Summer Projects

Find out where joy resides,
and give it a voice far beyond singing.
For to miss the joy is to miss all.
Robert Louis Stevenson

SAQA’s 100 Days of Creativity on Facebook, which I mentioned in my last two posts, became a wonderful vehicle for keeping me focused for over 40 days on sewing projects. It was a particularly hectic time in my life but the simple task of doing enough on a piece to post a photo each day to the group with just the right incentive to keep going. And, I discovered by simply putting the proverbial “one step in front of the other” that I could create art in the craziest of times.

I have backed off the SAQA challenge now as travel will take up more of my time and I feel I have learned sufficiently from participating in the challenge. What did I accomplish? Have a look. 🙂

This is the smaller of the two art quilts that I mentioned in my last blog. I am extremely pleased with how cloth and paper blended to create this scene. I do hope to explore the larger size version but not until fall or perhaps winter when my travel schedule is lighter.

This is the front of a very special cloth pouch that I made for one of my cousins. The “E” is from a hankerchief of her Mom’s that she gave me. Most of the other materials I used in the creating the pouch were also from her Mom.

Pouch inside

To create the inside of the pouch I created a pocket with a smaller hanky and embellished it with lace trim of her Mom’s. I added three mini pockets created out of unused corners of the hanky that formed the main pocket.

Back of pouch

My third project was a mini-cushion that I might use as a pin cushion or else a place to lay my glasses. It was done for sheer fun which suggests just how successful my summer of creativity has been. From paper piecing to french knots to prairie points to art quilts with paper and stitch, I have been following my heart all summer. 🙂

Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall blog so you can follow other artists as well. 

Mission Accomplished

Enjoy the satisfaction that comes from doing little things well.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

It is an extremely nice feeling to start from a gathering of materials that attracted you and wind up with a finished project. I mentioned in my last post that I rarely purchase fabric these days as I have a stash to draw upon. There must be something truly unique about some fabric, or even buttons, or ribbons — anything that I might use in my art – before I will buy it.

Last fall I started a small grouping of purchases from trips I had made to the Manhattan garment district, upstate NY and Sedona AZ during 2018. I had no plan initially for them, but something about them created a feeling that resonated with me. This year, in my stitching group with Karen Ruane, that pile started beckoning to me to let them join in my play.

First I created a suffolk puff from a Japanese print fabric I had found in Manhattan. Then, I began playing with some bullion knots around cording in another piece of fabric………ribbon and buttons begged to be included in my design process. 🙂

As time progressed, a plan for a bag developed and I began stitching in earnest.

This week I finished my bag. Here are two views of it.

View One
View 2

I plan to use my new bag in my studio for other special items that I have brought back from trips. In that way, it will serve a number of purposes, both reminding me of places I visited, and reminding me of that sense of satisfaction from following through from an idea to a final product. In that way, I suspect it will continue to encourage me to follow through in 2019 with other ideas and projects that speak to me, whatever they may be.

Linking as always to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday….

A New Twist on Re-purposing

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.
Havelock Ellis

This past week has been about preparing for change. I am back in our New York home and devoting a portion of each day to sorting through the accumulations of many years lived in this house. I found a great book,  The Life-changing Magic of Tidying: A Simple, Effective Way to Banish Clutter Forever by Marie Kondo, which has helped me quite a bit. Marie suggests asking if each piece of clothing and other household paraphernalia brings joy to your life. That is an interesting way to clean out things. I tried it with my clothing and found it quite effective. The second part of the process involves being willing to let go of the piece, once you have determined that it has outlived it’s usefulness for you. That is obviously a bit trickier and I found Marie’s perspectives most helpful in actually getting those clothes into a bag for our local Goodwill store.

While carrying on this household sorting, I also was completing another pouch. I had to smile as I realized the re-purposing of cast-aways were the base for the pouch.  I had never quite looked at my use of vintage cloth and hankies in quite that way before.

The pouch uses both some “lace cloth” I created from scraps from other stitching projects, and some vintage hankies and fabric remnants I had in my stash:


Lace Cloth












Bits and Pieces











Here you can see the place of honor for the lace cloth bit in my pouch:


The vintage hankies, which others had let go of in their own cleaning efforts, now repurposed, add to the beauty of this piece.


Front of Pouch











Back of Pouch













It gives me great joy to take these bits and pieces and give them new life. It also makes me chuckle. I am supposed to be cleaning out, but I couldn’t resist a trip over the weekend to our local antique mall to see what other items might have been cast off by previous owners. I found enough vintage embroiderie anglaise and lace for new projects to keep me busy re-purposing for quite a while!


Linking, as always, to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday Blog.

Knowing When to Stop!

Do not follow the ideas of others, but learn to listen to the voice within yourself.”
Zen Master Dogen


With hand stitching, as with art quilts, the artist could continue to embellish and tweak till eternity. It takes a goodly dose of self awareness to hear that inner voice whispering (or eventually yelling) ‘That’s enough, dear!”.

So it was this past week   – I realized as I completed some inserts  that I had been working on for a few days that the pouch in my hands was done. I know I have shared some glimpses of it these past few months. Here it is, finally complete. :)

Hand embroidered pouch

This piece is a happy reminder of our trip to Normandy in May. The fabrics were purchased in London, the white overlay, shown below, is a clipping of a handkerchief I picked up at an open market in Paris.

hand embroidery

You can see from these detail shots that I made good use of that Liberty fabric I have been blogging about! The pouch is actually lined with the fabric as well.

liberty fabric insert

I added a few tabs to the bottom front of the pouch. I am not sure what I will use this pouch for, but if I do travel with it, the tabs will give me a place to place a few needles while stitching.

tabs on body of pouch

There is a special glow that comes with working with such beautiful fabric and from finishing the composition. It inspired me throughout the week as I took up some new projects. Hope to share more on them next week!

In the meantime, I will be linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog tomorrow, so be sure to check out everyone’s posts.