Saturday, December 21, 2013


During my recent visit to New York City, I had the opportunity to visit the National September 11 Memorial that rests on the site of the former World Trade Center buildings attacked and destroyed in 2001. It was a fittingly cold winter day when I toured the site. I had not been back to the site for a number of years so I really was not sure what to expect. I was surprised and touched by the crowds of visitors taking the time in this holiday season to wait patiently in the bitter cold to visit the site.

My first glimpse as I cleared security and walked through the maze of nearly 400 swamp oaks was of the former site of the South Tower of the two buildings. My first thought as I gazed was 'it reminds us that this is a gravesite - how appropriate.' Water cascaded down the sides of the memorial and into a seemingly bottomless pit.
The edge of the memorial is etched with the names of those who died on that day. The footprint of the North Tower has a matching memorial. The names include not only those who died in the two towers but also those who died in the Pennsylvania field and in the 1993 attack.

Rising near the South Tower is the new tower that has been constructed. In juxtaposition to the two footprint memorials is the the site where a museum is being built.
I walked away from the Memorial with two memories embedded in my mind.

One was of a sight at the South tower memorial. Someone had placed a plastic white rose bud in an indentation that separated the lists of names. It reminded me that each of these deceased had a family that is still grieving in this holiday season. I had thought perhaps that visiting the Memorial would bring me some more closure to the event on that fateful day. As I walked through the Memorial I appreciated that there really is no such thing as closure. We simply continue in life, looking back on events with changing perspectives.

The second memory is of The Survivor Tree that stands in the plaza. It is a callery pear tree whose remnants were pulled from the wreckage of the buildings and nursed back to health. It has become a living reminder of resilience, survival and rebirth. I tried to share a video on the tree that I found on the Memorial website but I can't seem to get it to upload. Instead, here is a link to the page where I found it. It tells an inspiring story so I hope you will check it out.

The Survivor Tree
Here is hoping that 2014 will be a time of rebirth and healing for everyone.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Garment District Discovered

Last weekend I was once again in NYC. My participation in Simply Stitch 3 has been a wonderful excuse to expand my stash in new ways. And so, I ventured into the Garment District…..and was in awe.

I was there on a Saturday morning but still found more than enough shops open.

I began with a shop with an online presence that I knew the location of and said it was open early on Saturdays.

The B&J store is located on the second floor of the building.

B&J Fabrics - I can't speak highly enough of the store. It is located on the second floor of a typical old style NYC office building which reminded me of the Temple Building here in downtown Rochester. You walk into a vast open space with thousands of bolts of every kind of material that you could imagine. I had on my 'lace and embroidered cotton' hat so I focused upon those fabrics. There were more laces than you ever could imagine… row of fabrics had beaded lace, another plain lace. I saw prices from about $200 a yard down to about $60. The minimum purchase was 1/2 yard and my budget was limited so I had to make a hard choice. I also found a good selection of embroidered cotton/cotton blends, some imported, in a wide price range.

What impressed me the most was the helpfulness of the fellow who cut my choices. He went out of his way to give me suggestions on other shops with lace in the area. And, he was meticulous in cutting my fabric. I would highly recommend this shop to anyone who wants to explore. They are located at 525 7th Ave on the corner of 7th and 38th St. They have a great online site too, I might add, and are happy to ship anywhere.

From B&J's, I began to wander. The stores I visited were between 7th and 8th Ave. on 38th and 39th St. They are an easy walk from Time Square and if you were down at Macy's on 34th St., you could just as quickly walk up from there. I was focused upon lace, trim, and thread but there were countless fabric shops. One could easily spend the greater part of a day meandering about.

One place I had an address for was Daytona Trimmings at 251 W 39th St. which was also open on Saturdays. This store advertised all sorts of threads. I was looking for a hard-to-find DMC Floche a border in size 16. The shop could not help me with that but had an impressive inventory of more conventional embroidery threads. And, they had a large stock of trims as well. I wouldn't make a special trip to visit them but if you are in the neighborhood, their prices are good………

I then continued wandering as there were many trim stores open on W 38th and 39th. I found one, Pacific Trimmings at 220 West 38th St. that had a wonderful selection of lace trims in a good price range. I would definitely recommend it for a stop. This photo below captures only part of the store front - imagine three times as wide a store.

