Third Time’s the Charm

Sometimes things just don’t click. You work and work and it still isn’t right. You may change and add and adapt to make it better, but the darn thing is like an adolescent going through puberty. It has all these parts that don’t fit together quite right and it hasn’t a good grasp of its own identity. That’s when it’s time to start over. Twice, I started over. It all began with a felted bowl in hot pink and purple. It was round, not too big, with a rather small opening. I liked it. How about a nest of fabric cording to rest it in? Sounded good. I didn’t like it after all.

silk covered cordingSorry, I don’t have pictures of the felt at this stage.

Save the cording for something else. Try another idea. My pink bowl reminded me of an onion. How about making some wool roots and a silk sprout to grow out the top? Sounded good. Not so good.

felt onion sproutLets see, there is so much wrong with this it’s hard to know where to start. First, my lovely roots looked silly spread out on the bottom. To have them pointing down like roots would have required the onion to be on its side and that made the sprout look silly. As if the sprout didn’t look silly enough on its own. The sprout looked more like a corn stalk than anything else. The proportion was off, so I refelted and shrank the pink bowl. Didn’t help much. Time for another fresh start.

The bowl had a round bottom that I didn’t want to flatten. That meant it needed a base. Playing around with the pottery jars on my worktable, I flipped one over and decided that it was a good size for a base. After a few measurements and adjustments and a trial run in paper, it was time to try again. I set aside the roots and took apart the sprout. I could reuse some of the silk on this thing somewhere. I had put a bit of work into the lower layer and I didn’t want it to go to waste.

sari silk fabricIt was made with sari silk ribbon in gorgeous shades of green. Rather than iron the ribbon flat, I stitched them onto a piece of dupioni with all their wrinkles and charm. All that shimmer and shine called out to be repurposed around more cording.

challis baseI had some square mirrors that were perfect for this. They make a good contrast to the round shisha mirrors on the top rim.

Drink and Be Merry

Confession time, I didn’t stitch the felt balls. They were purchased already decorated. I bought them years ago at the quilt festival and have been waiting for the right project to use them. They are so quirky that they have been hard to place.

Be MerryI have titled this one “Drink and Be Merry.”

From the (third) beginning, I could tell that this time it was going to work out. Everything fell into place and I was finished within a week. I’m glad all my projects aren’t this finicky. I would never get anything done.

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Super Size Those Church Banners Please

Banners fit for a beautiful large church need to be super-sized. For a sense of the scale, notice the organ between the banner on the left and the rightmost red column.

church in purple

Actually, the banners have been photoshopped into place. The church is in New York and I won’t be traveling up to see them hanging. They were delivered last week and will be hanging for Ash Wednesday through Lent at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church.

Up to now, the largest banner that I had made was 11 ft long. These are 16 feet! At 65″ across, they are as wide as I am tall. By the square footage, these are 2.5 times larger than the next largest. That’s a lot of fabric; a lot of weight to handle. Lucky for me, I was able to get Martha to join in on the process. We turned out to be a great mother/daughter team. We made two sets, one purple one gold.

This is what the purple set look like:


Father Beck also wanted a set of neutral/gold for feast days. It’s not too easy to see in the photos, but many of the fabrics are shiny brocade and metallic fabrics. They really shine and catch the light.


I love the starburst pattern.


And the shine.

IMG_1564We were able to take pictures at a local store, Co-op Bookstore close to the LSU campus. They have a balcony in the store that was the perfect height for these banners. Thank you, Co-op for letting us use your space!


Thanks to Martha, too. She was the official photographer for this job.


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This post is a little late. I finished up this felt sculpture long before Christmas and am only just now getting around to posting pictures. We have a new computer and it has taken me a while to get comfortable with how it handles photos. I now know how to add a watermark. Slowly, slowly I am learning new things.

I have decided to name this piece Harmony.


You’ve seen the orange vessel part from way back in August. That’s when I started this piece. The green felt on the right is a felt that I made at a workday with the Contemporary Fiber Artist. I’ve been saving it for a couple of years and am thrilled to find a good use for it. It was made with three layers of wool: green, blue, and red. I love how all these colors work so well with the yellow/orange/pink.




DSCN1839I added some extra color with a bit of needle felting. Magenta in the flower and pink and green on the leaf curl.

DSCN1846I’ve got another felt sculpture in the works that I’m going to finish up in time to enter it, along with Harmony and In Her Handsin the 20 x 20 x 20 Compact Art show at the LSU Union Gallery. The deadline is February 6, so I will have to get busy!

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One More Chair Recovering

This old chair has been sitting around my workroom for several years waiting for me to fix it. I’ve held off because somehow I figured I would refinish the wood or paint it. Well, that isn’t going to happen anytime soon and since I just finished my mom’s chair, this is as good a time as any to do a quick and easy re-do on this chair’s seat cushion.


