Sunday, November 13, 2022

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Karen's Bohemian

Bohemian can be a life style, a fashion statement, home decoration. This piece is for my niece who is most like me in her love of Bohemian. I found this picture and turned it into her and I. It depicts for me, the feeling of the definition of Bohemian. Wanderer, artistic, lives in an informal way.
    The picture was printed on the back side of a tone on tone beige fabric, using just the line drawing. I then used the Inketense pencils and blocks to color it in. I use water to release the ink to give it a water color look. I was going to put stitching in it but decided to leave it and will frame to give to Nikki as part of her wedding gift.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Tricia's Bohemian Peace Barn


This is the Peace Barn in my town. At night the peace symbol is lit up. I just love the barn and drive by it almost every day. I especially love seeing the peace sign when it is lit at night. When I saw the theme Bohemian I started asking about the history of the Peace barn. The barn was painted with the Peace sign in 1969 by the owners Glenn Merry and his wife. They were "classic hippies" my friend told me. It was painted during the Vietnam War and some people viewed the sign as a symbol against the war but they meant it to just be a Peace sign. The sign has been vandalized by someone throwing paint on it.   

The current owners have kept up the care of the Peace sign. When Covid started they made sure the lights were on every night. They felt we were all in this crisis together and the Peace sign showed a sense of hope. Someone cut the lights in three places again vandalizing it. It took many months for them to be able to have the lights repaired.

I created the quilt with my photograph of the barn. I used fusibles and free motion machine quilting. I thought it would be a perfect example of the Bohemian theme.

Here is picture of the barn at dusk.

Monday, October 31, 2022

Judy S.-Bohemian

To me bohemian means color and pattern. But it also means nature, ease and freedom.

I made my little 12” x 12” quilt out of silk sari scraps that you can buy at the quilt shows (especially the Houston Quilt Festival which is going to start this Wednesday evening). They are rather fragile fabrics and are tied up in bunches that are very wrinkled and twisted. Each piece needs to be undone and ironed flat to see where the damage is and if it is even a useable piece.

After they are ironed and sorted I sew them onto a muslin base to stabilize them. I love the luster of the silk.

The piece that I cut in a curved shape is one of my hand dyed fabrics. I stitched it down with black thread and free motion stitched the design of the floral bouquet with the black thread. I sat back and saw that it really needed color to bring it to life on that beautiful background.

Usually I do thread painting using a straight stitch as I free hand it, but I had just finished zig-zagging around the edge and the zig-zag stitch gave the thread work more depth and interest.

Nedra's Bohemian - Gaja


What a challenge this was!!  Socially unconventional person, especially one involved in the arts, is the definition of a bohemian.  There were so many possibilities to consider; only a limited amount of time for execution!!!  

I went on a trip this spring to the California coast and drove to Big Sur.  The destination was Nepenthe,  the restaurant owned by Bill and Lolly Fassett.  The restaurant has been known for its Bohemian look and feel, belly dancing, and poetry readings and was a favorite of  many from the LA scene.  Hmm, their son Kaffe grew up there and is my favorite fabric and quilt designer whose signature is bright, bold, unconventional prints and his first artistic endeavors were in painting.

An idea started to form.  My first thought was to recreate the gorgeous view from Nepenthe using his fabrics.  While I worked on a drawing and started fabric placement, I quickly realized I would be trying once again to recreate a realistic picture using fused fabrics.  Uhhhh, that's been my MO for many reveals!!!  Instead, I challenged myself to use his fabrics to create a Bohemian inspired but traditionally pieced wall hanging.

