Saturday, December 23, 2006

Work in progress--upside down

I finished this painting yesterday. It's a vase I bought at the Kings Mountain Art Festival last summer, the artist carved fish into the clay so it almost looks like wood. I put some dried leaves into it and photographed it on top of a black and white plaid kitchen towel. In this picture, I have turned it upside down so I can work on the leaves--the reference photo above it is also upside down. Working this way is an excellent drawing technique as it tricks your brain, so it doesn't think of the shapes as "leaf" or "vase" but instead, sees them merely as shapes and colors.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

One last camellia

This was really the most dramatic of the camellia pictures that my son shot for me at the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena. A shaft of sunlight came through the bushes and hit this fallen flower like a spotlight. Gorgeous.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Another stupid web quiz

You Are A Cypress Tree

You are strong, adaptable, and striving to be content.
You're good at taking what life has to give - even if you don't like it.
A passionate lover who can't be satisfied, you are quick tempered at times.
You hate loneliness, want love and affection, and need to be needed.
A bit of a live wire, you love to gain knowledge any cost... and you can be careless at times.

Christmas Wreath

This Christmas wreath is my latest finished painting. The actual wreath that inspired me has artificial apples and berries mixed in with real twigs and pine cones, but I think they look real in the painting. It took about six hours to paint.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A series of squash

It's been awhile since I posted, but I have been busy painting! These are three that I completed, all the photos were taken at Farmer John's Pumpkin Farm in Half Moon Bay, a really fun place to visit during the Halloween/Thanksgiving season. The largest one, six pumpkins, is painted on watercolor board--it is illustration board with watercolor paper bonded to the surface (made by Crescent, I order it from Cheap Joe's online).

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Therese May's class at Houston

Here you can see the small quilt blocks I made in Therese May's class at the Quilt Festival in Houston. She gave us the background squares of fabric, which are nine inches square. Then I cut out fish from another fabric she provided, and fused them on along with some wiggly yellow pieces that look vaguely like seaweed.

Then the fun began--painting the heck out of it! I used squeeze bottles to paint edges around all the fused pieces, then a brush to dab spots of paint all over the squares. I think the paint really unifies them so it does not look like pieces of fabric stuck on top of a background. The closeup shows one fish square on a black background.

The link is to a fun knitting web site I just found! Check it out.

I also made four skull necklace blocks. These need outlining to bring out the necklace shapes--they are lost among all the paint dabs. This was tons of fun! Now, what do I do with seven fish and four skulls???

Here you go--two new photo quilts

Last night I printed and sewed together these two small quilts, one using the picture of the spiral bricks, the other using the blurry trees. I added thin borders of a graduated gray/black fabric. All ready for quilting! At the Houston show, I ordered a Handi Quilter "sit down" long arm machine--instead of long rails to hold the quilt, it is set into a table just like a regular sewing machine, except the machine is facing me instead of sideways. I hope to finish many more quilt tops using this new machine! But first, I have to move two bookshelves out of my sewing room to make space for it.

Monday, November 13, 2006

More Photo Quilts

I went to the big quilt show in Houston, took a lot more photos, and am now working on two more quilts. You can see the photos here. Look promising? The next blog will show you the finished quilts (I hope).

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Living in Paris

Living in Paris

I have decided that my dream is to live in Paris someday. This book (click on the text link above to see it on Amazon) looks like a good one--I have already read several on this topic.

Also, my Yellow Leaves at Tahoe quilt will be published in a book next year by C&T Publishing! The title will be "Innovative Fabric Imagery." They held a contest and I sent three pictures, they chose the Yellow Leaves piece (an excellent choice.) I posted it earlier, but I'll save you the time of digging through my past blogs and show it here again.

A local gallery has agreed to take this quilt and a couple of others to see if this kind of work will sell. Since this one needs to go to C&T for photography, I am making another one to go in the gallery. The gallery owner wants me to "tone down" the borders, so I am remaking "Reflections" and "Ft. Mason," also--she liked my architectural images better than the flowers. Here's a link to the gallery web site:

Sunday, October 08, 2006

What kind of yarn am I?

What kind of yarn are you?

You are Shetland Wool. You are a traditional sort who can sometimes be a little on the harsh side. Though you look delicate you are tough as nails and prone to intricacies. Despite your acerbic ways you are widely respected and even revered.
Take this quiz!

