Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sorry, wrong link

The link to my blog should have been


"Rainbow Fish'"Auction

Auction for "Rainbow Fish" to benefit Heal the Bay is now at $150.00!

"Rainbow Fish " Auction Update

The current bid for the "Rainbow Fish" quilt auction to benefit Heal the Bay is at $65.00. Ends tonight at midnight.
Thanks bidders!

"Rainbow Fish" Auction Ends Tonight at Midnight

I f you were planning on bidding on "Rainbow Fish" best do it now! The auction ends at midnight tonight. The current bid is $50.00. All proceeds will go to Heal the Bay.  Free shipping! Scroll down to last weeks blog for more detailed photos.  just email me at with your bid!

Cookies, Cookies Everywhere!

 The weekend before Christmas has always meant cookies in my mind. Flurries of flour and powdered sugar, colorful decorating sugar crunching underneath your feet, the smell of vanilla and ginger....As a little girl some of my best memories are working in the kitchen with my mother making piles of Christmas Sugar Cookies which were delivered to friends, family, teachers and the mail man. Those shapes we made are ever familiar - I still use my mother's cutters - the pony,  Santa Claus, bell, and Christmas tree from the 1950s in my cookies today.

The gingerbread people, snowman, snowflakes and mini holly leaves are my own addition to the family tradition. This year I replaced my time honored recipe with one published as one of the 50 Best cookies by the Los Angeles Times Food Section. Thanks Russ Parsons! This recipe with the fresh grated ginger is a keeper!

The almond crescents at upper right in the second photo are also a homage to my Mom, though I lost her recipe and had to find a replacement. I think the recipe I use now is Nancy Silverton's from one of her early books. The Bourbon Balls are another family recipe - yes, bourbon, never rum! They were eventually rolled in powdered sugar and are almost entirely gone already!

The Toffee Macadamia Nut cookies are my own addition to the yearly buffet. These were found about five years ago in a Martha Stewart Cookie Contest and are simply the best cookie ever! Everyone I've ever offered them to says so...... So here's the recipe as my present to you this year.

 Makes 36 big cookies 
    1 1/2  cups unsalted butter -- softened
   1  cup granulated sugar
   2/3  cup  light brown sugar -- packed
   2  large eggs
   1 teaspoon vanilla extract
   2 cups all-purpose flour
   2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
   2 teaspoons baking soda
   1 teaspoon salt
   3 cups  toffee chips
   2 1/2  cups  macadamia nuts -- coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper and set aside.(I like the parchment better for these - the bottoms get crunchier)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugars. beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs and vanilla extract, and beat to combine. In a medium bowl whisk the flours, baling soda and salt until combined. Mix in toffee chips and macadamia nuts.

Scoop dough out onto prepared baking sheets using a 2 ounce ice-cream scoop, placing them 2 inches apart. Flatten the cookies slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake until golden and just set, rotating the sheets between the oven racks halfway through to ensure even browning, about 15 minutes. Transfer the sheets to a wire rack to cool, about 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies from the sheet to rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. 

Note: ( I make these with a smaller scoop than the recipe says - better for the waistline - and bake them 12 minutes) 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

We have a bid on "Rainbow Fish"!

We have a $50.00 bid on my "Rainbow Fish" quilt auction from a great supporter of Heal the Bay and the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium! Here is the link to all the info about the auction which ends at Midnight on December 21st! . Join in to help fund this wonderful organization. I'll update here and on Facebook as the bids come in.....

My quilt "Silk Fantasy A La Diane" is highlighted on The Quilt Show!

A friend emailed me this morning (Thanks to Aileen - I might have missed it!) the happy news that my quilt "Silk Fantasy A La Diane " is featured today on The Quilt Show's Daily Blog highlighting the quilts shown in the Merit Quilting category at Houston Quilt Festival. Thanks Alex and Ricky!
Here's the link - when you get there just click on the play arrow - mine is photo #12 in the Smilebox slideshow.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

One of my quilts is up for auction!

Inspired by Monika Kinner-Whalen of the My Sweet Prairie blog, I'm placing one of my small art quilts up for auction this week. The total auction price will benefit Heal the Bay - a Santa Monica Based charity which focuses on making southern California's coastal waters and watersheds, including Santa Monica Bay, safe, healthy and clean and supports the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
Here's the quilt....

