Fear of failure

The greatest obstacle to success is the fear of failure. 

I have no idea where I first read this but it is not mine. I say this as I look at the material I plan to finish out some crazy quilt blocks. The method to complete the blocks will wow if it works. But that is the crutch, if it works. As I look across my studio at what I plan to use I am fearful. 

What happens if that doesn’t work? What will I do then. Need to get these blocks completed to be in a quilt show. So what if it doesn’t work?  If it leads me to another path or idea that I never considered all the better. All I will ever know is I tried and it didn’t. This is the way my mind is working right now. Try and I will see if it works or not. Don’t want to squander my resources so will do a test to see if my idea ends up as expected. 

I posted recently that I would create two new pieces a month and am happy to say I have finished one for this month. I usually have a couple different things going. It is a way to keep things fresh, believe me it is easy to get tired working on the same thing.  

This is the completion of the work from my last blog post. The seaweed like dyed lace on both sides really helped to show a sense of movement but the overall color was way too light. They conflicted with the color range of the piece as a whole but I still wanted to include them. So I took some speciality yarn that is hairy looking in a deep green and layered it on top. This was exactly what was needed. It didn’t obscure the lace but it did push the color back a notch. 

I then got to work on the foreground adding beads, lacy looking stitches for fan coral and some straight stitches for sea grass. I didn’t want to do too much because the velvet really works so well as brain coral. I really think this whole piece hit the mark and was happy with the finished piece. A good friend thought the same for it is sold now. 

Reaching the finish 

I have mixed emotions at this point in my  artwork. As I am reaching the final stages I get anxious for the finish like a runner. I can see if my vision matches the actual work. I can already see what I would do different, use a different thread, try a different stitch or color. This distracts me as I continue to stitch for it has become a bit tiring, over and over but rewarding because it is almost complete. 

I have to change my mindset at this point, to see the meditative bonus of continuous needle work. Doctors say this can lower your blood pressure but for me it keeps me from rushing to the end. It keeps me from making mistakes that are not in balance with the rest of the work. 

So I am learning on many levels to enjoy the work of following my passion though that in itself takes a lot of work. 

You can see that I have added the grasses to the lower right corner. I layed the thread out that I am using. It was layered in a long stitch working about a six inch length to represent weeds or rushes. I made it darker with a blue green alcohol marker to push it into the middle ground. 

I got excited to add the flowers of the Tiger lillies but did not have the “right” orange to match. I stitched them using a golden yellow silk ribbon then added the orange with different colored alcohol markers. 

I had to get the fence posts down next, fuzed them down with revisions from the size I stitched from my prior post. I then used colored pencil and a black marker to add highlights and an outline edge.  As I worked on the middle rung I realized the water needed more definition. Blue, white, green and a touch of black colored pencil was used. I also added some rocks though more than in the original picture. I wanted to add something to break up all the green in this space. 

The stems of the surprise lillies are coming along. The leaves will be added next then finally the flowers. More grasses in different greens will finish off the left foreground but I want to add some of the dark red from the lower right flowers to break up the greens and keep it flowing. 

Then HOPEFULLY it will be finished. I am happy with this piece and hope the buyer will too. 



I am at a retreat for the weekend with a fun group of ladies who know how to encourage my creative spirit. Each of us are working on our own project but as we chat, work and laugh it reminds me that we all need support of some kind. 

It may be a question about a technique, a color choice, the placement of a trim or fabric on a crazy quilt or just a “another eye” to confirm that what you are doing is correct. 

While working further on my commission  it is encouraging to have the support of this group at this point in the process. Often at this point in creating I am anxious to get done with it.  I have found I get a bit frustrated with the time it is taking to get from the creative start to the finished project. But that is when you just have to dig in and concentrate on what needs to be done. 

I enjoy the time it takes but am already thinking of the next new project or technique to try. I believe part of that is because as I work it is “right up close” in my face. This makes it hard to see the progress I am making. So it is good to have friends at this point, to tell me to step back, take a look at the whole, see the progress being made and maybe then revise something. 

I have added the leaves to the aspen tree and am beginning the layers of thread work for the foreground grasses. I have a tendency to forget the border of the piece as I am working so added a loose ruining stitch to outline the edges. I used this same color of thread to outline the posts and railing but am thinking I will revise the size of these a bit. I have the perfect wood grain printed post fabric that will be fused but need to get the grasses and flowers down first.  


Bits and pieces

All of our lives are a combination as the Irish say of bits and pieces. A bit of a memory, a piece of a conversation, a color that flashes on the TV or a memory of the music you love.

I have a varied idea of art. I started with graphic design in college, did some painting, took a portrait drawing course and was still looking for what most artist’s call their “voice”.

This was my exploration or bits and pieces of finding myself as an artist. I became good friends with a co-worker who tried her best to convince me to look at quilting. Thank you Marci H., but I have yet to do a regular quilt.

