Monday, December 21, 2009


Went to see the new movie Avatar for the 2nd time today, this time with my daughter Maxi along...what a phenomenal movie! The graphics are just incredible in this film; what I'd give to have some hand-dyed silk colored like the wings of those dragon-bird things the Navi fly around on! The story is pretty neat, too, and I love the strong female characters in the movie. It'll be interesting to see how the visuals from the film branch out into the commercial world...will there be new plant species? Navi Halloween costumes next year? Only time will tell I guess, but this is one of the best movies I've seen in quite some time.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fresh snow

Today we're getting our first snowfall of the season! I'm listening to the tinkle of ice against our roof, thankful to have a warm home, most of my family here, and to be almost ready for Christmas, barely a week away. I ran my errands early today, found a couple of new books on tape to listen to while I sew, and I am ready to be snowed in! Well for an evening anyway, it can all go away by Sunday to make room for our daughter coming safely home.

Hard to believe Christmas is almost here! The fall has absolutely flown by, I don't think I've ever had so many shows, programs and classes, and I have had a blast doing it all. We had a wonderful Needle-felt Sweater Purse Class with those sweet Kernersville gals back in September, and I was so proud of the beautiful bags the girls made...and they hardly broke any felting needles! What a creative group. Then came the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Chantilly, where I taught a couple of pincushion classes, saw many old friends and made some new ones. And then, the most exciting show...Houston Quilt Market! This was my first year vending there, and I was thrilled beyond words at the response I had to my patterns, especially my Pincushion of the Month Club. I'm planning to go back next fall, and who knows? I may even try vending both Market and Festival next time, I can't remember when I've had so much fun! Or worked so hard, it was absolutely exhilarating and also very exhausting, especially that drive...but you know, it was all worth it.

Since Houston I've done some local things; the Asheboro Quilt Show was so nice, I really enjoyed being near the guild boutique and chatting with the girls there, and we had beautiful fall weather too. And one of my favorite activities was the felting classes with the Piedmont Quilters Guild in November, we had so much fun dyeing fibers and wet-felting, and what pretty fiber projects emerged from our classes! I look forward to teaching more felting and wool workshops next year.

Speaking of next year, I can hardly believe that 2010 will mark the 20-year anniversary of my pattern company, Annie's Keepsakes! How things have changed since my daughter was toddling around and I was a stay-at-home mom, wanting to work from home, make a little money, satisfy my creative needs and provide a nurturing home for my family. Keeping a business alive and thriving is no small feat, and I have some exciting activities planned to celebrate this milestone event! More on that later...tonight I am just enjoying my family and being thankful for the holidays that bring us all together once more.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Milestone Week

Well, it's finally here, back to school time for all the kids. Sadly, this also marks the departure of our youngest into his first year of college, we are officially "empty nesters" now. Where did all those years go? Seems like just yesterday we were reading together, watching cartoons, and playing "go fish". I am so proud of both my kids as they continue their academic careers, but they sure do leave a quiet house behind.

Another memorable day this week, Tuesday would have been my grandma's 99th birthday, and this is the first one without her here to share it with. In remembrance of her, I took the opportunity to use several challenges due this fall to create a special little quilt in her honor; it's called "My Grandma's House", and will be featured in my guild's calendar next year for the month of April - quite an honor! It was truly a challenge for me, as I haven't done many landscape quilts before, but it was a lot of fun too; amazingly, the scene is a little reminiscent of her actual house...only instead of a dirt road, we have a street of gold, and a house in her favorite color, lavender. My favorite part of course were the wet-felted flowers, based on the morning glories growing beside our driveway, my grandma always had flowers all around her house as well. I'm posting a photo of the quilt at left, enjoy!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Birthday Jaunt

