Friday, November 13, 2009

New Holiday Tree ACEOs

Just wanted to share with you some new holiday tree ACEOs I made this week. This picture shows just some of the ways you can display your art cards!

ACEO (Art Cards, Editions and Originals)
2.5 inches by 3.5 inches
6.4 centimeters by 8.9 centimeters

All my ACEOs are cut and pieced individually, so no two are exactly alike!

More samples may be found in my shop.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bangor Y Fundraiser November 14

The Bangor Y is having its annual fundraiser this coming Saturday, November 14, 2009. This is a well-established organization in Bangor, ME that offers more than 140 programs including: health and fitness, aquatics, martial arts, sports, child care, camp, youth-at-risk, leadership development, and women's health. The Bangor Y offers something for all ages!

The 11th Annual KeyBank Bangor Y Benefit Auction will be held at the Spectacular Event Center, 395 Griffin Rd, Bangor, ME. Tickets are $35, which includes dinner.

The evening includes dinner, silent auction, live auction and musical entertainment by Kevin Hamel.

The silent auction preview is 4pm-5pm. Bidding for the silent auction starts at 5pm. The live auction starts around 7pm or when dinner concludes.

The piece you see here is one I have donated to the event. It is a Mountain and Forest scene made from repurposed fabrics sewn and adhered to 140lb paper. Machine stitched with hand embroidered embellishments. The piece is 5.5 inches by 7.5 inches. It comes matted and framed. Finished size is 8 inches by 10 inches. Retail price $50. Look for it in the silent auction!

For more information about this event, please check the Bangor Y website or call 207.941.2808.


Monday, November 2, 2009

The Archipelago

I'm honored to have some of my work at The Archipelago in Rockland, Maine this holiday season. Here are just some of my santa ornaments you will find there.

Sojourn Quilts
"A Resting Place Along Life's Journey"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ladybug ACEOs Ship Free Oct 26-Oct 31

These are just some of the Ladybug ACEOs that ship free (internationally) in my shop this week.

Sojourn Quilts ACEOs (Art Cards, Editions and Originals) are all individually designed, cut and assembled by me. They are 2.5 inches (6.4cm) by 3.5 inches (8.9cm) in size and come with a handmade envelope.

For more ACEOs, please check out my shop.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Paint Penobscot County Purple Oct 12 - 18

During the week of October 12 through the 18, Spruce Run is inviting people to "Paint Penobscot County Purple."

Spruce Run Domestic Violence Project is an organization located in Bangor, ME "dedicated to serving people affected by domestic abuse in our community while working simultaneously to eliminate personal, institutional, and cultural violence against all individuals."

Show support for and honor people directly or indirectly affected by domestic violence by wearing purple, buying a purple light bulb and bathing the outside of your home or workplace in a lavender glow, tying purple ribbons around your mailbox, decorating your desk or sporting a purple ribbon. (These are just some of the ideas provided at this link).

Be creative and have fun...And don't forget to tell the folks around you why you are in such a purple mood!

Domestic violence or abuse "is a pattern of physical, verbal, or sexual threats or aggression used by one person in a relationship to control the other. Abuse can range from emotional torment like name-calling and isolation, to harassment like stalking and intimidation, to violence and physical harm."

None of us is immune. Domestic violence or abuse affects women, men, girls and boys from all walks of life regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, economic status or education.

Together, we can stop the violence.

If you live in Penobscot County, Maine and are concerned about your situation--or what is going on in the life of someone you care about--call the Spruce Run hotline at 1.800.863.9909 or check out the Spruce Run website at

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Siren Song of Creative Energy

Recently, I took a walk along the rocky coast of Maine. "Downeast" on a foggy, eerie day with the wind blowing, the mist getting in my eyes, and only the sounds of the ocean: a lobster boat puttering by, a fog horn, a bell bouy. I was in heaven, I am sure of it! I could have stayed there all day.

I grabbed a few pictures to share with you--some textures of Maine. I am sure they will crop up in my artwork at some point or other (if they haven't already).

The more I look at my surroundings, the more I see and the more I understand how richly inspirational my environment is. I am drawn to the shapes and colors and textures of my apartment, my neighborhood, my city, the forests, oceans, lakes and streams of my state--an endless array of offerings and discoveries.

