The Five Stages of Procrastination

Denial—There are eight MONTHS till my project is due. I can work on this, that, and the other first.

Anger—Where did my muse go? WHY won’t this go together the way I want?

Bargaining— If you will cook dinner and take care of the laundry for me for the next few days, I will be able to blow through this, no problem.

Depression—Oh, how am I going to be able to face everyone and say I failed. It looks awful, I could have done better!

Acceptance—Put on the coffee, turn up the music;  it’s gonna be a LONG night.IMG_1374

“I love deadlines. Especially the whooshing sound they make as they pass by.” – Douglas Adams



…I’m back. The heck with Sandy my ass. Sandy  destroyed huge swathes of my home town, of my childhood. I purposely chose to avoid as much of the televised experience as I could. I preferred it that way after 9-11, when we had no TV because our antennas had been on the towers. I preferred it that way this time as well.

It hurts my heart to see photos posted on Facebook. It is worse as days go on, and more and more people come back to post, finally with power, and tell their unique, yet universal, tales of woe. It pleases me beyond measure to see my forgotten borough of Staten Island behaving in such civic minded and neighborly ways, via the magic of Facebook. And now, a week out, news cycles later, with the wonderfully Hooloovoo color our country turned on Tuesday with the election, we need to remember it isn’t over, not by a long shot. New York and New Jersey will be suffering for a long time to come.

But, this post isn’t about that. It’s about QUILTS! And fabric. And the International Quilt Show in Houston, TX. (my photos,– none my quilts!– with placards after each piece. It requires a password. IQF/12 ) Enjoy!

The show was amazing. Fantabulous, even. Just inspiring and tiring and crazy large, and overwhelming and just perfect. I met so many wonderful artists at the SAQA/Quilt Art reception hosted by Karey Bresenhan, I met quilters from message boards I frequent, and I even serendipitously ended up next to someone I had tried to reach out to via email and never connected with! And those wonderful Facebook friends that I finally got to meet IRL!

Patricia “Pokey” Bolton and me at Craftsy’s Open Studios—(VERY cool idea)


A quilted Yurt… (with Jamie Fingal posing for me as “Gert in a Yurt”)

untitled (38 of 1)

My “Haul”…or as male quilter I met from Kentucky called it, new items to add to my collection. (the idea being no one is expected to USE the stamps or the coins they collect, so….) ETA:  I had shoppers block! It was odd… I didn’t have a vision of  what I wanted to buy, and was paralyzed by all the choices…. I finally found one booth where I let loose.. and it was over. The fabrics I bought…many feel like Sandy. There is a quilt there, about my home…we shall see.

An overview….T-shirt, yardage and other assorted toys (Emails from China quilt on the wall)


A selection of the ATC and Mug Rug Swap that was set up by the Craftsy booth.


A ‘detail’ of some beads, rulers, paints, as well as my purchase from the  Pet Charity postcard booth, by Sylvia Weir (the Green piece)


And because no vacation should be considered complete without a trip to the beach….We went to Surfside Beach on the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday. (plus other random photos from the trip.)

I’m ready to go back. Eithne, Robin, are you up for it??

Houston Bound!

The heck with Sandy. We will see what becomes of her over the next day or two but I am focusing on the other end of this week:

My first trip to the International Quilt Festival ( IQF ) in Houston, Texas!

Long on my bucket list, Timmy decided it would be an awesome Christmas present this year. ( I tend to agree. Both that it IS an awesome gift, and that HE is an awesome husband!Red heart)

Unfortunately, he didn’t give me very much time to squirrel away money to SHOP! I think I may be going for the show (ie, LOOKING at the quilts) and for the friendship….meeting up with 50,000 like-minded souls.

(OK, and the tiniest bit of shopping, but lots of looking and plotting and planning…. if only I could sell my first-born, alas she is a bit old for that…Smile with tongue out)


I will be going as well to see two of my photos that were juried into the photo show that is on display at the quilt show, in a special Exhibit called Favorite Things.



“The Stories They Tell”

2012-05 MAY26-36

And I will be bringing along a small pile of ATC’s and Mug Rugs to trade!  I have never made either, but I have had a lot of fun working on them (and feeling they may not be worthy, but that is a post in itself, isn’t it?)

