Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Symposia, Workshops, & Group Art Experiences’ Category

Blue Bonnets and More

field20of20flower-mLast weekend was the annual conference hosted by Studio Art Quilt Associates in San Antonio Texas.

For those who have not been in San Antonio recently, the city will be celebrating a 300 year history. Not that you would even guess with all the ‘300’s  in shrub plantings, street signage, and mentioned at least twice in any conversation with a local resident.

This conference moves about the country; I’ve been to ones in Ohio, Philadelphia, and Denver with each one progressively more polished and informative.

For me, driving to San Antonio meant a lovely day driving in the Hill country outskirts and stopping for the requisite spring time photo of bluebonnets. I didn’t find the large masses but at a truck stop in Luling I managed to get a nice photo or two. And of course, there are more wildflowers than just the bluebonnets.another20field-mcloseup20of20that20bluebonnet-m

San Antonio is not my favorite city to drive around in but I timed my arrival to early afternoon on a week day. Traffic was minimal but parking spaces were at a premium. The hotel offered valet parking only and the attendant claimed he was expert in standards but I only allow a very small number of people the privilege of driving my truck.

It is easy to hear me coming with that diesel reverberating  in all that concrete but I managed to find a nice spot, hauled my belongings to the hotel lobby and checked in. I admired the lobby–a bank in earlier years—with art deco motifs on the elevator doors, the cornices, and a fabulous stained glass window featuring the Alamo.

A RiverWalk cruise was the adventure of the evening–I took a few photos but then decided I would just enjoy the view.



Lets Do This


What is it about nice large orange five gallon buckets that is so inspirational?

I have more than a few of them–but I use three of them to accomplish dyeing.

Holus Bolus decided to make Swing Coats from some Bamboo fleece fabric. Bamboo is incredibly soft—and incredibly heavy when wet. We employed my mixed dye with play sand technique. The dye particles tend to cling to the sand until it is released by the washing soda on the fabric. I have several drop sheets that have seen many episodes of dye/screen printing/shibori/painting–in general art messiness.img_7674-m

We decided to make the coats first so we could tell where the dye would go–including the hats and then dipped into washing soda, spread them out on the dropcloths and sprinkled dye. They had to set for about two hours or so–then they were rinsed, the sand shaken off, and into the washing machine.img_7673-m

The results were quite colorful–I don’t have photos of the end product but we will be wearing them at Houston Quilt festival this November.img_7672-m

and just so you know–I did spend quite a bit of time sewing while there—sewed up all these double 9 patches while I was there and that swing coat and then maybe one or two other projects as well. This was my work station.img_7671-m


Trends and Faboo at Quilt Festival 2017 Houston

The show has always been fabulous but this year’s showing seemed more subdued. Perhaps it was post Harvey recovery or maybe it was the glow of the Astro’s championship. Each year I pick a quilt that is my favorite in the show–and this year there wasn’t one.

img_6820-m This was part of a quiltmania block of the month with each block including a cat or a dog. Sepia monochromatic pieces were in abundance in all categories but thankfully not with the token bit of red. One piece had a lovely unusual background of strips featuring a white daisy.

img_6794-mCanadians outdid themselves in representing their country–the rolling 9 patch seems to be a favorite.

img_6813-mBut the best quilts were those of Haiti. They were intricate story pictures of axioms, current events (earthquake), and every day life.

I did not manage to get information about the creators of these pieces and so am posting just a small fragment of their work. Please do not use them but enjoy them.

Somehow I managed to be at the Rare Bear booth when Rob Appell and Jenny Doan came by to work on the bears and then Alex Anderson appeared—she and Jenny had never met. Both Jenny and Rob needed help in threading their hand sewing needles to finish up the bears.


Hummers and Holus Bolus


Twice a year a group of friends gather together for a few days of fun–eating, laughing, and some sewing. The location varies and all of them have been great, most requiring more travel for one of us–but this August we met in a lovely retreat in Athens Texas.

