Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

My Message

June 22, 2020

Jill Lublin spoke at the latest virtual Tri-Valley Writers program with a discussion of publicity – how to use it, how to get it, how to create it. She emphasized that we need to focus on our message a little more than our book(s), because the message will generate interest in people most likely to become our readers.

Like most wonderful advice, there is a huge catch. You first have to identify your message. Sad to say, “My invisible friends yakked at me until I wrote their stories” is not sufficient for your message. Nor is “I had this idea for a cool title and wrote a story to fit it.” Ditto for “Why can’t we have a world where prairie dogs tap dance wearing top hats?”

I guess I’ll spend this summer thinking about who I am and how that can become a message. Perhaps that will encourage me to get back to editing, in hopes I can find something useful in the pages of my novel.

Luck and wisdom!

Nightmare Catcher

June 17, 2020

I expected to bead this project for many weeks. Although it is small, I had no plan for the embellishments other than putting the bat charm on a fringe of some sort. By the end of the first beading session, however, it was clear the project would take on a life of its own. When I finished the border rows, I wasn’t even thinking in my own voice. I’d pick up a container of beads and yes or no would echo in my head. It seemed appropriate for a piece that is meant to capture the nightmares of 2020, so I let the work talk to me until I heard I’m done.

Luck and wisdom!

My Quilt of the Year

June 10, 2020

The Challenge Group project this time was to find a tool or pattern we had bought long ago and never used, then make a quilt with it. I had acquired a yo-yo maker, possibly last year or the year before, and it was still in the original packaging. I made a few yo-yos and thought they might do well as embellishments for a crazy quilt. Then I saw a chart in the latest National Geographic magazine comparing past epidemics with the current one. The graphic they used to represent the death toll of the various diseases looked very like a yo-yo. “Self,” I said, “you can use this.” I disassembled a dream catcher and tacked it to a gingko batik that I had painted over long ago, then added some yo-yos. Since I intend to bead the daylights out of this there’s no telling when it will be finished. I call it Nightmare Catcher for 2020.

Luck and wisdom!

Changing Plans, Again

May 27, 2020

I guess 2020 is all about changing plans, shifting gears, finding the work arounds. I made a bunch of blocks that I thought would make a lovely baby quilt. I had used the pattern before, but I didn’t check it before starting to sew. Oh, stop laughing. The blocks are fine, they just don’t go together the way I thought they would. Since I’m making quilts for our guild’s Community Quilts program, I separated the blocks sorta kinda maybe by color and searched my stash for fabric to go with them.

The good news is I’m reducing my stash, which was my goal in 2020. The better news is I’ll get at least three baby quilts out of those blocks. The remaining blocks may not go into one project easily, but I’ll find a used for them eventually.

Luck and wisdom!

Good Luck Charms

May 20, 2020

My friend Margaret Misegades sent me this candle for quilters. I think it makes a wonderful addition to my good luck charms. As any artist or crafter will tell you, there are times when we need all the help we can get. I’ve collected good luck charms of many sorts, because I seem to need help more often than I would like to admit. There was a time when I tried to put my collection in one place, but then I got distracted. This is what my personal altar looks like now.

It occurred to me that some of my good luck charms might prefer to work alone, or in secret, so now I don’t feel bad about having them scattered around the sewing room. Perhaps they will reveal themselves, perhaps they will be happy to lurk in the shadows. As long as they hear my cries for relief, or inspiration, or just a pretty thread that doesn’t break on me at inopportune moments, I’ll be grateful.

Luck and wisdom!

Beginning A Memory Quilt

April 29, 2020

I decided to save the scraps of batiks I am using to make masks for a project for me. While I have been writing in my journal every day, there’s nothing like a quilt to evoke good memories. The fabrics don’t always agree with each other, so chances are I’ll make either a mosaic or an updated version of a crazy quilt. Luckily, I have stuff for that.

The batiks might not play well with much of my satin and velvet collection, but I’ll certainly have enough of something lovely for a backing.