I have been on a kick lately of just using up scraps. And using them in a very organic, no-thought kind of fashion, stitching them together until they resemble something large enough to cut into a shape of something else. I did sort a few tubs of scraps kind of by color, so some of the new pieces of fabric have a feeling of ‘unity’, but a good deal more are simply random.  Here is a lap quilt top using some of that ‘new’ fabric.IMG_2058

The ATC’s began as the leftovers of a Drunkards Path quilt called Emails from China that I made.  Very neutral colors, taupe and such. (Very NOT me, but I love it, and it hangs in my bedroom, probably the calmest colored room in the house) An in progress photo of the quilt. Yes, I am feeling too lazy to go take a new photo! of the finished product.


After arranging scraps on Peltex and stitching,  I decided they needed some color. Out came my wild variety of paints, fabric and otherwise.  I keep saying the one thing I will NOT get sucked into is hand-dyeing fabrics. But over-dyeing and painting on commercial fabrics is fun!


I made one set of these, and haven’t completely decided if they are finished yet….(but time is growing short, I know….)

Next, mug rugs. Using some of those new pieces of fabric I made with scraps, I then added some fun ribbons, and practiced some really awful machine quilting…. I also am trying to get myself to admit defeat, so I took a rather unsuccessful holiday wall-hanging, and have ‘repurposed’ it into mug rugs. (Think a washable, overly large coaster, where you can place your hot chocolate or coffee on one side and a nice big brownie on the other.)IMG_2495IMG_2498

Last but not least, I made myself a funky fabric covered button, announcing to one and all that I am a Quilt Art online member! (oh, and I got new glasses yesterday!)


See you in Houston!!!

Scrappity scrap scrap! (quilts!!!)

I am not a quilter who worries overmuch about rules, or about precision (except where REQUIRED and UNAVOIDABLE), nor am I afraid of color, or colors matching, or….well, I think you get the idea….

Earlier this month, I had a revelation about my studio, and so enlisted DH to take a trip to IKEA….sigh…

We came back with the perfect solution to the chaos that WAS the studio….


After.  IMG_2057 

We bought the insides of kitchen cabinets, white, wall mount sized, that would fit those wonderful scrapbooking containers.  Mounted one set on legs, to make it the proper height to iron on, tossed the ironing board in the Goodwill corner, and mounted an 18x 48 piece of wood, with batting and Teflon covering.  The other set is without legs so it would slide a bit under the cutting table.

So, now that I have such an organized space, I need to make some quilts, right? Prove to myself that what was stopping me was disorganization?

Enter the scrap quilt. (Wow, did I find a LOT of scraps.) During the Olympics I dumped all those totes into a pile and sorted, very loosely, into color groups. (i.e., all the teal/blue/aqua/greenish into one pile)  I didn’t agonize. I just went with my gut.  Then, I took a container to my quilt meeting, ironed all of the scraps, and loosely sorted by size.

Next, I grabbed a handful and started sewing together in strips. As you see below, there is NO organization. They aren’t the same size. The widths are different. The colors are all of a feeling of belonging, however. I didn’t square up anything, so if it was 2 inches at one end and three at the other, well then it starts to get wonky is all.


I took a square ruler, and began to cut out 9 inch squares.  (The scraps from the cutting will be sewn together and made into another quilt.)


Next, cut into diagonals. And choose another fabric to make an equal number of 9 inch squares. *(six, this time)


Pin those stretchy bias edges like a mad fool and chain piece!


Press, with lots of starch, and lay out on a design wall.


All that is left is to settle on a layout, and what color sashing I will use. (Probably black.) Add a nice wide border with some other large-ish piece of fabric that I haven’t chosen yet, and Viola!!! A quilt!



And, a completely different, yet scrappy project, is another baby quilt!

Spoiler alert:    This is my signature baby gift.

My theory being if the quilt is too ‘precious’ the parents won’t let the child barf on it, so I choose 42 (the meaning and purpose of life) colorful 5 inch blocks, sewn together 6×7 rows. Then half of a length of fleece, a package of satin blanket binding, some fancy stitches to hold it altogether, and a test run through the washing machine later, we have a baby quilt! (Complete with baby’s name embroidered on the edge)


April 1st is no fool…

April 1st is no fool.

Today, most of this country would agree spring is here to stay. The flowers are about three weeks ahead of schedule down this way. We have officially finished the first quarter of the year!

It is a day where one must be careful of what gossip you are quick to spread because the pranksters are out in full force—I already see that a favorite quilt site is ‘no longer selling fabric’ and Lowe’s has figured out to permeate the house with the smell of bacon, without actually cooking….