Yikes - I have so many Kaffe fabrics to choose from I was overwhelmed!!!  I was eventually drawn to a  gorgeous black floral print.  In my "discovery" process I came across a quilt made using log cabin blocks constructed with irregular sized strips. There was a focus fabric in a bright print surrounded with strips in contrasting colors.  The blocks were cut in fourths and reassembled to create a very random design.  My plan was to use that method and create blocks with the black print and bright and contrasting colors that would achieve an eclectic vibe.  I created a nine patch piece but it was very busy and had no real focus. After much thought, rearrangement and auditioning of ideas and designs,  I decided to add the elephant in complementary colors. (the elephant is fused -- I can't stop myself!!)  Why an elephant you may ask???  When I googled Bohemian images for ideas, a colorful, jeweled elephant was often in the design of a wall hanging, painting or other image.  And it seemed to fit with my own vision of something bohemian.  It was the focus the piece needed!!(the focus fabric for the block centers is used as the entire right hand border.  In the upper left hand border is a complementary fabric of Brandon Mably's, Kaffe's partner).

The piece  is 17" X 22' and is  machine quilted with variegated rayon thread and embellished with beads, crystals and hand dyed yarns and threads.  Gaja is the Sanskrit word for elephant.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Childhood Collage


Childhood inspired a few of us to create wonderful mementos of our younger lives.  There is no particular reason for the arrangement of the collage.  I'm lucky to have composed it at all.  Boy do I miss Randy!!  Sadly it is too late to ask how he created his wonderful works.   But I will keep trying.

Our next theme is Bohemian and it is scheduled for November 30.  Hope to see many works of art when we meet again on the blog.


Monday, July 4, 2022

Judy S. Childhood: Parallel Parking

Childhood: Parallel Parking 

Most of my little quilts have something to do with my childhood and I didn’t want to repeat them. This quilt represents learning to parallel park which takes you from childhood into the big world where adults let you go out on your own sometimes.

Childhood in the country means that you are miles away from town. So, when you turn 15 you get a driving permit and at 16 you are free to drive to town or school on your own. Not riding the school bus is a big deal!

To teach me how to parallel park my brave sister, Susan took me to the small town of Vandalia, Missouri where I wouldn’t know anyone and they had a lot of parallel parking. I don’t know how long she had me drive around the block and try it again and again, but possibly 2 hours. I had to do it between real cars so that I could get the process down.

The treat was being able to go into the fabulous candy store afterwards. As you stepped into the store you were greeted by the old fashion glass counter where they would scoop out the candy you wanted and place it in the white paper bag. Oh my gosh! The coconut bonbons, bridge mix, and so many others to choose from. Childhood at it’s best!

Now I take quilting friends on retreats or outings and sometimes I have to parallel park in McKinney, Texas. I have discovered that I really do a great job parking on the left side of the street.

The funny thing about parallel parking is that when I did it for my drivers license test I was horrible! They only had poles set up to park between (for obvious reasons), but I couldn’t line up with the tires, gauge the distance I would be beside the other car, and visualize how to match up with the other car as I turned into the space. As I park downtown in Waco, Texas those things are always running through my mind so that I can just slide into the parallel space. Thank you, Susan!

Andrea's Childhood Quilt


My 1950's Shoe Collection
( or When My Shoe Obsession Began! )
11" x 14"

Hand-dyed and painted cotton, stenciled, rubber stamped, fused.

I'm not sure where to begin.  This is my "Plan B" design as I could not get the perspective that I wanted for my first design, which also featured shoes, or rather sneakers.  Anytime I can "work" shoes into one of my MM themes, I will!

I have been obsessed with shoes for years and I do believe it started in my childhood.  I can remember having 3 pairs of shoes every year probably until I got to Junior High School.  Ugly brown 'everyday' shoes; white *Converse sneakers and Sunday 'best' black patent leather Mary Janes for church.  I desperately wanted black and white saddle shoes, but that never happened.  I suspect my mother thought the white part would always need polishing as I spent a lot of time playing kickball with the neighborhood kids.