If I decide hand embroidering batiks isn’t as much fun as it sounds, I can always use ribbon instead. There is plenty to choose from just in the bins I can reach. Heaven only knows what I could find if I really put my mind to it.

Luck and wisdom!

Unexpected Victories

March 18, 2020

This is a quilt I made as a class sample but never finished because I didn’t know how I wanted to quilt it. I no longer teach the class, so there wasn’t much incentive to put it at the top of the pile. Well, it worked its way up. “Self,” I said, “just start quilting. The pattern will reveal itself.” I decided to let the fabric tell me what it wanted, which worked fine until I got to the vegetable appliques. Since the fusible interfacing was well past its prime, I had to do something fast just to keep the fabric in place. I decided to make little circles all around the pieces, with the intention of incorporating them into a more interesting design later on.

When I finished with the circles, I realized they were interesting enough on their own. These unexpected victories give me the courage to dive deeper into the unfinished quilts pile. You never know when something wonderful will surface.

Happy anniversary, Mom!

When The Fabric Speaks

March 4, 2020

One of my friendship groups wanted to experiment with fused applique, making small projects that would allow us to explore color and shape without investing too much time and fabric. To make it more interesting, we each assembled a packet of five fabrics that we would trade at the meeting. I liked all the fabrics in the packet I received, but didn’t have the first clue how to work with them. I stared at my collection while my friends were busy cutting theirs. “Self,” I said, “pick up the scissors and get to work.” I chopped here, snipped there, and ended up with this.

A river in a canyon

Once I put the pieces on my felt rectangle, I saw a river at the bottom of a canyon. “Landscapes it is,” I announced. Since no one objected – even my hypercritical internal editor – I continued.

Disconnected rivers?

The subsequent pieces flowed from the first. To avoid overthinking the end product, I let the fabric guide my scissors, and chance dictate which shape or color was fused first.


Once I had half of the felt covered, I allowed myself to make choices about what would go next. I also allowed myself to decide how the colors might go together based on the variegated embroidery floss that I just happened to have bought on impulse earlier in the week.

I’m not sure if I want these landscapes to be of alien worlds or of our possible future if we don’t start taking care of the planet. That decision will come when I break out the bead box, and listen to what the fabric tells me.

Luck and wisdom!

Leave Your Ribbons At The Door

February 17, 2020

That is, leave your desire to be universally applauded aside when you join a critique group. I am in two fabulous writing critique groups, and three equally fabulous quilt friendship groups that act as critique groups. The members all bring their best work, but understand that what appeals to one person may leave another cold. That doesn’t mean the work has no value. One of the best parts of bringing my creations to these groups is that even if they don’t speak to someone, the response I get will be more along the lines of a question than a complaint. I might be asked what I intended, or gently advised there could be two ways to read the sentence, or queried about the light in my studio because that pink square sure looks orange now. This is feedback I can use. If what I thought was on the page isn’t really there, I need to rewrite. On the other hand, if I want to be obscure then I’d jolly well better own it.

As far as the pink fabric really being orange, I’m pleading the fifth.

Luck and wisdom!

Daydreams of Quilt Patterns

February 12, 2020

One of the best parts of getting a boatload of quilt magazines is finding fun patterns. I like to save quilting patterns, like the little bird pictured above, for that elusive perfect project. So far, the patterns I’ve saved haven’t been exactly what I need (well, maybe one or two). I finally realized the examples in the magazines use pearl cotton on solids, which is not what I typically use in my quilts.

Turns out my fabric stash is stuffed with prints that absorb most quilt designs. I’ve always felt a little guilty about letting the fabrics dictate the quilting, until this one. It’s another charity quilt, made from some coastal village-scape fabric that I don’t remember buying, and a maritime-themed stripe that I do. I could almost hear the sound of surf against seawalls, which prompted me to say, “Self, quilt simple waves.”

The wave turned into a squiggle, but it still seems both watery and energetic. I’m not distressed that the fabric absorbs most of the design, and I’m certain whoever receives it won’t be either.

Luck and wisdom!