Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sand Sculpting Championship

I recently got back from a visit to Florida. While down there, I came upon the week long American Sand Sculpting Championship at Ft. Myers Beach. It was my first time at a sand championship and since it rained heavily the night before I wasn’t sure what to expect. Fortunately, rain is not a problem for sand sculptures. I was amazed at the beauty and complexity of the works created by these talented artists. Here are some of my favorites.

"Rising Star"
Fred Mallet

Amazin' (Walter) McDonald
Sculptors Preparing Sand for the Teams Competition. 
Each artist receives water and 20,000 pounds of sand to work with; 
teams of two get 40,000 pounds.

"La Fee des Etuiles" (The Star's Fairy)
Melineige Beauregard

"Cookies 'n Milk"
Bill Dow

Friday, November 15, 2013


alt_quilts, a contemporary art quilt exhibit, is underway at the American Folk Art Museum in New York City. Sabrina Gschwandtner, Luke Haynes and Stephen Sollins draw inspiration from traditional quilts for their more modern approach to the quilt as an art form. Interestingly, each artist uses collected materials in the construction of their art.

Sabrina Gschwandtner creates her quilt inspired works from what on close inspection turns out to be 16mm film. She is mindful of the content of the film she uses in her pieces, some of which is deaccessioned film she aquired from the Fashion Institute of Technology.  These films are from the 1950’s – 1980’s and are primarily documentaries of women engaging in activities pertaining to the textile arts, such as sewing and weaving. Gschwandtner uses her Bernina to stitch together her film, then cuts her “fabric” and assembles her “blocks”. The pieces are displayed on framed light boxes, which make them vibrant and immediately attract the viewer.

Film Board of Canada, 2010

Film Board of Canada, detail

Much like the original quilt makers, Luke Haynes creates his quilts from fabric scraps. He subscribes to the notion of “constructing usable objects from unusable cloth”.  Who doesn’t love that notion? He acquires fabric from Goodwill thrift shops, then deconstructs the clothing and incorporates the pieces into his art using a long arm machine to do so.

It’s no surprise that Hayes is inspired by tumbling blocks, as his works are three-dimensional and filled with illusion. He uses a technique known as anamorphic perspective; a technique, where by arraigning shapes, color, and value creates depth depending on the angle the piece is being viewed from.

Check out this quilt. From the angle in this first photo, the image reveals a flat quilt on a "bed".
(The American Context #4) Benjamin Franklin

But from this angle it appears as if the figure, Benjamin Franklin is sitting upon the bed, very cool…
(The American Context #4) Benjamin Franklin

Stephen Sollins works up his art quilts from scraps of paper. He is intrigued by the patterns found on the envelopes, papers and Tyvek that protect ones daily mail. Sollins has developed his own system of piecing. He creates seam allowances made of tabs then glues his shapes together.

Fascinated by the near perfect symmetry of Mary Smith's quilt (shown below), from the Civil War era, Sollins used it as inspiration for his paper version of a log cabin. Sollins titled his quilt “Return to Sender” which may be a reference to the original quilt, and is associated with a tragic story. The original quilt was part of Mary Jane Smith’s trousseau. Miss Smith, lived in Queens, NY and was engaged to a soldier she met at Fort Totten. Her betrothed returned from the Civil War only to succumb to pneumonia the day of the wedding. Mary Jane never married and her quilt was never used.
Log Cabin Quilt, Barn Raising Variation
Mary Jane Smith 1833 - 1869
Mary Morrell Smith 1798 - 1869
Untitled (Return to Sender After Mary Jane Smith 1865)
Untitled (Return to Sender After Mary Jane Smith, 1865), Detail

The show is curated by quilt specialist Stacy Hollander and will be on display through January 5, 2014. What’s next for the American Folk Art Museum? Folk Couture, Fashion and Folk Art. “An exhibition of original couture by thirteen renowned fashion designers. Inspired by works of art from the collection of the American Folk Art Museum". Sounds interesting, I’ll keep you posted.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Grace - Bermuda Palette

In a recent post, I showed you the Caribbean color story for my latest fabric line, Grace. Here’s Grace in the Bermuda palette. I went to Bermuda a number of years ago and the wonderful pastel colors of the island made a lasting impression on me.

As soon as I received the new fabrics, I decided to make a couple of pillows before jumping into a quilt. I used Jay Bird Quilt’s Jawbreaker and Candy Dish pillow patterns. Julie Herman not only designs pillows but also great quilts, and her Hex N More ruler made the project a breeze.  I can’t wait to try out her new Sidekick ruler.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Bit of Local Lore

Living near Washington Irving’s home in Tarrytown and the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow, is an exciting place to be around Halloween. The area is packed with Halloween themed events and activities. This Year with the new television show, “Sleep Hollow” the hysteria has reached an all time high.

