Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas at Our House

             I was just checking Santa was OK!

Sunday, December 16, 2018


Being stuck in the house has brought home the old scout motto "Be Prepared"! Accordingly I have taken thread inventory. I always seem to run out of thread at 10pm. It's a total bummer I am getting into the stitching and whoops no thread!

I primarily use Guterman thread since I bought my Bernina and was told not to use the "popular" thread brand (you know who) on the Bernina. I usually buy Guterman on sale, stocking up on colors I use a lot of, like 110 grey. I used to keep a list on a post-it note, but decided to find a chart on the internet and create a check list. Lots of numbers and I found I have a fair amount, not including the machine embroidery thread I have been using lately. I wish Guterman would print the number on the side of the spool, I add it by hand before I put the spool on the machine and destroy the the top label, it helps to maintain consistent thread color.

I have been working on Sarah, my great grandmother, whom I know nothing about except she lived in Pennsylvania, had 4 children and was Irish.

I found some variegated rayon thread that is working well as the hair. Love to stitch the hair!

Leave a comment and I will email you a copy of the chart. Now I need to find a use for the plastic spools. I decided to save them just to see how many I use, they are adding up. I don't think they are recyclable. But they should be! Guterman are you listening?

Friday, December 7, 2018

Really Trapped!

Yeah, diabetes sucks! If you get a sore on the bottom of your foot it is hell trying to get it to heal. So after a month of bandage daily changes antibiotics and an ultrasound of my veins (things are flowing well, thank you) it was decided to cast it so I am not stepping on it.

Ever try to operate your sewing machine with your left foot? Mr. Left does not know when to quit pushing. Evidently he is slow to comprehend Mr. Brain. And Mr Right cannot stop trying to press down on the pedal. LOL They will figure it out eventually.

To keep myself amused I went to JoAnns while I could still drive and invested in some fabric for a new piece, Sarah my great grandmother on my paternal side. I know she was Irish, Sarah McLaughlin Irwin, she lived in Pennsylvania.

I will stitch her down and the trim off the white (unprinted) part of the fabric. I am imagining light brown, copper and gold in the hair. But you never know. She printed out well, I had to add dress and lace on the bottom of the photo as she was in an oval frame.

Fred W II is finished, this was the print on cotton, I added bits of lace in his beard and along the hair line. It's pretty much experimenting at this point. I enjoy messing with techniques and finding a new path along the art trail.

I colored some of the
fabric with Inktense pencils and sponged them down with a bit of water, it looks like a hand colored old photo.

Thursday, November 15, 2018


This week was all about the doctors. I had an appointment with the retina specialist Tuesday. This involves dilation of the eye. Not a difficult thing but you are sent to a darkened room with an assortment of other people. Of course, we are all pretty old. Sigh. Sitting there waiting, there are old magazines, but the room is dark and you can't see anyway. The TV is going with some mid afternoon gossip show, um ok, I really don't feel too sorry for people who live in Malibu in 4.5 million dollar homes who got burnt out. Sorry, really don't care, go collect your insurance and drive up the rates for people who live in normal size houses.

Just when you think it can't get worse, there is breaking news, active shooter on a hospital site! Yikes. The local TV station is right on the scene reporting the "news". All of it rumor but they keep stating it over and over, then they show the view out their helicopter, scenery buzzing by the landing part of the copter, um, yeh, that's informative, back to more rumors, a sketchy map of the hospital, view of 20 cop cars in front the hospital, a woman whose "baby" is in the ER (her baby was her 19 year grandson who was in some kind of altercation and need stitches). A patient has barricaded herself in a room with another patient and a nurse, so scared her first thought was to call the local TV station. OK, well, I needed to hear that. Oh yes she sent a picture of a hospital bed against the door, personally, how lucky was she to have a nurse there, most of the time you are waiting an hour for a bedpan (just saying). 45 minutes later, this is still going on and I'm figuring the dilation will have worn off before the doc sees me. All this time the TV people are repeating all the rumors, finally I see the doc, which takes another half hour of fooling around because he is overbooked. Finally I get the eye resolved and we leave. The whole story was a hoax. What a job, talking for over an hour about nothing! They will probably get some award for their reporting.

