Friday, January 3, 2014

Herding Cats, Commission, Obsession


In April a colleague ordered a commission. Quilts for the cat room. It has been home to many cats and the chairs could use new covers. We discussed the size and color pallet. He said a calico cat if possible as several, if not all, of their past cats had been calico, as well as rescue.

I was given creative license. I warned it could be six months or more. In fact, it took eight. My original design morphed significantly in process from pieced patch work to applique cats.

I gathered fabrics from my stash and picked up a few additional fat quarters to fill out the colorway. My stash had the white on off white cat outlines. Shadows of cats past.

Using the gentle curve free rotary cutting method, I looked it up on You Tube. Everything you always wanted to know is there. I struggled with the randomness of it all It is good to go outside my comfort zone, trusting it will come out the way it is to be, and it will be fine.

Then there was the ghost fabric to cut. 

The background little quilts grew. I tried to keep them limited to the 3 I needed for this commission... I was unsuccessful. There were so many options in my stash. Putting cats on blue and white backgrounds was a quilt I had seen somewhere... and thought, that would be fun. Here I was giving it my spin.

I traced my cat designs to fusible, then ironed to muslin as foundations for thread painting seam accents.

 The calico fabric came together, and cat foundations were ironed to the back.

Then cut out.

Each applique was thread painted for added detail and stability.

There are 8 completed appliques. Six where selected to sit on the blue backgrounds.

Once zig-zagged down, I cut out the negative space cats. [This sentence makes me laugh!]

Layering, quilting and binding commenced. And the results were posted above!

Then there is the gathering of the leavings... the remnants to be revisited.

When trimming the quilts for binding there were great quilted leavings. I will add to my mini project box, where inchies, ACEOs and postcards come from. The rest of the cats are in the bag! Literally, the one in the picture the minis are resting on! The cats in the bag will go to my studio, down town. They will live in the cupboard awaiting their return to either finish more of the same or morph into something else!

When I work/make things I go to the zone and my brain processes the stuff in my head into new patterns and realizations. I spent a lot of time remembering my first cat while working on this project.

Her name was Tanaya. I met her in 1980. Dropped in the grass beside the sidewalk, birthed on the run, a West Hartford, street cat's first litter, no doubt. I could not pass as though I had not seen her suffering. The Vet in the phone book said, clean her up, hydrate, then kitten milk re-placer. I was warned not to expect success, it was unlikely. She fit in my hand, eyes not yet open.

I spent the next several weeks nursing her. I slept with my hand in her box and fed her when she wiggled in the night. I took her to work with me. She grew stronger. A dainty, active snuggler who shared many hours with me. She moved cross country, through Canada, with her own papers. Lived in Alakaket, the bush of Alaska, for a year, and then in Two Rivers, Alaska, for a many more years.

Finally, succumbing to feline leukemia she left my heart broken and open. Once we know love that deeply we know we can love, and be affirmed, unconditionally. It is a challenging lesson for me to translate to people. My children have taught me much of what I know about how to love, develop and maintain relationships. I still work daily to accept my limitations and grant myself the grace I offer others, and breathe. Forgiving my past as I embrace the moment. Sometime that past is yesterday. My filters are not as well developed as it might appear at first hearing.

Friday, February 15, 2013

... it's been a while, now I'm hearing Harry Chaipin in my head!

Apparently simplify means to stop blogging! About a year ago the consensus on my Olympia Etsy Team was blogging doesn't necessarily translate to exposure... it was an easy thing for me to transition out of. I often avoided blogging as it seemed tedious and arbitrary. My swinging personal perspective/frame of reference in writing!

I continued logging progress on specific projects and works in progress. I actually have simplified! Folders on my desk top backed up on the flash drive of current musings about projects. I transitioned to a Facebook addict* in the past year and much has happened in my professional artist persona.

In August I began what I am now calling my business plan backwards. I rented a store front at the Olympia Weekend Flea Market for a six month commitment and opened Cobaltquilter's Corner.

Heavy sigh, hang on for the ride. I originally committed, in early June, then asked for the day job for my 2 Saturdays off a month. Thinking 2 months was adequate to have an alternative in place. It was not to be the option and I have struggled with my backwardness. It has been a long 6 month learning curve for me. It is no longer as deep a concern of mine as it was 6 months ago when I was trying to find my way in this whole -get my self out there doing it process of independent artist as my supplementary income needed due to early retirement- thing. I have found, as I design this business plan backwards, that I am falling into the rhythm and accepting the limits of my Shop/Studio availability.

