In and Out, Back and Forth

Well, life's bodyslams continue! My backbone MUST be made out of steel...who knew??!!

As I less than merrily weave my way through this newest set of BOULDERS in my life's path, my posting will be somewhat erratic; however, I WILL still be here and WILL continue to share my world of fabrics, fibers and founds with you.

For those of you who have been following me regularly (Thank You!!!), you'll know that I have not been able to drive in over two years, which makes this current situation SO much more enjoyable (not!!).

I can report that my Treasure, my daughter, is doing beautifully, and my grandson kicked me hello a couple days ago -- he is SO ready to join us soon (February can't come soon enough!!).

So stay tuned...A N D...

Be curious! Allow yourself to Be Challenged!! And I'll be back!!


Affirmations for Artists -- Always a Good Thing!!

Alyson at artbizcoach.com offers this video today. In view of our current economy, which is part of the subtitle of the video, it's particularly on point for those of us in the arts world.

I always like Alyson's column; she features great tips and tricks on a regular basis. If for some reason you can't follow the video, click here. Enjoy!

Be artistic! Be affirming! And, I'll be back!!



Like many of us, I subscribe to or follow many blogs to keep up with goings-on around the blogworld. Plus, reading about and viewing pix of so many imaginative projects stokes me up for the day better than a cup of coffee . . . speaking of which (*grin*), please note in my sidebar a new button for Get The Bean.

Thanks to Maggie of Magpies Collectibles, I popped over to that blog, and WOW! Get The Bean has a goal of fundraising for fighting cancer, ALWAYS a worthy cause. Right now to celebrate the new opening, they are having a give-away on Fridays of a pound of coffee. Of COURSE I entered! It would be nice to win, but I've signed up as a follower of the blog, plus I imported their button (available on the sidebar near the bottom of the page).

Do take some time and go visit Get The Bean -- I guarantee you will NOT be disappointed!

Be sociable! Be energized! And I'll be back!!


My Library, Bit by Bit

I've always found it interesting when folks publish pix of the books they read, so I thought I'd start a bird's-eye view of my own library. This first book was published in 1989 by a wonderful gentleman named Art Salemme.

Art was involved with the Prince George's Historical Quilting Society in Maryland. Prince George's County is located east and slightly north of Washington, D.C. and is the home of the Redskins' stadium (yes, I used to be a Redskins fan before moving to Dallas, Cowboys Country!). My mother was the president of the group and I published the newsletter. Art was the only man in our group, but his incredible talent more than made up for the lack of other men!

Braided Cross Stitch is a well-written book. The first chapter is devoted to explanations and illustrations of the stitch, followed by several pages of color pictures and projects. Art closes with a chapter on how to design your own braided cross stitch piece, and a Question-and-Answer 'clinic'.

My mom gave this book to me. It is still available at Amazon and on E-bay. I highly recommend it as an addition to your own library!

Be studious! Be searching! And I'll be back!!


Three Generations of Creative Women!

Well, actually, at least four, but I can't find a pic of my grandmother right now!

My mother with her Mariner's Compass piece

Then me, my brothers (both of whom are engineers like my father) and Mom

And then my treasure, my daughter Katie Jane.

Katie is also the fifth generation of the women in our family to have Jane for a middle name -- Katherine Jane, Sarah Jane (me!), Lois Jane (Mom), Charlotte Jane (Grandmom) and Sarah Jane (great grandmother).

Be loving! Be learning! And I'll be back!!


And the First Picture Resides in the Place of Honor!

And, in my dining area on my buffet sits the Proud Grandma's First Picture of Preston in its Place of Honor!! OMG, one more time, I'm SO excited and thrilled and entranced and WWHHHHEEEEEEEEE!!! Be exploring! Be observant! And I'll be back!!

May I Present My Grandson's First Picture...!!!!

Oh my goodness, I'm SO proud...here is the First Picture of my new grandson, Preston Alan Birbeck!!!