Wednesday I went to the wound care doc, foot is mending well, culture come back that I have a flu bacteria in my foot, um, ok. Nothing to do about that, keep changing the bandage, stay off it, see you next week. Out the door in less than 20 minutes.

Today it is raining, sleeting, just being plain miserable. At least I can turn on the sewing machine and amuse myself. I'm free! Not trapped in the hell hole of a waiting room. Thank God!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Great Grandpa Fred

My great grandpa Frederick Wilhelm Gilgenbaugh was born July 20, 1839 in Koblenz Germany. He emigrated to the US in 1848. He lived in Western Ohio where he married, worked on a farm and had 11 children. He died at age 71.

My grandfather William F was born in western Ohio, married had two children and moved to North Ridgeville, Ohio. They eventually had 9 children. My mother bought property across the road from their 100 acre farm and that is where I was raised.

I found this photo of Frederick W and had it printed on cotton and chiffon. This is the print on chiffon over a multi-purpose upholstery fabric. The print is in sepia tones, I added the color with copper and gold rayon thread.
I started to remove some of the chiffon so the fabric shows through. Fun effect I want to explore more.

Such solemn news lately. I am a conservative person and believe in the sanctity of family and life. My advice is summed up by one word. PRAY.

Center yourself and take charge of your own life. If we all lived by being kind, caring and fair to each other we wouldn't need government to tell us what to do. Make wise choices. Thanks in advance.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Quilt National

I had done a post on this but pulled it when I got in Quilt National as I wasn't sure about posting entries. QN has come around to the digital age and realized we talk and post about our work.

It used to be when you went to QSDS the year that QN was taking entries that some people went nuts yelling "no photos". It always gave me inner smile that you thought you had a winner when we all needed to put our heads down and work a little harder to have a contender.

Hard work does pay off but the entry numbers are high and I think luck does play a big part of getting in. You need a work that grabs the eye right off the first look. It needs to stick in the jurors head and remember it has to grab the attention of 3 people with 3 different views of art, not an easy task.

I am grateful to have pleased 3 people with my work. Now back to work and I have an appointment with a retinal specialist for my ailing eyes. At a certain age it is all maintenance. Off to take my studio assistant out to water all the trees in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Embarrassed and a big Yowsa!

After doing a post about not getting in QN last time and how crabby I was about certain jurors I have an embarrassing admission to make.

I got in QN 2019!!!

Yup! I figured I probably wasn't going to get in and was getting ready to add the photos to Café so I could enter them in Focus: Fiber. Well, now only 2 can get uploaded.

Still in shock!



I just added 6 new quilts to my alternate blog http://artquilttipple.blogspot.com. Go see all the work I did this year. Seven quilts and the year is not finished. I have 2 pieces working on my design board.

I have been adding quilts as I go along, there is at least 3 years of work there.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Waiting Game

Drumming fingers. .  . in or out . . . whatever. Last Quilt National I had such hope. I thought I had a stellar piece I had put a lot of time and effort into it, done a lot of stitching and and got a big fat NO!

I felt really bad and a bit surly. But as time has gone on I realize I am not part of the Crow party. Nor do I want to be.

I'd rather do my own thing, make my own discoveries and make my own art. I don't need my hand held, I don't need to be guided or given timed exercises, I don't need tough love. I don't need to be told to work in a series or to make it bigger, etc. I went to art school, I have the diploma, thanks. I just need to make art.

I think that was the year I won the grand prize at Best of Ohio, with the reject. Tee-hee-hee. Best of Ohio represents all kinds of craft; jewelry, wood working, ceramics, glass, fiber. It is more of a feat to win there (just getting in is great.)

Picture of my grandmother, taken by me, scanned, photoshopped, printed on fabric. stitched. It was my first whole cloth piece. Love it or not, it made me happy.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Caution: Artist at Play

Another Rosie piece printed on chiffon. I love to stitch the flowers. I found a rayon thread that was a golden color that really stood out on the darker parts of her head, that is a fun effect.

I have ordered a print of a my great grandfather, I had one done in color, a kind of sepia tone on cotton and a print in black and white on chiffon. I want to do the stitching on the cotton and then lay the chiffon over and do some stitching but also do some abrading and tearing, distressing or whatever. Experimenting. Playing. No pressure, if it's bad the garbage man comes on Wednesday kind of thing.