The house was modern in style looking a bit odd in the middle of woods and A-frames and log cabins along the road. Surrounding us was a field all with utilities laid in for a housing development that never happened. Trees and deer and hummingbirds were abundant. I took dozens of pictures of these little gems but since we had filled up the vehicle with necessary supplies–my tripod had to stay home.

I find serenity in open spaces, solitude, and nature…all a welcome contrast to my usual hectic busy life—and then of course, the wonderful food prepared by others and cleaned up by others–I was a failure at that–putting up dirty dishes thinking the dishwasher was just not working very well and then managed to spill coffee all over the counter-top. You might think all of that was intentional to get out of kitchen duties–but truly–cross my heart–I am capable–but just not that week.

More photos of the house and our projects and us and a few of the hummingbirds are here:


A weekend in Mineola Texas

img_5357-mMy friend and I had looked forward to this weekend with great anticipation. Two days in class with Bonnie Hunter at Stitchin Heaven. She had been to a workshop with her in our local guild and I went to one in Las Vegas Nevada–where regretfully I missed that day due to food poisoning. We were pleased to see we could set our machines up the afternoon before.

When we arrived the next day, we discovered more tables and chairs had been added, crowding nearly 50 people into a space that comfortably fit about 25—space is needed to assemble fabrics, cutting tools, laying out of pieces and parts and so forth. Although the owner apologized for the space—we discovered that there were several people on the waiting list now in class with us. Perhaps an alternate venue had been planned and canceled at the last minute.This was touted as ‘make a new friend’. The two people sitting in front of us never stopped talking during the entire two days and were definitely not people I wanted as friends–I have a MP3 player with my choices of music. There were four more rows in front of them–we were all  a captive audience.

Our teacher was exhausted and spent most of the two days sitting with her friends and chatting with them. Unlike other venues, she did not eat lunch with us, choosing instead to leave with her friends, perhaps a wise choice as the food was reminiscent of school cafeterias.

It was a disappointing two days of class.

However, we did go shopping in a wonderful group of antique stores. Lots of fun things to see. I bought an antique top for $35 to quilt; we went to see Godspell produced by the community theater group–not exactly talent rich but still enjoyable. The Best Western was shabby but clean and the manager-owner was an early bird and so she had coffee and breakfast ready at 5:30 instead of the 6 or 7 as advertised. She also was amenable to some of our group setting up their machines in the lobby and sewing in the evenings. She enjoyed people and chatted with us as though we were family.

Will we return?

Next year they have promised a full week of class and in a larger classroom. I’m not sure I want to repeat this experience. I did however, complete the first day’s project at home–I didn’t get much done there working from fabrics in my lap. The second day’s project is minimally started; perhaps I’ll throw those pieces into an orphan block and pieces box.


more antique quilts are here on smugmug plus a few other photos

Skye Studios Adventures

img_5126-mA whirlwind of three days with much laughter and some sewing–and more cutting and sorting on my part has passed. Holus Bolus met for our spring retreat and as usual the time passed all too quickly.

I have been home now for three days and still cannot find my pins or my scissors. I remember putting them in my baskets/bags/boxes to return home but can I find them? I did find my knitting with a few dropped stitches–no problem there–the yarn is multicolored and those dropped stitches will fit right in with all the others.

We did manage to fit a lot of things in–a trip to the Piney Wood Quilt Guild show, a shopping trip to Atkinson Candy Factory Outlet, AND to the fabric lady who is available by appointment only, a passing off of our row quilts we had all worked so diligently on–lots of squeals of delight here—and then on to serious business. We traded fabrics to do a piece representing ourselves using Chagall as our inspiration.

I made spring rolls, the sisters cooked lovely meals, and Larry made steamers of shrimp, corn on the cob, and potatoes on the grill. Fritzi was excited to see us–and probably cried when we left–we all had to pet him.

