Friday, November 29, 2013

Visit to a Craft show

We three visited the big Sugarloaf Craft Show last weekend. It's one of the few around here that do not discriminate against dogs, and Cole loves to go with us. He has always been a shopper. He looks at all shelves, he visits with people who (obviously) came there to see him. He is right there next to us when we test the maple syrup and cheeses. The show is held at the Fairgrounds so the smells must be fantastic to a poodle's nose, evidenced by his near constant sniffing.

These mugs are our first purchase of the day.
We love Michael Natale's mugs and already have two. We do NOT need another coffee mug, but the grace and colors are too hard to resist.  When it was time for a rest, the husband and poodle tried out the rockers. As soon as the two of them got, er, off their rockers, we moved on...
to purchase a dress done with bleach discharge. I tried it on right there in front of God and everybody, and it looked so cool, three other women bought one like it. Drew bought two pair of alpaca wool socks, and Cole dithered over another dog bowl
These were so cute but he decided to spend his allowance at the gourmet dog treat store, BARK!, coming later in the evening.
There was a lot of jewelry shopping going on, the kind where a dog can't even SEE the merchandise, but eventually we stopped in to visit with a photographer extraordinaire, Bruce Bozman from NY. 

We enjoyed a wonderful few minutes interviewing him and learning about his process.
 His work is colorful, abstract, visually textured and very Quilt-like to me. High praise!
The idea came to him when he saw dripping against the hull of a boat, with the sun just right. Ahh, living the creative life. Cole got some serious petting, and caught a few zzzzzz's while we chatted.
We bought some roasted chestnuts to fortify us all, enjoying the warmth on a cold day.
This is a fabric artist going by the name Seeing in Fabric, Jamie Langhoff. I had a great time talking to her about her creative process too.Unlike me, she keeps it neat in the studio or she can't work. Like me, she must keep control of  unlimited ideas coming to her all the time, enough to sit down and actually make them! We also both agree that dealing with computers is a pain, even though she is a young thing. It's not a short-coming. It's just who we are. From what I could see, she works with basic sewing supplies and machine, and turns out works of art.

It was somewhere about 4:30 that the check poodle light came on and a nap was called for. No argument from Drew who had been hauling around our purchases, the dog, and me. I looked at more jewelry while this was going on. Last stop for ToffeHouse yummy toffee drizzled with chocolate and nuts. What a worthwhile indulgence.

 As night approached, we moved on to... listen to the angels singing....mecca. The Container Store.
When we get that close to Rockville, we have to go by TCS. As all crafters know, we could be brilliantly organized if only we had the right plastic containers.
 Then on to BARK! for venison treats for Cole, picked up dinner to go and dragged our selves home.

I am so glad Drew enjoys or at least tolerates my love of craft shows, and the artist interviews I do. It's all part of the package.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

I could eat...

We are three for dinner. Even though our family is small, we planned a traditional meal of turkey breast, roasted vegetables, zucchini casserole, home made cranberry sauce, citrus salad I always had as a child, and some pie.
Cole is having some white fish, and green beans in his kibble. He is highly allergic to turkey, so he has to smell it all day with his trained poodle nose, and then eat fish.

I made citrus salad last night. I grew up in Florida, with lots of oranges and grapefruits because my father worked in the industry. I took them for granted, as you will in times of plenty, but up here in the North a grapefruit costs the better part of a dollar a piece. I section grapefruits and navel oranges, mix in fresh pineapple, coconut, bananas, and maraschino cherries.
The whole time I am peeling the fruit, I'm thinking, don't cut your hand.... like a mantra. I got to the last orange before I cut my hand. Not badly, just a reminder of what could have been.

The sketch of Cole is my on-going attempt to develop a style of drawing. I decided to accept  this kind of whimsical child-like drawing I do, and to embrace it. I yam what I yam and it's fine with me.

We are thankful to have each other, a home and food. I am thankful for TV movies although they make me long for a close family. We are thankful it stopped raining. I am thankful for my sewing supplies and you who read what I write.

 I am thankful to be a creative soul that sees exciting possibilities for art in every day life. We have a lot to do around the house this weekend, including the monthly grooming of the poodle, horrors! but we might take a moment to visit the Smithsonian museums as it's another tradition with us. What are your traditions?