As you can imagine this led to a serious reorganization of my living space as I moved a fully functional fiber/textile studio out of my house into the Shop, leaving behind a fully functional studio. I have a tool box, now in a wheeled cart, that goes between the two locations. I am not exactly Flea Market fare but it is a corner I feel comfortable in and a public space, open studio, so I can retain my hermit existence as required.

I am currently timing a project I started at the shop/studio last weekend and will get to posting an album on FB, took pictures at the shop/studio last weekend. I am in the process of getting a true perspective on how functional 5 to 10 hours of available studio time can be. I am getting a handle on doing commissions/alterations for people whom I have met there over the past year as a regular vendor on the first weekends of the month. It is not where I want to spend the potential 10 hours a week of home time for down to it making stuff! I have to play or I lose perspective :)

Thanks for all the support from family, friends and coworkers as I launch myself backwards, does that make me a magician... ? Oh Merlin you wise one!

So the following are Facebook references and music, the sound track of my life continues.

*I have an album for several current inspirational projects as well as images of my local Shop/Studio in downtown Olympia, Cobaltquilter's Corner. Here's the link to the Cobaltquilter's Corner Facebook fan page if you are a FB person you can like my page and get my updates. Otherwise I think you can just visit and read it. If you are particularly curious about how long a project might take from start to finish my FB will be a better location to see me updating progress. We shall see how 2013 bodes for consistency!

I like FB even though it has become littered with paid advertising annoyingly changes its algorithms with out explaining it to me! I am pretty transparent as a person. As Conan has said I go to Facebook to crusade and play word games! I do that as PeggySue King. Very true. I enjoy both! I also like exclamation points and emoticons :)

A friend shared this with me this morning, and I have been listening to tunes as I compose this entry.

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.

+Spelling/grammar disclaimer! I will reread in the future and potentially if allowed edit for errors, perfection requires revision. Interesting thought.
++Or to fix links!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year!

My word for 2012 is SIMPLIFY...

I have been busy organizing my living/working space since the holiday show rush was over for me early in the month. It went well, I made good sales! I am going to prepare my inventory for Spring shows. Trying to get my nerve up once again to seek a space for Spring Arts Walk... we shall see.

Have been making a running list of what I have done the last 2 4 day weekends in a word document, just to track my momentum and keep it going. I do not have to get it all done in one day.

So far:
~Sorted boxes of 'saved' paperwork from 2009, and 2010! Silly stuff! Most recycled.
~My fabric is nearly all sorted, will keep picking away at the assorted boxes of scraps and 'projects.'
~Took stuff to the Goodwill. Have started another collection to take (But I did pick up a new skirt, a shirt and a sweater!)
~Added items to the 'Destash' box for the Olyteam Etsy meeting this week.
~Have a couple bags of books to donate to the Books Beans and Brownies Book Sale Saturday, February 25, 2012 10:00 AM-4:00 PM OUUC
~I have a greater awareness of my unfinished objects pile, wanting to find the best way to store and access these, as well as prioritize! The word doc will help with that!
~Had an email exchange with Ruthann Eckersley and purchased a pattern from her web site: Ruths Machine Quilting for a great table topper made with strada the way bargello quilts are! It's called Sew Easy Strata Star and I have permission to use the pattern and sell items I make. Look for these in the near future! I do not typically use patterns from other designers, but I saw a sample and this woman's pattern at Bayside Quilting and it is really a nice potential use of color and I have some great collections waiting a good place to show off.
(Some how convincing myself it isn't a new project if it is using fabric I already have. Semantics are my friend.)
~Ready to rearrange furniture in the sewing area of the living room for better access, visual appeal.

Did a bit of retail therapy at JoAnn's for some great fabric 40% off, saved $20+ on a large piece 5 yards I think, a great paisley! Also at Bayside some 50% off great blue Zodiac for the backing to a quilt in the UFO pile!

I haven't finished my reorganizing binge, but good progress!

For the last month to 6 weeks I have been working on beading/embellishing Ronn's commission at his house on the evenings we watch a movie and visit. I am making progress, nice to finally see myself put needle and thread to it. No good pictures at the moment. It will be interesting to see how long it takes me to take this one to completion. I am leaving all the beads out there with a folding table. I was provided with a really nice LED clip on light I clip to a little plastic drawer thing that hold the current beads I am using, to get good light on the working surface. It also leaves me home time to do other projects and not feel I am skipping out on Ronn's. I do have to say though that the beading is going much faster that the outline blanket stitch of the design elements. That's nice.

Have a hanging for a customer to get done for next weekend at the Weekend Market, will plan to do that Friday the 6th. Will be at Market January 7th & 8th 10 to 5!

So sad day, no pics in this post :(

Looking forward to a fantastic 2012! A year of change and awakenings!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Show off time...