Friday, December 6, 2013

"Flow" with the Moment

I have been fairly consumed with holiday preparation this week. Stitching continues on a number of projects. I am happy to report that my quilt, Ice Flow, was successfully auctioned off in the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture event in November and now has a new home in Spokane, WA. It was one of my favorite pieces and I am happy to know it is appreciated.

Given my roots in the art of aikido, which is all about blending and working with energy, the whole concept of flow has always intrigued me.

A few weeks ago, I spent a few luxurious days wandering in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. One of the pieces that I was immediately drawn to was, not surprisingly, entitled Flow.

It is by Fujikasa Satoko and is described as a sand-glazed stoneware with matte white slip.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Another week………more progress?

Sometimes one can be in the midst of so many projects that not only can you lose sight of the finish line, but lose parts of the projects in the chaos. After, more than once, spending precious time searching my studio for a necessary item, it was time this week to pause and organize the chaos.

It took a part of two days but I now can find things. Plus, I do believe that sitting in a cluttered space encourages a cluttered mind…..and that indeed lessens productivity.


With less clutter, I have been making progress on a number of fronts. I thought I would share with you some butterflies and birds that I have been making these past few weeks. 

The figures are stitched on angelina and water soluble solve. This photo was taken on a background of silk. I have now fused silk backgrounds onto each of the figures. Eventually they will be added to a piece that I am working on and I will share that. In the meantime, back to stitching!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Adventures in Stitching

The past few weeks have rushed past. While partly due to laying low with a cold and now sinus infection, the real reason I have lost track of time a bit has been a total immersion in a new class. I enrolled in an online class in stitching with Karen Ruane who lives in Great Britain. Entitled Simply Stitch 3, it is structured in a way that really works for me. The class runs 12 weeks and Karen videotapes as she works along on projects that she is interested in….you get to be a 'fly on the wall'. You can play with the ideas that she is working on, or on projects of your own. There are no deadlines, requirements, or really any rules. You post photos, if you wish, on Flickr and receive feedback. You can ask questions and get advice from not just Karen but a wonderful group of people around the world who are enrolled and love hand stitching.

It has turned out to be a perfect niche for me. Since there is no pressure to watch every video immediately upon posting, I have been able to relax and not worry about the fact that I have been out-of-town on two trips already since the class started. And, of course, without worry, I have been keeping up with Karen and getting more enthused every day.

I am learning new stitches for me. Isn't that little stitch in the center of this photo just beautiful!

So, basically I have been practicing and learning. I see many possibilities in future art quilts. Here is a miniature I am playing with now……..I had to learn French knots..something I have never been able to execute before….so I sketched out a piece that would definitely encourage me to practice those knots.

I think I accomplished that self-imposed assignment! Now I need to focus upon learning the stitches I am visualizing for those snow banks that have yet to appear in the bottom half of the piece!

Thursday, November 7, 2013


In the midst of my somewhat chaotic life, the SAQA Benefit Auction took place this year. My friend, Margaret Blank, donated an art quilt entitled "Wonder." It caught my eye and I was lucky enough to place a bid before anyone else. It arrived in my mail a few weeks ago.

Wonder by Margaret Blank

What attracted me to the piece was the essence of peace that it created for me. I love subtlety and Margaret relied simply on blue, white, and sparkle to create her piece. That was sufficient to get me bidding.

However, with "Wonder" in my hands, much to my delight, I was reminded about how little actually comes across in photos. (How in the world do judges jury a show from photos, however well done? I surely don't envy them!)

As Margaret's work rested on my desk, I got to appreciate and wonder in amazement at the delicate beading that enhanced many of the tree branches, portraying the results of a hoarfrost.Then there were all the tiny hand stitches of metallic threads, only visible as you neared the work, that built up that sense of wonderment.

