Thank You!

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Hello!  I want to thank the folks who purchased kits since last night!  The packages are on the way.  It appears that black ink is the preferred choice so far, so only the brown ink versions are left in the shop.  I have one brown ink panel that I plan to play with so you can see what it will look like when stitched.  Perhaps that will help sell that one.  

In the meantime, I have also noted two other suggestions from folks.  One person asked for an only cats version and one person asked for a simple panel without the kit.   I would be happy to offer only cats and only dogs versions.  If you would be interested in either of those please let me know.  I have also had a suggestion for more space around the images so a larger hoop can be used.  I plan to do that as well. 

I would still love to get any other feedback as well.  Any other suggestions?  I will plan to do more in the next week or so, so get your feedback to me right away.  You can do it in the comments or by my Contact page.  Unfortunately, I can't respond to you directly in the comments unless you leave your email address.  If you use the Contact page I can reply directly to you.   Happy Stitching!

Something New- Hand Stitched Christmas Ornament Kit

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Early in September Chloe was staying with us between her job in Portland and going to school in San Diego.  I was trying to think of interesting things to do because the wildfire smoke was so bad here that we couldn't do any outdoor activities.  One day it occurred to me that maybe we could try silk screening at my sister and brother-in-law's workshop.  Mark started a silk screen business last year.  He had offered to let me try it, but I wasn't sure what I wanted to try for my first project.  Then one day I had an idea to do silk screened ornaments that could be filled in with embroidery.  I drew these designs by hand and played around in Photoshop to clean them up.  Chloe decided to do a t-shirt design, but she did it all in Photoshop.  We emailed the designs to Mark and then went over there to see how he transfers the designs to the silk screen and does the printing.  It was really cool and so nice to do it with someone who has all the equipment and knows what he's doing.  

I printed these panels on natural Essex cotton/linen blend fabric which is really lovely for stitching on.  We used the black ink at first, then gave some brown ink a try.  You can see that in the last photo.  I stitched up the samples in a few days and then started to gather supplies so that I could offer the other ones in kits.  I had no idea how long it would take to get the kits all ready and our trip to San Diego interrupted the process.  I've been working diligently since we got back though and I now have the kits up on my Etsy shop.  They are offered at an introductory price with the only request that if you buy one to please send feedback on the kit and your stitching experience.  If I reprint and create more kits I will be raising the price a modest amount.  

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Now for the nitty gritty on the kit.  If you know my work at all you probably know how much I value creativity.  I hate to tell people what to do actually.  In my instructions I provide color and stitch suggestions based on my samples, but I leave it completely open to you to do what you like.  Please feel free to change the colors and use only your favorite stitches.  I have provided more than enough embroidery thread to do something similar to my samples, but have also included DMC color numbers if you need more thread.  The kits also include the backing, batting, a chenille needle and hanging cord.  To finish the kit you need a 4-5" embroidery hoop, scissors, sewing machine with walking foot, neutral thread, and a chopstick.  These would be lots of fun to personalize with the colors of your favorite pets.  I look forward to seeing how folks make up the designs!  There are 7 kits available now at the introductory price of $25.  If you are interested, but want to wait for a second printing, please send a note and tell me which ink color is your favorite (black or brown).  I am leaning toward the black, but want to hear what others think.

Lastly, on the same silk screen I have two other designs that I am still working on samples for. They could be ornaments, but could also be patches or novelty designs for a quilt.  I'll do a post about them when I do the samples.  

I'd love to hear any feedback you have on this at all.  Would you prefer to just buy the panel and figure out your own colors?  Or maybe you'd rather not embroider on them and would like to add them to a quilt design.  Let me know!  Getting prints made is a simple task, putting kits together not so much so I would like to know if it's even worth it.  

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Mono Lake and Other Points South

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Hello!  It's nice to catch up on here again after a super busy summer.  We were gone for a while this month as we took a road trip to San Diego and did some sight seeing along the way.  We took the trip so we could help Chloe move to San Diego for graduate school.  She will be pursuing a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience.  

If you keep up with my Instagram account you will have seen many photos from the trip as well as glimpses of my sketchbook.  The photos here were the only ones I took with my Nikon camera and it was while we stopped at Mono Lake.  It was beautiful, but we were pursued by thunder clouds so we didn't stay too long.  