Katie, my Treasure, sent me a letter which I received yesterday. Enclosed was her first sonogram! There's the white wavy I guess amniotic fluid on your left, and Preston is right in the middle, with his head on top (instead of upside down as they so often do...!!!) and part of his arm, and see his little spine so nicely delineated right down the middle??!! I'm excited and entranced and just beside myself!! Although, just for the record I still think I'm too damn young to be a grandma (of course, when IS it ever the "right age"?!!)...

So my Treasure is having a Little Treasure, ok, gotta say it one more time, I'm THRILLED!!!

Now I have to finish the multi-colored crocheted baby blanket I had started, then I have to do a baby quilt in blues, and a little hat and pair of booties. HMMMMM, there will be a LOT of pix in the next few weeks...I'm DETERMINED to get this stuff done before Preston joins us in this world. I only just last month finished the Beatrix Potter baby quilt that I had started for Katie 18 years ago...(*GRIN*)!!

Be excited! Be thrilled with your life -- there's ALWAYS something to bring you joy!! And, I WILL be back!


And Then Again...! (OR -- Oh Noooo, More UFOs!)

Figures. I go public with two little UFOs, something (out of the MANY!) that won't discourage me or defeat me, and guess what. I'm defeated. I can't find the cards for the Thank You, and I can't find the correct red thread for the rose. (*rolls her little eyes*). BUT, that's because I'm still getting my workroom together and unpacking boxes. When Sainted Child was living with me (you'll know her from previous posts as "The Teen With the Jeans" or "What Aspect of Sewing Fills You With Dread"!!), all my stuff got boxed and put in my bedroom. There WAS enough space to walk between the boxes and the closet...ok, CREEP through that space (*grin*). Those of you with the Returning Child Who Moves Out and Comes Back syndrome will appreciate the issue!

SO, rallying, I found YET another UFO. OK, I've found like LOTS and LOTS!!. But this one, although more time-consuming because less finished, still stands a good chance of being done during the time limit our group (stitchinfingers -- click or see badge on sidebar) has set ourselves. It's one of the "Beyond Crossstitch" series of Victoria Sampler, called 'Azaleas'. I've done two others by VS, I'll have to find them and post pix because I enjoyed doing them. They work up quickly, are quite pretty, and can be finished in a variety of ways. NAYY!

Be brave! Be fearless! And I'll be back!!


You Never What You'll Find...

Poking around through people's comments on the September TIF Challenge, it's such fun seeing others' blogs and their interpretations, so beautifully rendered, of each month's challenge. Along the way, I found this "Brain Scan" quiz, which was a lot of fun to take! Here's my read-out:

Sarah, you possess an interesting balance of hemispheric and sensory
characteristics, with a slight right-brain dominance and a slight preference for
visual processing.
Since neither of these is completely centered, you lack
the indecision and second-guessing associated with other patterns. You have a
distinct preference for creativity and intuition with seemingly sufficient
verbal skills to be able to translate in any meaningful way to yourself and
You tend to see things in "wholes" without surrendering the ability
to attend to details. You can give them sufficient notice to be able to utitlize
and incorporate them as part of an overall pattern.
In the same way, while you are active and process information simultaneously, you demonstrate a capacity for sequencing as well as reflection which allows for some "inner
All in all, you are likely to be quite content with yourself and
your style although at times it will not necessarily be appreciated by others.
You have sufficient confidence to not second-guess yourself, but rather to use
your critical faculties in a way that enhances, rather than limits, your
You can learn in either mode although far more efficiently
within the visual mode. It is likely that in listening to conversations or
lecture materials you simultaneously translate into pictures which enhance and
elaborate on the meaning.

It is most likely that you will gravitate towards those endeavors which are predominantly visual but include some logic or structuring. You may either work particularly hard at cultivating your auditory skills or risk "missing out" on being able to efficiently process what you
learn. Your own intuitive skills will at times interfere with your capacity to
listen to others, which is something else you may need to take into account.

