Saturday, May 30, 2009

in the garden

Here's what's new in the garden this week.

giant elephant ear


variegated shell ginger

Thursday, May 28, 2009


This is my newest quilt, floris.

I showed a preview of this quilt a week or two ago. It wasn't what I thought it would be when I finished it, so I needed to put it away for a while. Sometimes I need a second look with fresh eyes. I like it much better the second time around.

I think this piece is a bit of a departure for me. I'm starting to see the quilting as a layer separate from the pattern on the fabric itself. This is good. But, when my work starts moving in a direction different from the one I'm used to, I think I have a hard time appreciating it. I need to let the piece marinate for a little while before I can stop seeing what it isn't.

completed May, 2009
hand-dyed cotton & batik
cotton thread, cotton batting
pieced, machine quilted

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


When I was in college, I fell in love with The Passion by Jeanette Winterson. I read it so many times the spine on my paperback cracked into pieces. Hardly any pages were unmarked, either by underlining or notes off to the side.

The book is set in Venice, which is an integral part of the plot. So when, out of the blue, I started thinking of The Passion again, of course I also thought of Venice.

I've never been to Venice, or to Italy for that matter. Both are near the top of my "places to go" list. But for now, I have pictures and stories.

So, the theme for this week's 3-for-Tuesday is Venice.

Venice Canal

Julie D.
etsy shop: Julie D. Photography

Gondole Gondole Gondole

Marisa Allegra Williams
etsy shop: Memories and Dreams

Venezia Sunset

Melody Kristensen
etsy shop: Aria Images

Saturday, May 23, 2009

in the garden

Here's what's going on in the garden.

I love this time of year. Something new is happening every week.

Amaryllis seedpod


varigated shell ginger.
i've been waiting all year for this one!

all photos by Buddy Harper

Friday, May 22, 2009

we love indie

Not too long ago I discovered this cool site. All kinds of cool blogs, all in one place. And now I'm on it too. yay!
Indie Design Buzz

Perfect for your Friday browsing pleasure.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

tiny little thing

How adorable is this? I'm in love with those tiny chipmunk feet.

from Simple Moth on Flickr
(click on the link to read the story behind this photo)

Someone on tweeted a link to this photo yesterday. I'm a little appalled at myself for not remembering who originally mentioned it. oops.... :(

You can see more of Simple Moth's beautiful photos here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

methods of containment

I was going through some old pictures and I came across these.

I've always been fascinated with containers and containment- especially in natural forms.

The coconuts contain something which can't be seen but which requires the protection of the spikes. There must be something precious at the core.

The outside of the pods give a much clearer suggestion of what is inside, but even still, you can't be sure exactly.

And, after that, how does what's contained inside get outside? And then, what is left behind?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I'm back on track with my Tuesday favorites. This week I chose an avian theme.

I'm really liking grainy photographs lately, if you couldn't tell.

Tricia McKellar
etsy shop: eyeful

The next one made me think of the hundreds of crows I used to see every evening at 5:00 when I was walking home from classes in Syracuse.

The Gathering
Gayle Ketzel
etsy shop: ketzelphotography

2 crows 2 branches
Donna at gothicrow
etsy shop: gothicrow


Monday, May 18, 2009

plank set

A few weeks ago, I realized I had some quilts that I finished last year but never documented. This is one of those, which I call Plank Set. I used commercial fabric from my stash since this was a test piece, so it has a much scrappier look than I usually like.

I think this quilt would be great in 2 or 3 colors. That way I'd set up some nice secondary patterns across the surface. The quilting could play off the secondary patterns instead of following the pieced pattern so strictly.

In this case though, I kept the quilting pretty simple.

Plank Set Quilt
48" x 73"
commercial cotton fabric, cotton thread, cotton batting
December 2008

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Fabric sewn and gathered, ready to dye.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

reclining stack

Here are some new coasters. These are using my hand-dyed fabric for the front and back. Horray for hand-dyed!

Monday, May 11, 2009

secret gift

I made this as a surprise gift.

100 % linen
2 ply handspun
hand dyed Turkish Red

I discovered I really, really like to spin linen. The best part is that it's seasonally appropriate all year here.

