Thursday, July 28, 2011


They buzz around the garden all summer long. Big and little, bumbles and honey bees. Above is a large bumble having a feast on my catmint. I took a short walk with the dog today and was scoping out the action around my coneflowers. Two different types of bees, a swallowtail butterfly and two smaller butterflies, one with a double set of wings. As I love the flowers, so do I love the critters.
Above is a detail from a quilt I did in 2009 called "Lions, Tigers, and Bees." The bee was an integral part of the composition. There were bee buttons scattered around the border too.
Several years ago I felt a strong desire to create a bee themed quilt. I found a honeycomb fabric that spurned me on and I bought over 2 yards of it.

This past weekend was a family outing. My four female first cousins on my Dad's side of the family and I got together at my house for a girl's weekend. We really haven't done much together since we were young and the two cousins on each end of the age spectrum haven't really gotten together at all. It was such a fun time for all of us. In the process of reacquainting ourselves we found out that cousin Judi was a beekeeper. She had to give up her bees in the last year as her husband, Bob, started to become severely allergic to the stings due to his medication. The last sting landed him in the hospital. Very sadly the bees had to be relocated. But she still has jars of the honey, which we all got and little pots of hand cream made from the wax. A solid reminder of her joy tending her bees.

I've been slathering her honey on my toast each morning since she gave me the honey and all this honey has brought me to thinking about bees and quilts. The two pictures above and the one below are the start of a mini quilt. It's only 12" x 12". My inspiration from Judi's bees has led to a little exploration. While taking me a bit from the Mermaids I need to continue, it's a welcome diversion and a little something to practice the quality of my stitches on after the many weeks of working, cleaning house and gardening which have derailed my momentum in the studio.
Before I'm done it will have a lot more bees buzzing around. Shouldn't take too long to pop out. Just have to love that honeycomb fabric! Got to go find some wing fabric and have some more toast with honey.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cleaning & Organizing

Every once in a while it just becomes evident that some reorganization and cleaning have to happen - even in the studio. Years of Fiber Arts magazines fill two of the magazine boxes above. Sadly they will be a fixed collection as Fiber Arts is no longer being published. My subscription goes back to 1997. I love looking over old issues for inspiration every so often. I had magazines in stacks all over the studio. They needed rounding up!
I love having a large area of bulletin board so I can keep track of all the odds and ends that I collect. However, these two have been propped up sitting on the end of my work table since I moved into the studio. Only one of them had a wire on it, so I had to put wire on the other in the same place and with the same length so that when they were hung separately they would hang evenly, together. You can see why they have been sitting for years untouched. I finally tackled it and they now hang on the wall. Not only do I have a few more inches to my table, but they won't ever be knocked off into the abyss behind the table ever again. :)
Above, the old verticals hang over the slider onto the deck. These verticals have been the bane of my existence since we moved in. The bottoms were connected by chains which rattled when moved, and were dirty and warped, hanging unevenly. Below, bye-bye, verticals - hello, sheers. The sheers look lovely, flowing and light. In the winter they will get switched out with curtains lined with energy efficient fabric.
We have three large windows, 80" wide and two sliders on either end of the studio. That's five curtain rods and 10 curtain panels. This was a big project, still not complete but I have all the things I need. All I have to do is add some time and sweat.

And so long as I am in the cleaning and organizing mood, I took on the spare bedroom which was our daughter, Andie's room up until January when she took an apartment of her own. I'm having family come for a weekend in two weeks, so I needed to get it finished. While only a 10' x 11' room, the bright windows, pastel yellow and open bed frame help it feel bigger. No I did not make the quilt on the bed. I had one of my pieces on the wall above the bed but sold it. I'll have to make something fun to grace the wall.
While cleaning this morning I looked out into the yard to find a brood of turkeys. There were three adult females with 6 babies, two of which were still very small. They let me get pretty close with my camera. One of the moms let go with a shake of dust and dirt and stretched her tail feathers for me, giving me a bit of the typical turkey tailfan. Then off they went slowly into the underbrush. This house has been a constant drain in upkeep of both two acres of yard and a 1980's style home needing some love and updating, but sometimes the perks are just so wonderful. I have a great studio where I can watch turkeys strut across the yard with their babies. Who could ask for more.