The forest, mountains, ocean and fields are, in a sense, the siren song for my creative energy. They inform the way I move through the world: my thoughts, my words, my creative endeavors, my actions, my way of being in and moving through the world.

So much more to see and discover. I feel very fortunate to live in Maine.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Little Cabin Quilted Postcard (by For Quilts Sake)

Watercolor Sunset (by For Quilts Sake)

Interview with Pam (For Quilts Sake)

I listened to an interview, recently, with a chef who assigned her children a night each week to cook. Rather than encourage the children to pick different recipes, she suggested doing the same recipe for a period of time. She wanted them to experiment with seasonings, toppings, cooking techniques and really understand the nuances of the dish before moving on to the next. Instead of limiting the children, this approach invited experimentation with each specific dish and resulted in broadening the children's understanding and mastery of the foods they prepared.

This approach to exploring a medium is not new or limited to cooking and may be applied to artistic endeavors as well. Sometimes placing barriers (artificial or real) on a project increases creativity and brings about surprising and wonderful results.

Pam is the talented quilter and fiber artist behind For Quilts Sake. She offered to talk with me about limitations and the creative process.

It is with great pleasure I bring you this interview.

"I never liked sewing," Pam tells me, "but I loved fabric so I took a class on how to piece and quilt by hand. My education and work experience has been as a graphic designer and also as an instructor of both graphic design and desktop publishing. I enjoy doing other artwork--watercolor painting, photography, mixed media and press flowers--but it's the quilts that I'm compelled to work on."

"I loved the final result of quilting by hand," Pam continues, "but it took too much time. I taught myself how to use the sewing machine and I'm pretty much self-taught from books and just trying things. Sometimes I get an idea like a flash and other times the fabrics tell me what they want to be. After making many quilts for myself and for friends and family, I decided to create some of my own designs, both in a traditional quilting style and also as art quilts."

Pam opened For Quilts Sake (Etsy) in November 2007, and offers handmade, unique and customer art quilts and quilt-related items, including watercolor paintings, fabric mosaics, quilted postcards and quilted necklaces. "What interests me about traditional quilting is how a quilt square can look completely different if the shapes that make up the square are in different colors or tones of the fabric. I am also interested in the secondary patterns that emerge when quilt blocks are arranged together."

When Pam gets stuck on a design or life throws her some challenges, she turns to Nature, other artists, doodles and limitations to help her work through the problem. "I believe that limitations can be powerful when trying to break through creative blocks. By limiting myself to certain colors, textures or styles I'm forced into looking at different ways to look at these constraints and (hopefully) push through them and create something new."

Pam combines her love of quilting and her concern for the environment by coordinating a fundraiser every year for a small, privately owned nature preserve called Glen Helen. Glen Helen's mission is to provide science-based, experiential learning in the outdoors while fostering respect for the natural environment and empowering people to act in its interest. Among its offerings is an Outdoor Educational Center, Trailside Museum, Raptor Center, and Nature Shop.

"Glen Helen has school groups come in to learn about the environment," Pam explains. "Some of these are city kids who don't have much opportunity to experience nature. Because it isn't covered under the state park's budget, Glen Helen has to be creative about how they get their funding. We've organized fund-raisers, done maintenance on the buildings, as well as giving monetary contributions."

The Nature Arts and Crafts Show Pam coordinates to benefit Glen Helen is going to be held Saturday, November 21 from 9am to 5pm and Sunday, November 22 from 11am to 5pm.

"This year's show is full," Pam says, "but artisans interested in setting up a booth for next year may contact me through my shop or website to get on the mailing list for the 2010 show."

If you are interested in the show but cannot attend this year's event, you may also make donations to Glen Helen at this link:

As for what shoes Pam wears? "Bowling shoes...funky and different, yet familiar and playful. Cool in a retro sort of way but not cool in a what's hip right now sort of way."

You may find out more about Pam and her work through her website, Etsy shop or blog.

Pam is a member of the Quiltsy Team.

For more information about the Glen Helen Nature Preserve:

Glen Helen
Nature Arts and Crafts Show

What Shoes Pam Wears

FAQ about Pam's Shoes:

No, I didn't steal them, I bought them new, on-line from the company who makes them.
Yes, I wear them outside.
No, I don't wear them to bowl in (since I've worn them outside).
Yes, I wear a size 7.
No, I'm not a good bowler.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Alice and Me (Self-Portrait with the Guitar My Brother Made Me)

Cool guitar, eh? My twin brother made this for me to celebrate our birthday. So awesome! He even included a hologram of Alice-in-Wonderland on the back. Love it!!!