For more fun seeing everyone's submissions, click here and


Stitching Sisters Work

As I've mentioned before, I'm a member of a group of women around the world who are participating in an international sampler round robin as well as sharing in our common love of needlework of all types. Our group blog is at http://sistersstitching.blogspot.com. Our individual blogs are listed there separately in the left sidebar.
The next sampler has come my way from Australia and shown above is the before-I-get-to-it picture. This one belongs to Christine. The scan does not do justice to the beauty of everyone's work so far, but my camera batteries crapped out on me and running to the store is a pain in the *** now that I can't drive. So, we scan.
I encourage you to visit our blog and see the individual blogs. The needlework is stellar, and we all thoroughly enjoy ourselves!
Be visiting! Be enjoying! And I'll be back!


There is a surge lately of endeavors to deal with UFOs. Sharon B. frequently posts about her UFO projects, as do many others. See my sidebar for an assortment of busy blogs to visit.

In the meantime, over on stitchin' fingers I joined the UFOs Uncovered group. On my left sidebar at my Stitchin' Fingers page, click on the icon for the UFOs group and see what we're up to. These two items are what I chose first. I picked randomly rather than by age of piece because if I'm not as interested as I could be, the object won't get finished. Hence the UFOs!!

With One Voice - Final

My piece for "With One Voice" has been finished and sent. The leaves are 3D, the birds are that eyelet pulled-thread stitch about which I blogged a few posts ago. The piece is in honor of and in memory of Thomas Merton, Brother Louis, and will be given with grateful thanks to The Thomas Merton Center. A full explanation of my choice of subject is on my other blog.


Process Post

Our group has permission to "post away" about our entries, so I thought I would share a couple process photos. This is for my entry into Breaking Traditions 2008, the deadline for which is Saturday. I'm actually down to one last appliqued piece, these photos were taken a few days ago. I'm not usually pleased enough with process to post pix, but I'm a bit proud of this one.

First, I drew my hands on two separate pieces of onionskin paper --

then I transferred the drawings to fabric and sewed the hands to the background piece, stitching along the lines of the hands to emphasize the curvature of them a bit --

The dots on the hands are pins which I used instead of basting the layers because I planned to FME the hell out of the background.

The leaves there on the left will be appliqued around the wrists, which I left with unfastened raw edges because I was unsure what I was going to do with that spot. The background fabric cut in strips from an awesome piece of nighttime city skyline fabric that one of the Orts Group Artists (that's for another post!!) had Very Graciously shared with me a while ago. The first border is pieced one-inch squares in black-and-white rock images and small floral images. When I post the final picture on my other blog, I'll go into why I chose this. The final border will be self-wrapped from the back, plain black, folded to 3/8" and stitched down.

Be inquisitive! Be drawing, in your mind if not with your pencil! and I'll be back...



OK, short thought here...don't want to unveil it yet, but you know that inspiration, like weeds, comes up anywhere without warning or desire. Inspiration just is.

I will say this -- every day that I have is a gift. It is a free 12 hours(or so!) of awesomeness, fun, funniness, appreciating the people who (from "Four Feathers" w/Heath Ledger) "God put you in my way, so what else am I to do??!! (character grins and walks off across the African desert sanddune mountains!)." That's a quote from near the end by the character played by Djimoun Honsou, for whom I have the UTMOST respect as an awesome actor, along with Heath Ledger's character. It's not that I'm crazily religious or anything, do NOT go running screaming in the other direction, but I do firmly believe that things happen for a reason and just because they may be bad in our interpretation of the word does not necessarily mean that our interpretation is correct.

Be appreciative! Be grateful (for every moment that you have, that you can feel, that you can know)!! AND (promise, not a threat!!) I'll be back...


And Further...!

Oh yes, I should show you what my buddies are up to...

Pat at Quiltersmuse

Vikki at Hand-Dyed Fibers

Arlee at Albedo Design Journal

Jenny at Jenny's Australian Needleart Journey

Be aware! Be imaginative! And I'll be back!!

Anniversary/ies Addendum

I do have to say a huge thank you to some wonderful folks who said, when all the curveballs were being thrown at me, that they hoped I'd be like a Phoenix, get up and go on. My friends have believed in me, and I am of the firm opinion that without their support I would not have made it as far as I have. So, huge hugs and humble thank-yous to Pat, Vikki, Arlee, Jenny, and everyone else -- you all are wonderful and made my life the richer for knowing you!

Be grateful for the good in your life...and be enriched by the joy of living! And, I WILL be back!