We celebrated 2 birthdays today - mine (early) and Carolyn's, and drove up to Cary to see a wonderful exhibit at the Page-Walker Arts Center called ARTQUILTStransitions. If you haven't seen this exciting collection, it is worth the trip! 2 floors of art quilts showcasing techniques of all sorts: hand-dyed fabrics, beading, embroidery, 1" photo collage, phenomenal quilting, and much more. One reason we went was to see friend Karen Fridy's big beautiful landscape quilt, what a work of art - well done, Karen! Another favorite was a trio of wall hangings by Charlotte quilter Nancy Cook, oversized botanicals of soft colors and exquisite quilting. Then we had a fantastic lunch at a local cafe, followed by visits to some awesome shops in Cary. One of the most incredible yarn shops I've visited, Shuttles Needles & Hooks, was just up the street; they had the most mouth-watering selection of yarns in yummy colors, fibers, and gorgeous buttons! Heads up to my Triangle friends: I may be teaching a wool beads class there sometime in the near future. After that we headed next door to Etc. Crafts, which is really a quilt shop; Jean had such a nice collection of fabrics, I even found a piece that I think will round out my challenge project nicely. When we finally headed home, we made a surprise pit stop at my friend Sharon's adorable quilt shop, Plain & Simple Quilts. Of course the shop was all decked out with the most irresistable finds in hand-dyed wools, fabrics and even some of my patterns. We finally drug ourselves home, happy and content with a celebratory day full of inspiration and friendship; see Patty and Carolyn in the photo at left in Cary.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"Art on Easy Street" festival

Today was such a scorcher! Still that didn't stop many folks (including me) from visiting the art festival on Easy Street in Salisbury, this show just gets bigger and better every year with 102 vendors this year, wow! A special treat for me today was visiting the Looking Glass Art Collective down on Lee Street. I had not visited their shop, and was surprised to see the quality and variety of art for sale there, from funky upcycled clothing, to beautiful jewelry and paintings, hand-made baskets and pottery, there is something for everyone there. I also ran into a couple of old friends, and who knows? I may join this very talented group myself!

As it is now, I currently have my fiber art in 3 galleries/shops; I just sent my newest batch of geode pins to a museum shop in Lincoln, Nebraska yesterday, and I think this was my prettiest group yet! I used some of my own hand-dyed fibers for several of the pins, mostly blues, limes, & greens, and I love the way the colors can see them at the bottom of this page, just scroll down & enjoy!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

NC Quilt Symposium '09

I barely had time to fill orders and catch my breath before it was time for NC Quilt Symposium 2009 in Raleigh! What a wonderful show it was, gorgeous quilts, great vendors, inspiring classes and teachers, and busy, busy, busy! I had never vended a show in the Triangle area, and I met some fantastic folks there, as well as seeing lots of friends I knew. One of the highlights for me was meeting Rachel Clark, she is just as funny in person as you would expect! And what a talent she is; she was judge and host of our Wearable Arts Fashion Show at symposium that Friday night, and I was so shocked when my "Tribute to Hiroshige" jacket won Best of Show out of 26 awesome entries! What an honor, it really was very humbling. (See photo of my jacket with Rachel and the 1st-place winner of the jacket category at left.) Then we had a treat: entrants got to model Rachel's wonderful trunk show of jackets, coats and capes, and what a feast for the eyes! Her eye for color and design is truly amazing, and the attention to detail on each garment was so special with unique buttons and embellishments on each and every piece. The final garment in her show was her most recent entry in the Bernina Fashion Show, a breathtaking blue floor-length cape that was a real show-stopper! What an inspiration you are to us all, Rachel!

Pittsburgh Quilt Market

International Quilt Market was held in Pittsburgh, PA this spring, and what an awesome show it was! I had never been to this beautiful city, and was pleasantly surprised to see how artsy it was: lots of gorgeous architecture, history and culture. We were fortunate enough to stay at the historic Renaissance Hotel downtown, located right across the street from the Allegheny River (see photo at left.) If you look just under the arch on the right, that is where our room was, and we could look out the window and have a beautful view every morning. The hotel itself was extraordinary with its exquisite winding staircase and elegant decor, and we were close enough to the quilt show to walk back every evening (we caught the free shuttle in the morning.) One evening we were walking back and noticed so many pretty girls in long gowns around the hotel, some of them accompanied by tuxedo'd young men, and found out our hotel was hosting their high school prom! What lucky ladies to have their prom pictures taken on that glorious winding staircase.