As you can see the chair is unusable as it is. I bought it cheap at a garage sale. It’s such a quick fix. Why did it take so long to do?


This fabric is similar to the dragonfly fabric that I used on my mom’s chair. The background is a slightly different red. And like the first dragonfly fabric, I had only just enough to cover the seat.

Now the chair can be used again. If I ever do decide to refinish the wood or paint it, the seat comes off very easily with four screws. But for now, I’d rather be playing with my fabrics. I’ve finished one felt sculpture and have another about half done. I’ll post pictures soon on them.

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The Chair Challenge

Earlier this year, my mom saw an advertisement from an upholstery shop that featured a chair just like one that she owns. Her chair, like the one in the before picture, had seen better days. She asked me if I could transform her chair into the after picture. Always up for a challenge, I said yes. It ended up being a bigger challenge than I thought. I know little about upholstery. I’ve made slip covers, but that’s not really the same. Armed with my few tools and the internet and YouTube, I gave it a go.

True to form, I neglected to take pictures at the beginning. Here is the chair after most of the double cord trim has been stripped and the cushion has been undone.


The frame was in good shape and mom liked the color of the wood, so no work was required except on the fabric parts. I used the foam and batting in the cushion to fill in the seat and put on a new cover in muslin to hold it together. Sorry, again no pictures. For the outer cover, I used an upholstery remnant that my friend Alison Cook had given to me recently. It’s a fabric that I liked a lot, but really had no use for it and was really glad to put it to good use for my mom. After watching a few videos online, I decided to be brave and cut into the fabric as it was laid out on the chair and without a pattern. Whew, it worked. Too bad my staple gun was so difficult. It took two hands to do a good job and that left no hands for me to pull the fabric taut. Somehow I made it around the perimeter of the chair.


I folded the fabric under around the arms and back posts of the chair. The bottom edge is cut off close to the staples. That was after I used a hammer to smash the staples in as best I could. The gold braid covers a multitude of sins. I was quite impressed with how easily the braid made curves and corners. It glued on like a charm with a hot glue gun. No burned fingers and all the strings of glued cleaned up easily with no residue showing.

??????????Best of all was the joining at the ends of the braid. I didn’t like the method that I saw online, which to be fair was on double corded braid. Overlapping the braid was too bulky in my mind. I cut each end with a 3/8″ or so seam and glued them under to make a glued butt joint that looks like it could be seamed.

??????????The finished chair:

??????????Aren’t the dragonflies wonderful? The armrest was just the right size for one dragonfly.

??????????Mom was happy and so am I. That said, I hope to not have to do this again.

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Christmas Stockings

I’ve been very busy with lots of Christmas sewing and crafting. Most of what I’ve been making is for Christmas gifts and I can’t share pictures until after December 25th. But I will share the stockings I’ve made that are hanging on our mantle. Years ago, Burton’s Aunt Virgie made a set of crocheted stockings for our family. They have been the beloved backbone of the  holiday decorations in the living room. Now that our family has grown larger, it was time to expand and make more. Where once we had five, now we have eight! Nine, counting the cat stocking that Martha made for Venus.

??????????It was kind of tricky since I didn’t have the pattern for the stockings. I was able to make reasonable copies with only a few false starts. The biggest problem was that the yarn I had chosen was not as heavy or stiff which made the new stockings a little smaller and floppy.

Alison and Ryan have been married for over 2 years. It was about time that I tackled this stocking project. Crochet is not my thing. I do know how, but I’m not totally skilled in this craft. While I was at it, I made a stocking for Stephanie, Matt’s girlfriend, too. And of course grandbaby Michael had to have a stocking. I didn’t want his to be like all the others. He’s just a baby. But of course he will grow up, so I couldn’t make a cute, tiny stocking unless I were prepared to make another later on. No, this one will have to be his permanent stocking. I found an adorable pattern at lemondedesucrette. I followed the basic pattern, but enlarged it considerably. As long as no more grandchildren appear for a few years, I can now put away the crochet hook.


Not having a large yarn stash, my mother-in-law, Mimi, gave me some skeins from her collection. I was lucky with the blue. In the end, there was only a tiny amount left over. I would have been doing something creative if I had run short at the end. At this late date, there wouldn’t have been much time to start over.

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I’ve been published!

Lesley Riley has just put out her new book titled Inspirational Quotes Illustrated and I’m in it! Actually my doll was in the last year’s Quotes Illustrated, too. This is a new edition with more art works than the first book. We weren’t supposed to share pictures of our accepted art until the book was first published. Somehow I never got around to posting pictures of my doll. So here she is. I call her Deep in the Garden of my Heart.

??????????Her quote is from Helen Keller. “The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”

??????????She has a heart on her chest that is a marbled silk fabric. I’ve been holding onto this piece for a long time and am glad to have a good opportunity to use part of it.


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