Love to those of you reading my words...
please scroll down for pictures of a quilt, and pin cushions I finished, thanks!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

And the winners are...

picture from costume works
What fun to have so many new visitor to Not Afraid of Color!! I hope you all come back sometime to read what's happening around here.  There is a lot more to come, watch for interview with an artist videos coming soon. The connection project will begin in the new year. The regular posts will return now that the hop is finished.

Speaking of which, I decided to have not just one drawing but all three! I am feeling especially thankful for my new readers, and hope you love your pin cushions.  Give them a good home with lots of fabric and sewing supplies. Take them along on retreats, and please send me a picture of them in your studio.

The winner of the bird, "Fly" is  Turid from Norway!
The winner of the mouse"Imperfection" is Deb at Simple life
The winner of the fabric hound is Kay in the UK
Congrats! I'll be mailing them out next week.
 If I don't hear from these lucky winners in the next day or two, the alternate names will win.

For those of you who want to make your own, these are links to the pattern sites
The mouse is from Bustle and Sew, link
The dog is from Allsorts, link
The bird is from spool   I added a few features, such as bead feet so it stands freely, and stuffed, turned quilted wings, and embellishments. I painted the body as well.

 The give away was so much fun I'm considering doing it at random several times a year, so please keep  in touch and keep reading our antics.LeeAnna

Monday, November 25, 2013


In honor of Thanksgiving week, let's resume the Creativity Roadblocks series next Monday with
"Comparing yourself your QUILTS to other's"  Please check back and make comments.

The picture above is one of my pine needle paintings cut out of the painted strip,( to see the tutorial post CLICK HERE) and appliqued onto an exchange square. I randomly couched thick threads and left edges raw, added some bugle beads and the word Gratitude embellished with some gold paint. It is in the hands of one of my bee mates now...
I have pictures of three others to share with you later.

If you are in the Thankful Give Away blog hop please scroll down for my give away.

Thanks for visiting and y'all come back again later!  I have posts in line for after the hop, such as Wine Tasting party, Trip to a BIG craft show with artist interviews, Roadblocks series continues, and another sketch-like-a-four-year-old.
LeeAnna, grateful for visitors reading my words!

Quilting Gallery ( Click here for participant list)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Give away day two

Hey!! Where are you going??
Welcome to all the people hopping from blog to blog in today's give away Thankful give away hop
This is Cole. He is worried you will forget where we are when the hop is over.
He's a very social dog, and loves the arts. He ATE one of my watercolor paintings a bit back.
He knows what he likes.

Calm his fears of you losing your way, sign up for email notices, or some kind of reminder to return and visit again with us. I think you can sign up under subscribe to posts on the side, or follow.

I am having fun looking at everyone's blog, and my style is to immediately start looking at their pages along the top, my faves are tutes and studios!  Then I go to the give away and comment. I hope you check out some of the labels/pages at our place too. 
Looking for the giveaway... keep scrolling down to yesterday's post... see you again soon

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Want a pincushion?? Who doesn't!

Stick it to 'em

 I have been blogging now for approximately six months and it's time to celebrate! I have a lot to learn about it, but just starting and keeping it going was a challenge for me. I am ever grateful for people reading my words and making thoughtful comments.

I try to write a 5 minute article every other day. It would make me so happy if you signed up to receive it daily...I'd do a happy dance!!

 I would like to gift one of you with your choice of pin cushions. I have three for you to choose from... the "FLY" hand-painted and beaded bird, the cutest mouse called "choose imperfection" or the "Fabric Hound" with multi-colored felt body, hand embroidery and a few beads. He will help you choose your next fabric.

If you would like to win a studio mascot, made by my own two hands, please leave a comment saying which one of these lovelies you'd like to win.

And thank you for choosing my blog for your reading pleasure. May I suggest the labels: creativity roadblocks click here, just plain silly lookie here, or the pages at the top if you are new around here.

love, good luck,
quilting gallery giveaway link

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

here's looking at you...