I started with a hand-dyed blue fabric background to represent the ocean, lakes and blue skies that I think of when I remember my childhood summers spent in Rockport MA and/or Camp Fire Girls camp.  The shoes were constructed and fused to the then quilted background.  I had to paint a piece of white fabric brown as I had none in my stash.  I also painted the pale blue and pink polka-dotted 'socks' fabric.  I could not find any 1/4" satin ribbon ( both Joann's Fabrics and Michael's ribbons were depleted ) for the shoelaces, so I painted two lengths of pale grey ribbon that I own, one white and one brown ( which I would not do again as it became too stiff to tie nice little bows ).  The majority of the rubber stamped letters that compose the shoe descriptions were left over from another project, which I thought added a bit of child-like whimsy.  The final addition was the stenciled "My 1950'5 Shoe Collection".  It wasn't until I put the finished quilt up on my wall to photograph that I realized, instead of "1950's" the stencil I cut was actually "1950'5".  Because I cut the stencils myself, I printed them many times 'auditioning' paint colors but never once saw the mistake!  I could ( and may still ) cut an 's' stencil, print on a separate piece of fabric to fuse on top of the 5, but at this point, think the mistake is kind of funny, I 'looked, but did not see'.

* Converse Rubber Company founded in 1908, Malden Massachusetts, where I grew up. 

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Nedra's Childhood -My Childhood Sketchbook

Fond memories of my youth in Louisiana inspired this theme.  Eight years younger than my sister Lydia, I often felt a bit like an only child and spent many hours entertaining myself when friends weren't around.  Given the climate, much of my time was spent outdoors.  Of course there was TV which I enjoyed on a rainy day.   This sketchbook includes many of my favorite toys and activities as a young girl - a bit of a tomboy!!

 I enjoyed seeing the pictures of Andrea's 30 day Sketchbook challenge she shared on Instagram and our blog.  Never considering myself able to draw either, I decided to challenge myself to sketch all of these fond memories.  I used a plain cotton lawn and a micron pen to sketch the images.  A combination of micron pens and inktense pencils were used to add color and detail.  All of the images were carefully cut out and then fused to another background piece of cotton lawn.   I was too scared to sketch all of the items onto one piece of fabric as I was soooo afraid one bad drawing could ruin the whole piece and I would have to start anew.  This process worked well and I continued to add to my sketchbook page.  When I was satisfied with the collection of images, I started to add descriptive words and other details to fill in the page.   Next,  I cut the fabric to look like a page from a sketchbook and fused it onto the black fabric.  

I then did some machine quilting to accentuate the open book page.  The dates of '55 to '67 include the 10 years of my young life.  Nedra's Childhood Sketchbook is quilted in the black background but is hard to see.  

This was a fun piece to work on and brought back many wonderful memories!!  Here is a picture of one of them that I included.  My tricycle with a personalized vanity license plate which I adored!!!!! 

Spring Lane Childhood

 Two photos from my childhood are featured in my quilt. I scanned the photos and then printed them onto a Jacquard ink jet photo printing product. I wish the images were more clear!  

My family moved to Austin and to Spring Lane when I was three years old. I lived there until I got married. It was an idyllic place for children!  The bottom photo shows all of us from toddlers to teens who lived on Spring Lane. Right across the street from our house were two girls, Kitty and Judy, who became, along with Betsy who lived down the street, my earliest friends. 

An earlier photo of me, my older sister Kathy, and younger brother Joe is the top photo.  (Our little sister Martha hadn't yet been born.) Growing up on Spring Lane in the '40s and '50s really was idyllic.  These were the days before air conditioning, and the hot Texas afternoons were often spent with Kitty and me, with sometimes our brothers (hers was also named Joe), playing cards and board games on a quilt under the trees in our front yard. At times Kitty and I made paper dolls or doll clothes for our Story Book Dolls. (My earliest sewing projects!)

