Posted in Art, creativity, embellishment, journaling, productivity, quilting, stash, surface design

Making art every day

I subscribed to Lesley Riley’s 52 pick-up, which is a year of weekly creativity prompts to encourage more regular art and creativity.  Feeling accountable to a supportive group of other people is helping me to form better habits.

And every day I succeed in spending time creating, I get a star!


In real life the stars look better than they do in the photo, which often happens with glitter and metallics.  They’re foiled, a technique I’ve had a lot of fun with for years.  You can get the foils and special glue from Jones Tones.

But, breaking news!  and not good, although definitely a first world problem, Dharma Trading, the go-to source for all things fibre arty, posted that the foil is being discontinued and they (Dharma) are looking for a replacement.  In the month since they posted, the more conventional colours have been snapped up but they still have purple, green and blue.

I fused the square fabric onto the Disco Dots to have a little more body to stand up to the writing and foiling and free motion quilted along the lines.

Posted in beading, embellishment, quilting

Alzheimer’s ~ Chance to do your part

Idea Tree was made over a year ago, mainly to teach myself beading in order to complete Geode.

Just 7 by 10 inches, it’s small enough for the Alzheimer’s Quilt auction.  So that’s where it’s gone, and is waiting to go into an auction!  Please pop over to their website where you can look at a better photo, plus pix of all the other little quilts others have made.

Check out the current auction for a chance to get in on this great way to own a piece of original fibre art AND do something about the ever-increasing tragedy of Alzheimer’s.

The auction runs every month, so quilters, take a look and see if you have something small to send.  If not, challenge yourself to make something!

And needless to say once Idea Tree is in the auction I’ll be posting again, in utterly shameless self promotion!

Posted in embellishment, quilting

Grommet Glory

A dynamic member of the Quilt Guild, Susan Teece of Bent Pin Creations is spearheading a project to create a new Guild banner to reflect the varied techniques the members are exploring.  She gave everyone who signed up a focus fabric to be used in a recognizable amount.

I volunteered to do the letter O, and here’s my block. The focus fabric is at the top.

A visit to Susan’s website shows her exciting use of holes.  Because this block has to be pieced and sandwiched with batting and backing, it wasn’t feasible to make a hole all the way through, but those grommets gone wild I told you about here are brought to play their part.  I had accepted the challenge before the Sewing Show and only thought of using a grommet when I actually set out to create the block, it wasn’t an aha moment while I was at the show.

Posted in embellishment, quilting

Cool New Toy

For some reason I love holes, so at the Victoria Sewing Show I was delighted to find Luveta Nickels from Grommets Gone Wild, a range of coloured and metallic-look grommets that are easy to use and don’t need extra tools.  Above is my first attempt, just on a piece of scrap fabric.  These can be used for shower curtains, purses, art quilts, and embellishing clothing.

People often say they’re like a kid in a candy store at sewing shows.  This time I felt more like a deer caught in the headlights ~ it’s hard to choose colours for notions, grommets, threads, beads, etc. without a specific project in mind or swatches.  I chose blue and clear grommets but have been thinking ever since about the hot green, pink, and purple ones.

The second grommet has already gone into a mini art quilt block, to be revealed here soon!

Posted in beading, embellishment, Islam, quilting


Here in all its glory is what I consider my magnum opus, to date at least.  Geode is approximately 54 inches in each direction and heavily embellished with beads, as seen here.

It’s on display at Satin Moon until Saturday.

I was inspired by this quote from Catherine Asaro’s book The Veiled Web, describing traditional Moroccan homes:  “The houses were like geodes, those rocks that appeared featureless and unadorned on the outside but when opened revealed a sparkling beauty of crystals inside.”

As I worked on completing it, it dawned on me that this is very much a metaphor for how I prefer to live, which was why the original title of this blog was Chameleon’s Nest.  I’m just not a person that wants to blurt it all out all over Facebook!

This piece is constructed of traditional strip piecing which has been slashed and reassembled.  This was the first art quilt technique I learned in a workshop with John Willard in 1998.  He doesn’t have much of a presence online, but this posting by the London Ontario Quilt Guild has lots of information about his work.