BTW - He still turned OLDER than me on our seven minutes...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Irresistible Charm Stroller Quilt (by LoveBug Studios)

Fig and Dewberry Clutch (by LoveBug Studios)

Interview with Ebony (LoveBug Studios)

Quilts, for many, are more than just pieces of fabric. They are memories: people, places, events. They become an integral part of life's routines, celebrations and sorrows. Whether they are utilitarian or decorative, traditional or contemporary, quilts symbolize moments in time and reflect the varied, often colorful personalities of the people who make them.

Ebony is the creative talent behind LoveBug Studios. I met her through the Quiltsy Team on Etsy. She offers quilts, aprons, handbags and accessories, cards and journals, and other handmade items. Her specialty is to take ordinary, everyday objects and refine them into charming, fashionable pieces that reflect modern sophistication and flair.

Ebony offered to share some of her insights about life, working with fabric and starting a business. It is my honor to bring you this interview.

"My very earliest fabric obsession," Ebony tells me, "was with satin; my mom would buy me yards of the stuff, and I would make costumes, dresses, and I even made Valentine pillows with hand-sewn lace and sold those to friends, classmates, and family. I have had a needle and thread in my hands for as long as I can remember. I think I was born to create. I've always drafted my own patterns, but my clothing wasn't really successfully made until I learned more about garment construction!"

Ebony's love and passion for creating things, along with an obsession for fabric and all sorts of embellishments has lead to a lifetime of collecting fabric, lace, beads, buttons, sequins, paper, crayons and markers. "Anything," Ebony says, "I could get my hands on to make something with."

In college, Ebony loved dressing up and going places--to banquets, operas--anywhere she could get away with wearing an evening gown. Her fascination with satin continued. "I couldn't afford to buy evening gowns for every event, so I made about 2 or 3 gowns every year. As my gown collection grew, so did my scraps of satin because I was still in love with it and couldn't bear to toss it. I started making things with satin and mixing them with other fabrics. This included a return to my heart-shaped pillow making. Eventually, that turned into make some rudimentary quilts."

"Over the years," Ebony continues, "I've picked up a number of craft-related hobbies: crochet, cross-stitch, scrap booking, jewelry making, but I kept returning to this idea of quilts. I started buying fabric and making quilts for friends and sold a couple here and there. Quilting and sewing are passions of mine, so it was natural for me to combine these techniques and materials into the creations that inspire me daily. I didn't get serious about selling them until my friends and my mom encouraged me to take it more seriously and open a business."

Ebony opened her online shop in May, 2008. "I named my business LoveBug Studios for several reasons. I've been driving a little red Beetle for the longest time, and my last name is 'Love.' My friends started calling me LoveBug and any time they'd see me driving around town, they'd tell me about their LoveBug sighting. The 'studio' part came about because I always pictured myself doing other things besides quilts, and I didn't want my business name to be too limiting."

"I think that as I make more and more things," Ebony continues, "I'm starting to develop my own style and sensibility. I have a really upbeat personality; it doesn't take a lot to make me smile or laugh. I love surrounding myself with things that brighten my mood--bright colors, a cool pattern on a piece of fabric, flowers. So even though I try to make some things that are more subdued and traditional, I can't help but make things that are bright and happy and reflect that part of my personality."

A lot of work and experimentation goes into developing a successful online shop: taking quality pictures, writing interesting and accurate descriptions, finding the best venues, marketing and more. It is not as easy as it looks. "I recently had an 'aha' moment with my shop," Ebony offers. "It's really starting to have a cohesive look. I started working on a shop makeover to do a better job tying things together. Instead of referring to my shop as being filled with 'quilts and quilt-related items,' I adopted the phrase 'handmade sophistication.' I can really see my art and craft changing and improving and growing over time, and that is really exciting."

Everyone experiences challenging moments and, for Ebony, it helps to step away and do something else. "Often the challenges drive me to just do something with my hands. I tend to do things that are pretty mindless and allow me to work through whatever issue I have in quiet thought and meditation. Stitching a binding by hand or pulling weeds in the garden often gives me that quiet time to sort through things. Now, when that challenge in life happens to be directly caused by my creative process, that's when I just go watch TV!"