 The famous American author, Washington Irving was born in 1783 and lived in Tarrytown at his home, Sunnyside, an attraction that you can still visit today. Among Irving’s works is “The legend of Sleepy Hollow”.  The short story is about schoolmaster Ichabod Crane, who competes with the town bully for the hand of the daughter of a wealthy farmer. After leaving a party, Ichabod is pursued through Sleepy Hollow by a headless horseman. As Ichabod is about to reach safety, the horseman throws what appears to be his head at the schoolmaster. The following day, Ichabod is missing. Only his horse and the remains of a pumpkin are found. It is up to the reader to decide if he truly encountered the headless horseman or if he was the victim of a cruel prank.

Consequently, Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow have adopted the image of the headless horseman as icons for their towns. The horseman is always headless and holding a pumpkin, unlike the assault rifle which he carries on the new TV show!

So that is a little history about my town. Have a Happy Halloween!

On a separate note, I have started a Facebook page so be sure to check it out and Like Me On Facebook!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Grace, Sneak Preview

Here is a sneak peek at my upcoming line, Grace. Like many of us, I love to travel, not only for the places that I see and the people that I meet, but also for the colors I bring back in my mind and my camera. Pink sandy beaches, pastel colored cottages and clear turquoise waters inspired the Bermuda color palette for my Grace collection. In the islands farther south, the overwhelming blue and teal hues of the sea moved me to design Grace's Caribbean palette as shown below. I hope these colors can take you there as well. 
Grace is scheduled to debut in quilt stores everywhere in December!

I used the Grace, Caribbean colors to make  Clover and Violet's, Jane bag. One of the reasons I love Jennie and Clara's patterns is that their bags lend themselves to a playful use of fabrics!

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Check out the quilt I recently competed.

I challenged myself to design and create a quilt using the four small geometric patterns from CSDs' yellow and lavender color palette. The quilt features triangular shapes, both in the piecing and the quilting.

For the quilting, I relied heavily on different variations of Angela Walter’s Starburst Design technique, which I learned by taking her Dot-to-Dot Quilting, Craftsy class. The quilting design styles she teaches in her class were perfect for this piece.  For the first time, I found free motion quilting to be totally stress free and fun because I kept Angela's mantra, "close enough is good enough" in the back of my mind while working!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

New Summer Outfits

Summer is a great time to take on small, enjoyable sewing projects. My nieces received American Girl Dolls this past Christmas, so I decided to make them new summer outfits for their dolls. I picked up Lorine Mason’s book, Dressing Up 18” Dolly and found making the projects to be quite relaxing. The garments are super cute and the patterns are constructed quite thoughtfully. I know the girls will like their new clothes as much as I do...

Glitzy Holiday Dress in Cold Spring Dreams, (Yellow & Lavender)

Suit Jacket & Skirt in Cold Spring Dreams, (Yellow & Lavender)

Cropped Jacket & Gathered Pants in Cold Spring Dreams, (Pink & Blue)

Floral Drop-Waist Dress in Cold Spring Dreams, (Pink & Blue)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fantasy River

There is an wonderful show underway at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, New York. Federico Uribe’s, Fantasy River is a whimsical interpretation of a three-dimensional riverscape. Both flora and fauna are made from everyday objects such as pencils, shoelaces, gloves, coins and screws. Uribe gives back to Nature what was taken from her as he creates trees from books and animals from leather shoes and other objects. 

If you’re in Yonkers, I recommend you stop by for a visit and if Yonkers happens to be a bit out of the way, here is a link to the museum's exhibit page containing two videos featuring the artist and his work, www.hrm.org/exhibits.html.

 A ram created from electrical wire, a hippo from computer keys, and in the background, a leopard made of sneakers and a zebra made out of pencils.

Lizard, tiger and tree made of books.

Cougar made from bullet shells.