"Rainbow Fish"
15" X 13.5"
I chose this quilt as an appropriate subject for Heal the Bay - The title is inspired by Marcus Pfister's wonderful children's book which we read to our son countless times in the 1990s. The quilt was made using Sue Carlson's fabric collage technique  in which small bits and snippets of fabrics are glued to a foundation . The colorful fabrics are all bits and pieces of hand dyes and exotic batiks carefully chosen to blend, delineate and give some sparkle to the simple fish design. When the collage was complete, I captured the fish beneath a layer of tulle free motion quilted it all using gold metallic and silk threads.  The edge treatment is also a Sue Carlson technique adding a quirky pinked edge to the framed composition.  Click on the fish above for a larger version and on the smaller details below.

Here is the information on the auction  The  highest bidder by midnight on December 21st will have the quilt mailed to them (shipping is on me as long as it is within the US).  100% of the final winning bid price will be used sent as a donation to Heal the Bay.  I will post the "highest bid" in the comments section for this post as they come in.
If you are interested, all you need to do is email your bid to me at
I will post the bids as they come in on my blog. Once the announcement is made as to how much the quilt has sold for, I will contact that person with info on how/where to send payment.  The check can be made out to Heal the Bay if you want a tax deduction. The quilt will me mailed once the payment has been received.  At that time I will forward on the donation in the winner's name to Heal the Bay.  The winner can remain anonymous of they prefer.

Good luck everybody!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sew.... Food?

For some time I've wanted to integrate my love of cooking and food in general into my blogging attempts, so today, here is my first food related rambling. Inspired by a trip to one of our local SoCal farmers markets on Saturday morning, I shot some photos of my hoard. I was in Santa Monica - not at the world famous, huge and slightly intimidating Third Street market hyped far and wide as one of the world's best  - but at the smaller, homier, more manageable market at Virginia Park on the western fringe of Santa Monica at Cloverfield and Pico Blvd. Parking is easier, it's closer to our home in Westwood and is in general much more user friendly than its huge and glamorous downtown counterpart.

My first find was this amazing display of Romanesco cauliflower all laid out on the grower's table.  Does anyone else see little chartreuse horney toads or dinosaur skin?  I am completely fascinating with their perfectly geometric spirals! The texture is amazing and I only wish Icould figure out some way to capture it in a quilt......

 The same stand  - the charming and smiling  English guy who also sells seven different kinds of potatoes from the teeniest of fingerlings to huge gorgeous German things that looked like Yukon Golds to me -  had several kinds of exotic radishes including the two pictured here on the right - a watermelon radish and a honeydew radish. They both are lovely and sweet with just a tiny bit of radish heat. The pink and green one was spectacular in last night's salad.

 Finally, I was astonished that even in mid- December there were heirloom tomatoes available from some sellers from the central coast. I love these and the still life they provide in my Delft dish on our kitchen counter.oh, the many blessings of living in southern California!

Why was I a few miles away from our neighborhood? Our own beloved farmers' market housed for several years on the Veteran's Administration Campus off Sepulveda Blvd. just a quarter of a mile from our house has been discontinued, a victim of a recent VA policy to ban all commercial venues from the property. I understand that the car rental storage lots, and other commercial sites will disappear as their contracts expire, but it seems such a shame and unnecessary that something like the market which benefited the neighborhood as well as the hundreds of VA employees  had to go, too.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Recently I've been pretty occupied with planning a special event for My Quilt Guild Westside Quilters "An Evening with Kaffe Fassett" on here in Los Angeles on Monday September 26th. Yes, tickets are still available at! (Forgive the shameless plug...) so some of my projects have been put on the back burner.  But a  few could not wait – namely the baby quilt for a friend’s new grandson due next month and my son’s 21st birthday quilt due three months ago! I’ve been trying to make time to sew and every time I do I’m so grateful that earlier this year I took a weekend to do some re-organization in my Studio,

I call it “The Studio” but it is actually a tiny 9ft.  X 8 ft. lean-to shed on the back of our garage. In the 50s it was a kids playhouse dubbed “Ft. Apache” (remember Rin Tin Tin? Or are you all too young...) and when we moved in it became a place to put our son’s spinet piano.  When the piano was replaced by an electric guitar I took it over as my sewing room and it has now been officially named “The Studio” because that’s what the beautifully lettered slate sign my husband made for me a few Christmases ago says.