I have often heard said that a great piece of art attracts your eye from across a room and then pulls you in as you get closer and get lost in its detail work. For me, "Wonder" is a great example.

The best part of all is that I now get to hang this work of art in my home where it can continue to convey Wonder for many years. :)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Busy November!

My art quilts will be quite busy in early November.

Ice Flow is out in Spokane, WA where it is currently hanging in a gallery at the Northwest Museum for Arts and Culture.  It has been juried into a silent auction that will take place on November 9. I was able to see Ice Flow on exhibit. You can see it in this photo - it is the top work.

It was hung from the ceiling of the gallery, about 6 or so inches from the wall.  Here is a photo of it from the side - I thought it was a very effective way to hang it - I had sent a slat that fit in the sleeve and had eye hooks on the ends. Thin transparent cord was used to suspect it.

Other art quilts traveling in November include Spirit which I had previously posted about and continues  its stint at the Tubac Center for the Arts until November 19.  Two other pieces, Journey and View From On High, open on November 9 at the Main Street Arts gallery in Clifton Springs, NY in the exhibit "Fabulous Fibers".

And, finally, Zen Moment, has been in Houston this week as part of the annual SAQA Benefit auction.

Monday, October 21, 2013

"Threads" Exhibit Now Open

I am happy to share that my art quilt, Spirit, is now on view at the Tubac Center for the Arts in Tubac, AZ.  Here is some information on the exhibit:

It looks like a wonderful exhibit. Hope you can stop in and see it, if you are in the area!

Spirit by Judy Warner

Friday, October 18, 2013

Life's Interesting Path

Last month on the Art Quilts Around the World site,  I revealed a photo of my quick study for A Road Less Traveled.

Nothing could be truer about my life. :)

Here is a peak at one of my portable design walls:

Elmo has taken over, not to mention two sock monkeys who are sitting on my cutting table awaiting finishing touches. My art quilts are out circulating in various shows......a new digitally based one hangs patiently and silently on another design wall awaiting stitching, while a whole piece hand dyed piece sits longingly by my sewing machine, started but put aside.

Between travels to granddaughter and Christmas getting closer and closer, my 'road' is setting priorities for projects never intended for the art quilt circuit. I have no doubt that everything on my walls and tables will be completed. My choice is simply to enjoy the mix and embrace every moment of this crazy ride.

Linking to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Fridays, so you can check out what others are doing.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Simply Great Day of Exploring and Friends

I spent a day in Seattle with my cousin Kate, enroute to a visit with granddaughter. Since my daughter moved from Seattle quite a few years ago, I only get to visit Seattle perhaps once or maybe twice a year. I have a number of places that I love to return to and am always exploring new additions. This recent visit was a day of sheer bliss.

Our first stop was a new store for me, Threadneedle Street, in Issaquah, WA. I have been gingerly entering the world of hand stitching for the past six months. With really limited time, it has been a slow process but I am finally picking up speed. I really wanted to learn if there were any resources in Seattle that might be useful to me. Well, Threadneedle is now on my list of 'must visits'. I didn't take any photos while I was in the store as I was too busy just absorbing what was there and speaking with the owner. As I began to look for  a photo of the store to include here, I actually found a really great review of the store, complete with photos. So, I suggest you visit Mary Corbet's Need'n Thread website to learn about the place. She does a far better explanation of what is there than I could at this point. I can assure you that it is a very friendly, comprehensive source of materials for needlework with a great online store as well.

Street Scene near Pike Place Market

From Issaquah, we traveled into the Pike Place Market area in Seattle so I could visit Undercover Quilts.

This is a place I have written about many times and simply have to visit if I am in Seattle. The owner, Linda Hitchcock, has become a friend over the years. She has the same taste in fabrics that I do. It is amazing.....I walk into the store, begin browsing, and I will uncannily pick out some of the newest bolts that she has added. This time I bought some of a great series entitled Plaster of Paris by Stephanie Brandenburg for Frond Design Studios that Linda found at the Houston marketplace.