A few things happened in October!

Last week the quilt on loan to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center came home! Ground Water has returned to the owner. I very much appreciated the loan! It was a pleasure to see it again, eben if only for a little bit.

In addition:
~ I finished the series of Sugar skull ACEOs and Postcards uploaded them here on a new blog page.

I picked up spice gumdrops today to honor my maternal grandmother at an upcoming Dumb Feast. My sister and I have been playing Scrabble on line. Growing up my mom and grandmother played every time we visited. Preparing for All Soul's Day is an act of mindfulness of those who have gone before me.

~I scanned the 12 finished Stonehenge inchie pendants uploaded an photo to Facebook on my fan page. Check it out if you want more frequent updates than my blog:

~ Also an image of 3 of the 4 sugar skull pendants that are 1.5 X 3 inches. I sold one at a craft show last weekend! I was out at the Carlyon Beach Craft Fair. The call went out at the last minute and I was accepted. I had a great experience and hope to do it again!

I have additional inchies in the Stonehenge Abstract left overs and a few sugar skull inchies, also larger pieces to bead. Tomorrow I will go see Nancy at the Weekend Market down town Olympia and pick up more base metal blanks for making more pendants, these are low price point items for the 3 upcoming events I mentioned in my last entry! I will post them here again!

Upcoming November shows....

Olympia Weekend Market
November 5th (Saturday 9 - 4) & November 6th (Sunday 10 - 5)
[Repeats every first weekend of the month, December 3 & 4 for last minute local shopping!]

Resident Council's Annual Holiday Bazaar
Mother Joseph Care Center
3333 Ensign Road, Olympia, WA 98506
November 11th (Friday 10am to 4pm)

Local vendors will be selling holiday decorations, cards, jewelry, and other hand crafted items. An opportunity for residence and guests to shop.

Holiday Crafts Showcase at North Thurston High School
600 Sleater Kinney Rd, Lacey, WA
Sponsored by Lacey's Community Enrichment Program
November 12th (Saturday 9am-3pm)

~Here are the Mirror Mirror 4 ACEOs, a great batik and thread painting/quilting. They are in my Etsy Shop ACEO section.

~ I found the bargello elements for an Autumn table topper, yet to be sewn, perhaps today?

I haven't listed the Stonehenge ACEOs yet, could happen any day. They still need photo editing. Today was a blog day. And I really wanted to finish and put away the sugar skull altar cards.

I have stew in the crock pot this rainy afternoon, will give me time to get several more things done before evening draws my day home from the 'day job' to a close!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Oh My, what a whiner I can be!

When I update my blog I revisit my last post so I can be relevant... note to self, stay positive, I didn't even want to finish reading the post ... perspective is powerful, as always! Also finding typos in previous posts is humbling...

This is my favorite time of year, the season to celebrate all things Autumn.

Doing a bit of organizing today, hope to see a marked improvement in my working space.

Looking to see if there are supplies/stuff I want to 'exchange' at the next Etsy Olyteam Meeting November 5th. A great group of local artisans and sellers from

Upcoming November shows....

Olympia Weekend Market
November 5th (Saturday 9 - 4) & November 6th (Sunday 10 - 5)
[Repeats every first weekend of the month, December 3 & 4 for last minute local shopping!]

Resident Council's Annual Holiday Bazaar
Mother Joseph Care Center
3333 Ensign Road, Olympia, WA 98506
November 11th (Friday 10am to 4pm)

Local vendors will be selling holiday decorations, cards, jewelry, and other hand crafted items. An opportunity for residence and guests to shop.

Holiday Crafts Showcase at North Thurston High School
600 Sleater Kinney Rd, Lacey, WA
Sponsoered by Lacey's Community Enrichment Program
November 12th (Saturday 9am-3pm)

I completed an ACEO series of Gray Doodles. I had a hard time photo editing, they are listed in my shop but look so much better in real life!

I finished 16 of the Seam Allowance Stonehenge Abstract series ACEOs. Soon to be listed in my shop!

I finished 12 Seam Allowance Stonehenge Abstract series inchies, as pendants! No photos yet!

I decided the Mirror Mirror 4 ACEOs are complete without embellishment, I love the batik and the thread painting/quilting seems to be all they need. Needs photos as well.

Still in the works:
ACEOs Stonehenge with Standing stones, there are - 7, ironed on freezer paper ready to thread paint, I have gray in the machine ought to do that soon!

Ronn's commission:
I cut the hanging sleeve and strips to use for facing from the backing fabric. Have decided to not bind this one. I am getting closer to embellishment potential... in my head.

No progress on Deep Spaces, but have been gathering a few more specific beads to consider.