Because of its size, organization is key.  For a long time my fabric stash was in large plastic bins, but as the stash grew they got heavier and more unwieldy and I would go out to buy more fabric for a project rather than get into those stacked up bins to find what I had.  That is a thing of the past with my new purchases this summer at The Container Store of a stackable set of 8 large plastic pull out drawers (see above). I spent two days sorting out the hand dyes and batiks by color, folding them and placing it all in these drawers now carefully marked with their colors with my P-Touch (my Martha Stewart moment).  The drawers are clear so I can easily see what’s in them.  The fabric is folded, and the edges are all visible. I’ve found some treasures I forgot I had.
Two other purchases have also made my quilting life so much easier - a clear plastic hanging shoe bag - the kind with many pouches for shoes that hangs on the back of a door (at left) and a clear plastic hanging purse organizer (below), both purchased in the closet department at Bed Bath and Beyond for very little.  The shoe pouches are perfect for organizing small fabric scraps according to color and the handbag organizer hangs on the wall and allows me to slide in many rolls of embroidery stabilizer, interfacing, freezer paper and parchment freeing up a couple of drawers I desperately needed for other supplies. 
Here’s a challenge – I’ve found some very ordinary things to make organize my sewing space and make my life easier, so let me challenge you to do the same. Anyone with space saving or organizational ideas that are working for them, send them and I'll post them on the blog. Let’s share more ideas.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Rainy Day San Francisco Revisited

I've had a great deal of positive comment on "Rainy Day San Francisco, Monday, October 25, 2010" both from people who saw it in its debut at International Quilt Festival Long Beach last week in "Bridges" the special exhibit from Quilts on the Wall Artists and from those who've seen in the last day or so posted on my web site or on the gallery section of The Quilt Show.  I am really humbled and grateful for this - it seems to have struck a cord with a lot of people and I have been asked about some of the techniques I used.

The scene was taken from a cell phone photo I took on a rainy morning in San Francisco just as we exited the bridge and were about to turn left on the Embarcadero.  I was driving and my husband was yelling at me to put away my phone! Several months later I printed out the photo and traced it on to an acetate sheet, scanned that, blew the scan up to size on my computer, and posterized it to print out a full size paper pattern for the applique, 

I find very often that the serendipity of finding just the right fabric for the right purpose makes a quilt. In this case the lowering, rainy, moody sky was all done for me with a gradient printed Mackenna Ryan fabric (I buy all of those I can find!) No fabric paint there ... sorry to dissappoint all of you who congratulated me on my painting skills. Most of the vehicles, buildings and bridge were done in fused raw edge applique' using wonder under with a fabulous gradated gray package of Cherrywood fabrics. I did use some Jacquard Lumiere fabric paint for the lines in the street  and the reflections of the car and truck on the wet street. 

I added some printed digital images found on Google for the street lights (strangely enough there are hundreds of images of San Francisco's Embarcadero street lights ...) and the license plate on the truck. BTW "I'm Sorry" has no special meaning as many have asked. It was just an interesting plate that I thought might promote some conversation.  It did. For the green street sign I made a Photoshop file which I printed on to fabric and edged with paint. That's not hard - but as you can see I had a little trouble with the first try...

So I finish the top and I'm pretty pleased with it ...... until I realize that it is 4 inches too narrow  to fit the size required by Quilts On The Wall - aarrghh! A frantic trip to a local quilt store resulted in that great bold red stripe at the edges.  Actually I realize now that those red stripes have improved the visuals enormously...... so there you are.  Serendipity!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Home from Long Beach

Home late last night from International Quilt Festival Long Beach feeling pretty exhausted but inspired and happily remembering all the wonderful quilts and the friends I connected with while there.

"Bridges" a special exhibit at Festival put together by Quilts on the Wall Fiber Artists was very well received and included my quilt "Rainy Day San Francisco, October 2010". It's great to finally be able to include it on my blog. It was turned in early last spring for the jurying process  and we were asked not to show any of the quilts in the show until after the debut this weekend in Long Beach.

Mine was based on a cell phone photograph I took at an intersection on the Embardcadero last October as we arrived in the city for the San Francisco Fall Antiques Show. it was interesting to interpret the weather conditions of that dreary wet morning in fabric, textile paint, couched yarns and a few digital images using a very limited grisaille pallette with just a minor splash of bright red.

Over the weekend i was often asked the question why "I'm Sorry" was the license plate.  The only answer is that I searched the internet for a plate that would be make the viewer wonder and maybe make up a story to match it.  It worked!

The next stop for Bridges is a quilt show in Pennsylvania and then we hope on to Road to California next January in Ontario. The show will travel for one to two years.  

The vendor side of the long Beach Festival is always a huge magnet - and along with aisle after aisle of the the normal fabric, notions and embellishments there were some interesting new stands. Among them a company selling casual and dress shows made from the colorful mola applique's of central America, a software developer with a program to organize all your quilts and their information on your computer (had to have that one - and some jewelry pieces made from rolled and stiffened filigree fabric.  A whole stand selling Derwent Intense colored pencils - my new favorite surface design tool and a lady demonstrating everything you can do with them on fabric was another winner.