(c) Pat Crisfield
I am in love with praying mantis. My friend Pat has an ongoing relationship with this one lasting the entire summer. She has lots of wonderful pictures, and developed a story about her. I am including two of her video links to the ongoing story. Enjoy them HERE  and HERE TOO

Let me tell you about my friend Pat. She was my 'plane buddy' on the flight home from Houston this year. I chose the seat because she was small, the flight was full, and she was smiling up at me not avoiding my look.
She turned out to be so entertaining I didn't even feel scared to fly. She and I chatted the whole time, she is aces at Ancestry research and offered to help me locate my birth parents. She and I laughed over pet stories. She did a blog once about the antics of a stuffed bear she made. Her DH said, when I met him at luggage pick up later, that the bear had more clothes than the both of them! After the trip, I feared she would forget me, but emailed and continued a lovely friendship. I used to be painfully shy, and never spoke to strangers. A date once told me that was a waste of time, and he was right. You never know when you'll meet the next great friend!

Anyway, I learned a bit about Mantis, such as they enjoy a butterfly meal, what their egg sac looks like, and what they look like up close. I have a quilt drawn out 5 years ago at least, that includes a P.M. and I'm excited to dig out the plans and work on it. You never know where you'll get the next great idea.

Love to Pat, LeeAnna

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

And Speaking of Fabric...

The video describes how fabric design is accomplished by Patrick Lose. I understand a bit more about the cost of fabric now... I was cross about the price skyrocketing a year or so ago but was told that cotton became scarce. The price has not dropped now that the cotton is available again. Patrick describes his part in fabric design. If the video doesn't load for you, this is the link VIDEO
And just for laughs, here is a video on what people thought clothing would be in the year, gasp, 2,000
(the link is CLICK HERE )
Okay, tomorrow, get ready for some praying mantis pictures from my plane buddy Pat....
LeeAnna   not wearing a beehive hairdo

Monday, November 18, 2013

Avalanche! Creativity Roadblocks 8

Can we ever have too much fabric? Too many spools of thread, too many books, too many rulers? If we do have too much, are we ever willing to get rid of our supplies? I know it's possible... but I collected all that stuff because I wanted all that stuff. That stuff caries with it the promise of possibility.
I have been sewing all my life, and collecting fabric almost as long. I seldom turn down free fabric. It's hard to walk past a deal on batiks. Therefore, I am drowning in fabric at the moment. 

Can having too much stuff interrupt creativity? You'll have to ask yourself if you have organized it into a usable form. Ask yourself if you like things tidy and put behind closed doors, or if you are stimulated by seeing the raw materials scattered around you. You'll have to decide for yourself how you best work.

I know, you are reading this to get an answer, but like so much of life, the answers really do lie within. Know yourself and know what you need.  As for me, I need both hidden supplies, and scattered supplies. I like having a lot of fabric, but the care and feeding of it is time consuming and a challenge to finding just the right one for a project. It's why I like going to retreats, I only have a usable portion in front of me, and have to make do. It's what my grandmother did, she cut up old clothes and made do. She didn't have to worry about making too many choices as she used scraps. That's sewing, but when we consider the idea of creativity, it's different. We can all sew. What we want to do is come up with the Next Great Quilt.

When I make color choices, I pull out the that drawer of fabrics to choose. I don't go shopping anywhere but in the stash. I feel there must be a critical mass for supplies. Like goldilocks, it has to be just right. There has to be enough to choose from but not so much that you have no idea what you own. Only you know if there is too much and it's getting in your way, or if you need an outbuilding behind the house for storage!

This is a happy problem, isn't it?
other roadblock posts CLICK HERE

Friday, November 15, 2013

Finished Thankful-ly!

I'm in a sewing bee of adventurous women. 
We exchanged  little 6 inch quilts this week. The theme was thankfulness in honor of Thanksgiving.
There were 12 of us, so we needed to finish 12 blocks. I made about 25 because they were so much fun. (You see 11 here because one person didn't finish in time)

Like any creative challenge, each person interpreted the theme their own way. Llift the tablecloth on the middle one, there is a dog under it. Under that one,  "my hero", was in a group showing what the maker was personally thankful for.
The one below is alone because it was easier to photo nine. 
I haven't decided which of the ones I kept will go into this collection, or how I will display them.
What do you think?
 I might keep them as a flip book, putting grommets in to link them. I might hang them joined somehow as a wall hanging.
They are a connection to my friends.
This is one of the 11 that I gave away in the exchange. Each one was unique but my theme was painted trees and words.  It is reverse stenciled, the words joy, peace, love, art, and grow written in pen, and hand beaded with bugle beads,  and has couched threads. I shadowed the tree with prismacolor pencils
I'll show you my entire group later... hope you are making something fun today!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Speaking to guilds, making new friends

 Speaking to guilds is one of my favorite things to do.