Like many of the other artisans interviewed for this blog, Ebony is concerned about social issues, and in particular housing, food and financial stability.

One of the charities Ebony contributes to is Modest Needs, dedicated to helping people with unexpected financial emergencies. "Financial stability can sometimes be the contributing factor in someone being able to stay in their home or feed their family," Ebony says. "One little minor disaster can set them on a downward spiral toward homelessness and joblessness." It is not difficult to imagine being in this situation--especially in these economic times. Imagine having a moderate income, doing okay, but the car breaks down. Fixing the car means using the money you planned to use to pay the rent. Not fixing the car means being unable to get to work to earn money for rent. Not paying the rent means getting evicted. "Many people are living on an edge as thin as a razor wire. The money contributed to Modest Needs doesn't go directly to the recipient; it goes directly to whomever the creditor is, so you know that the money is being spent for what it was intended."

Ebony also participates in Feeding America, a hunger-relief charity. "I do what I can to volunteer at the food pantries or to pack supplies or donate whatever I can."

On occasion, Ebony also donates blankets and quilts to Project Linus, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer "blanketeers."

And, finally, Ebony supports housing by participating in Habitat for Humanity building events. "A few years ago," Ebony says, "I traveled with a group to Slidell, LA to help rebuild after Hurricane Katrina." The city of Slidell is located in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana and was just one of the areas to be destroyed by the hurricane in August, 2005. Habitat for Humanity has been working in the area (and around the world) to build simple, decent, affordable housing in partnership with people in need.

As an aside, Ebony offers, "It was on that trip that I discovered that there really is a bug called a lovebug, and they are not cute and cuddly like they sound. They are pretty harmless, but very annoying!"

For relaxation, Ebony loses herself in fantasy-type books (like The Hobbit) or in the classics (like Anna Karenina). "It's my way of taking a mini-vacation to a world I would never otherwise get to see (because it doesn't exist anymore, or it never did!). I lean the same way with movies. It would probably horrify people to learn how often I watch the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice while working in my studio! Any music with a good beat and lyrics I can sing along to also helps, especially when I'm not feeling my normal self!"

As for what shoes Ebony wears? "I think sling-back, peep-toe heels describe me best. The heel is for high-spirits (my personality), the peep-toe is for my generally introverted nature (takes time to coax me out of my shell--people often mistake my upbeat personality for an outgoing nature), and finally, the sling back is because I don't like to be confined or boxed in. I need room to grow and spread my wings!"

You may learn more about Ebony's life and work by visiting her shops LoveBug Studios (Etsy) or LoveBug Studios (Artfire) or checking out her website LoveBug Studios. She is also a columnist for and publishes a twice-weekly column on the love and art of quilting.

Ebony is a member of the following groups:

Carried Away Bag Team
Chicago Style Crafters
Fiber Arts Guild
Quiltsy Team

What Shoes Ebony Wears

Monday, August 17, 2009

Coolest Hottest ACEOs

Check out the Coolest, Hottest ACEOs handpicked by LeMachi Gallery for this spotlight. Here is the link: Coolest, Hottest ACEOs

ACEO stands for Art Cards, Editions and Originals. They are original artwork or editions of original artwork 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches in size. ACEO artists make their pieces using pretty much any materials: paint, paper, fabric, beads, clay, wood, metal. Common uses for these collectible small art pieces are to display them in a basket, box or on a small stand, give as gifts or stocking stuffers, mat and frame to hang on the wall. How you display them is only limited by your imagination!


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lobstering In Maine

Here is what I did on my summer vacation: hauled lobster traps!

Well, actually, I hung out at the back of the boat while BF's dad and brother hauled the traps. They are the experts. I loved watching them working together. Great team!

A lot goes into setting the traps, finding the best locations to drop the traps (lobsters are bottom feeders, so your traps need to be where they will crawl into them on the ocean floor), hauling the traps and making sure only the legal lobsters are kept.

There are strict rules in place to make sure the lobster population stays healthy: undersized or oversized lobsters and breeders (lobsters found with eggs and/or a notch on their tail from previous catches) must be put back into the ocean.

Many people rely on fishing and lobstering in Maine as a livelihood and to feed their families. They do what they can to preserve this vibrant and often rigorous way of living. I get a sense of why they do it. There is nothing quite like the feeling of being on the ocean.