Will try to locate the bargello elements for an Autumn table topper I have in a box, somewhere!

Playing with 'Ask me about my Etsy shop flags' from the Spoonflower fabric, likely 2 sided. What to use for sticks and stands?

The inevitable new stuff:
Day of the Dead Table runner/toppers altar cloths for Samhain, and other Day of the dead celebrations. Plan an ACEO series that will sport hand sharpie designs on skull beads I picked up at the craft store. Well, that's the plan anyway! Fabric is washed and machine dried! I won't let myself start....

Also washed fabric for Darcy's Commission, Harvest Moon~ brainstorming the quilting design, getting there in my head... The actual construction will be straight forward.

Picked up some fun fabric at the Weekend Market. A Christmas paisley and a harvest scene. Over 2 yards of each, already washed and dried. Also washed 3+ yards of a pre-sewn patchwork fabric I got on Christmas clearance last year, table topper/runner backs perhaps.

I want to finish as many lap sized quilts for Mother Joseph Bazaar as I can, I have quite a list of tops waiting to be quilted!

I find it very hard to photograph beaded textiles, another skill I am developing, slowly! Also need to find out if I can get my scanner to make a jpeg not a copy. Better imaging for the ACEOs. So much to learn so little time!

Friday, July 29, 2011

I have been knitting, again...

Knitting has been my choice of busy work as of late. I find myself picking up the knitting needles and grabbing a ball of yarn when I am feeling stuck creatively and need to feel I am doing something productive and somewhat creative as I love the look and feel of yarn. I have a collection of unique yarn, I have collected when it is on close out sale or at the thrift store.

I picked up 3 balls of a mixed blue and white eyelash and nubby yarn combo for free at a yard sale a few weeks back. It knit up into a nice scarf. Then I started a strictly eyelash variegated 'mexicana' with bright orange, red and purple stripes. It ended up over 6 feet long. I was going to use 4 skeins but it was already long enough with three! Makes me think of the Tom Baker Dr Who. Just the other night I started another narrow lattice yarn scarf in pastels. Recently finished a jewel toned one, just before the blue & white one. The jewel tones had been sitting in a bag for months, I wanted the needles so I finished it up.

Last year I gave a bunch of scarves away at work, I had listed a few on Etsy but they didn't sell. There are some amazing fiber artists on Etsy, creating fantastic works, I wasn't surprised mine sat, unnoticed.

This past week I began to think about the disappointments I have recently encountered with my quilting/embellishment, to see if I can work past this bump in the road.

-didn't finish the Deep Spaces Challenge piece in time

-didn't get accepted into the Pacific West Quilt Show

-didn't finish Symbols for the Etsy Pagan Team Challenge Healing Intent in time, and the cirtisolve method for transferring text to the symbols fabric hasn't worked

-sales in my Etsy shop and at the Olympia Weekend Market have been nonexistent

-I spent a long time sewing a 'quilt as you go' piece that didn't turn out to my expectations and remains in the 'yea, not likely to finish that one' pile

-my first Stonehenge Challenge piece for Bayview Quilting stalled

So the questions has become, "Where am I now and what do I need to do so I can get my hands in the works again? What am I stuck on?"

To get a handle on that I will look at a progress update. What HAVE I been doing?

1. I wrote a blog post for the Olympia Etsy Team blog about Bayside Quilting that was recently posted- Check it out!

It is about the Stonehenge Challenge piece I did finish! It is the Stonehenge panel cut and fused then stippled with my doodling. Though I am a bit disappointed only 3 people turned something in...
I have since looked at the unfinished bargello elements and decided they are useable, need a nice border then quilting, so that is a salvaged disappointment! Whew!

2. Deep Spaces has more beads on it but it is to the point where I need to be resting it on the table for support so it limits when and where I can work on it. When something needs specifics like that it gets put at the bottom of the list.

3. Finally quilted Ronn's commission! I was unable to see the quilting, black on black, well enough to quilt with my random stippling design. Ended up just doing a random stipple, I am not as happy with it as I would have been if the thread had let me see it well enough to use my unique designs. It is now ready for embellishment and has stalled... I did hang the piece in his front room one evening so I could 'see' it in its future residence, that has helped some!

4. I have 3 ACEO series ready for embellishment!
-Stonehenge with Standing stones, 7 I think
-Seam Allowance Stonehenge Abstract about 17 and there are also 27 inchies cut of this!
- I cut 4 from the Mirror Mirror practice layer and trimmed the edges

5. FINALLY got a picture of Char's quilt so I can actually get it in the mail... maybe this month? It is a California King size ~108 X 108 inches! I love the traditional Kaleidoscope pattern, like Storm at Sea it makes Circles visually out of Straight lines!

