Archive for January, 2014

Morphing Santas into Wizards

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

santaThe Recycle Santa pattern was the result from using some small Pendelton wool scraps that I bought from the flea market in Santa Fe years ago. I also had vintage wool serapes with moth holes and old ethnic clothing scraps that are full of hand quilting and stitchery. It was all too interesting to through away so I created 40 or 50 Santas from the scraps. I sold them all last year.

So, this year, for Christmas open house, I sorted through my exotic cloth doll making fabrics for new silks and woven textiles to make more Santas.

purplesantsThis purple Santa has a tall hat with a wreath hanging in a crook. Chinelle stems were sewn to the top of the head before the hat was added. That way the hats could be bent into interesting shapes.

sarapesantaThis little serape Santa holds a glass fish, sports tourquiose beads for buttons and stands by a sea shell pincushion.

tealsantaThis batiked silk Santa’s hat is so long that he looks like a wizard. So I gave him an ivy wreath so that he is not so Christmasy.

santa1I just couldn’t stop making the Santa/wizards. This one has a twig for a staff. He looks like a forest elf.

santapumpkinsSo I am not ready to quit creating these cloth dolls yet. Here are some wizards and Santas among some  wild & crazy pumpkin pincushions  on display with our exotic ribbons and trims.

This creative spurt was so much fun!


Morphing Pumpkins

Monday, January 13th, 2014


I just love to sculpt these little pumpkin pincushions. I create them from stretchy fabrics such as knit, batik rayon, wool, and my favorite velvet. Last fall when I went shopping for pumpkin fabrics, most of the orange stretchy fabrics were found in the evening gown/dressmaking/bridal section of the fabric stores.

The smaller pumpkins have real twigs and felt leaves. The larger ones have wool and felt stems and leaves. I even started to put chinelle stems into the stems so they could be twisted like a real pumpkin stem.


I always put pumpkins from the farmer’s market on the front porch.  Well, the morphing started after Thanksgiving.


I just did not want to stop making the pincushions, so I did a series of heirloom tomato pincushions from some scraps of batik rayon. The tops have button stacks, flowers with felt beads and weird leaves & stems made from wool felt.


I even made some black pincushions with purple and green flower tops from some old rayon clothing.  A red rayon tomato pincushios lurks with the black ones.


Wool pumpkins are displayed with a wool Santa on top of the Valdini  crosheen.

pincushionjarThe next thing you know, mini pumpkin stacks started appearing on top of the pimento jar wine glass. (Created by Iris & Derrill Johnson.) I put an entire box of nice quilter’s pins inside the pimento jar to create a creative gift item.  The jar lid is covered using the sticky backed batik  from the Grandma.s Button Jar pattern.

pincushion 1Next, the pincushions began popping up in more tea cup wine glasses.


mothercupHere is a “Mother” themed tea cup wine glass complete with the matching saucer.

raspberry wine cup

This raspberry china cup wine glass is my favorite. The hand painted china cup is very thin and delicate and the stem is cut glass.

cup5We have a nice selection of variations on the wine glass theme in the shop. There are too many to post.

Anyway, working in a series often take me down many creative side trails. It is so much fun to explore the multimedia crossovers that occur when experimenting in the studio!




Friday, January 10th, 2014


I have always loved birds and used their images in my work. I never thought much about the symbolism or meaning of using bird images. They were just pretty shapes and colors like flowers  which I used in designing quilts. But then the soft sculpted birds appeared after a teaching trip to the Yellow Bird quilt shop. (Yellow Bird is closed now, but the shop was one of the Better Homes & Garden’s top 10 quilt shops.)

Every morning, on the way to the shop’ we would hit a bird. By the third day, we were really wondering what was going on for us to kill so many birds in a short time. There were too many for it to be a coincidence.  My hostess is a very wise and intuitive woman and when I wondered about the significance of these incidents, she had an insight the last day of my visit. My birds are a symbol for spirituality.

I have been conscious of the spiritual meaning of birds ever since.

Well, this year the theme for our Art Girl’s 2013  Holiday Open House was Birds.  I made a wire tree full of individual birds which were inspired by Julia Bordeman’s paper birds from last year)


These birds are from the Flock Of Wrens pattern. (another story of the inspiration in a different post…)


Garlands of birds already hang all over the shop. These blackbirds are created from a new collection of black and yellow fabric.

I commissioned stained glass birds to hang in the north window. I made more fabric wrens in bright fabrics to hang in the front window. I hund a string of bird lights in the class room.


Last fall, on a birthday visit to see Mom in Kansas, I collected a bunch of 1950’s era ceramic birds. I scattered them all over the shop. This pink and gray planter is filled with cuts of the latest Art Gallery fabric collection.


A yellow bird planter was turned into a pincushion. The scrap of silk from dollmaking was a perfect match for this piece.


Evergreen stems were nestled in and around the ceramic birds. This Victorian display features retro tins, old pearl buttons and a fabric wallet by Ursula.


An orange bird roosts among a collection of fabric pumpkin pincushions. (Pattern available…)


More birds displaying stilletos and point turners…


It may not be a coincidence that my kitchens always have a rooster theme. Here is a rooster created from the new batiks that I designed for Clothworks.



Now I am doing roosters using antique quilt blocks for the background.