P.S. I can't find the darn link for the firebird image, but I'll post it here soon!


Yesterday was a double anniversary for me!

First, it's been a year now since my life took a ninety-degree curveball. This will be the only time I recognize the date for this particular event. However, I'm pleased with how things are turning out. It has not been easy, nor has it been fun a lot of the time, but I've learned a lot of confidence and self-belief in me as a woman and as an artist. So overall, it's been a good thing.

My daughter has moved back to Maryland to be with her sister and her father's family. This is a good thing, too -- Amber has an adorable four-month-old little girl, and my Treasure is pregnant with a future Little Treasure! There are more and better resources there for her, so I'm pleased for her.

AND, saving the best for last, it was my Third Blogiversary!! Lordy, I can't believe it's been three years now, time flies! I'm looking forward to another magical year filled with positive learning experiences, a few less Life Slams (*grin*), and lots of fun and laughter along the way!

Be strong! Be joyful! And I'll be back!


Butterfly Project for the Houston Holocaust Museum

I picked this up off the QuiltArt list from a recent post -- thanks to Fulvia Luciano who mentioned it. The Butterfly Project for the Houston Holocaust Museum is an effort to remember the 1,500,000 innocent children who perished in the Holocaust. The Museum is collecting 1,500,000 handmade butterflies, which will be exhibited in a show slated at the moment for Spring 2012. Please follow the above link to see the guidelines as to size, medium and restrictions. As of Summer 2008, the Museum has collected 400,000 handmade butterflies. Let's all pitch in as our time allows and help raise that number!

Be caring! Be aware! And I'll be back!


A Peach of Bird

Different bird, different silk, same sheer. In the upper right, you can see white flowers behind the sheer...that's a completely different fabric that happened to be underneath when I took the pic. So you can see how sheer the sheer actually is! I do need to work on my camera skills...the bird's tail is a row of chain stitch, and the bird is outlined in backstitch. The whole thing is the size of your thumb.

Be different! Be adventurous! And I'll be back!


Birds for the Flowers

Yes, the rose petal project is still coming along, but I need a set of these red eyelet birds...so here's the first. Thread, used a singled strand at a time, is "Dragon Blood" silk by Vikki Clayton of Hand-dyed Fibers.


Jumping-Off Point...?

This little medallion (see Note below) keeps coming back to me with connection-possibilities about which I just wrote. My brain continues to be tickled at the edges.
I wish everyone the joy to throw your hands in the air and laugh out loud and dance in the wind!
Be explosive! Be exuberant! And I'll be back!!
Note: Batternburg lace by me and SRE/emroidered flowers also by me. Fibers courtesy of Hand-Dyed Fibers.

Thoughtful Time

I'm sitting at the hub of a wheel, each spoke a different project. The subjective connection (besides me!) is tickling my mind, but I feel like I'm on the edge of an explosion of realizations, tied together by my art. In the mean time, I took a few minutes today to feed my mind and have come across several links which I'll share here with you.

Mirabile Dictu -- differently neat blog, with a GREAT sidebar set of resource links.

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom -- years ago I used to belong to this, when I was young and feckless, so to speak. Now I think it's time I investigated their organization again...many many cool ideas and actions coming from these ladies. In fact, years ago, I got a set of postcards from them, one of which I recently sent to my friend Arlee. It said, next to a blue stencilled playground with children playing on white background, "One day the Air Force will have to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber". Telling, no?!

Global Art Project -- I participated in this a couple years ago before I started blogging and it was most worthwhile. I wish I had thought at the time to take pix, but I had no idea my professional life in art was going to take off the way it has. However, I will be participating next year, and I urge all of you who are interested to check it out and considering participating as well.Artists

Artists for Peace -- This group is through the Bernier Dance Organization, with dance, music, and poetry. Nevertheless, We are all artists in our own particular medium, and who's to say we can't be struck by a particular dance, poem or piece of music and translate that idea into our own language of textiles and fiber??!!

And, just one more for now:

The Fund for Women Artists -- Check out the site -- absolutely awesome listing of peace groups within our purview of being women and artists, great resources links, can't say enough good things. I've been a member here for a while now, and I absolutely advocate their ideas, methods, and membership.