Playing. It's what artists do. You know that totally distresses museum curators and art experts. They can stand to think that we are just messing around, dabbing and flinging paint. They take art so seriously they get in their own way. Or maybe they don't understand an artists mentality.

But then maybe it's just me. I like to make pieces to find new methods and materials. And I want to see how they come out.
It's I how I entertain myself, how is this going to work, hmm, what color thread, how about circular stitching, what if I?

That's what keeps me going. What-if-I moments.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Kitchen Conversation Statement

The Times They Are-A-Changin  by Bob Dylan
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’. 

Kitchen Conversations
When I was contacted about creating a quilt for the Times They Are-A-Changin challenge I was honored and a bit conflicted as the song was a call to social action when I was in high school. Thoughts of the dark times of racial protest and anti-war rallys circled in my mind, my work is about family and how to live graceful lives. But after printing out and reading the lyrics as poetry and thinking about how times have changed in the fifty years since the song was written I was enthused and filled with thoughts of how things have changed for better or worse.
The one big universal change I see is the use of communications. In the fifties we had a phone on a party line. It was used sparingly and everyone was cautious about the fact that your neighbors could listen in. Along came private lines and even more than one line in your house. Remember the kid’s phone? 
Portable phones came out, they were the size of small shoe box and a status symbol. Now phones are small enough to stick in a pocket or hang on your ear. Everyone walks around talking to someone else (or texting, tweeting, instagraming or using the latest hot ap). It’s not unusual to see two people in a restaurant at a table together talking on their phones to someone else. Connected but not really connected.
The best long-lasting, meaningful conversations are the ones that take place in the kitchen with your mom. She teaches life’s lessons from the knowledge her mother passed down to her. My mom taught me how to cook, wash dishes, keep a neat house and most importantly how to make things by hand. She loved to sew and she pased it on to me.
This is a photo of my mom Beatrice (standing) in my grandmother’s kitchen along with my beloved Aunt Dottie. They were having a conversation and a good time, you can tell by the sparkle in their eyes and the happy smiles.

I hope kids today can have that conversation in the kitchen with their mom or dad. Even if it is just during reheating the delivery pizza, have that simple conversation, what’s going on, how was your day, how are you feeling, how’s school, did you meet the new kid down the block? Be engaged one on one. Listen. Have that simple but caring conversation, it may save a life.

Comments are always welcome!

Monday, August 20, 2018

August musings

First of all, here is the commission piece that went out the beginning of June. It occupied most of the winter months. I'm really proud of it, it was large with a big idea behind it. It took 3 days of writing and polishing to write the artist statement. Of course it was not my usual 3 sentence artist statement, more like 4 or 5 paragraphs which is very long for an artist statement. When I write statements I keep them short and sweet. If they are going in a catalog they need to be simple and short. I always say more room for the art which is what people buy a catalog for.

After finishing this I moved on to pieces for Fiber Art International, Quilt National and Focus: Fiber. Fortunately the Focus: Fiber deadline is far enough after FAI and QN to use the rejects. I'll probably have 6 rejects! Just saying, anytime the jury is by committee it is a good chance you will not get in.

Here is Great Uncle Harry's Great Overcoat. I think I will have to reshoot this. It looks a bit wonky and I know it is square. But you get the idea.

Right now Rosie in Roses is under the needle, hope to have it done by the end of august. She is going well.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Busy July

Yup, July was busy. Don't know why but it seems like a lot was going on. I did finish this piece which was pretty quick. It's not real large. 33" wide x 21" high, for me that's small.

Then I did a piece that has been hanging around for quite a while. I had it printed and then lost interest. I was looking around for something to work on while I was having pieces printed and found it. Hung it on the design board and voila and idea popped up! And it grew from there. I need to photograph it but it is done, it's a slightly larger piece.  Just proves, don't give up, someday the idea will come. Here is the photo on the right, the finished quilt is a bit different, I call it Great Uncle Harry's Great Overcoat. It's a photo from the flea market, he must have been very proud of the overcoat, having a photo taken in it.