Plaster of Paris

From Undercover Quilts, my cousin and I moved on to the Seattle Art Museum where we discovered the admission was free since it was the first Thursday of the month! After a delicious lunch in their restaurant, Taste, which is always excellent, we spent some time touring the museum. There is nothing quite a uplifting as walking through a museum. It gets your mind off the turmoil outside in the world! I saw some wonderful aboriginal art and some beautiful asian embroidery. It is great that the museum is constantly adding in new works throughout their exhibits - surprises abound even if you have been through the museum many times.

Next on our marathon day, we visited The Fiber Gallery over in the Greenwood area of Seattle. They have a wonderful selection of yarns. What I love about the store is that samples hang with free instructions near different yarns. For an intermediate level knitter like myself, it is easy to browse, be inspired and instantly know how you might use a yarn, how difficult a pattern might be, and how much you would need. The store is spacious, offers off-street parking, and is very friendly. As you can tell, it is a place I make a real effort to return to on my Seattle visits.

Finally, we finished off our day with a trip to University Village. This mall has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. When my daughter was a student at Seattle University, it was basically a small outdoor mall in the shape of a cross with a few outlying stores. Now it is a maze of stores with actual parking structures. We stopped in a new place for a quick snack - Evolution Fresh. What an amazing treat! We chose an apple/ginger drink and sampled some vegetable drink options. All tasted FRESH beyond belief. The store is part of a national chain and I would encourage you to try it if one is located near you. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Saami Handcraft ------ Pewter Jewelry

The Saami are an indigenous people of northern Scandinavia that have lived in the harsh conditions of the Arctic since prehistoric time. Historically, their handcrafts have been intended first and foremost to serve a purpose rather than being primarily decorative. Men have mostly used wood, bone, and antlers to make items such as antler-handled scrimshawed sami knivesdrums, and guksi (burl cups). Women have used leather and roots to make items such as gákti (clothing), and birch- and spruce-root woven baskets.  Functional, however, does not mean plain. In the process of creating their goods, the Saami developed a pewter thread which they used for decoration on their works.

Enter, Erika Honig, an artist who grew up in northern Sweden. She combines the same pewter thread with soft, lush reindeer hide to create the most amazing jewelry designs. While on my trip to the Arctic in northern Norway last June, I was able to view some of her jewelry and brought home a necklace. 


Erika describes her jewelry as a 'combination of rustic Nordic handcraft and modern simplicity.' I think it is just beautiful. Hope that you will check out her website - her bracelets are unbelievable!

Monday, September 30, 2013

La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum Show opens Friday

The 2013 Quilt and Fiber Arts Festival opens on this Friday, October 4.  I am pleased that my art quilt, Roots, makes it debut at the festival.

Last year I was able to attend the festival and it is really worth seeing. The display is extensive and on view in a number of venues in La Conner. The community really gets behind the annual show. I loved the stories that accompanied many of the quilts.

The museum itself will have a number of exhibits on view as well including Regina Benson's From Nature's Studio. Regina's work is amazing and if you have never seen any in person, that alone is worth the trip to La Conner.

Hope that you will have a chance to attend. The festival is from October 4 - 6. If you would like more information, you can find it on this web page

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Art That Lifts Our Spirits Exhibition

I was pleased to learn that my art quilt, Journey, has been juried into the online exhibition, "Art That Lifts Our Spirits", hosted by Manhattan Arts International. The exhibit is on view until November 23, 2013.

There are 60 artists in the exhibit. Hope that you will stop by and view some of the works. They are all quite amazing!

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Studio in the Works

It wasn't planned exactly, but change is happening in my sewing accommodations.

It all started when I stopped by to see my friends at the BobbinCase. As we were chatting, for some reason I started asking about various sewing tables on display. One thing led to another and I soon discovered one floor model was priced very appealingly to make room for a new table soon to arrive at the store. Before I knew it, I was taking measurements and heading home.

