starfish, innocence and hope

Dear Innocence, I wish you were a starfish. If you lost an arm, it would grow back. In fact, that lost arm might grow back a new body. I thought 420 was something about Earth Day. I love our Earth, it's a spinning rock that's mostly water--what's not to love. No one likes to feel stupid, so I'm glad I like to fact check or I might have said something stupid.   Life is hard. We will all die--we are just human beings, right? But don't make your time on Earth any shorter than it will be. Know why I'm saying this? cause I really  like  beings, especially those humans reading this in the future. This is nothing new. In my laugh-n-learn sessions (aka classes/lectures like Rules for Rulebreakers, Superhero Strategies for Unleashing Your Inner Awesome), I hear "that's how we sewed in the factory, or that's really a clever timesaver, or that's so fun."

Sometimes the basic and simple is just divine.

Back to 420. I fact check, I love to pop in links for you to learn more info. In this case, I will just tell you--someone thought that was the time of day to take drugs, as in smoke weed. Sorry, you don't like that I called it drugs, and lumped it in with worse felons of the hard drugs. Eek, I don't talk about drugs even alcohol very often. But for you I will. In college, my friends and I had a little song "this is what I have to do pretending to be drunk." What I'm saying is, being silly with friends is fun. Staying safe because you have a brain, what's awesome. Now, you don't need to admit to your friends that you are taking advice from TiaTere and staying sober. We had a little story about someone named Dan Garrus.

Dan Garrus?

Was he a code word (yes, for dangerous) or an imaginary person? Either way, he seemed to always pop up in situations that weren't safe. Now please don't think that I want you to lead a boring life. Nope, I want you to get to do amazing things, and live to tell about it, until you die, which we all will, cause we are human. But we really do have a lot to do on Earth, so stay safe, hunger for knowledge, create beautiful experiences and just be awesome. Remember laying in the grass, and I mean on the lawn as kids--watching clouds float by, or just listening to the rain while reading a book--yes, made out of paper--a real book. Unless the future has really changed a lot, you can still do that. If you need to borrow a kid so you don't look like an adult acting silly alone. Or take a furry baby along. There is rain and hail outside as I write this, maybe the big G is giving me applause for writing my truth. Maple, our sweet scared dog, is jumping on my lap, and tucking her petite 80 pounds into the crook of my arm. Maple the dog is scared of thunder and it helps that I'm with her. I don't coddle, sorry, it's not who I am, but I also don't say to her suck it up buttercup. She's a dog, not an adult human, she sees what I do and how I do it. It affects how she behaves and feels. Yes, don't you think that animals feel? Look at them for yourself using your powers of observation. Drink some water, eat good food, smell some flowers until your allergies go bonkers and do good stuff. You aren't alone, we all get that feeling of being human. Be smart, just cause you have a hat that says lion tamer, does not make you a lion tamer. We didn't all have the same experiences in the past, and we won't all have the same lives in the future. I'm tired of the days each being the national day of this or that.  When everything has so much meaning, does anything really have any meaning?

Know what I think is audacious?

Being present, being sober, being real. Yeah, I know that might not seem like your parent's version of cool. Guess what? You define your own cool. Seriously, Tia Tere tells it like it is.

PS--our planet needs to be cared for, and our choices make a difference.

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Pie and Bricks

What's your favorite pie?   Check out my LEGO link to the left of my homepage--take advantage of holiday savings.  Plus, it's LEGO. Do you know what is so awesome about LEGO and creativity?
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AtoZ and Viv [virtual tag up]

If you don't want to see the behind the scenes of how I work, don't read this blog post. Thanks, AtoZ    

Hey Viv, I think I'm going to call you Vee-Eye-Vee as your superhero name, it kinda goes well with AtoZ and V-I-V, yeah, you know me!