The quilt show itself was just up the street, also just across from the river; at left is a photo of one of the beautiful bridges we had a view of from the 2nd floor lobby of the convention center, the front of which was a wall of windows, and so you could see for miles. The quilt show was just huge! To give you an idea, my booth was #2655...that is a lot of 10' spaces! I met so many wonderful people there, so many nice shop-owners from all over the country, and I had a great response to my new pincushion patterns and also the hats, everyone seemed to know someone who needed a hat, often due to cancer, and they loved how quick and easy these projects were. One highlight came at the end of the show when Eleanor Burns strolled through my booth and ordered a Cozy Cloche pattern to make a hat for someone close to her, what a nice, very classy lady. I also met some fabulous vendors, both in the fabric area and in publishing, and also ran into lots of old friends! I did notice some trends: lots of vibrant color this year, brighter hues to bring joy and happiness to our world with its sluggish economy, limey green, teal & turquoise, richer shades of warm colors saturated in sunshine, warm toasty browns...I also noticed a lot of bird themes, my "Peacock Pincushion" fit right in, as did all my newest pincushion patterns with their bright fresh colors! National Nonwovens introduced their new line of XoticFelt, made of bamboo and rayon, gorgeous colors and softly drapeable. All in all it was a great show, and I'm looking forward to seeing folks again this fall in Houston.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Spring "bling"!

Here in the South we are having lots of natural "bling" this spring with a profusion of flowers, budding trees and lots of green! Must be my classes my very talented students have added their own brand of bling to their projects, from the gorgeous wool fibers and hand-dyed silk velvet used to "upcycle" felted wool sweaters into unique needle-felted purses, to the gossamer beauty of finished nuno-felted scarves, and the perfectly wet-felted wool bead bracelets (with no wrinkles, wow!), I am so proud of each creative soul I've been privileged to share my inspirations with. I'm posting a few pics from classes at left, and looking forward to seeing what works of art future classes will bring about!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Hats for the Cure" Workshop

Last Friday I was fortunate enough to be a part of a wonderful group of gals who devoted their day to "sewing for the cure". We made a beautiful assortment of about 20 hats which will be donated to cancer patients going through treatments at a local hospital. A huge thank you to the ladies who gave their time for this worthy cause! And also to Randy's Quilt Shop, who was so gracious to host the workshop - a benefit was that we got to shop Randy's great sale! Thanks to all who made this gathering such a success; I've posted a photo of some of the merry stitchers at left.

Winter Quilt Shows

What a crazy, wonderful time I've had in the last few weeks at the quilt shows! Although I didn't really expect things to be quite as "wintry" as they turned out, I can think of worse scenarios than being snowed in at the Embassy in Hampton, VA (^_^) We saw so many amazing quilts, made some wonderful and talented new friends and ran into lots of old friends, and found inspiration everywhere we went. I was especially gratified to see folks from last year's shows who had caught the "felting frenzy" from me, and brought their own magnificent felted creations to share with! For me, there is nothing better than seeing my students' success. A special thanks to Alby and my family for putting up with me and my crazy schedule.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Wool Beads Bracelet Class

We had such fun in our class at Ben Franklin's yesterday, the girls made some gorgeous bracelets, and one of them even sent me a picture, you can see it below left - isn't it beautiful? Margaret chose rose and chocolate brown for her 2 fiber colors, and with the addition of some Angelina fibers, her finished wool beads reminded me of frosted raspberries, so pretty. The artsy glass lampwork beads she chose as spacers gave a nice Rennaissance feel to her bracelet, a true little art piece she finished in class.

Another bracelet was made with earthtone colors,a creamy ivory and mocha brown; we were thinking how pretty the ivory beads would be if you needle-felted little animal stripes on the lighter beads with the brown fibers, a great way to cover up any little wrinkles BTW. Her bracelet also turned out so pretty with some nice earthtone beads that pulled together both colors. Great job, ladies! And we had fun trading ideas about all sorts of other creative venues as well...a great class!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wet-felted "Water Lilies"

I've been indulging my passion for felting lately, and recently had a landscape challenge to create for a local group. Why not try wet-felting a landscape? I thought, and so I started browsing for inspiration. I had been fortunate enough to see the extraordinary Monet exhibit at the NC Museum of Art a few years ago, and one of my favorite pieces there was his "Water Lilies" painting; unless you've seen it, you don't realize this piece is close to 6' x 5' in size, it's huge! The richness of the colors and brushstrokes used to create the water and water lilies is just spectacular...hmmm, I thought, that purple is almost the same shade as my Wilton icing gel wool fibers I dyed! And so I decided to re-create this work of art; of course, mine is less than a foot tall, and doesn't hold a candle to Monet's, but it was still fun to do! I used my Wilton purple fibers, some hand-dyed buttercream fibers for the sun glinting in the corner, and silk strands and strips for the plants with fibers to hold them down. I wet-felted the whole thing, and it didn't turn out too bad; I'm thinking to put it on the back of my denim jacket and maybe add some silk ribbon or felted sprites or something for the border. I'm adding a photo so you can see, enjoy!