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Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Out here in pumpkin land

Where I live, pumpkins rule. Every fall there is a huge Pumpkin Festival. It is fun to see the bright orange orbs appearing in fields all around town. Yesterday we went to Farmer John's, because he has the weirdest pumpkins and squash--his wife imports seeds from all over the world. Here's a picture I shot of his field (yes, there is a teepee in the background.)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Second Ft. Mason

Okay, the first picture is NOT Ft. Mason. It is an old appliqued baby quilt top that I bought at an antique store in Social Circle, near Atlanta. (Yes, there is really a town called Social Circle, it's very cute.) Many years ago, I bought one similar to this at a garage sale in Los Angeles. The applique was almost done, so I hand quilted the top. I was thinking I might do the same thing with this one, but it's too I will donate it to an auction. (It only cost $15.)

The second picture is a smaller version of the first photo quilt I made, which is shown way back in the beginning of this blog. This new one is smaller, and printed on smooth cotton fabric instead of textured polyester.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

My pirate name

My pirate name is:

Captain Mary Vane

Even though there's no legal rank on a pirate ship, everyone recognizes you're the one in charge. You tend to blend into the background occaisionally, but that's okay, because it's much easier to sneak up on people and disembowel them that way. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Hawaiian scrap quilts

When we were in Hawaii earlier this summer, I bought a package of scraps at a fabric store. They came in handy when I needed a backing for the small Camperdown Elm quilts I posted a few days ago (bottom photo). And I also got the urge to stitch some of them into this small quilt top (top photo). Not sure what I will do with it--nobody I know is having babies. It may be donated to the SFQG auction in November.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Reflections on a quilt show

The photo for this unquilted top was taken at the San Francisco Quilters Guild show in 2005. I was sitting on the patio, turned around and saw the reflections in the window. The vertical red and blue design you can see repeated are some banners that were already in the building, but there is a quilt visible, it's darker so may not show up in this picture well. My daughter already did a watercolor painting from this photo, so it has been very useful!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Camperdown Elm

This is the unquilted top for the big Camperdown Elm quilt. The blended border fabric is something I picked up in Atlanta, the perfect greens for this quilt. I will not use basting spray anymore--it gets all over my sewing room (my new ruler needs to be cleaned already). But I'm liking iron-on fleece instead of batting.

Games People Play

A Quiltnet member asked me to print a piece of fabric for her to make a bag that her parents can keep their Scrabble pieces in. I shot a photo of my scrabble board, and this reminded me that the San Francisco Quilters Guild is having a challenge for our next quilt show, and the theme is "Games People Play." So I quickly set up the Scrabble board, this time with more words on it (I got the words from a watercolor painting I saw at the recent Sausalito Art Festival). It's about 20 inches square.

The two smaller quilts are each 12 inches square: the quilt with color dots on the edges is mine, the other one will be donated to the SAQA auction at the annual meeting in 2007. These are made from the same picture of the Camperdown Elm, a cool tree at Filoli Gardens. I accidentally printed two sheets of fabric the wrong size for the Camperdown quilt I am making (photo coming soon!) so I was happy to find a way to use them in these small quilts. I just cut both pictures in half and reunited the halves (two bottoms and two tops). Interesting, huh?

Monday, August 21, 2006

One more photo quilt

Almost forgot to post this one--It's a plant that I saw at Huntington Gardens in Los Angeles when I visited there earlier this year. This place is wonderful, a gorgeous museum, library with really old books, and acres of gorgeous gardens. (

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Lots o' fotos

I finished up several small photo quilts just before I went on vacation, but didn't have time to post them. So here goes: "Filoli Trellis" (white flowers, brick wall) has some machine stitching to emphasize the shapes of the vines as they didn't stand out enough when printed. I did this before it was quilted. "Frank's Garden" (pink, green, and white) is a photo my cousin sent to me of a vine in his back yard. "Eucalyptus" is a shot I took at the Inn at Squaw Creek when I was attending Art Quilt Tahoe there last year. And "Hawaiian Flowers" is the photo I posted earlier of a picture I took at the zoo in Waikiki. These are all small--each print is about 8 x 10 after it is sewn. "Hawaiian Flowers" has only four prints, the others have more.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Rob Holland's bathroom

Many years ago, I went to Atlanta and met some quilters there. One of them, Rob Holland, posted a story about me on his web site. It is still there ( I met him for lunch on my recent trip to Atlanta, and before I left, took this shot of his bathroom. I have no idea why the tub is filled with beads--you'll have to ask him that!