With non-commercial lobster licenses, BF's dad and brother are allowed to put in 10 traps (five traps each). This results in a haul just large enough for the family. What a feast! Steamed lobsters, corn on the cob, salad fresh from BF's sister's garden. Mmmmm, mmmm, good!


Friday, August 14, 2009

Red Ball

I saw this red ball yesterday and, for some reason, it tickled my fancy.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Updated CPSIA Handbook for Resale Stores and Product Resellers

Got this today from the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

Updated Handbook for Resale Stores and Product Resellers, August 6, 2009

Probably not the last time this is going to change--discussions are ongoing. I will keep you posted!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Labeling Law for Children's Products Effective August 14, 2009

I have not talked much about the Consumer Product Safety Commission's rulings on the new labeling laws for children's products. I am still getting to know my way around this part of the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act. Here is a link to frequently asked questions around this issue: This law applies to all products intended for use by children ages 12 and under manufactured on or after August 14, 2009.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

CPSIA - Statements on Request to Exclude Crystal and Glass Beads from Children's Products

While I have not posted anything about the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) lately, I have continued to follow it. This issue is not going away, folks!

I have been waiting for their ruling on glass beads, since I use these pieces on the lobsters I make.

Please do read the Commissioner's statements (below). My unofficial take on it is that the law is written so narrowly that the Commissioners--even if they wanted to exempt glass beads and crystals for some low-risk age groups--cannot rule to exempt these items.

It does look like the commission is considering a ruling to put a stay in place while Congress revisits the unintended consequences for this law. From what I can tell, this stay of enforcement has not yet gone into place. Remember the law went into effect February 2009. Even though there is a stay for third party testing, this law does apply to glass beads and crystals. My understanding is--as things currently stand-- these items cannot be used in products intended for children ages 12 and under.

Here are the links:

Commissioners' Statements on the Request from the Fashion Jewelry Trade Association to Exclude Crystal and Glass Beads in Children's Products from the Lead Content Limits Under Section 101(b)(1) of the CPSIA:

Chairman Tenenbaum
Commissioner Moore
Commissioner Nord

To read more about CPSIA, the Consumer Product Safety Commission or Small Business Guidelines regarding the law, please click on this link:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Murphy (by Cris Lewis)

Watercolors and Fabric Art (by Cris Lewis)

Photo from a "Meet the Artist of the Month" show Cris did at the Oriskany Library. Her exhibit included 50 pieces in watercolor, photography, pen and ink, and fiber art.

Interview with Cris Lewis

It is easy to get caught up in the pressures and deadlines of life. It seems, at times, there is just too much to do and, in focusing on what needs yet to be done, so easy to lose sight of what is really important: the here and now. I know, for myself, the first things to go when I am "busy" are the things my body and mind and spirit need the most to flourish. I put off my walk until tomorrow. I balk at taking the time to cook a healthy, balanced meal. I interrupt my sleep with late nights and early morning projects. I melt down while burning the candle at both ends.

Life, though, has a way of throwing in reality checks now and again. Sometimes, these checks--the opportunities to slow down or stop and reflect--are subtle: a headache or head cold, a call or email from a friend to come out and play, a song on the radio that, nostalgically, reminds us of more peaceful days gone by. On the not-so-subtle side, life, at times, knocks us over the head with the major stuff: a death of a relative, friend or pet, a lay-off from work, a diagnosis of a major illness. Whether big or small, these moments, these resonant "signals from the universe" are all opportunities to reflect on what is important and, if necessary, renew our commitment to stay in touch with those people and things in our lives that nourish us, make us healthy and grow.

Recently, I met Cris, a watercolor and fiber artist, through She generously shared some thoughts on life, art and living with cancer. I am honored to bring you this interview.

"Six year ago," Cris tells me, "I retired from 27 years of teaching and pursued an interest I had saved for retirement: watercolor." Cris took classes at Fletcher Farm School for the Arts and Crafts in Vermont and at Munson William Proctor Institute and Kirkland Art Center (both in New York). "I then picked up pen and ink, which I love with color washes."

