever". There's some really great projects in there - especially if you are into paper arts (stamping, scrapbooking, etc).


And don't forget about the free collage photos that I posted about a few posts back. If you are looking for images, give her a link and she will give you 46 of them over the next few weeks.

Until tomorrow!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

December Blog-A-Thon

December 1st - one more month and I will be struggling to remember that a new year is upon us when I write the date! As I mentioned yesterday, I've decided to attempt to blog every day in December. I know I should be making positive statements ~ "I WILL blog every day in December" ~ but feeling like I need to leave myself some wiggle room. We'll see what happens, but at the very least my blog should be much more active than in previous months and I hope you'll check back often.
I have at least 2 giveaways planned this month and the first one starts today. If you leave a comment for me during the month of December, I will enter you into a drawing to win something I've made. Not sure what yet, but I will draw on January 1st. Be sure I can contact you, or check back on 1/1 so you can contact me. You can comment as many times as you'd like - I love getting feedback and knowing friends have visited, but each person only gets one entry.
Today I'm sharing photos of a story box I made for a trade. It is an altered box (I used a cheese
container) with an abbreviated story inside (I used bottlecaps, big surprise!). The theme was "vintage Christmas". I guess I'm still not much of a vintage person, but I think it will do. I started making a couple more but had to put them away. Maybe I'll get them out and finish them this week.