All that and three great full day classes in three days with Esterita Austin, Pam Holland and Judy Coates Perez! Again it was a great, but exhausting weekend. Can't wait for next year!                                    

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Great News Day!

 I'm sick at home today, but feeling better since the email from IQA saying that "Silk Fantasie A La Diane" was accepted as a finalist in the World of Beauty at international Quilt Festival Houston in late October.
I had such a great experience at Empty Spools in Diane Gaudynski's free motion quilting class and I learned so much from her that I named the resulting quilt after her. It's a sampler done in silk dupioni fabric using a lot of Diane's patterns and techniques, all done in very fine silk thread...lots of silk thread. An expensive little quilt!  It's only 32" X 32".

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

SAQA Benefit Auction Quilts - 309 Little Masterpieces

The SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) Benefit Auction begins September 12th, and the 12"square quilts can be previewed at  There will be 309 one foot square works of art available for your collection.  Take a look at them all, but I've added here a few of my favorites.

Lynn Welsch's sun washed  "Acoma Pueblo" takes me back to a visit to
this amazing native American living museum. She's gotten the light absolutely as I remember it. 

Linda Miller's "Striations" has wonderful line and really amazing texture (I've seen it in person!) her technique for the gilded "pebbles" is pretty clever.....

Kathleen Murphy's "Rain in May" - what a superbly graphic composition! The whole thing is so atmospheric...

Nancy Turbitt's "Girasole"
What amazingly whimsical sunflowers. Love the buttons!

I am always enamored with Betty Busby's work and I especially love the armadillo and the use of fabric alone to delineate the cactus.

Pat Gould's "Rockhopper" utterly charms me. He  (she?) has so much character.  I love the contrast between the bird and the stone background.

Sherry Kleinman's "2011 Year of the Rabbit" is done with water soluble crayons and colored pencils on artist canvas.  She's acheived some amazingly realistic fur on the rabbit and great saturated color....

And lastly, my own "Poppy Love" - watercolor pencils, crayons,
needle felting, beads and a three dimensional thread painted butterfly.

I'll post more of these soon..... Save your pennies for the auction in September!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tree of Life

While walking the aisles and aisles of hundreds of vendors at International Quilt Festival Houston last October just as I was about to plop exhausted in the nearest chair I was stopped in my tracks, my heart skipped a beat and my 18th century soul swooned. I was staring at the most perfect reproduction of an 18th century chintz medallion quilt built around a totally charming Indian palempore "Tree of Life" panel. On the table in front of me were piles of crisp glazed cotton chintz all reproductions of the 18th century fabrics brought back from India by the Dutch East India Company. 

This fabulous fabric collection was in the Den Haan & Wagenmakers booth manned by two charming Dutch ladies who told me that for more than  25 years Den Haan & Wagenmakers have been  reproducing the 17th and 18th-century indian chintzes which every student of European decorative arts knows revolutionized 18th century clothing and textile styles and European interiors. These fabrics are absolutely faithful copies of the originals, printed in the Netherlands on beautiful quality heavy 100% glazed cotton. They are sold online through their website at  and from their store in Amsterdam.  The store looks so charming It would be worth a special trip!

I made my purchases (in Houston, sadly, not in Amsterdam) which included the Tree of Life panel and a pile of fat quarters of small multicolored floral prints not knowing what I would do with it, but just as surely knowing I had to have it all.... Not an inexpensive purchase, mind you! I also skittered off to the Cherrywood Fabrics stand to buy another pile of their wonderful sueded color saturated hand dyed solids in those great "old" colors that I knew would mix so well with the chintz.

So I've just finished my small quilt with these luscious fabrics. I surrounded the center panel with 4" square in a square blocks which have those great florals as their centers. I free motion quilted the panel following the printed design and added scrolling feathers in the deep burgundy border. It was such a pleasure working with these gorgeous fabrics bringing textile  history a little closer.... 

Monday, May 30, 2011

SAQA Benefit Auction Quilt - "Poppy Love"

Here's my 12 inch square quilt for the SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) Benefit Auction 2011.
"Poppy Love" is a small whole cloth quilt on painters canvas using watercolor pencils, watercolor crayons and Tsukineko inks which were thread painted and free motion quilted.  Embellishments include some needle felting, hand beading and a 3D free motion embroidered butterfly. The watercolor media techniques came from my friend Sherry Kleinman who gave a workshop for Westside Quilters in April.

