Classes Offered

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Weather Outside is Frightful

We woke up to a light layer of snow on the ground this morning, with more pouring down.  The sky is dark, dark, and many of the neighbors have their outdoor Christmas lights turned on.  They glow so nicely in the morning gloom.  It made me want to stay in rather than head to the pool for my morning exercise, but out I went.

The weather also made me think about this quilt I finished some weeks (months?) back.  I guess I was anticipating the winter weather even then.  I call it Winter's Promise and it is larger than many of my recent pieces, about 40" by 52".  I'm guessing a little because it is currently not in my possession. It has been traveling to a couple of different show venues.  Too bad.  Today it should be hanging on my wall to match the scene outside. At the very bottom of the quilt there is the reminder that under the soil, Spring warmth and life are just waiting their turn to re-appear.

Here is a detail of the piece.  All the layers of the background are various fabrics showing, or suggesting, snow flakes.  It was fun to dig through my collection of winter themed fabrics to make this.  Now it's time to dig through my collection of blankets!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Dress

Boy, once the wedding was over I thought life would slow down.  NOT!  So, long after the fact, here are pictures of the finished dress.  Like almost every other woman I know, I wish I was my younger, slimmer self, but all in all, I was pleased with how it came out.  I sewed on it right up to the night before the wedding.  Apparently starting 7 weeks early wasn't quite enough.  Or, perhaps it's that old adage that a job always expands to fill the time allotted.  
This has to be one of the most complicated garments I have ever made.  It required a lot of hand-basting of the lace and silk chiffon layers to each other before any construction seam could be attempted.  After that it was pretty straight forward.  It wasn't as hard as a tailored jacket but the bustier was tricky.  I kept allowing too much ease for the boning.  I had to remove the boning pockets twice, take in the seams, replace the pockets and the boning and check the fit.  I still could have made it tighter but adding a waist stay ribbon made it close enough.  I think the bustier alone took me about 3 1/2 weeks working on it off and on.
The wedding day turned out perfectly.  Even better than the dress.  We're taking it as a good omen for the rest of our days together.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wedding Dress - Sneak Peek

So blogging takes a BIG back seat these days.  Mr. Bill and I are 9 days away from our wedding.  (Deep breath!)  I have been making my wedding dress and I haven't made a garment in, probably, 7 years, and never anything NEAR as difficult as a wedding dress.  Here is the fabric, a sea foam silk chiffon, covered by a modern lace with tiny, clear paillettes scattered across the weave.  Lovely, but oh so very fussy to work on.  There has been a lot of hand basting involved, but first I started with an organic white muslin that became the dress underlining once the final fitting was determined.

I changed the original pattern a bit.  I ruched the lace layer of the center panel of the bustier.  I didn't want to add that volume all the way around, though.  On the remaining 8 sections, I ruched the silk under layer.  Since the wedding is taking place on the Oregon coast, I am taking my inspiration from the ocean.

This shows the center panel of the bustier with two side panels already attached.  The unfinished piece is the silk, gathered by hand on each edge of the section.  At this point I took my steam iron and just flattened the gathers in a irregular pattern.  I just thought about the random way waves wash up on a beach.  Then I layered the lace piece over the top and hand basted the two layers together.  After neatening up the cut edges to match the original pattern, I attached the section to the main body.  Eight of the nine seams has spiral steel boning, inserted into cotton pockets, along the length of the seam. The ninth seam, the center back, has a separating zipper hidden under a row of fabric covered buttons.  The whole garment is lined with white Bemberg rayon. 

Here's the finished bustier, with a lace bolero over the top.  I finished the edges of the bolero with the selvedge from the lace yardage.  It had a wide piece of plain netting  without the grid pattern woven into it.  I will add the same raw edge to the 3/4 length sleeve hem.  The skirt is almost finished.  I just need to tackle the yards and yards of hemline.  I think I'm avoiding it at the moment.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

More Singer Hill Cafe

This is my second piece that was in the recent show.  It is titled Riding Down the Avalanche.  It was made as part of a divorce series that I did about 4 years ago.  This one is all strips of torn silks and a few sheer polyester fabrics.  Here's a detail shot.

The show has been taken down but I hope to be in a show again at this venue.  It is quite an interesting place.  It is in the historic part of Oregon City so, besides being an historic building itself, there are many more in the surrounding blocks.  

Besides being a cafe and gallery, its other claim to fame is the living walls created by the owner.  They are truly fascinating, especially if one is at all interested in gardening.  The variety and size of the plants is beyond the normal display of succulents that most folks use when planting on a vertical surface.  Here are some examples of the living art work, both outside and inside.

If you are in the area, stop in for a great cup of coffee, bakery treat or lunch.  It's especially nice in the summertime when they roll up the old saddlery doors, literally, and the outside becomes part of the inside.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Singer Hill Cafe

Well, finally!  Blogger was being fussy about adding photos the last couple times I tried to blog so I threw my hands up and walked away.  I decided to give it a shot again today since I really have not been sitting still.

This is a shot from a recent art opening for a show at the Singer Hill Cafe, an amazing place to hang out in Oregon City.  The show was organized by Mary Arnold (in white) for members of Columbia FiberArts Guild.  It is mainly comprised of art quilts but also has a few other fiber pieces included.  I have two pieces in the show.  One is the black & brown piece blowing in the wind behind the head of Sherry Olmstead, our CFG President.  The "famous" Bonnie Bucknam is in green.  She has the honor of winning Best of Show at Quilt National this year, 2012.  My second piece is at the very left of the photo, the white swirled piece.  Here are those two pieces with a full view of each.


