Happy Thanksgiving!  I am so thankful today to have had a relaxed joyous day with my family, as well as being able to do many of my projects.  My sweet husband did much of the cooking, to help keep me out of the kitchen, as I’ve worked very hard this year to get down to my goal weight by losing 30 lbs (and keeping it off.)  I do love to cook, but I knew I’d be tempted to taste all day long!  He did ask my support in one thing, however… clearing some space in the freezer for the leftovers.

Well, that meant that it was time to get into my dye studio- I had to use up the snow I’ve had in the freezer since last winter- time for snow-dyeing!  It’s also a great way to use up some left-over old dyes.  While the colors may not come out quite as rich or vibrant, I’ll always be able to over-dye or do additional surface design on the fabrics.  So I prepared 4 separate yards of cotton, put each in it’s own container, packed the snow on top, and poured 3 colors of dye onto each one.  It looks like giant snow cones! 

Ryan, my Viking warrior

Since I was already dyeing, I also mixed up a fresh batch and dyed a couple yards of linen.  I’ve never tried dyeing linen before, nor is it a material I use in my artwork.  The things we will do for our children!  My son, now 17, is fascinated with Viking culture and hopes to go into anthropology and/or archeology.  He’s found that there are Viking re-enactment groups, similar to the ones that put on Renaissance fairs, and has talked me into going to a holiday “Good Yule” celebration in full Viking dress.   Of course, it has to be authentic!  Last week I taught him basics of sewing on my Bernina (ok, not so authentic that we’re going to sew it by hand!) and he made his own Viking tunic out of wool.  He’s still deciding if he wants me to dye it or not (it’s currently a beige-brown.)  The linen I’m dyeing will be for a Viking apron, the style which they wore around the tenth century.  I’ll make sure to post the pictures when we have our outfits complete!

I’ve been working on encouraging my Mom to start back to sewing again, so she brought over her machine and a Christmas table-runner project which she had started.  She was having some problems with mitering the binding.  It’s easy to get confused with a mitered binding if you are used to making a mitered border on a quilt.  The process is a bit different, since you’re turning the finding to the back side.  She also some a 60 degree angles, which I admit I had to look up how to bind.  Thank goodness for Google!

Once I had my Mom going, I started working on some freemotion quilting samples from the wonderful collection by Leah Day on her FreeMotion Quilting BlogIf you are interested in improving your quilting stitches, I can’t recommend Leah’s blog highly enough.  Here is theCalm Sea” design which I stitched this afternoon.  I have several notebooks of practice samples such as this, which I  keep adding to on a regular basis.  Then, when I am ready to stitch a project, I can look through my samples and think about what would work best for the piece. 

Tomorrow I’m taking off with my husband for a few days, so I’ve packed my sketchbooks and look forward to looking for new design inspiration, as well as working on thinking through some of what I’d like to accomplish in the year ahead. 

jour·ney

noun

1. a traveling from one place to another, usually taking a rather long time.
2. a distance, course, or area traveled or suitable for traveling.
3. a period of travel.
4. passage or progress from one stage to another: the journey to success.
 



Moulin Rouge dans la Nuit
I’ve been on this journey for some time now… years, really.  It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve felt the need to look towards my destination.  Where do I want to go with my art?  How will I know when I’ve arrived?  How do I stay on track and not get distracted from my main objectives?
 



I’ve practiced goal-setting and creating plans to accomplish my goals for years, both in business and in my personal life.  I’ve seen the power of declaring your intentions publicly.  So, starting today, I’m beginning this new journey… one which I invite you to join, whether as an observer, or as an active committed participant. 
Whether I am detailing my plans for the future, documenting my ongoing progress, learning new skills, or sharing the things that inspire me to make art, I hope to both inspire and be inspired through regular writings on this blog.  I look forward to an incredible time of growth together!

Caverna Magica

To introduce you to a little of where I am currently at, here you can see my quilt, “Moulin Rouge dans la Nuit”, currently being shown at SeaTac International Airport in an exhibition named “Journeys” put on by the Contemporary QuiltArt Association (through January 2013.)  The original design is from photographs I took of the Moulin Rouge in 2009.  It is made of both artist hand-dyed and commercial cotton fabrics, which I have then freehand machine embroidered and quilted.
 


The Caves of Nerja
Also in the “Journeys” show is my “Caverna Magica” whole-cloth quilt. When I completed the dyeing of this fabric, it reminded me of seeing the Caves of Nerja, in Andalusia, Spain.  Filled with impressive stalactites and stalagmites, sections of the caves are open to visitors and are lit up with many beautiful colored lights.  I hand-dyed this piece of fabric and then densely freehand machine quilted it with cotton, rayon, and silk thread. 
 


Detail of Caverna Magica



Each day we can make a choice… to further our artistic career and take a step on the journey, or to postpone for yet another day.  When I look back at all the times I’ve postponed, I have to admit it makes me very sad.  Our time is finite here on this earth.  What do we want to leave behind?  How do we want to spend this limited amount of time?  I know that I want to create.  I want my children and hopefully others to have something tangible that I’ve created that they love and which, through it, they can feel connected to me.
 
Where are you starting from today?  Do you know where it is that you’d like to get to?  Do you have a plan for how you’re going to get there?