Too much traveling

Sorry it's been so long--I have been doing a lot of traveling. First to Atlanta, then to Napa. But I am home now, at least for awhile. This is a professional photo of my Ft Mason quilt which was taken by Luke Mulks, who did a fine job. He works for C&T Publishing, which prints a lot of quilt books, so he has lots of experience and very reasonable rates. You can contact him by email at I'll post more pictures after I get them off my digital camera.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Mom and daughter watercolors

Two new art works for your viewing pleasure today--the shark picture is by my daughter, Jemma (you can see more of her work on our joint web site, This piece is now hanging in the Foster City Community Center show. It's not a very new painting, but it sure looks cute in the show.

The leaf picture is the one I showed you recently "in progress"--I finished it this weekend. It's a large one, about 30 inches by 40 inches. After I painted the entire thing, I had to paint over the background areas with a light purple glaze to give it more depth. That took awhile!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Painting in progress

I went to a painting workshop in Sonoma last weekend, and decided to start a new, smaller painting as the huge leaf painting is just too large to lug around. Here is a picture of it "in progress"--you can see that it's like filling in the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. I do small areas at a time, and try to at least get enough painted so I can concentrate on the shapes, not just the outlines.

Two Roses

Before I got into my "dried leaves" painting series, I did a lot of flowers and shells, on white and spattered backgrounds. This is one of the spattered backgrounds. I drew the roses from life, instead of taking a photo first like I do now. This meant I had to paint it in one session before the roses wilted.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

New work

Now you can see a large watercolor "in progress"--I took a photo of these leaves on the ground at the Honolulu Zoo. Enlarged them on my computer and then transferred the design using Saral paper (it's like carbon paper--you put it on top of the blank paper, put the photocopy on top, and trace the shapes.)

The little photo quilt is boxes of flowers I saw on a tour of Oku nursery in Pescadero a couple of years ago. I was amazed at the bright colors all lined up so neatly, ready to be shipped. ( This year's tour is July 15, you can choose which nurseries and farms you want to see. Info at (

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Hawaii rocks!

This flower picture (taken at the Waikiki Zoo) will definitely end up in a photo quilt, as soon as my order arrives from Color Textiles. I have used up my first 30 sheets of their cotton sheeting fabric already.

Our trip to Hawaii was fun, although sadly, I lost my precious journal. Maybe it will be returned, as my address was in it. I got some great photos and nearly finished a new watercolor painting. Also tried ocean snorkeling for the first time, I could get good at it if I lived somewhere that has warm water (the ocean near my house is freezing cold, the surfers wear wet suits).

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Newspaper publicity

I was just reading the paper and suddenly realized the quilt in this article (also online at looked very familiar--it is one of the pieces in the Half Moon Bay show! I sent the photo and some info about the show to the columnist about a month ago. She did not call me, but it looks like she either saw the article in the Half Moon Bay Review this week, or read my web site. Maybe both. Anyway, the quilt is not mine but I am mentioned in the article.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Just finished another painting

You are seeing this painting just minutes after I finished it. My son took the photo of the camellia at Huntington Gardens in Pasadena after my camera battery died. This is the second painting I've done from pictures he shot that day. This is painted on 20 x 24 inch paper, just to give you an idea of the size.

I also got the Ft. Mason top back from the quilter, so I just need to trim it out and add the binding. The woman who machine quilted it was worried the unusual fabric (a nubby polyester) might be difficult to work on, but she had no problems. I think it will be worth paying for a professional photo of that one, since it is quite large (60 inches square).

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The quilt show is up

I spent a couple of hours today, helping install a show of work by the California Fiber Artists, a group I have mentioned before in this blog. The local paper has already done an article about this show, the link is:

The picture is my quilt, "Adam and Eve," which I made just for this show. The theme is "Naked Truth: Fiber Transformations," so I printed two Rubens drawings from the web onto fabric and designed the quilt around them.

You Are an Espresso

At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic

At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung

You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping

Your caffeine addiction level: high