This year's Auction will begin on Monday, September 12th at 2:00 pm Eastern and conclude on Sunday, October 2 at 2:00 pm Eastern. Price points will again be: $750, $550, $350, $250, $150 and $75. The one foot square quilts already received are now up on the SAQA site  here. The funds raised through the Auction are critical to supporting SAQA's exhibitions, catalogs and outreach programs. Bid early and often!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bridges from Quilts on the Wall Fiber Artists to Debut at International Quilt Festival Long Beach in July

My quilt Rainy Day San Francisco, Monday October 10, 2010 will be part of Bridges an art quilt exhibit from Quilts on the Wall Fiber Artists debuting at International Quilt Festival Long Beach  at the Long Beach Convention Center July 29-31, 2011.
I'm very honored to be in such exalted company as these other artists.Hope you'll be able to come to Long Beach!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Quilt for Wounded Warriors

It all started with a slightly odd email to our Westside Quilters email address (I'm guild president)  from an Air Force Captain in Afghanistan - someone who I didn't know - asking if we were the group who had sent her unit quilts for their wounded and their medal ceremonies and if we could send more as soon as possible. We were not, but I was intrigued and hoped to help her find her way, so I started with Google and then called and emailed a few quilting contacts and finally came up with the name of a lady nearby in the Los Angeles area who I was told would know.  Well, Arlene Zobrist did know and she is in fact in charge of a group in Southern California's South Bay that makes and collects quilts to be sent to wounded soldiers in Iraq an Afghanistan. She contacted the Air Force Captain and made sure that more quilts were on the way.

As I learned more about Arlene ( a member of  Blue Star Mothers - her son is in the Air Force) and her group "Quilts for Wounded Warriors" I was hooked. The quilts are made in patriotic fabrics and colors of 100% cotton fabric and batting - they will be washed often and must be fire resistant. They are forwarded directly to hospitals in the battle zone and are given to the wounded as they  are evacuated out of theater to Europe or the US. The transport planes and helicopters are cold and these provide needed warmth and comfort. Wounded Warriors is one of the few groups that sends quilts outside of the US. Most other groups provide quilts for the wounded when they arrive back in the states. The local chapter of Blue Star Mothers provides some of the funds for shipping. Arlene said that her group's quilts follow the soldier from the initial hospital overseas all the way back to the states where they become beloved heirlooms. she has sent me copies of wonderful thank you letters from the soldiers. I asked her about the required size which at 48" X 78" is long and narrow.  They are stretcher size, she told me.
That's what finally got me.

I invited Arlene to visit one of our Guild meetings this last February where she gave us a moving presentation and a trunk show of some of the recently donated quilts before they were sent on our way. Several of our members have made their own Wounded Warriors quilt and they will be shown  along with mine made from Sylvia Davis' handsome Kumasi Star pattern at our next meeting on May 21st and then will be delivered to Arlene for their trip to Afghanistan.I'll post more photos of the quilts on the Westside Quilters Website!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Creating in Palos Verdes ....

I had a wonerdul day yesterday at Deborah Weir's Fiberfly Studio in Palos Verdes playing with my new needle felting machine. Wools, cottons, silk, yarns, angelina fibers,dyed cheesecloth, wool roving - we played with it all. Deborah took some photos of all our work so take a look below. I'll post a finished piece soon....

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Very Happy To Be in Sacred Threads Again!

I'm so happy to say two of my quilts have been accepted into Sacred Threads 2011 to be held this time around in the Washington DC area June 22- July 4 at the Church of the Epiphany, 3301 Hidden Meadow Drive, Herndon, Virginia. 

Balancing Act and Forrest's Flowers are shown below.

A description of the genesis of  Sacred Threads from their website: "Founder Vikki Pignatelli and the other committee members wanted to create a dignified exhibit of artwork that would touch all those who viewed it on both spiritual and personal levels. We wanted to share the experiences of quilters whose stories would be a source of healing and strength for others by allowing the artist to submit a statement which would be exhibited with the artwork that described the meaning or inspiration for the piece.  We also encourage attendees to complete artist comment forms if they are particularly moved by a quilt - these are returned to the artists with their quilt."

"The Sacred Threads quilts are divided into categories based on theme. These are Expressions of Joy, Spirituality, Inspiration, Grief, Healing and Peace/Brotherhood.  The artwork themes provide thought-provoking insights, encouragement, inspiration and healing responses to grief and human hardships."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Beautiful Asilomar.....

A few photos from my March idyll at Asilomar for an Empty Spools Seminar. Enjoy!