I like connections and connection stories. The latest guild presentation felt like speaking to friends. The Four County Quilt Guild in Mt Airy MD invited me to speak to them about "Story Quilts" since that is their challenge this year. I happen to love story quilts, and stories, and most of my quilts are made with a story in mind even if it's only in my mind.

 I had a great time writing the lecture, researching the concepts before hand, and in general had many interesting conversations with friends and neighbors about their favorite stories. I asked non quilters what their favorite story would look like visually, and to a person, they all stroked their collective chins, looked off to the side, and thoughtfully said how they would do it. They all said, what an interesting question!

It is interesting, because stories are interesting. People have a long history of sharing stories, and quilters are people too. As I spoke to the members about how to choose a story to tell and the decisions they will make along the way I watched their  expressions as they began to imagine their stories taking shape. There was an energy in the air, as the possibilities began to present themselves. I felt real connections forming between us.

The funny thing is, I now want to watch as these quilts become real, to be there when these quilters start the process of decision making that eventually leads to a finished artwork. This quilt, that will tell their story.
I encouraged them to email me and keep in touch.

As the connections grew between us in that short hour, I also felt friendships growing, and that's why I love to speak to guilds.
Y'all keep in touch, ya hear?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Shop hop

I would love to attribute this to the graphic designer but saw it on this blog Teatime... click here by one of my Houston dinner companions. I am laughing out loud this morning because the local shop hop is going on, and yesterday I visited the shop Patches in Mt Airy, MD and bought-more-fabric. I am not totally sure I can even squeeze more fabric in the studio! When will I ever use all this fabric, and why can't I stop buying more?? I lay the fault at the designers making such fabulous artwork on fabric these days that we just HAVE to HAVE it! There is also the chance it will not get used because it's too special.
Is there a name for this condition? Apparently I need an intervention, stop me before I buy again...
you might also enjoy the label organization... fabric

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Audition for bling!

 I've been making stuff. Really exciting stuff to share later.
This is the pile of embellishments including the scrapbooking rhinestone brads shown left.
I like to just empty out the box, then root through to pick just the right one. This is not a time for neatness!  This is is an audition for bling. I haven't even shown you the bead supply... heh, heh

Below is a picture of the dumped out batik box.

This is really, if you were here to witness the avalanche in person, much larger in area than it seems. I have two batik scrap boxes and both were merged for the project at hand.

Those who know me, know I am a scrap-lover. There is just something about odd pieces mixed up together that stir the creative spirit.

After all, I am
Not Afraid of Color!

you might also like to check out other studio shots CLICK HERE  for posts and the studio page for shots.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Creativity Roadblocks 7 Physical limitations

The weather is definitely cooler. I know because the poodle gauge says so. He is renewed and ready to rumble. There are hints of the puppy in him lately, like the pacing around at night, bored looking for something novel to entertain him. His overflowing toy basket doesn't interest him. He wants to run and fetch and play shark with the daddy. Shark is when he locks his poodle-jaws-of-death on your arm and puts you where he wants you. We hate shark. He wants to play chase me, which is where he grabs something he's not allowed to have and runs from us, MUCH faster than any of we slow mortals, and if our interest in the game wanes he circles back and "buzzes" us, a poodle drive by where he bumps you before scampering out of reach.
He wants to play his old games, but his aging joints just do not want to play. He fell on the stairs the other night and we all panicked.
What do you do when your mind is still young, and your memory of being powerful and unstoppable feels real? In your mind you are able to kneel on the floor, or pick up heavy baskets, or crouch over a sewing machine for hours without pulling your  pin-basting muscle. In Cole's mind he is capable and we are holding him back. Unfortunately I realize my limitations now, and turn down some opportunities because of the probable repercusions.
Many of us have to cope with physical limitations and I am all for ergonomics, and setting up optimal conditions to make art. I have high tables, the sewing chair at the right height, try to remember to use the rotary cutter in a straight fashion, etc.   Many books have been written on how to set up a studio ergonomically.
There are temporary limitations and unfortunate permanent or worsening limitations. I just want to let you know, if you cope with these issues you are not alone.
I find when I am at a high pain level, just entering the studio is rejuvenating. If I manage to get lost in a project or what I call medicinal sewing, I often escape the pain for a while. Endorphins. Just like when you find an exciting pair of shoes to buy, or get an runners high. Distractions from everyday pain are good.
And can lead to art.