Too static, too technical for my “can’t cut anything square personality”.  The next step was to be crazy quilts. A form of quilting that basically started during the Victorian age. You take bits and pieces of fabric from dresses, shirts or whatever before it is thrown out. You take them, do a patchwork of a quilt then add some embroidery to dress up the seams.

Today this form of creative exploration has morphed into what ever you want it to be on fabric. It does use the basis of traditional quilting, three layers and embroidery of some kind but also includes found objects, antique lace, buttons, beads to meet the creators voice.

I use cotton, hand dyed velvet and silk fabric sometimes with a printed image on fabric that is pieced onto a base of muslin. I then add trims, rick rack, or other laces to the seams, add embroidery, silk ribbon work. beads or buttons to embellish the block.

I have the wondrous fortune to meet once a month with like minded artists of this kind. We take part of a round robin by exchanging pieced blocks with each other to embellish for each other.

This way if there are 9 who are involved in a round robin, I have nine blocks that I pieced but only 8 of them have my own stitching on them. I just love how each and every one of them are different but each block has their own “signature”. I can look at one block and know that was done by Marci or Pam. And I have 9 blocks to make a small quilt but did not do all nine myself. This is a treasure for certain and I am blessed to have such company to call friends.

I love the no rules freedom that is crazy quilting. I also know that all the bits and pieces that I bring to my crazy quilting shows in my choices, colors and stitching. I know that these same crazy quilters can see me in their blocks by knowing my stitching choices, the type of trims and bead work in the same way I recognize their hand work.

Here are some examples of the crazy quilting I have done in the last several years. I truly love doing this art and will continue as long as there are bits and pieces to put down to fabric.

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Let me know what you think…Happy stitching.




Art is moving along

Art is something I have known all my life. As an artist you take risks every day, you try something and see how it works. You try a different color, a different technique, a new material. This new way may not work, or it may work or it may just have to hibernate until you find a way to work it into what you are working on at the time.

So as an artist you face change on a regular basis but it does not mean it is easy. I am always wanting to search for the piece of the puzzle, the correct color, the right way to make that stitch to lay correctly. Or just trying to find a way to interpret what I envision in my head to the art I am working on. I have to just keep trying, keep moving and sometimes that means trying something, accepting or letting it “vegetate” for a day 0r two and then decide if it works.

I am working on a commission piece right now. While working from a photo taken by the client, I am trying my best to stick to the details. The lake and shore need to be as accurate as possible, the aspen tree needs to come across too. All these details are what this work is about but how to approach that without it overwhelming me?

Well I just keep moving, trying new ways and new techniques but mostly I keep moving because it is what an artist does, take chances and see what comes from those risks taken.

Here is the work in progress for this commission. The sky, background trees and lake started with commercial fabric then overlaid with colored pencil. The aspen trees have some colored pencil along with my new favorite tool, alcohol makers to make the dark black of the bark. The white house in the middle ground is fabric for the boat house, colored pencil, dock is colored pencil and some black thread on the cross hatch of the dock.


As you can see from this picture I need to add the dark green leaves for the aspen trees, and do a lot of stitching in the foreground for the grasses and the flowers. Plan to use the movement of the grass fabric with overlay of stitching. But as I said in this post, I need to keep moving.



I began my fabric collage art by taking a class from Judith Montano at a Crazy Quilt retreat about 15 years ago. The process was to layer fibers and bits of thread and such on batik fabric, lay a colored tulle on top, hand stitch the tulle down and then layer different fabrics and ribbons on top.  Embroidery is added along with beads, fuzzy yarn, silk ribbon and actual sea shells to give texture.

Once home I continued with the seascapes but went on to apply this method to landscapes, editing some of the process to what has now become a creation all my own. Whether seascapes or landscapes I do a lot of stitching while “listening” instead of watching TV. I often am unaware of the time, getting lost in the rhythm of stitching.

Here are a few of my earlier seascapes along with another landscape. I do hope you enjoy these. 3212126736_cafcdbd5df_z3212130942_ede48b241d_z


This is a commission piece done for a good friend and she asked that I add a mermaid to the picture. My friend has red hair so of course the mermaid had to have it too.


Now for another landscape.




Art Quilts

What are art quilts? Do you hang them on the wall or sleep under them? Art quilts have evolved into just about any form, from wall quilts that are queen size, whole cloth quilts painted with dyes and colored pencil, “confetti quilts” that are many different pieces of fabric cut and sewn to a base or just fabric used as a springboard to express the artist’s style.

My work has evolved from hand embroidery, to crazy quilts, to imaginary seascapes into using commercial fabric to collage an impressionistic style of landscapes. I use colored pencil, hand embroidery, silk ribbon embroidery, fabric markers or whatever is on hand to capture the light and beauty I see in nature.

Enough words, I am a visual person so here is a picture of my work.

Spring in Bloom




This is 11 X 14 inches, with fabric fused to a semi stiff base, the foreground of lilac trees are hand stitched with French knots for the flowers and some silk ribbon leaves in the trees. This just sings spring to me!