This is enough to provoke your brain cells and your creativity for now. Please leave me a comment -- if there's enough interest (i.e., at least three of us??), I'd like to add a page here to my blog featuring photos of folks' work, whether in progress or in final.

Be caring! Be creative! And I'll be back!


To WISP or Not To WISP

This is an on-going WISP. It's ongoing because I am still collecting bits and pieces. SharonB recently posted about collecting all her scrap bits of linen fabric, etc., dying the scraps, and putting them together for another sampler. I collect bits of everything, down to scraps 1/2" in size (amazing what you can do with that size!), bits of lace (bottom left corner in the plastic baggie), efforts at new techniques (that embroidered flower there in the upper middle on the blue fabric), etc.

And NOW for the ALL-TIME, ULTIMATE reason for packratting...(*HUGE GRIN*) For a backing, I'm using an old dust ruffle. I loved the quilt set with which it goes, but I've always hated that darn ruffle so one day as I yanked it off the mattress in disgust, I thought "hmmmm" Lots of perfectly good backing fabric here...so I ripped off the ruffle part and cut it up into manageable sections for something some time and cut the white part that goes on the mattress into a few rectangles/squares. VOILA!!

Be collected (*grin*) Be ruffled (*VBG*)! And I'll be back!!


Catching Up with the Next Steps

OK, well, the first rose petal I tried tore. So I've smathered the ones I've chosen (above) with, yes, yet more hand lotion. BTW, the lotion I'm using, the first one I grabbed (with an 18yo daughter around, there is NO END to little sample bottles of hand lotion!) is, NAYY, coconut/lime verbena body lotion by Bath and Body Works...ANYWAY, I've laid them out with another leaf (upper left corner) that I'm going to attach to the front with the petals. There are two colors of petals, cuz Katie gave me a double rose bouquet for Mother's Day. Such a good child (*GRIN*)!! Here's the original bouquet (below), including baby's breath, which I also may use in this project.

I also took a picture of the next step of my actual piece (below). I trimmed half off of the dryer sheet and basted in red thread. I think you can tell in the pic, I tried to get a good view -- the whole lotion concept worked so well that I was able to actually baste through the leaf with no problem! Never having done this before, I am, of course, suitably impressed!

As you may notice the length of time between today's first and second posts, it takes about an hour for the lotion to be absorbed. I dont' know if it's because of the technique or the fact that I slathered it on just in case. But in the meantime, here's an image I'll leave with you -- Katie's boyfriend practicing spinning fire (below). He uses glowsticks for practice, but he actually has two chains with stuff and he lights it on fire and spins it in all kinds of intricate ways and it's a ton of fun to watch!

Be exploring! Be sharing! And I'll be back!

Experiment Part Next!

OK, here's the next part...

I inserted a (moisturized) dried leaf between the dryer sheet and the angelina. I have not yet basted the layers. The leaves are crumbly (although the flower petals dryed more flexibly), so I slathered this one with hand lotion and let it sit for a bit. As you can see, the leaf is now completely flat behind the dryer sheet. I'm going to then baste the layers with red thread (easier to see) and observe how well the leaf can be viewed through the dryer sheet after basting before I determine my next step.

A New Experiment

Well, I'm back on the road again!

I know I'm behind in what everyone is doing all at one time, but isn't that why we have the different drummers?!

This experiment involves background through sheer and a foreground. I wanted to use angelina and dryer sheets because that's what I've got. I held them up together, and the dryer sheet (used, thanks!) seems like it might work.

I have been intrigued by this concept for a while and am only now getting to it. So my first pic here is having cut my 4x6 background fabric, chosen my angelina and ironed it, and grabbed my dryer sheet. I've just pinned the layers together prior to basting.

Be intrigued! Be curious! And I'll be back!!


Exciting Things Are Happening...!

Click on the Stitchin Fingers badge here and see for yourself!!

Visit stitchin fingers


The Family's All Here!!