And the piece I was having printed is from a photo I took in the 1970's. I always liked the photo though no one else got it. It's about centrifugal force. It will have stitching that concentric. It's proving to be a bit of a puzzle doing the stitching but I like something that is a challenge.
 Of course I could not help myself and it is quite large. At least 72" tall. What was I thinking? Probably that this will be really cool if it is large and coming at you.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Joe in the Roses

I finished Joe in June but I have been busy with another piece and sending out a commission. Actually I just started a third piece!

With Quilt National, FiberArt International and Focus: Fiber deadlines looming I wanted to have a "body of work" to select entries from. Maybe 1 more? We'll see.

I am in love with this piece. I always liked the photo of Joe. He is so soft and innocent looking. Trust me, it was all an act. He was picky about his rider. He did teach me how to show. We got along at the end, I could ride him bareback with a halter, just go out in the pasture, lead him over to a fence and hop on. And he loved babies, there was a weanling we would take out in the pasture for a stroll. All was fine until the foal looked underneath him for a drink of milk. . . whoa, Dude!

I had this printed on chiffon and laid commercial fabrics underneath. I was going to go with graphic dots and checks but he wanted flowers. He was right, as always.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


A dirty word these days. I don't care, I love my country. I was born here. 
My grandparents came here through Ellis Island. They scrimped and saved on farms in Europe to come. 
It's my heritage. To be hard working. To worship the way I want. To speak my mind. To care for others. 
I wish this for others. There is a right way to do it. Follow the rules. Respect the rights of the people who have built this country. 
Those who came and those who were brought here against their wishes. They endured great hardships, worked hard and are part of the American story. 
Respect all our history and sacrifices. 
Come the legal way. 

Our Dads. 
Quilt National 2007

Saturday, June 30, 2018


Well, the show is down. The librarians said they will miss it. They had a lot of comments, all good. People couldn't believe they were quilts. Mission accomplished. I wanted it to be educational as to what art can be. Don't get stuck on the materials.

Today I am cleaning the house, vacuuming, dusting, etc. I hate to dust so I put on some music for background noise, the classical station. I think they were playing Kitten on the Keys. Really. It didn't make a lot of sense musically. I am more a show tunes, rock and roll type of gal I guess. 

I did like to go the Cleveland Pops concerts when I was in junior and senior high. I loved Henry Mancini. I thought it would be the coolest thing in the world if we were related. Don''t tell Paul MacCartney he thought I was in love with him at the time. 

I was thinking about it and I realized what I loved about the orchestra was watching the musicians. They would be playing but sometimes talking to each other. If they had a rest in the music they would fidget a bit and make comments to their fellow players. Fascinating. I guess I was studying human relations way back then. Before I knew what human relations were about!

And on a final note, Happy Birthday to me. I am entering the seventieth decade! When I was in high school we thought anyone over 35 might as well be dead. Shows how stupid you are in high school!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


It seems like I should say finally! It has been in the mid nineties and now it has been 70 to 80 for a couple of days, cloudy with showers. The day lilies have popped out like crazy. Last fall they faded out because of the dryness, I cut them off, we got a spell of rain and warmer weather and they started to regrow, early spring they were up and got a good layer of snow on them. They are survivors. Gorgeous. Since my neighbor has a picket fence he can enjoy them also. For a short while anyway since he sold his house and is moving this month. We'll see what the new neighbors are like. I am very blessed to live in a good neighborhood, I have met most of my neighbors as I walk Bobby twice a day. He attracts people especially little children. He seems to like it. Just don't take him to the barn, evidently it smells bad in there. And don't point a camera at him. He will turn his back end to you.

Work continues on I have printed 2 more pieces on chiffon. Here is the first one of my mother, Bea. Choosing background fabric right now. This is a contender.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

It's a Show!!!

Elyria Public Library
West River Branch

Hangs across from the children's section.

It's not a huge show, I have more pieces in the spare room at home but I am happy to get people noticing what can be done with fabric and thread.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Too hot for words!

It's 90°F and headed up from there! You only need to partially cover up.

Yesterday Bobby and Chewy the neighbor's shitzu pup had a fun time wrestling in the grass but they had to take breaks to cool down. They laid next to each other until one of them caught the other one's eye and they were back at it. Bobby is gentle with him even though they are evenly matched, for now.