It was so nice to have a family trip again with all 4 of us.  It's so rare that Chloe has the time to join us.  She will be dedicated to research for the next 6 years at least, so we had to make the most of our time.  We were able to visit Lake Tahoe, Mammoth, and other points on the way south.  Then we had a few days in San Diego before we left Chloe behind and went back north along the coast.  Road tripping is one of my very favorite ways to travel, so we had a great time and had good weather for nearly the whole trip.  On the way back we stopped in Solvang, San Luis Obispo, Carmel, Los Gatos and Redding.  We saw our favorite places and also some new places.

Now that we are back I'm trying to get back into a regular routine again.  I have something new to share in the next blog post.  This fall I want to work more with acrylics, gouache and watercolor.  I am also doing some small textile art pieces, but I am having more hand and arm pain and so I'm wondering how long I'll be able to do that kind of work.  I have one quilt I'd like to finish so I can enter it in QuiltCon next year.  More soon!

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Cadmium, Titanium, and Cobalt Forever

Cadmium, Titanium, and Cobalt Forever

Cadmium, Titanium, and Cobalt Forever

I've spent the summer playing with paint and haven't picked up a needle in ages (except for knitting).  It's been a much needed break from hand sewing which was leaving me with sore wrists, arms and fingers.  I've really had a ball with the challenging media of acrylic and watercolor.  In fact, if you haven't been following me on Instagram or Facebook, you may not know that I have changed my Etsy shop to sell only the painted artworks.  If you are interested in some happy, colorful, affordable art check out my Etsy shop.  It's stocked with lots of great pieces suitable for the upcoming gift giving season.  In order to do that I had to move all the textile art to this website.  You can see all my textile art for sale here.  I admit it's been discouraging to create so much work, but not have anywhere to store it.  I really need to clear some of the cupboards if I want to make way for future textile art.  

How does all this relate to this post?  Well, when I was considering what to do for my guild's challenge for this year I started thinking like an artist.  The challenge theme was the Periodic Table of the Elements.  If you use pigments in any way you probably know that many of them are made with these elements.  I decided to paint a color card with cadmium red, titanium white, and cobalt blue which I then used to choose fabrics for this quilt.  

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It measures 43 x 47 inches with the intention that it could be given away as a child's quilt eventually.  I used improvisational techniques to create a rhythm with red, white, and blue.  This is inspired by Maria's Shell's class that I took this spring.  By the way, the class piece is one that I haven't finished yet, but I plan to get back to this fall.  

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The challenge quilts debuted at our guild meeting in July where members could vote on their favorite.  You can see the other challenge quilts here.  They were intended to be shown to the public at our August quilt show.  Unfortunately, our show was scheduled right before the eclipse and it was decided with all the hype about traffic and communication problems that we would cancel the show.  So, the first public showing of these quilts is now set for October at the QuiltWorks gallery in Bend.  It'll be a good one, there were so many wonderful ideas!  It is also possible that these quilts will show at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show next year.

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After piecing I was planning to do a bit of simple channel quilting which is my go to thing now, but in the end I decided to do a one inch grid.  

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I pieced in some small bits of color in the binding which is something I haven't done much, but I like it and will try it again.  

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The backing is one of my favorite denim chambrays.  I also created a label that mimics the look of the color card that I painted.  This was a fun project for me.  I did it pretty quickly with only a couple of weeks before the deadline.  I love this style of piecing even though it was actually less random that I usually work.  I really love the vertical format and I'm sure you'll see that again someday.  

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Totality

Beautiful Rimrock Ranch

Beautiful Rimrock Ranch

The total solar eclipse last week was the talk of the town for pretty much the whole summer.  I remember hearing dire predictions about crowd size last spring and it only got worse as time went on.  By the week before the eclipse we had taken all precautions- gassed up all the vehicles, filled the pantry, and scouted out all the back road routes we might need to take to avoid traffic.  Mark was out of town, so it was just Ryan and me making plans to head to the total eclipse zone for an overnight.  

At our house we could have seen a 99% solar eclipse.  At first it was my inclination to be satisfied with that, but after hearing my Dad's argument (and pretty much anyone who has seen a total eclipse) why we should go the extra mile (or 30) to see this once in a lifetime spectacle, I relented and started making plans.  