But I digress.  For me, it is an easy 1/4 way point to check in on how things are progressing with my WORD of the year, “MOTION” and all those pesky resolution-type things.

MOTION –Yesterday, Arlie and I participated in the Monument Ave. 10K… We walked with a few spurts of running. Our times were 1:39:55 and 1:40:11 respectively. Timmy was supposed to join but he had to work Sad smile



I woke up today with no real pain—a bit of stiffness—other than blisters on the second toe of each foot, and sore toenails. Yes, I said toenails. Definitely proud of our accomplishment and I look forward to doing it again!

I have finished the first two items on the CEO Challenge at my not so-LQS, Quilting Adventures

2×4– need to take a shot of this totally quilted but no one else is awake to hold it…


Spinning Plates


(I would say the next one is easy, it requires so little…but…. there IS a reason it ended up on the UFO pile, right?)

The idea to be creative every day has actually not been terribly hard, if you allow for lack of photographic proof on a daily basis, and have a VERY elastic understanding of CREATIVE!

These are some of the more obvious creative days I’ve had this month.

Layla at the Park

2012-03-07 LAYLA-40

Layla in disbelief at the story this Easter bunny is telling her.




More Maymont Images

Appomattox River


More Flower images

I entered this photo—

The Decisive Moment


in March’s Photo Show at PRAC, in Petersburg, VA.  I won Honorable Mention!  See more New York City photography.

Ok, so there. I did accomplish something.

However, Yesterdays don’t count anymore and all that. Today is the first day of the rest of your life, etc etc.

I didn’t make much progress on the cleaning/decluttering/organization stuff. BOORRRRRRIING….

I am focused this next few months on Photography.  I have three events coming up. Two show and sales–

The Heart of Virginia on May 5th, and the Fort Clifton Festival on the following weekend, the 12 and13 of May. (Can’t find a better link…this is an issue….)

Then, in June, I am having a photo exhibit down at PRAC and still have to settle on what I’m showing!!

(can’t you see the cleaning/organizing/decluttering being pushed away, AGAIN!!??)

Memorial Day….

Who doesn’t love a parade? In my childhood days, the first parade of the year was for St. Patrick’s Day. And it often happened that there was snow on the street corners, and the wind was whipping and bitter; but the idea of summer existed, we welcomed the idea that winter would indeed end. We stood and cheered, and listened to the bag pipers and waved to friends marching along, and visited with neighbors you missed while hibernating all winter long.

The next parade was the biggie, however.  Decoration Day! (Now called Memorial Day.)  I have old black and white photos of my Dad and Aunt Gael and various cousins as children at that parade, back in the 50’s. (There are no photos of us at most of the events of our childhood that I know about. There seems to have been a vacancy for ‘family photographer’ for years after Henri died and before I began.) The parade would pass by the front porch of 183 Victory, and we would watch with all of the older members of the family. We sat on the edge of the porch, we wandered up and down the stairs visiting with cousins and friends, we ran up and down the alley between the house and the funeral home. We had fun! We bought poppies from veterans, and waved our flags and marched along the sidewalk.

I don’t recall when we stopped going to the parade every year; I am unsure of whether the parade stopped for a while, or when the stepping off point changed, or if it was simply that after the funeral home moved up Victory we no longer had front row seats and ample parking.

But I do recall one year when Arlie was about 4, taking a folding chair and Daddy Gus to the corner of Hart and Forest and sitting him down to watch the soldiers and the bagpipers and the other marchers go by. I have a photo of Arlie and her little friend Molly, waving flags, and I remember  Daddy Gus wiping the tears from his eyes as the bands played on.

Ours is not a military family. We don’t have the old stories, the old soldiers who silently saved the world for us. But we do know what they do, and what they risk, and what they leave behind. We appreciate the sacrifices that their families make, we love the soldiers that we do know, who continue to make our world a safer place to live.

This Memorial Day the parade of my youth is hundreds of miles north, and I will be at work, near a military base.  But the meaning of the day, the sacrifice that our soldiers bear—it’s not something that can be measured, nor is it something that is to be left for one day in any event.

Happy Memorial Day. Have a safe and happy summer, and remember the reason you have this time to spend with family and friends at the beach or BBQ or even, like me, at work….