A few days later, that floor model resides in what has been termed my 'office' till now. I think it is finally beginning to qualify as a studio. :)

We won't discuss what the rest of the 'studio' looks like quite yet. Since this wasn't exactly a planned project, miscellaneous sewing items are currently residing on my floor while I create room for them in that walk-in closetbehind the doors you see in the photo. Up till now, my 830 Bernina has resided in our family room so things like thread have lived in that area of our home.  For almost two years my stash has been in a walk-in area off my office, so with this move, most of my sewing life is actually centralized in one place in our home.

I am really in love with the table. It is incredibly comfortable to sew at. What you see upon it is the Comfort Quilt I wrote about a few weeks ago. Quilting it with the larger extensions of this new table expanded was sheer joy. When I am not using my 830, it conveniently drops into the table. The resulting surface area is great for quick cutting projects, or I can collapse the extensions for a more spacious feel in the room.

I expect I will spend many happy hours creating in this 'new' space.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My Weekend Project

It was inevitable, I guess. New granddaughter .............sewing children's clothes.

The weekend before last we were in Arizona to introduce our granddaughter to her great grandmother. Needless to say, it was a very special time.

We just happened to be near one of my favorite quilt stores ever, Quilters' Store Sedona, so my daughter and I had to stop in to check out their fabrics. They always have a wonderful selection of batiks and unusual Western motifs. They also have a large selection of patterns. Daughter fell in love with a pattern from Indigo Junction, Pint-size Pinafore. We found the perfect fabric for a pinafore and I took it home with me.

I haven't made very many clothes since my wedding dress - a few things for my daughter when she was young, but it has been many years. Fortunately pinafores are not hard to make. Being true to form, I immediately made some adjustments to the design. Old techniques popped up in my brain and by the end I was sewing with little reference to directions.

The pinafore turned jumper turned out fine, as you can see. I think the thanks for that goes to a dear friend from my teen years, Millie Kovach. She was the mom of my best friend, Georgette, and she was an awesome seamstress. Millie taught me everything I know about sewing. I would appear at her door with a Simplicity pattern and some fabric. She would give me a big hug and commence to share with me shortcuts that professionals know while explaining garment construction in simple basic terms. I learned those fundamentals well and this past weekend I felt as though Millie was looking down from heaven and smiling as I stitched up Judy Kate's pinafore. Thank you, Millie, for those precious gifts of your time and knowledge.

Linking to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday blog. Check out what others have been doing!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Taking a Break .....well, sort of.

I finished quilting "Serenity" last week and decided I needed to let it rest for a isn't finished but the quilting part is. So, it is sitting where I can serenely contemplate my next steps. :)

In the meantime, I decided it was time to get in gear for our GVQC's new year which begins in September. I took a year off last year from contributing to the Comfort Quilt project. There was just too much on my plate with my new travel schedule etc. But, one year is enough time off! So, with Labor Day looming and three full days at home with no big activities planned (well almost none), I decided to start a comfort quilt.

I found a pattern at e•Patterns Central that was fairly easy to follow.

Of course, I used my own color selection and altered the borders a bit. However, by Tuesday I had the top pieced.

I used a green leaf fabric from Kona Bay that really appealed to me:

Here is a close up of the block layout and some of the border. I used another fabric with wavy black lines for one of the borders. I had bought it a while ago, thinking I might use it in a penguin image. I haven't gotten to that project yet. :)  However, I thought it complemented the lines in the leaves nicely and worked well for this border.

My goal now is to complete the quilting and hand the finished quilt in this fall. I have set a goal of two more creations during the guild year.

I have linked this post with Nina Marie's "Off the Wall" Friday blog so check out what others have been up to.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Appreciating Harvest Time

It is that time of year when local farm produce is in abundance here. We have belonged to a CSA, Mud Creek Farm, for a number of years. It is exciting to pick up our 'share' each week and return home with an abundance of fresh veggies.