Now I need to make some for myself.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Coaster Stack

You know how I love to make stacks.

These are coasters that I made with quilting scraps that I couldn't bear to throw away.

I'd planned to post a how-to, but Apartment Therapy did a great one earlier this week using upcycled dishtowels (how cool!), so here's a link.


I hope everyone has a happy Mother's Day!

Bedding Envy

I've been thinking about some new quilt designs, specifically something more masculine.

I have a knot pattern that I used on our wedding invitations a few years ago which I think would translate really well into hand-drawn batik. A knot in off-white down the length of the quilt, echoed and slightly offset it in a tone-on-tone, and echoed again in the quilting (an even more subtle tone-on-tone variation) would make a striking piece that would be fairly masculine. Especially if I used a deep blue or earthy brown color palette.

I was looking at Bedding Envy (with a title like that, how could I NOT look?) and I came across this.

So close to what I'd been thinking! Now I feel really excited to get started. Lucky for me I just finished a quilt and have some fabric calling my name in the studio.

Now the hard part- deciding between brown and blue.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Kona Cotton Fabric on Etsy

I've listed some hand dyed, 100% Kona cotton fabric in my Etsy shop.

I love Kona cotton for quilting. It has a certain "smoosh" to it, needles beautifully and is generally nice to work with.

I'll be posting lots more hand dyed fabric in my shop in the next week, so please stop by to take a look. You can always contact me directly using the convo feature on etsy or the comments form on this site if you're looking for something specific.

Have a wonderful Mother's Day weekend!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

dishtowels that were reappropriated before they made it to etsy

I made a dozen dishtowels but a few of them were ahh ...confiscated ....before I listed them on etsy.

Sonoma Colorway

Strawberry Hazelnut Colorway

Ring Column
Bolero Colorway


I've been thinking about bread a lot lately. I've been making my own bread on a regular basis and I've been obsessed with the painting, Daily Bread, which I showed yesterday. I love the smell of baking bread (who doesn't?), I love to eat bread. Most every culture has some form of bread and it figures prominently in major religions; there's so much more to it than what holds a sandwich together.

Peasants Breaking Bread, manuscript illustration, France, 14th c
Image from Wikimedia

Whenever I'm getting obsessed with an idea, I start in the same two places: the dictionary of etymology and the dictionary of symbolism.

From Chambers Dictionary of Etymology (ISBN 0-550-14230-4)

Old English bread, bit, piece, morsel (about 950 in Lindisfarne Gospels); cognate with Old Frisian brad, Old Saxon brod, Old High Germanic brot, ... Middle Dutch broot, ... and Old Icelandic braudh, all meaning bread, from Proto-Germanic braudan, related to Old English breowan to BREW, apparently by virtue of the fermenting action of the yeast in leavening. In Old English, this word was rare (though it is found to refer to food in the compound beobread, modern beebread); the common word was hlaf, which survives in modern LOAF. But by 1200 bread had displaced loaf as the name for a piece of sustenance. According to the OED, sense development of the word was from "bit, piece" to "piece of bread" to "bread".

Bread from Pompeii
Image from Wikimedia

From the Dictionary of Symbols (ISBN 0-8118-1470-x)
An idiom for essential sustenance in countries where it was a staple food; and, in Christianity, a metaphor for the food of the spirit and for the body of Christ himself. Bread broken and shared is a sign of union. Unleavened bread is a symbol of purification and sacrifice at the Jewish Passover.

You can also read an interesting article with more information on wikipedia.

What I think is so interesting about this is that originally, bread was a word for "a piece of sustenance"- a general thing which would sustain you. Then, over time, it changed into something more specific. It became a special form of sustenance. And not just nourishment for the body, but nourishment for the spirit or the soul. Think of all the ritual that is involved with "breaking bread", all the social interaction that goes along with the physical nourishment.

I also think about how bread=sustenance has spread and changed, even today, into other ideas. Have you ever heard someone refer to their money as "bread"? Money is its own form of sustenance and some could argue, is necessary for life, just as bread is and has been necessary for life.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Please excuse our appearance...