And now for something completely different:

An update on my studio cleaning. I have this photo of the fabric wall, completed.fabric after

I chose not to remove works in progress from the smaller containers on the top shelves at this time. The bins they are in fit relatively well, so I am leaving well enough alone.

I also finished a little baby blanket for a co-worker’s grandson, a super-preemie born back in February, who will probably be coming home within the next month!

alexander1 alexander

A simple patchwork blanket with fleece backing and blanket binding…a perfect snuggle for Alexander.

There was a post the other day, I didn’t send out a reminder, scroll down to catch up!

(Welcome to my blog, if you are new here! I hope you’ll subscribe for updates, to the left, and leave comments, I love to hear from readers!)

P is for Puzzle…

The first of 6 bi-monthly quilt challenges is finished! Today other participants will also begin the great unveiling of their works of art.

The challenge from Three Creative Studios:

The word “PUZZLE”. No other requirement, other than not posting the completed quilt until at least today.

I decided that I would participate because I require deadlines to get things happening. And stretching is always good for the soul.

At approximately the same time, another quilt group (QuiltArt) I am a member of began discussing two topics, which eventually merged into another challenge. Topic one started in early January and was about your ‘word’ of the year. A lot of artists on the site had come up with the idea of a word that might pull their year into focus. It could have even been focus! Or create, or freedom, or finish. There were so many words, and so many interesting and unique reasons for them. Someone (inevitably) suggested that this word become a challenge quilt.

Someone mentioned that this was the 15th year of this online group. Eventually the powers that be decided a challenge for the Quinceanera of QuiltArt would be a 15” x 15” square quilt, hopefully utilizing some of the knowledge we had gained during our time there, and possibly, if we wanted to, incorporating our word of the year.

Well, I am all about killing two birds with one stone. So, here is my quilt, “P is for Puzzle,” which coincidentally was created 15” x 15”  so it can be for both challenges.

My idea was that I wanted to use my word of the year was a crossword puzzle. (Words, you know. And puzzles. See how easy?)

Anyway, devoted readers of this blog (all 3 of you) may recall my word this year is BALANCE.

Many pages of graph paper later I discovered it was almost impossible to have the word BALANCE become the center word in a 15 x 15 letter crossword. At least it was if I wanted the other words in the puzzle to have any connection to quilting, art, or me.  And finally, that seemed kind of OK. After all, my favorite quote of all time is– “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.” (John Lennon, Beautiful Boy, 1980)

Life is a balancing act; no matter how much you strive to to lean one way or the other, in order to center yourself, some part of your life may become out of balance. But still you manage to carry all of the parts of you, and some parts tilt to one side for a while, and others get pushed off in directions you wouldn’t have chosen or expected.

I had originally wanted (visualized, really) striped fabrics, but I have put the restriction on myself that nothing may be purchased solely for this series of challenges. None of my fabrics spoke to me. They didn’t do what I envisioned.

After letting go of the stripe idea, two fabrics immediately found their way into my newly opened eyes. They incorporated my favorite color palette, they balance roughly across the color wheel as complementary, they offer both rest and movement.

p is for puzzle p is the puzzlebalance passion

Quick tips on the construction. After finding the fabrics, I cut two 8×8 squares of each and made a large 4 patch. Then I painted with a wash of Dynaflow, Pebeo and Golden acrylics to get a slightly more cohesive color.

I quilted a simple grid pattern, 15 one inch squares, I then dug through my ample scrapbooking, rubberstamping, art and jewelry supplies to find enough letters to spell out my words. Timmy drilled holes in Scrabble tiles for three of the words. They are my words for the two challenges and my word of the year.

I made a stencil from freezer paper for my large P (for Puzzle, Purple, and my name, Patricia!) and used Dynaflow and Golden Interference paint to color. I played around with some of the decorative stitching to create something of an Illuminated P. Random unused squares have been painted or had glitter applied.

I am happy with the way it turned out, and anxious to see what the next challenge will be!

In other quilting/photo news, I chose this photo for the latest challenge on Dgrin… the fabrics I used for the quilt above just happened to be sitting on the ironing board and I spotted the light….the challenge was SILHOUETTES…2010_FEB iRon-16 copybw

(Looking for some 27-thing encouragement?? Hey, guys, the Olympics are still on. Find something to do that you can take to the couch!!! Mending those clothes that you didn’t fling but needed buttons maybe??)

27-Things will be back next week, just in time for Spring Cleaning!!!!!!