 A field of shovels and I'm not sure about the sun...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Whirl Pattern

Recently, I've been asked about the kaleidoscope quilt I made from my CSDs fabrics. I just finished making a pattern for the quilt and decided to call it Whirl. The pattern is in PDF format and you can download it for free right here! I’d love to hear how it works out for you.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Haute Tote

I just stumbled upon the Haute Tote, designed by Sue Marsh. It is featured in the March/April issue of Quiltmaker Magazine (better late than never), and I am delighted, not only because is it a cute tote but because it is made from Cold Spring Dreams and RJR’s Supreme Solids fabrics.  The bag uses 2 1/2” fabric strips, so the project is ideal if you have pre-cuts or left over scraps. Sue is also an RJR designer and her fabrics are wonderfully whimsical.  Check out her work at wpcreek.com.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


For some time, I had been meaning to create a quilt made from octagonal blocks. So finally, I gathered my Cold Spring Dreams fabrics, took out my Kaleido-Ruler and got to work, (of course it might have been helpful if I had paid more attention in geometry class).

I am not sure what I was thinking when I decided to hand quilt it, but now that I’m finished, I am glad that I did. I have been machine quilting for so long that I forgot hand quilting could be so enjoyable and relaxing. After a little experimentation, I ended up using Pearl Cotton no. 8 with a number 24 chenille needle.

I love working with octagons because if you squint your eyes, you loose sight of the individual blocks and a larger circle in the quilt design becomes more apparent.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden

It’s a sure sign that Spring is almost here when the annual Orchid Show comes to the The New York Botanical Garden. When you walk into the landmark Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, you are immediately transported from a late winter day in the Bronx to a lush tropical rainforest.

This is the 11th annual exhibition and as usual, the orchids are stunning and are artfully arranged. This event is equally enjoyable for the orchid enthusiast as well as the casual observer. Strolling through the tropical rainforest, you are surrounded by over 7,000 orchids representing 3,075 different types. More details and photos are available at the New York Botanical Garden’s website.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

An Afternoon at the Bookstore

Winter in New York is a great time to visit the local bookstore. On a recent afternoon, while perusing the quilting magazines, I found a number of quilt projects featuring Cold Spring Dreams fabrics, some of which are available as kits.
The April/May issue of Quilt magazine includes the pattern, Twist and Shout by quilt designer and quiltmaker, Diane Nagle. I love the way Diane combined the prints and solids to create a fresh, modern look. The fabrics are available as a kit, online at fernhill.net.

Another fun quilt by Diane Nagle, Jacks for Jill is featured the March/April issue of McCall’s Quilting. McCall’s says “Girls of all ages will love the cool fabrics and creative piecing in this cheerful lap quilt.”  A kit of fabrics for the quilt top and binding is available at the McCalls website.

Generation Q’s Spring 2013 issue, includes a quilt pattern named Stranded by Christine Stainbrook. The article describes the quilt as giving “the illusion of squares hanging in space”, but when I look at it, I imagine a cool, colorful beaded curtain. Take a look and see what it brings to mind for you.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"Beyond the Bed, The American Quilt Evolution"

A fantastic quilt show has just opened at the Katonah Museum of Art, located in Westchester County, NY. The exhibit is appropriately named, Beyond the Bed, The American Quilt Evolution, as it spans two hundred years of American quilt making. I was lucky enough to show up in time for an awesome tour with Nikki Alexander who walked us through the highlights of the exhibit. The show is divided into two parts: examples of historical quilts on one side of the museum and modern art quilts on the other.
Some of the traditional quilts include: a detailed crazy quilted coffin cover (upper right), a meticulous Baltimore album quilt, an intricately quilted Amish quilt, and a Hawaiian flag quilt.

The art quilt portion of the show features works by some of today’s finest art quilters, many of which are included in the collection, “One of the Top 100 Quilts of the Twentieth Century”.

There was a beautiful kaleidoscope quilt (upper right) by one of my favorite quilt artists, Paula Nadelstern.  Her amazing geometry is enhanced by pieces of silk that shimmer and make her quilt look like glass.

 Nancy Crow’s quilt is a brilliant interpretation of a traditional double wedding ring design.

One of the most unique “quilts” was an enchanting, three dimensional, free standing installation (upper right) by Dominique Ehrmann. The piece is constructed of four quilted layers and is like an illustrated, tunnel book.

These are just a few of the many incredible quilts in the show. If you live anywhere near Katonah, NY, I recommend that you stop by and enjoy the exhibit.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

ORBIT Quilt Along

Lindsey Rhodes of LR Stitched is hosting a Quit Along starting this week.  Lindsey has designed a lovely quilt named Orbit and will be sewing along using Cold Spring Dreams fabrics. 

The free pattern is now available for download at her website. Detailed weekly instructions will be posted through the end of March. You can submit your finished quilts or tops, and on April 1st a winner will be randomly selected to win a fat quarter bundle of Cold Spring Dreams. Details are available at lrstitched.com/orbit-quilt-along.