hope you are making something that makes you happy today,

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Inspiration in a leaf

Will you just look at these colors?! If I painted leaves in pink, coral, lime green, and yellow, I can just hear the comments about how that isn't realistic.

Nature's paintbrush is awesome!

I found these on a walk yesterday, and arranged them together for a picture. I wonder what the people think when they see me bent double arranging yard waste?

Remember the painted pine needles?? CLICK HERE TO SEE I made little quilts with them, and  they came out so good. They needed stitching and couched threads, and now are special. I'll show pictures later so you can see the finished work.

 I'm going to paint a leaf like this today, and stitch the heck out of it, because these leaves are so cool.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

studio shot-Sharp Things

I'm ready for my close up Mr DeVille

This is a picture of one of my dolls. I made Daisy a l-o-n-g time ago, but she still keeps me company in the studio. She has been known to hold a pin or two for me. For this shot, she sits in the basket on the end of the ironing board on the cutting table. This basket, meant for picnic cutlery was a gift from my friend Linda years ago. It was a neutral lime green, but faded. I painted it red, and put a skirt around it of Mary Englebreit fabric and some beaded fringe. It holds my cutting utensils. I like Fiskars rotary cutters, but also have olfa in all sizes, and one dedicated to the wavy blade. I like scissors almost as much as pin cushions so have many styles. My faves are the sharp Kai, and the spring action pinking shears by fiskars, and the fiskars microtex small ones. I keep all these cutting implements very handy and use most of them every day on some project.
Do not think these are all there are, there is a collection at the machine, some in the traveling packs, and some cluttering up the coffee table. For more Studio shots, see labels on the side,  AND THIS PAGE

I took a lot of pictures at the IQA show, and they have a lot of exhibits not just competition quilts. 

I worried that my failing camera would be able to handle too many shots, so was stingy with picture taking. That means I didn't get a shot of the maker's names often, so it's not ethical showing those pictures here. I did get many shots of the doll exhibit because I love dolls. They were outstanding, and here is one, and I think with the right angle you can see the maker's tag...

Hope you are enjoying the Fall colors, and my memories of the show. More to come.
LeeAnna, doll enthusiast
linking to crazymomquilts

Friday, November 8, 2013

A couple of couples from Houston

Maggie Winfield and plain ole' me
 What a whirlwind going to the Houston quilt show is y'all. I set up several meetings before I left and the above picture is with Maggie Winfield at lunch. She loves making clothing and accessories and really inspired me to be myself. She gave me a button that says, Never apologize for your artwork. We shared a few laughs and deep thoughts, interrupted by people stopping by to tell her how cute she is! And she is.
I had lunch with another person I've been chatting with online for years, Diane Ferguson, who quilts and weaves, and makes me feel like I've got a friend in Texas.
On other days I plopped myself down at a table for 12 and got to know the stories of women from around the globe. What fun, and guess what, we all like fabric.
Hangin' with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson
A fun part of the show is seeing people you often see on TV, right there in front of you, just like REAL people. When I sidled up to Ricky Tims, and Justin took my camera I asked him to take me thinner and younger. The best he could do was take me blurry, but bless his heart, he tried. Alex looks younger every day.
I got to chat with Mary Lou Weiderman, and Cheryl Phillips, Jane Sassaman, and Cynthia England, and lots of other Quiltville stars too. 
I asked them what I ask most artists, not just quilters, what condition is your studio in, and what roadblocks if any do you have to creativity.
 Ahh, some people are just so wonderful, they are like magnets.
Gail Thomas is one of these people. Although I am just a person who chats with her at this show, I did live in Canada for several years, and she is Canadian. I do love my pets and so does she.
We both respond to people heart to heart, so I feel like I've known her for years every time I see her. As in other years, I caught up with her standing with her winning quilt to answer questions. Love her.