Well, so much for that.  Blogger will not upload the image of my second piece.  Sometimes I think it must be me, but this time I'm pretty sure it's not.  Come on, Blogger, get your act together!

Friday, February 17, 2012


Well, I came home from my class and came down with a bad cold.  So, no energy for posting until today.  Here's a sampling of my work.  Mostly good, some scary BAD.  

Above is a sketch of our first live model.  I wasn't sure how I would do, having barely ever sketched a face, much less from a live model.  This is Maris, our patient and generous "sitter".  I hope I didn't make her feel too unrecognizable.  Hey, I did good hair, right?  Nice ear?

This was homework Number 1.  A sketch from a sketch.

Sketch Number 2, again a sketch from a historical sketch.

Now lest you think I'm doing pretty good job, here's my self portrait.  Okay, keep the laughter to a lower level.  I think I will try this again sometime.  I don't think I usually look like someone ran over my favorite rose bush.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Back to Class

I'm gathering my supplies for the next three days.  it's back to drawing class with Hollis Chatelaine.  This is one of the exercises from the last day of last year's session, gesture drawing.  Hollis held a variety of poses from as short as 15 seconds to as long as a minute, no more.  We had to do fast sketches just to get the feel of the body in movement.  My 15 second sketches will never see the light of day.  30 seconds and more was good.  Here are some of my results.

This year our focus will be on portraiture.  This one could be our (my) biggest challenge yet.  If something in a face is "off" everyone sees it.  There's not a lot a wiggle room.  I'll post some of my results, but probably only the passable ones.

It's Done!

Well, almost.  I have to put the "bun feet" on it.  It also needs a little straightening.  I pulled it out of whack when I tufted it with the center button.  Should be an easy fix.  We'll see.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Just Havin' Some Fun!

I had so many projects due right before Christmas that I've been feeling a little burnt out lately.  Also, I have absolutely no looming deadlines, for a change!  (Well, only if I choose to submit to an artist call in the next month or so.)  Usually, I'm madly finishing some project or the other and thinking how am I going to get this finished, bind it, label it, make the cover bag and still get any sleep this week?  It's so nice to have a bit of a "breather".  

While I'm deciding what my next project should be, I decided to take a fun class that has be calling me for some time now.  It is a class in making a footstool, a Turban Footstool, as the class is titled.   Here is my almost finished circle.  7 of the 8 wedges are assembled and I'm auditioning which fabrics to use for the last wedge.  I made this using only leftovers from the butcher aprons I make for an annual Christmas bazaar so the fabric weight is heavier than regular quilting cotton.  It should hold up nicely over time.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


When I was at my parent's house, during the holidays, I got to revisit a piece I gave to my Mother as a Christmas present a few years ago.  At My Grandmother's Table was inspired by the life of her mother, my Grandmother, Frances Sajowic Jasbec.  She immigrated to this country in 1921, at 16 years of age, only speaking Slovenian and a bit of German.  The pieces I just created for the Small Pleasures show grew out of elements of this older piece.

Frances also loved doing needle work, mainly crochet work, but was not a quilter.  I sometimes wonder if my work was somehow influenced by watching her endlessly clicking away with needles in her hands, even if I did take a slightly different path.  She's the only person I've ever know who could crochet, perfectly, at top speed, all the while watching TV and carrying on a non-stop conversation with a room full of people.  If nothing else, I'm almost certain I got the multi-tasking gene from her side of the family.

Some of her other favorite things are on the table.  She loved red carnations, and fresh fruit, except for bananas.  She daily played a game of dice, for which I have no name.  It involved a set of dice, one of which had a skull and crossed bones on it.  Finding a set of dice like that was no easy task when I decided to create this quilt.    I have been able to reconstruct the scoring from memory.  Some day I might find out the name of the game.  

I also placed a copy of the ship manifest, showing her entry information, on the table.  In addition, I included one of her traditional cookie recipes and another of her frequent anise seed cookie creations on the dessert plate.  Lastly I hung a picture of my Grandfather, John, on the wall, the true love of her life.  John, originally it was Johann, also immigrated from Slovenia as a young man, crawling across the border under the barbed wire fencing, escaping the start of WWI.  As a poor peasant, he did not see the use in fighting for the Emperor of the the Austria-Hungarian empire.  He never saw his parents again.

The tablecloth is the traditional Broken Dishes quilt pattern.  I used that pattern as a subtle reminder of the sorrows and unfulfilled dreams that are part of every life.  I also used quite a bit of photo transfer in this piece.  The recipe, the dice, the ship's manifest, my Grandfather's picture and my Grandmother's reflection in the vase were all done using that method.

So, now for the funny story about bananas.  When she was on the ship coming to this country, they served bananas in the dining room.  She had never seen a banana before and didn't know what to do with it.  She watched everyone around her to see what to do and saw that everyone was politely peeling and eating it with a knife and a fork.  She worked her way through the process, which couldn't have been easy, cut her first slice and put it in her mouth.  Oh dear!  She didn't like it and had no choice but to chew it and swallow it as quickly as possible.  She never did learn to like bananas but I think she would see the humor of me having snuck one into her fruit bowl.