Last night we dined on a delicious ratatouille with eggplant, squash, aruguala, tomatoes, and fresh herbs, served with freshly picked corn. Today for lunch, it was a stir fry of tomatoes, leeks, arugula, peppers, mushrooms, basil and cilantro.

Lunch Stir-fry
It is such a gift to have this food to eat, knowing the care that went into growing it. I hope, when growing season is taking place where ever you reside, that you have an opportunity to enjoy some of your area's local harvest!

Have a great day!

Friday, August 30, 2013

SAQA Benefit Auction 2013

Once again Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) is hosting an auction of member quilts. The auction is their largest fundraiser and SAQA's biggest income source after membership dues. For the 2013 auction, 421 artworks have been donated by generous members.

This year the auction will have two phases. The main auction will be held online beginning September 9. Groups of quilts will be released for bidding for a period of three weeks. You can find detailed instructions on the process here. The second phase will be an auction held in conjunction with the International Quilt Festival in Houston in late October.

We were asked to create our own Dream collection of six pieces on a theme from the 421 pieces submitted. Not an easy project! I came up with a set that I called 'Luscious Greenery' as they would remind me of warm, green summer days during our long dark winters:

I haven't mentioned my own contribution to the auction. I did create a piece and it was selected for the second phase of the SAQA auction at the International Quilt Festival in Houston in late October. I will be writing more on that auction in October. Here is a peak at my contribution:
Zen Moment

Friday, August 23, 2013

Arctic Norway -- June 2013

I finally have some photos to share from my Arctic adventures in June. If you would like to see my Flickr collection, you can find it here. You will find photos of polar bears, reindeer, arctic fox, sweeping landscapes and colorful tiny flowers. A sampling follows here. Please enjoy!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Halfway there!

Well, Serenity is a long haul anyway you look at it.........pre-naming a piece as such probably ordained that it would be long in coming and less than serene as it grew. This was the week when I decided that all possible quilting would be done. The top half of the piece had been fused but there were sections that I just didn't seem to be finding the time to quilt. Remember, I am exploring an approach of fusing directly onto batting and back fabric and quilting as I go. Finally, yesterday, the last stitches were made on the non-pond half of the quilt.

Here is a photo of mostly the top half:

Everything above the actual bridge and along the shoreline and above is now quilted. I have a large rock with reflection and bridge reflection pinned on the base pond fabric to remind me of where they will go. Reflections of the other rocks still remain to be cut and then the challenging part - shading of the pond and reflection of the forest. I have some ideas to cut sheer organza for pond shadowing. In addition to the light green I have pinned up there now, I have some brown that will add some good shading that is needed on the left.

Next week is granddaughter week so this will now sit a bit - which is good. I need some perspective. I won't mention how many times while working on this piece, I was less than serene. :) I have decided that letting something sit while I contemplate next steps is an excellent method. I envy those that can plan an entire piece before turning on their machine!

Since this is Friday, I will be linking this to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday site. Be sure to check out what other artists have been doing!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Main Street Arts - New Upstate New York Art Gallery!

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, my husband and I went exploring and visited Main Street Arts, a new art gallery in Clifton Spring, NY. The gallery opened this summer and is currently displaying an exhibition called "Locality." The exhibit includes the works of 30 artists with ties to upstate New York.

The gallery is a beautiful place to display art. There are two rooms downstairs and another series of rooms upstairs.
Main floor exhibition space

Upstairs room

Additional upstairs rooms
"Locality" is a diverse exhibition as evidenced by the subject matter of two of our 'favorites'.

Maria Galen: "Self Portrait with Cats"
Acryllic on Canvas
Jan Romeiser: "Littleville Falls"
Oil on Canvas
Main Street Arts is located at 20 West Main Street, Clifton Springs, NY and is open Wed - Sun., 11 am - 7 pm. Their website is Their next exhibit, "Landscape", opens September 4. They are a wonderful addition to the Clifton Springs area.  I hope that you will be able to support them with a visit soon!