The long summer evenings held exciting, block-long games of Hide and Seek.  In the mornings before it got too hot, we rode bikes, venturing far from home and no one's mother worried about where we were, and we always made it home in time for lunch.  One memorable summer we played a summer-long game of War.  The bigger boys dug trenches in a vacant lot behind Kitty's and Judy's two houses and our weapons were mud balls.  We younger kids were assigned the task of making the mud balls, a boring but a less scary occupation than actually taking part in the battles!  

For my quilt I chose black and white fabrics to coordinate with my black and white images.  The checkerboard fabric reminded me of the endless games of checkers we played on that quilt!  I decided since I was featuring "vintage" photos, I'd make a vintage, traditional block for the background, one called Double Four Patch.  I machine quilted simple diagonal straight stitches and then used a serpentine stitch for the borders.  I've zoomed in on the two photos and posted them below, in order for others to see them better!

 Kitty stands beside me in the photo. I’m the little girl with shoulder length hair, the fifth child from the right. On my other side is my brother Joe. And I have my hands on the shoulders of little sister Martha right in front of me. Our big sister Kathy is the next to tallest girl on the far left.

I'm sitting on the arm of the chair beside big sister Kathy, 
and Joe is sitting on the ground.  As I said above,
little sister Martha had not yet been born.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Open Composite

 Judy                 Andrea

Carolyn           Tricia

Nedra              Kathy

I have not figured out how to do anything very creative with the collage, nor do I have any clever commentary as Randy did, but here it is.  The Open composite.  I do think these were a terrific group to showcase our talents and humor.  I bet Randy is chuckling in heaven over Andrea's Open Toad Shoes!!!  Viewers we welcome your comments even if you didn't post, and especially previous MM's.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Kathy's Open

Our word for this MM Quilt Challenge is OPEN. I am totally inspired by a beautiful Hymn we sometimes sing during our Mass (Catholic), that was written, composed, and recorded by one my favorite Liturgical Musicians, JESSE MANIBUSAN.

This hymn that brings tears to my eyes is "OPEN MY EYES LORD".  Followed by  "OPEN MY EARS, OPEN MY HEART".   I can hardly make it through that hymn because of the profound message it contains; the impeccable rhythm and the seeming "simplicity" of these words, rhythm, and cadence.

I made this quilt referencing the simplicity of the music and verbiage.  The background is a rather simple assemblage of white and gray "stripes" and "boxes" that change in scale and depth thoughout the entire "12 X 12" fabric.

In the CENTER of the quilt there is a gently "carved' white heart that's been embellished with hand-sewn beads.  This white beaded heart was then appliques to a large red circle.  The circle was then stitched onto the background fabric.  I drew a circle around the applique about 3/4" from the edge. I then hand-sewed more beads about an inch away from each other around the perimeter of that circle.
The actual quilting is very simple straight stitching that won't detract the viewer.  Here are the inspiring lyrics to this amazing hymn.

Open my eyes, Lord
Help me to see you Face,
Open my eyes, Lord.
Help me to see.

Open my ears, Lord.
Help me to hear your voice.
Open my ears, Lord.
Help me to hear.

Open my heart Lord,
Help me to love like you.
Open my heart Lord, 
Help me to love.


Monday, February 28, 2022

Judy's Open Books, Open Minds


With books being banned in this day and age I’m stunned. I can’t imagine growing up being told you can’t read a book because it was bad. When I was in high school I helped the librarian by typing up cards of the new books for the card catalog. The bonus is that I was able to read the ones I wanted before anyone else did. There were several I chose and was shocked with what was in there, but I got to decide if I wanted to finish reading it or not. If I wanted to learn more I was able to go out there to see what someone else’s point of view was.

I love my libraries and bookstores. They are places that hold so many treasures. When I walk in I just relax and savor my time there. Growing up the little town library had beautiful picture books. As I got older, my favorite books were the little orange books about people like Clara Barton and George Washington Carver. A couple years ago I spent time again in that little library using their internet for researching Missouri counties. From that research I was able to make a quilt block that was chosen to be included in the quilt for the state bicentennial. That quilt was going to be unveiled in a special celebration at the Missouri governors mansion on March 26, 2020. I was going to be there for that but when Covid hit I never got to see it. That year they also made an ornament of my block for the Governors Christmas tree. The sweet thing is that all of my sisters and my Mom were able to see the quilt as it traveled around the state.