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As it turned out, while there were localized traffic jams, including a really awful, hours-long jam east of Prineville for folks going to the Symbiosis festival, in Bend we actually had very light road traffic.  Our route to the eclipse would take us to Sisters and then north to where we would have 1 minute and 24 seconds of totality.  But, like I said, I scouted out the back roads that I'd never tried before and since this was an adventure, Ryan and I took those back roads even if we didn't need to.  It was fun to see a part of Central Oregon I'd never been to.  We loaded up the pickup with camping gear and lots of food and drinks and headed to a private ranch for the eclipse party.

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Rimrock Ranch is private, but the owner coordinates tours with the Deschutes Land Trust and the Sisters Astronomy Club.  My dad is a member of the SAC and so we were invited to join ranch owner Gayle for a night-before star party and the eclipse viewing the following morning.  

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Skies were rather smoky over most of Bend and Sisters, but luckily the ranch was a bit north of the smokiest part and we had pretty good skies while we were there.  This field is the place where the astronomers set up viewing telescopes for all the celestial sights.  

My sister Cheryl

My sister Cheryl

Sunday afternoon was pretty hot and spent mostly relaxing in the shade, but by the evening the temperatures had cooled enough to make a game of frisbee a pleasant pastime.  

Brother-in-law Mark and Ryan

Brother-in-law Mark and Ryan

Sunset view of Black Butte

Sunset view of Black Butte

Sunset view of Mt Jefferson, with smoke

Sunset view of Mt Jefferson, with smoke

Black Butte sunset

Black Butte sunset

After sunset we were treated to a fantastic star party.  We had views of Saturn with moon and rings, Jupiter with two moons, globular clusters, nebulae, and beautiful meteors.  We didn't get to bed until rather late.

Eclipse day sunrise

Eclipse day sunrise

We woke up before dawn on Monday and caught these beautiful sunrise pictures.  Ryan and I are really night owls, so this whole experience is something we rarely see.  

Home sweet home on the ranch

Home sweet home on the ranch

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Sleepy head

Sleepy head

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By 9 am we were breakfasted and mostly packed and ready to watch the eclipse.  As I said, my Dad is an amateur astronomer and retired physicist.  He was over the moon (so to speak) about the possibilities of a total solar eclipse right in his back yard.  He and several others from the SAC brought telescopes and binoculars with solar filters.  Of course, we also had our solar eclipse glasses.  The eclipse started shortly after 9 am, but it wasn't until about 10 am that you could notice a definite shift in the light and a cooling of the air temperature.

Dad, always with his eyes to the sky.

Dad, always with his eyes to the sky.

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Everyone needs glasses, including Scrabble.

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This was at about 10 am.  The light was changing all around, the temp was cooling by quite a bit and Scrabble was loving it.  I started drawing my sketchbook page, ready for the eclipse.

What do you call a group of Volcanologists?

What do you call a group of Volcanologists?

Gayle and Cheryl with one of the glass tile souvenirs that Cheryl made.

Gayle and Cheryl with one of the glass tile souvenirs that Cheryl made.

In addition to the astronomy club folks and their families, there was a tour group of volcanologists that had a tour at the ranch for the eclipse.

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After 10 am the light became more and more eerie.  

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Ryan, Mark, Cheryl, Dad and me, with minutes to go

Ryan, Mark, Cheryl, Dad and me, with minutes to go

Totality!

Totality!

Once totality began I tried to take a photo of the sun, but my camera wasn't focusing.  I gave up on that and got this one photo of everyone in the dark.  The 1 minute and 24 seconds were going by so fast!  I did get a video of all of us reacting to the eclipse which you can see part of on Instagram.  In addition, my Dad made a time lapse video of photos he took of the eclipse.  It was an amazing sight and worth all the trouble to get there for it.  Makes me want to see another one!

Sunday ranch view

Sunday ranch view

Total eclipse view

Total eclipse view

Here are some of the pages from my sketchbook of the two days we were at the ranch.  I'm glad I was able to record my thoughts soon after the event.  It was truly spectacular.  If you are ever in the path of one you won't soon forget it!

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