Lest you think I just went from one orbit to another, please allow me to share some of the totally wonderful experiences I had with other quilters just like me, looking at the quilts.
To start with, we all chatted easily as if we were old friends. We'd begin by commenting on the particular quilt, then quickly move on to sharing some of our lives. One sister duo and I talked for at least 20 min. about where they live and what it's like there. I wanted to just become an honorary sister. Another person and I talked about her volunteer work with kids for at least 15 min, and I wanted to move to her state and hang out with her all the time! There was the group of women from CA who told me all about their mini group that's been together for 20 plus years, and yep, I wanted to join that one too. So many personal, real moments shared with genuinely nice people who wanted to connect with me, even for a second.

One evening at dinner I sat next to two fabulous quilters from the Netherlands, and we laughed, and showed pics of our dogs, looked at quilts, and again if felt like we had known each other for years. For a person like me, who revels in the "connection" this was almost magical. I did miss my sister, who was unable to attend this year, but who tasked me with buying fabric for her. I ran into Linda Roy, another big winner and a friend of my sister's in TN who was also wondering which fabric to bring back to her. This is a gathering place.
View of the shopping floor from above
Speaking of gathering, this is a tiny view of a massive shopping area. I would cover a few rows til I was run over too often by motorized vehicles, bashed by overfull shopping bags, and had my heels skint by strollers. I did manage to find fabric for my sister, and ahem, a few pieces for my own overfull stash.
I met other wonderful people, many quilt artists and many traditional quilters, and we all love fabric. We all love sewing and making beautiful objects with our own two hands. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

post halloween

I Have No Idea What I'm Doing
"I have no idea what I'm doing"    

AND a bonus "laugh with poodle"


Even Your Computer Doubts Your Decisions

Both from cheezeburger funny dogs, check em out  at

Monday, November 4, 2013

Weighing the choices creativity roadblocks 6

Do you have trouble making choices about your quilts? Does the decision making period that comes with any original design upset you? Do you think "real" artists just know what to do?

These are a few questions when deciding if decision-making is one of your roadblocks to creativity.

If you have problems making choices, is this a personality characteristic or is it isolated to your craft? I believe the source determines the solution here.

 If it's part of your personality, then allow yourself to see many or all of the choices before deciding which one to pursue. For example, if you must choose a border fabric, pull out all the possibilities from your stash, then try them out one by one, eliminating ones til you come up with the few that would work. One will seem best, many will be fine as well, maybe not the best but also fine. Acknowledge the choices, then narrow them down one by one until you reach a number that will all work if chosen. There is not always a right one.

Remember, making original work is challenging as there are no guidelines, no one has been there before to draw out a pattern for you OR able to judge you for your personal choices. If you are making your own pattern, then by definition it will be right. So there, critics!!

If you only have trouble making choices in your artwork, not in general, then maybe you don't trust your abilities as much as you trust others. Maybe you think there is a perfect choice and you just can't find it. Maybe you need to learn a new technique or skill to make the art look like it does in your mind's eye. If you dither a while, that's not only okay but preferable in some circumstances, as a perfect fabric might not be in the stores yet, or the technique you seek hasn't been mastered yet. It's okay to let a project simmer a while on the back burner.
The problem comes in to play if you never finish anything because you can't make the choices needed.

Often there just is no perfect choice, there are acceptable choices, maybe better ones, but no right one til you are content. I'd like to go one further, and say even if you finish a quilt, and look at it critically seeing what displeases you, it's okay to note the problem areas, and put it away, maybe even giving it to someone who doesn't know it isn't perfect and loves it, and learn from that piece. You won't make that mistake again, you'll come closer to your goal next time. Go ahead and quilt, there will always be more fabric, more ideas, more patterns to try, another chance to quilt it better.

I say, allow some time to weigh the choices, then just make it. Love it or learn from it.