I have never worked a 12 step program through, though I have read a lot about how. This quilt is part of my personal recovery [restitution, making up for things I did or didn't do because alcohol and codependency were more important that people in my life]. Not an easy 'step' but a necessary one. There are a few other projects in this 'step', but for now it feels okay to move forward with other things.

So, there is no shortage of projects to pick up and fly with... just a question of why I am feeling stuck.... I have made a few lists of projects available to work on. Just a matter of getting all Nike, "Just Do It!"

Today I am going to go to Shipwreck Beads and wander around a bit. Sometimes I go and I want everything, other times I leave with nothing as I am struggling to 'see' what I want or need. I hope today I pick up a few embellishments for Ronn's Commission, might get me started on that project!

Midsummer is coming to an end, This weekend marks the quarter day between Summer Solstice and Fall Equinox. I have been thinking about what I have 'planted' and what I am 'harvesting' as the Autumn approaches. The current economic and political climate causes me anxiety and I have become quite political on my personal facebook page!

I also started a fan page for my Etsy shop:

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer Solstice Sun! My faforite time of year!

I have a bad habit of over using exclamation marks. None the less, this is a great season, the sun gives me energy to think and do things.

I have been brainstorming and doing design work on a couple things pretty consistently. New thing is I have begun to keep a log on my desktop for the various projects I have going. Fun to see a couple of them morph and merge to a potential idea using one of my symbols fabrics.


1. "Baby Steps" was not accepted into the Pacific West Quilt Show. Only about half of all entered quilts were selected. I am disappointed but will try to not make it a stopper. Just another step along the path.

On my wall I now have several potential deadlines pinned up in hopes I will actually take another step forward.

2. Deep Spaces... I started a log on my desktop documenting the beads I am using and will back post design inspirations & current progress next time I work on it! Noted the great beads I have added:

I purchased them on Etsy when some one ws destashing, she said they are from Electrobach, but I have not found any information about her.

Also have these great beads already sewn on:
They are from:

karibeads on Etsy:

"So long and thanks for all the fish!"

Anyway it is a fun one and will eventually have a ton of beads on it. There is a pretty stiff interfacing in the layer.

So, 1,2, skip a few

Lots not moved forward the numbers no longer correspond with previous projects in line! :)

3. Got the 3 crazy Nines quilted and on the rack at the Weekend Market the first of June. Trying to get a few things ready for next weekend, seems to rush up on me all the time!!

4. Ronn's wall hanging/ commission is layered and ready for quilting, soon I hope!

5.Lot's of work on Symbols design(s), it has morphed into two different presentations, one with the 4 directional goddesses, one with the sun, earth and green man.... I have been prepping materials, elements, looking forward to starting the sewing part!

I've been listening to some great stuff from Celia not just the Symbol song.

And I discovered Neil Young's Living with War page has great links to current protest songs against war, LWW

I found it after I purchased a copy of CSNY Deja Vue DVD. If you haven't seen it, it is a great documentary of their Freedom of Speech Tour in 2006, released in 2008. As we approach this next political round of chaos we would do well to remember we are still living with war, every day.

6. I am trying to get a quilt finished for the Stonehenge Challenge at the local quilt shop:
Bayside Quilting
Check it out:

The Royal Stonehenge Challenge
This challenge begins on Friday-the day of the Royal wedding!! And what could be more British than Stonehenge??? We challenge you to use a minimum of one Stonehenge panel and add any fabric you'd like to create your entry into the Royal Challenge!! Stonehenge panels are 50% off-while quantities last. Use as many as you want!-but you must use one!

Bring your entry in by July 12th. We will hang the entries and voting begins July 15. Cast your vote for your favorite entry July 15 through August 15. Viewer's Choice will be selected by popular vote and the winner receive a $50.00 gift certificate.


I've cut strips for strata, potential bargello. I've strip cut the panel! Should be interesting. I have 4 great fabrics from the Maui - Maui Stonehenge collection by Linda Ludovico, from Northcott
very bright and sunny to celebrate the Summer Solstice!!

I know it was a push to clear the line before new fabrics arrived, but it will be interesting to see if I can get local challenge completed in time!

I have more to say but as always, if I do not get to the sewing machine I will not make any of the things in my head! I'm thinking of renting the long arm this weekend, Sunday... we shall see. I have a couple quilts I could work on and have ready for the Weekend Market.

Decided I best update before the month got away from me! Going to have a Yule/Christmas in July sale in my Etsy shop next month! I have a ton of items expired and ready to re-list! Might get me to post here next weekend!