I've changed the format of the blog. Nice, yes? I like it much better. Something about that gigantic column with the tiny one over to the right always bothered me. I never felt like my images were comfortable and it just looked...awkward. Maybe I was around commercial printing too long. Maybe I'm just OCD. This is neither here nor there....

I need to relink a few things, get a banner up, do some organizing, and generally get everything back in order. Apparently some widgets were lost, blah blah blah. I don't really know what a widget is, so this may take a few days to get straightened out. Please bear with me while I get things back up to speed.

I was going to be all clever and put up a construction sign. But I think this is so much funnier, even though it really doesn't have much to do with construction at all. Maybe I'm a little overtired??

I'm still laughing.

Favorite Things

For some reason I hit a slump on Tuesday afternoons. It's looking like Tuesday is the new Monday in my little world. I need something to look forward to on Tuesdays. What better time for me to post some of my favorite things?

This week I have two favorites. A small start, perhaps, but a start nonetheless.

Ready? Here we go!

Inside Out Eggplant Parmigiana

I made this recipe last week and it turned out incredibly well. Tasty and so filling! Best of all, it only took about 30 minutes from start to finish. Perfect for a weeknight!

I did not have any arugula on hand, but I substituted spinach, which worked great. I used some tomato sauce from a can and jazzed it up with a ton of sauteed garlic and some parmigiana cheese and voila! yum.


Daily Bread
oil on canvas
40 x 30

I can't stop looking at this painting. I'm not exactly sure why. It could be the clarity of light against the weightiness of the figure, the force being exerted on the dough, the stability of the red table. It could be the rich symbolism of bread as subject matter. It could be that the piece reminds me of the work of Vermeer, which I love.

Or maybe it's all of these things, with a certain je ne sais quoi. That certain something that stirs your soul, that inhabits your mental space, that causes a seismic shift somewhere within.

I have a hard time not analyzing art. I blame it on having more education than sense. I cannot respond to a piece either positively or negatively without asking myself why I'm having the reaction that I am. And then I need to try to identify the cause, to plumb the depths, to tear it open, expose it to the light, and examine it. I wonder, though, if this doesn't destroy some of the joy of looking at art.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


I'm nearly finished with this quilt and I couldn't resist posting a preview. I designed the quilting pattern (Floris) especially for this piece. Usually I concentrate on the pattern of the batik fabric and use the quilting to complement it. Using the quilting as a pattern is a bit of a change, but I'm really pleased with the results so far. I can't wait to get the finishing done so I can see how the whole thing came together.

Plank Set

I'm constantly reorganizing my studio since it seems like half of me loves creative chaos and half of me is a neat freak. This constant turnover of stuff has been good for me...I can't lose anything when I'm constantly rethinking/reinventing/reorganizing my space. In all of the shuffle, I came across a few pieces that I don't think I documented when I finished them at the end of last year.

The first is this quilt, which features a new set of mine called Brick.

Brick Set Quilt
45" x 73"
commercial cotton fabric, cotton thread, cotton batting

This quilt is much scrappier looking than my usual work. In my ongoing efforts to reduce waste, and save money and resources, I've been using my stash of commercial fabric to come up with new sets and try new techniques. I have forbidden myself from dyeing ANY fabric to use for these experimental projects. Ostensibly, I'll kill three birds with one stone by doing this; stash reduction, new sets, and more quilts for use around the house (you can never have enough quilts, even if you live in a hot humid climate and "winter" only lasts about 6 weeks).

I like where this set is going, but it's not quite there in this piece for me. I want to play with the proportions of the bricks on this one some more and maybe limit the color scheme...possibly down to a monotone. Next time I'll definitely use my own hand dyed/hand patterned fabric. Maybe some sashing? Monotone bricks with contrast sashing, or 2 contrasting colors of bricks with neutral sashing... I think there are quite a few possible directions and ideas.

Here's the back.


As you can see, I'm still working with different ideas about the documentation/presentation of these larger pieces. I'd love to hear any comments/suggestions on presenting larger format work. What's worked for you? Have you seen any great shots of larger pieces?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

I can't help it

This flower is so amazing. I promise just one more, I couldn't resist!

Photo by Buddy Harper