Quilted by Andrea Hamilton of Sydney, B.C.  I can’t say enough nice things about Andrea because my quilting skill is not up to the level of my design, and she definitely made all the difference!

Strictly speaking I believe it’s a house quilt, although not the traditional house block obviously.


Posted in beading, embellishment, quilting


Last night my fibre arts group met and I took this to show everyone.  This is a mola made following Cathy Miller’s method, with a little wrinkle I thought up myself that saves you from the torture of sewing the binding on.  It also has the too-beautiful-to-cut fabric as the backing as well as forming the dragonfly image.

Some of the beads were made in Laine Canivet’s workshop, others were made earlier, and some were purchased.  I learned that it’s best to use black beading thread when attaching embellishments to a black background!

We discussed how to continue our Round Robin/challenge into next year or perhaps start a new one.  Since the weather has been snowy we were a smaller group than usual so no firm conclusions have been arrived at.  We need to balance the group work with personal control over the pieces we are working on.

Does anyone have any thoughts on how to do this or ideas for creative challenges we could consider?  It’s always interesting to share different concepts.

Posted in Art, beading, creativity, embellishment, quilting


Today I was aiming for shaded effects and more control over the pen.  When it has thoroughly dried I might post a page from my sketchbook.  I really have to think hard about shading because my brain thinks more in terms of outlines, shapes of things, and of course quilting reinforces that.

I used way less ink on the pen at any one time and that is making it better.  But I find it scratchy and not flowing.  In contrast, here is a doodle I did on kraft paper the other night.  It’s about 12 by 14 inches so this is part of it, since the whole piece won’t fit on my scanner.  Will try more with brushes in Melly’s challenge I think!











Last night while watching Bride and Prejudice, which was fine entertainment, I got around to beading my Dragonfly mola, using mostly hand made beads.

Of course as soon as I stitched on the wire beads I knew I needed black silamide, but since it’s a small piece I kept going to see how it would turn out.  Now I’ve been to Bead World so it will not take long to redo those three beads.









And no trip to Bead World would be complete without a) extra inspirational shopping

b) boasting about Geode, my large beaded art quilt, currently on display at Satin Moon!

Posted in beading, creativity, embellishment

Bead workshop

I had a relaxing, fun afternoon at the Victoria Quilt Guild’s Fall Frolic making beads with Laine Canivet.

We started making beads from ripped up painted paper towels and discussed how different paper towels vary in texture.

Paper towel beads

Next we made beads from melted plastic, I love how shiny they are!  Although I don’t possess a heat gun, and I already have enough supplies and equipment to last me for a good long time.

The last part of the afternoon was spent making beads out of — beads, who would thunk it?

This is cool because I got to play with coloured wire (which I’ve had for ages and not used very much) and because Laine encouraged us to use a mixture of beads, not all the same.  I did match the colour of the wire to the colour of the beads just for this afternoon, but there’s no reason you have to do that.  And it’s something I can do while watching a movie or chatting on speakerphone.

Here’s a picture that gives an idea of size (the grid is one-inch squares) and shows all the beads I made.  Laine encouraged us to use colours we normally would not, but I confess I ignored that bit of the instructions.  I don’t have one favourite colour.  The colours I use least are probably brown and white, but I do still use them.

Posted in embellishment, productivity, surface design

Idea Tree

This is a scan of my completed small beaded piece, Idea Tree.  It was fun to do and I learned new techniques, beading and doing a back to front finish instead of sewing on binding or doing a pillowslip finish.

The fabric started out as plain muslin that I worked on in the first workshop I took with Melly Testa, and layers were monoprinted onto it using soy wax resist and green and yellow thickened dyes.  I used a lot of this yardage in a very large bold piece called Commotion.

This offcut almost went into the scrap quilt I’m slowly making using up smaller surface designed, hand-dyed, and mottled fabrics.  This is a back burner project because there is no block design.

Then thinking about another larger piece of sunprinted fabric I would like to hand quilt and make into a wall hanging I decided I should practice the back to front finish on a small test piece first.  The wall hanging cannot be started until the beading on Geode is finished.