I am in the process of picking quilts for my show at the Elyria Public Library West River branch. I plan to hang it Thursday so I need to print labels and a statement of my process. I hope it is a learning experience for library patrons.

I also hope some of the local JoAnn workers come and see it. Especially the clerk who asked what I was making with my fabric purchase. I told her I was making an Art Quilt and she said "I love art quilts, what size bed are you making it for?" Enough said.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Solo Show

Need I say more?! I am in the middle of selecting work. Waiting for the Call will be the centerpiece since it is about Lorain County. Looking forward to seeing everything hung together.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

One Year Adopt-a-versary

What can I ay? So glad this little guy is in my life.

Ok, back to work!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

then again, flowers

Forget the dots, Joe wants roses. . . and other flowers! I had a piece of flowered Hawaiian shirt fabric but I needed a bigger piece. Off to JoAnns, lots of fabric on sale, it looked like they were clearing an old warehouse but I did find a nice new black background floral that looks good. It gives a nice contrast with the rose fabric underneath Joe. I'm thinking it will be the binding also.
Now to figure out how to stitch this. New needle for sure since this fabric is "tender".

Bobby is loving the warmer weather. Still hates the camera. He has a new neighbor, Chewy the shitzu pup. He looks like an Ewok but they had a fun wrestling session. They both needed to tussle and wear themselves out. Good times!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

dots and dots and dots

I'm thinking dots and patterns behind Joe. Being an appaloosa he can handle dots and patterns. Lots of dots. This shall be an adventure but I needed to think of something new, something to push the envelope. I have played with transparency before by using thinner material and letting the underlying fabric show through but this time I invested in a print on chiffon.

Time will tell what comes about. This is Joe on the patio window. I put tracing paper over him and made a pattern. I am contemplating whether to make pattern pieces to go behind him or to just piece random dot patterns and let it fly but it would be fun to have flowers behind the print also. Time will tell, I don't think this will be boring.

Stitching continues on Kitchen Conversation which is about 3/4 done.

And in the backyard there was a Mexican standoff. The squirrels are in to teasing Bobby. If he figures out how to climb trees they are in serious trouble.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Patchwork. . .sometimes

Ok, thinking about it I have done patchwork though I would not brag on it, it's not my forte.

I took this photo of me and Max from back in the day and changed it into this. See below. In 2015 I went to Quilt Surface Design Symposium (QSDS) for a master class with Rosalie Dace with various graphic fabrics, an old ripped flag, several old pairs of jeans (Goodwill), a large print of the photo on fabric and my sewing machine. A week later American Dream was pieced together. I bought it home and quilted it on my Sweet Sixteen. It toured Ohio in 2016 as part of Ohio Designer Craftsman Best of 2016 show. It has a copy of Skittles AQHA registration and 2 plastic horses in the pockets.

The tail is made of silk sari strips. My thinking was that every American girl dreams of owning a horse some day. Dream accomplished!

Someone told me they thought I would get in trouble for repurposing the flag. Seems to be a good graphic element to me.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Spring – Finally?!

Let's hope spring is finally on it's way. Rain for 2 days, sometimes a really hard rain. It rinsed off the winter crud. Hmm, I should have parked my car out in it. I did drive it in the rain last night coming home from Holy Thursday mass. We have a really beautiful celebration of the last supper with washing of the feet, mass and a candle lit procession out of the church with the host to the "Garden of Gethesamane". Lots of singing and ceremony. Very solemn.

Kitchen Conversation is humming along under the machine. The stitching is being done along the edges, this is where it gets tedious and critical. It's a bit of a job to keep the bulk of the quilt under control so I can stitch the outside of it and not mess up the finish. I want to fold the edges over for the finish so I am constantly checking that I have trimmed it correctly, otherwise I will have to take stitches out so I can trim the backing and batting to fold over smoothly. I know, I know, it's hard to explain unless you see how I work it.

In the meantime I am planning the next piece. I like to have a backup plan for the next one. I sent this image to Spoonflower. It will be printed on chiffon. I want to play with the transparency more. I found this picture of Joe theAppaloosa looking all soft. He was very picky about his riders but when he liked you he was good. Fortunately he grew to like me. It didn't hurt that I brought the carrots!