As Cris left teaching, she looked forward to doing many other things as well. "With retirement," she continues, "came travel. I have three children that live across the country and I visit." And, she adds, "Should I mention cruises?" She brings along her digital camera and has hundreds of pictures from many trips. Cris also looked forward to renewing her interest in sewing. "Time spent at the sewing machine ballooned as did my stash and love for oriental fabrics and design. I am lucky to have a family summer home on Oneida Lake in central New York, which is a very peaceful, restful place to work on my art: a place to escape with paint, paper and fabric." When not traveling, painting or sewing, Cris spent time gardening flowers and vegetables. "I love to experiment with new healthy recipes."

Life, however, threw Cris an unexpected challenge. "Six months after I retired," Cris says, "I received my first cancer diagnosis--found in a routine mammogram. It is frightening, paralyzing beyond belief. During this time, I always kept in mind to take things one day at a time. Even one hour at a time."

Art, for Cris, became a saving grace. "I went to an art class a week after my surgery. My painting when on pain medicines?" she observes, "Interesting!"

Art kept Cris going and took her places far away from her illness. "I now have an inner need to engage daily in some type of creative work. To me it's spiritual. It fills a need in me to express and has--and does--help me with confidence which for many years was not that great."

Murphy also came to the rescue. Murphy is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Cris brought home at a time when she felt she was not going to make it. "A puppy took me out of my depression and added a new aspect to my art: painting pet portraits. It started with Murph each year as part of my Christmas card. I began getting commissions and started Paws & Claws by Cris." Cris opened her online shop in December 2008, where she sells custom pet portraits. You will also find quilted pillows and wall-hangings, notecards, bags, felted embellished birds, ACEOs, watercolor and pencil botanicals, and the like.

"Three years ago this October 31st," Cris continues, "I received my second diagnosis. Again shock and disappointment, but I have to say that I knew I could do this. Once again I continued with my art, endeavored to learn new techniques and to--always--work on improving my skills. God has brought me through my illnesses and given me the strength I needed during those times. I am grateful for my talents that he has given to me and thankful that I have begun to use these in his glory."

For inspiration, Cris watches Joyce Meyer's Enjoying Everyday Life every day and finds her teachings helpful to get through the day. She also reads art and quilting books, and an occasional novel (no particular authors). For music, Cris listens to a variety of CDs in her rack: ABBA, classical, middle Eastern, Natalie Cole and, "Of course," she says, "the music from The Phantom of the Opera."

Cris volunteers for the American Cancer Society, participates in the Relay for Life, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, and shares her cancer journey with others. "Actually, anyone who will listen," Cris says. "I encourage and urge women to have their annual mammograms and do regular breast self exams. This comes from a lady who has had two breast cancers with two mastectomies, chemotherapy and radiation. I am very grateful for my diligence in screening on a yearly basis. The screenings saved my life. I get angry when I hear women who refuse to have these procedures."

Besides annual mammograms, Cris urges people to get a colonoscopy. This procedure is instrumental in early detection of colorectal cancer. "Such an easy procedure," she says. "I lost my brother 20 years ago to that cancer."

As for what shoes Cris wears? "Comfy. Walking shoes (I walk or do gym 2-3 times a week), clogs to get me through our New York winters, and garden shoes."

You may find more information about Cris and her work in her shop and on her blog.

Cris is a member of the following groups:

ACEO Street Team "ACETSY"
CNY Etsy Team
Kirkland Art Center
Mowhawk Valley Quilt Club
Rome Art Association
Visual Artist Street Team

What Shoes Cris Wears

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Blues In the Night Quilt (By NeedleLove2)

Retro Reds Scrappy Quilt (by NeedleLove2)

Interview with Bonnie (NeedleLove2)

If you work with fabric long enough, you begin to understand what an amazing array of textures there are. All fabrics are not equal. Some, mostly inexpensive and synthetic materials, are waxy and clogged. Some, utilitarian fabrics, are coarse, though strong. Others are fabulously soft, vibrant, almost alive. For some people, working with fabric goes beyond the pragmatic, thinking level and becomes an experience of sensation. The way the warp and weave feels in your hands, the way the needle and thread move through the fabric (the sound, even), how the finished piece drapes or holds a ruffle--these are all qualities fabric reveals about itself. Fabric holds within it, endless opportunities and delights that only other, like-minded people understand.

Recently I met Bonnie, the creative inspiration behind NeedleLove2. She graciously agreed to share some thoughts on fabric, quilting and how creativity brings a sense of calm to her life.