Here are my photos from the event—


A Texas sized Quilt Show


Attending the Annual International Quilt Festival in Houston is a must for those of us who live a mere 80 some miles away. The Festival has grown each year and is now the largest convention hosted in Houston Texas and is probably the reason why the George R Brown Convention Center keeps expanding and why there are two new hotels going up with skywalks.

It is always a busy time with so many vendors and new exciting products, classes on nearly every kind of sewing thing you can imagine and then there are the quilts themselves. It is a time to meet people you know just from the internet or from their work featured in magazines and to hang out with friends.

This year I took two classes to improve my long arm quilting skills, a class in making a sloper for clothing–although why I did this and then ordered a dress form is beyond my comprehension as I primarily dress in long sleeve Tshirts and jeans from Academy, and then a fun day making a small fiber collage.

My Holus Bolus group—yes that is a real word and you will have to look it up–met to exchange our row quilts–I got photos of three–just not the one I did or the one that is mine–and then we went out to dinner.

I also managed to squeeze in a visit to the MFA for the Degas retrospective–a fabulous HUGE show. And as always there is usually something else I see that is interesting and unexpected. This time it was several woven Indian blankets–Navajo—and then a silk embroidery piece from India–



A fun few days—and now back to work.

Improvise and Make do


Here I am in front of my second assignment in Improvisation with Ricky Tims ( in lovely LaVeta Colorado. ( )

Note the pile of tiny slivered scraps behind my machine keeping that coffee cup warm. And all that thread which I will not use during this week. And underneath my table is the canvas and backings I brought to finish up small pieces—that I thought I would be working on this week.

I brought my two laundry baskets full of solids and prints that I dyed for Nancy Crow workshops in the past( —I am still using those fabrics but have added some prints–and as you can—vibrant ones. The question is always=-==will I have enough of this one to use in this project or should I choose something else. I picked out some fabrics that I knew I had at least a half yard or more to begin.

Tomorrow I start the next piece.

And I’ll see something like this on my way to the workshop.



Poppies at the Franch


A workshop at the Franch in LaGrange Texas is always a treat. This weekend was with Melinda Bula!about-melinda/c240r   with our project of Poppies. Most people bought her kit–which included all the fabrics needed to complete the piece except for the background, batting, and backing, binding and so forth. I had intended to bring my large box of reds and three smaller ones of green but at the last minute decided to cull my choices to fit into just one little box and work from that.

box20of20red-m Yes this used to have apples in it.

boxes20of20geen-m and those are Tide boxes with a small basket of yellows on top of the greens.

two20backgound20choices20here-m this box is bigger than a shoe box but not much. I could not fit in the fusible webbing or the vinyl.

I also opted to stay in the Dorm—freezing cold the first night, wrapped up in two extra blankets from two people’s cars–and then really needed earplugs—the snoring was quite daunting—might think about camping out in the bed of my truck next time. The only drawback to that is that there is no coffee in my truck unless I buy one of those semi truck driver’s coffeepots—might seriously consider.

I got about four pieces cut on my project–and will work on it more here at home with my large box of red and three smaller ones of green.–see above photos-

Solitude and few distractions are needed for me to feel creative–if someone else is nearby I feel I should be attentive to their possible needs. It feels rude to not work on the assigned project but gathering up enthusiasm to work  elbow to elbow–even when it is your dearest friends–just does not work for me.


I did get a lot of nice photos—and you may enjoy them here:

don’t miss the bling we bought for the birthday celebration.


Pillows and notebooks

Two months ago, I joined the Houston Modern Quilt Group. This group meets on the third Saturday of every month and seems to be a fun and active group. They are very busy and have many challenges and workshops and are just fun. One of their projects is providing a boutique booth at a local quilt show in October or maybe it is September. We are all challenged to make some fun items. One member brought fabric she no longer wanted as she thought it very traditional.

I took three fabrics–a shirting, a blue print, and a red print.

From these three fabrics and then some of my own, I made cell phone pillows and notebook covers.

cell20phone20pillows20for20hmq-m the black

‘cell’ is written with chalk pencil on small pieces of black canvas.