I was thinking about things in the last couple of days. And I, well, sometimes we all say life gets in the way. But I'm committed to my work. I guess most of the times why I do not always show my work is because it is, on the personal parts of it, not positive. And as we all know, hand-work is not fast.

One of the artists that I most admire is Bean Gilsdorf. One of my favorite pieces is her birds and guns.

Guns and life are intertwined. In my opinion, guns are not bad or evil or whatever. I was a hunter, and I shot birds for food. But I also focus some of my work on birds.

So what I'm saying, I guess, is that I like Bean's work. And I don't think guns are evil, per se. And I do think that people need to keep open minds about human beings and animal beings, and to just not be judgmental generally.

Who are we to make a statement???

Be open. Be aware! And I'll be back!!


Catching Up...

Welcome to my new home! This is a collage that my friend and downstairs neighbor, Angela, made. She is an awesome artist with pen-and-ink and collage. I was admiring her work one evening and she just gave it to me! It's mounted on the wall in my hallway, and I'm honored that it hangs in my new home.
This is a two-bedroom apartment -- the spare room is a WIP for my workroom. For some reason, I just don't like the word "studio" in connection with my work. Yet. Perhaps I'm a WIP, too??!!
The other reason, besides needing a workspace, that I chose a 2-bedroom is, naturally, my Sanity (*grin*), aka The Piano, needed space. A 1-bedroom would have had me sleeping UNDER the piano, with my workspace in the bedroom. That scenario had no appeal for me (duh!!). Of course, I sort of neglected to tell the piano movers that I was on the second floor, and my Sanity weighs rather a lot (over a ton). I do believe I actually learned new words, as well as new and inventiveways to string said words together!!
Be brave! Be optimistic! And I'll be back!


I'm Baaaack!!

Hey, everyone! I have FINALLY been able to acquire a computer. Just yesterday. (*GRIN*) I'm getting it up and running, software loaded, and pix prepared to post.

I have started a second blog, Tumbleweed Designs. Over the next few days, I will be posting personal work here and professional work by Tumbleweed Designs there. Please stay tuned...I have been faithful about taking pictures through these last painful, computer-less months (the library here does not allow one to upload anything on their system, which make sense of course, but is SO inconvenient!!), so please stay tuned!

Be patient! Be adventurous! And I'll be back!


And So 2008 Begins...

Hey! Slowly but surely, things are getting into shape. Not BACK into shape, but INTO shape. A dear friend sent me a wonderful gift, and in it also was enclosed a piece of blank paper. She had written on it: Your new life is a blank page, and only you can write on it. I have taken her statement to heart!

I have a new Haiku for 2008, one with a definite positive outlook! Entering it at the beginning of the year as a forecast, rather than at the end of the year as an observation, seems to change my perspective towards a more enlightened attitude!

And, poking around again, I have come up a couple mention-worthy spaces. A friend of a friend has a blog and a new website -- Judy Whitehead is an art quilter and also a fiber-dyer extraordinaire! Do go visit her new space -- and her blog, Sodypop's Creative Journey. Judy features some wonderful colors in her work, and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on some!

From Judy's blog, I followed along to The Illustrated Garden. I will be visiting this blog frequently, and Val's website. Val Webb is a highly accomplished botanical illustrator, and you will spend a lot of time drooling at her inspirational work. I strongly recommend that you visit her!

Because I have no computer at the moment, I am still at the library and thus unable to post pix at this time. That should change shortly, I hope, and there will be several entries with all pix and no (or very little!) text!

I want to thank all my readers at this time for y'all's undying patience and fortitude during this period of readjustment. I have found my strength, however, and am forging ahead full speed.

Be attentive! Be a listener! And I'll be back!!


YESSSS, it IS a new year!

Last year sucked. It really bit the bullet. As a series of Learning Experiences (tongue in cheek here, please!), it was an unqualified success. Is it possible to groan and grin at the same time??!!

I raise a toast to the New Year, to 2008 and all its unexplored corners, unmet opportunities, and unmapped possibilities for success and happiness!! And, of course, a few less not-so-positive experiences.

For all my readers, I give you warmest regards and best wishes for a peaceful and satisfying 2008!!

Be curious! Be adventurous! And I'll be back!