The big town 15 miles away had a grand library with a winding marble staircase up to the children’s department. Summers were the best because there was always a summer reading program and you got a sticker for each book you read.

When my husband and I moved to Idaho Falls, Idaho I walked into their beautiful library to find a Christmas tree that was positioned so that it went all the way up to the second floor. Imagine a 2 story tall tree in the center of the library!

I always took my sons and then grandson to story hour here in Waco and Hewitt. It was hard to see the libraries close here because of Covid, but I was so thankful they did curbside pick ups. The libraries did a great job getting story hour online when we couldn’t go. Now story hours are coming back! There is just something special hearing someone read to you.

The background fabric is some leftover from the millennium. I love that it has it written in so many languages. I was just going to put the lightbulb above the pages, but the Hoffman fabric was so bright and vibrant that I could see the joy flowing out of the book.

Enjoy a book of your choice today!!!!!

Andrea's Open Quilt

 Open - Toad Shoes
11" x 14"
Fused commercial and hand stenciled cotton fabric.

OPEN was my submission for, at the time, the drawing for the last Material Mavens quilt. 
When thinking of an appropriate theme, I kept saying to myself "When one door closes, another opens"
( Alexander Graham Bell ), so I thought OPEN would be fitting.  As we now know, that door did not close, just shifted a bit, thanks to Nedra!

When re-thinking my Open options, I came up with 'open-toe/toed' shoes and as I am a confirmed shoe addict, this was perfect.  I believe both open-toe and open-toed are correct terms, however 'toed" looks odd to me and so that became toad.  These Open-Toad shoes are based on a favorite pair of black and white shoes purchased in London in 1986 and even though they no longer fit, I can not bear to part with them!
I cut a toad stencil to print my black and white fabric which I was pleased with, but then could not find a fabric that I liked for the insole, so I concentrated on the background fabric instead.  I auditioned a few black and white fabrics, finding one in particular that worked, but decided I should print my own.  I spent the better part of three days printing lots of fabric, but when I was honest with myself, none of them worked as well as the commercial fabric I had originally chosen.  Using a fine, thin white cotton for the insole with the background "show-through" worked also, as it did not distract the the toads, but added just enough subtle texture.

Nedra's Open - Australian Open

 Tennis is of huge interest to me - playing and watching!  The Big Four - the slams as they are called - include the US Open, Wimbledon, Roland Garros(French Open), and the Australian Open.  The calendar year of the pro circuit begins in January in Melbourne, Australia and of course I was watching it when I began to contemplate my choice for the Open theme.  The rest of the project was easy.  

The court at the AO is blue and represented in the bottom corner, the flag of Australia in the upper, and the ubiquitous kangaroo is playing!!  Commercial fabric was used, including a Kafffe Fassett for the roo,  and one was painted to get the right color for the court.  The piece is fused and machine quilted.   So fun!!

Tricia's Open Window

 Tricia's Open Window

When I heard the theme OPEN I was really stumped. I thought about open fields, open sky's etc. I just couldn't settle on anything to create a quilt. After talking the theme over with my husband, I thought about an open window. I remembered an open window in a summer cottage. I went looking thru all my photos. I found the summer cottage but wasn't convinced that I wanted to create that image. Then I stubbled on this photo of our black cat, Moss. The photo is from our house in Nantucket. Moss loves to sit in the windows.