"I have been a Fiber-Holic long before anyone coined the term," Bonnie tells me, "Since I was a small child, I began with doll clothes, my clothes, my kids' clothes, other people's clothes, and then I discovered yarn and fiber and quilting, and the rest is history. It has always been my passion and I attribute this to my Scottish ancestors, who were textile workers by trade. I love the feel of yarn or wool, or fabric in my hands, and I guess you could say I'm a touchy-feely person!"

Bonnie has sewn for many years and began quilting about ten years ago. "I tend to be a scrappy quilter and rarely make the same thing twice," Bonnie continues. I love fiber, thread, fabric and yarn. I have made quilts and knitted items for friends and family." She opened her shop in October, 2008 where she offers quilts, table runners, purses and bags, potholders, aprons and receiving blankets. "I have a new venue for my creative tendencies and plan to continue working at my Dream Job."

When life becomes challenging, Bonnie turns to her hobbies or, as she describes them, "obsessions" to gain relief. "I find that when I'm working in my element," she says, it calms my troubled soul by enabling me to do that which I feel comfortable with. There is peace in repetition, whether it be spinning yarn, hand sewing a binding on a quilt, or the quiet clicking of my knitting needles. It gives me time to reflect on the problem at hand as I work through it in my mind. I'm sure this is why I gain so much enjoyment from my needlework, because I am doing something I know. I am familiar with it and it calms me."

This creative, often meditative work, also gives Bonnie time to reflect not just on family and her creative work, but on larger issues such as the state of the earth's environment. "It boggles my mind how much pollution we have poured into this Mother Earth, and now I learn it is also orbiting the earth's atmosphere!" she says. "Another aspect of pollution involves our rivers, streams and oceans. Too many water supplies have been compromised. That's too much. We've got to find ways to stop abusing the planet.”

For her own part, Bonnie tries her best to reuse, reduce and recycle—a practice taught to her by her mother. Recycling is a part of her own family's life as well. “I'm proud to say that each of my children are great recyclers, too. It seems like a small step, but if you consider the amount of trash one family can generate in just a week, it almost seems obscene!” She also recommends reading labels and becoming more aware of what impact we, as consumers, have on the environment. “We all need to be aware of what we consume each day and what we are pouring down the drains.” As concerned citizens, we need to do our part to reverse the damage that has already been done to the earth, air and water and to help restore the health of the planet.

Bonnie loves reading more and more, gravitating toward biographies or human interest stories "where one can overcome adversity and triumph in the end." Some of her favorites are: The Diary of Mattie Spenser by Sandra Dallas, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, Crashing Through by Robert Kurson, and Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen. More of Bonnie's favorite books may be found on her blog.

Bonnie also loves many kinds of music. "I am not musically talented in any way," she admits. "Strictly a listener unless I'm in the shower or on the road by myself, then I sing my little heart out!"

When it comes to shoes, Bonnie is all about comfort. "I like to try and coordinate my shoes with whatever I'm wearing, but if they're not comfortable, they're not mine."

You may find more information about Bonnie and her work in her shop and on her blog.

Along with the Quiltsy Team, Bonnie is a member of a local group of quilters who provide much inspiration and support.

What Shoes Bonnie Wears

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Woman and Three Flowers ACEO

Introducing my newest design: Woman and Three Flowers. This is based (loosely) on a self-portrait quilt I made few years ago. Being totally addicted to ACEOs, lately, I shrunk the design to 2.5 inches (6.4cm) by 3.5 inches (8.9cm). I would love to have your feedback!


Monday, June 8, 2009

Hiking My Way to The Traveler

I have done two hikes this spring toward my goal of hiking "the Traveler" in Baxter State Park at the end of the summer. It is a 10+ mile loop over three different mountain ridges. The trail pretty much kicked my butt last year. I am resolved not to let a bunch of rocks and dirt get the best of me.

The first hike of the season for me was one up the North Ridge of Cadillac Mountain, down to the Gorge Trail, up Dorr Mountain and back to the Park Loop Road.

This picture was taken near the top of Cadillac overlooking Bar Harbor, Maine:

Not sure if this was on Cadillac or Dorr, but it will give you another view:

Here is me after climbing the North Ridge to Cadillac and starting down the trail that leads into the Gorge and then back up Dorr Mountain:

The following are pictures taken on the second hike. We explored the Sargent Mountain area (on the Northeast Harbor side of Acadia National Park). The trail took us through the woods and along a stream. Beautiful! (BF took these in black and white).