I have recently been working on thread paintings of a few dogs. I printed the photo onto broadcloth and started to thread paint Moss. It was much harder to thread paint a black cat! There are very few variations in his fur. It's even hard to see the cats body shapes. I stitched a few details in the background. I then appliquéd  flowers in the flower box that hangs outside the window. I free motion stitched the centers of all the flowers.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Carolyn: Open Hands Grow Caring Hearts

My thoughts for the chosen word, “open” continually went to an image of open hands.  I have thought a great deal about how much at this particular time in our national history, we need to be more open to folks who are different from us in ALL ways - gender, ethnicity, religiously, politically, etc. It is so much easier to accept people who are like us in every way, and oh so very hard to accept those who are different. I firmly believe that the first step in healing is learning to accept others. And, I have personally experienced the growth of love that can come from doing just that. Thus, “Open Hands Grow Loving Hearts” became my theme.

I chose a hand-painted fabric in sun-filled colors by Laura Wasalowski for the background. I took a course from Laura many year ago, and I adore her use of whimsy and bright colors.  I found an old tree stencil in my stash of “things for quilts” and modified it for my bare-branched tree. I drew the tree onto a light tan batik fabric and then painted it with Intense Ink Pencils.  When it was dry, I used Primacolor Pencils to sketch in shadows and lines. My next step was to choose scraps of Kaffe fabrics and hand-dyed fabrics for “hands” to serve as leaves for the tree. I selected different colors and textures to mimic the great variety of people in our world. 

The tree with Wonder Under was carefully cut out and fused to the background. Then I drew roots for the tree directly onto the background. I colored them in with multiple colors of Primacolor Pencils. After making the “4-layer sandwich” with batting, Timtex and backing fabric, I machine stitched the tree and roots.  

Next came the placement of the hearts. I decided to make 3 hearts flying away from the tree and 4 hearts growing up from the roots. To do this, I felt like I first needed to create some grass and leafy stems. I drew them directly onto the background, stitched around them, and then colored them in with multiple layers of green Primacolor Pencils. With each step when using pencils, I “set” the colors with a hot iron. 

The final step was the binding. For that, I chose a Kaffe Collective fabric that complemented the fabrics used for the hands. I hope you will enjoy my interpretation of "Open".

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Andrea: Excerpts from (Instagram) 30 Day Sketchbook Challenge

 We were given a new theme each day to work with.  I decided to sketch in a concertina/accordion sketchbook:

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Pieces Collage

    Kathy    Andrea     Carolyn
Karen     Sara     Judy
  Nedra      Alice      Tricia

Here is my first attempt at making a collage of our posts.  I haven't figured out how to add names to the collage yet.  With more practice, maybe I can approach Randy's creative talents at this.  The background of the picture came out white and couldn't be changed.  There is not much rhyme or reason to the arrangement.  For some reason, the image of Sarah's quilt was not the same as the others and I could not make it larger without distortion so I put it in the middle and the others just fell into place.


Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Judy's "Pieces of my Heart"


A heart came to my mind right away when we received this challenge word, but I struggled with the heart, pieces, colors, etc. I pondered pieces of some special dish I would feed my family and the pieces I use to make it. Jigsaw puzzles came into the picture and of course quilts, but I still couldn’t get the heart out of my mind. 

I was never keen on the anatomical heart, but with the Covid-19 time we have been in, I thought of all the times my heart physically hurt, rejoiced, yearned, and many other feelings.

I mostly see the good in life and others, so the colors had to be bright. I used this one piece of ombre fabric from Jenny Bryer Fallert collection.

At first I was going to write words in each section of the heart, but the cloud background was a better fit for all the words I wanted to quilt.

I had black and gold bias tape that has fusible web on it already, yet they were too heavy for this heart. The gold rick-rack told the story better and was easy to apply with glue then stitching it down.

Sitting down and quilting all the words took a lot longer than I thought. They needed to fit in the space. Many words were thought of and I have a whole list that I will be adding to. It’s a good feeling to write down those words and bring back memories. Since it is in my journal I’ll be able to look at all the extra words that wouldn’t fit on the little quilt.