ok, that nickname was short lived, unless I spell it out VeeEyeVee, which defeats the purpose of nickname-ology. This is the last hurrah, next few days will be busy! Can we do a virtual meeting here on the Blog?  I popped in a different font for you.  Feel free to not answer questions you don't want to, or answer in your own way.  I gotta run now!
Vivien- Here we go!
  I had a great coffee in TimesSquare, barista recipe by Ammy at St.Arbucks capture You don't drink coffee, or do you?
Vivien-no coffee for me!
Just got back late last night from Lion King on Broadway, what a great adventure, such great choreography,costuming, music. When did you start contra dancing? what was the story?  Where you just a young lioness at the time?
Vivien-My parents are professional dancers and got into contra dancing through that route. When my sister and I were very young, they would bring us to the dances. When I was in high school in Chicago, I started going with my mom and fell in love with it. Now I'm on the board of the Baltimore dance and I dance at least once, if not multiple times a week
  Can't wait for you to meet MsV! Please link to MsV page and tell me something interesting you learned about Valarie Poitier from less than 15 minutes research.
Ms. V is a fiber artist living in Massachusetts. She teaches art quilt workshops and quilt business workshops, namely "Promote Your Work without Apologizing" which teaches people how to speak about their work and present themselves successfully.
[AtoZ6pm, yes that is true--but she is more--listen to me reciting her words] I'm a pretty positive person who protects my soul from negative thoughts and energy. Yesterday, I said to MsV as I started to say something negative and prefaced it with "well, I shouldn't say this..." OMG, I love her, she stopped me with a sweet joyful voice and said "then don't say it!" I love that I am surrounded by such positive and powerful women like MsV and that I can take that suggestion, that lesson and make it into a touchstone, a reminder to stay on my positive joyful path. I'm passing along lessons, but wow, I don't have all the answers, but I know that the right answers will be available to me if I am listening!  [AtoZ 6pm--Oh and most of all, passing along lessons is like the circle of life. It's not that I have the answers and am passing them, it's that we as humans can be part of the circle of life. The things we do, how we interact, those are the really big deal things. ] Okay, here is my question.  What do you think of that story and the last few months of working together?
Vivien-I think there's something to be said for actively listening and also reflecting -- that some things might not have the most obvious meaning to them but still impact your life. I think the we are both learning from each other and we should keep listening.
[AtoZ 6pm--active listening is good, as is reflecting, I was getting ready to let negative thoughts and words flow from my mouth, which is ironic because you can't fight negative with negative--I an humbled that I was reminded of that, and that we help each other out--we humans. I think that working together is like dancing--but these are enough deep thoughts for one post!]   I leave for International Quilt Market and Festival in Houston this week. What are your thoughts and questions about traveling to Houston?  It's going to be warm.  It's going to be exciting.  We should have morning tags ups this week.
Vivien-what are morning tags?
[AtoZ6pm--morning tag ups--the 5minute planning session--we can do it virtually too using our action item tracking software--today it was nice to use this post as fun way to let others see behind the curtain.] I think you have a copy of my RollerCoasters and QuiltShows article from International Quilt Scene 2015.  Give it a re-read before you pack for good tips tucked into my humor--see Laugh and Learn is definitely my style. I gave you edit write to my FB page, would you check that it works?
Vivien-it does!
  Would you create individual Facebook Events on my FFATOZ FB page for my 7 classes/lecture  that require signing up for at Houston?
10/31 Can You Cacti?
11/1 Superhero Strategies
11/1 Math of Art, Art of Math
11/2 Face Your Fears
11/3 Machine Quilting Forum
11/3 Playing with Plarn
11/4 Recipe for Teaching Great Classes
11/5 Words Are Not Enough
Also would you make a single page list by date of where you and I are going to be in Houston?
Vivien-running out of time today but will do tomorrow!
(don't share that publicly but since I'm making my interaction with you public, I figured I'd make the request here)
If I drop of a bag of extra swag to bring to Quilt Festival with you on Wednesday or Thursday morning, can you bring it?
Vivien- Sure!
Don't worry, I know you like cold weather, I'm working on booking us some teaching gigs in New England!   Viv, Please feel free to add some links, words, photos to this post and make it live today--I know I will show my name, but I'm outta here--it's 9:30am, and I'm getting in late to work and will check back late tonight! I'll check my messages at lunch incase you have questions! Viv, you rock! -AtoZ         13582126_10154220830864566_5130345895031516125_o cactus cover copy RootedintheHeart2 BU BAWESOME LARGE.001 - Version 5 a-to-z_logo_6.png  
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The Circle of Art

As a juror for the Cherrywood Hand-Dyed Fabric Lion King Challenge, it was my privilege and honor to review all the quilts and select finalists along with two other jurors.  The depth of art is humbling.  The quilts that were not selected are quite good, seriously good.  All those in this outer circle, please hold your heads up high.  I'm proud that you accepted the challenge.  I hope that all of those who were not selected realize that you are not rejected, your art was not rejected, instead your art was not selected as a finalist. 

Good News - a lot of people completed the challenge

Bad News - a lot of people are not finalists

give yourself persmission.001 Need permission to get a fresh perspective? I'd love to share my story with you.  In my storytelling trunkshow, Permission, Perfection and other Fairytales, I'll share tales of stitching together my life with thread, humor and joy.   IMG_7244 The connections I've made in the quilting and sewing world have been the greatest gift. Friendships made in fabric reminds me of Angela Lansbury singing, "a tale as old as time, a song as old as rhyme." Can't wait to meet in real life? I created sewFUNfriends so we would always have a place to go, a circle of friends stitched together bringing more joy to the world.   I look forward to meeting the finishers, the finalists and all those inspired by LionKing.   a-to-z_logo_7  
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Birthday recap 2014

Ya know I manipulate time so that I get more than just 1 day for a birthday.  Feel free to do the same yourself.  My birthday month starts September 15 and ends on November 15 - yep, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbonus - cause birthday month is 2 months long!So this year during birthday month (lots of circular stuff):

  • Both of my hometown teams still played baseball into October
  • Bloodmoon Lunar Eclipse
  • New Handrail by Steve Baker of Whollyterra20141025-224639.jpg
  • "Guitar" quilt came home
  • Sisterly Reunion birthday gathering!
  • WatermeOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAlon Cake - WATERMELON, fruit with homemade whipped cream icing - best birthday cake!
  • Saw my mommy and daddy two separate visits
  • Wore a tiara - with BLUE hair (wig, not my real hair)
  • Got asymmetric haircut (my real hair)
  • Big deal day job twice yearly meeting presented the data on data to lunar scientists
  • Big deal art job yearly event, where astronaut who quilted in space, Karen Nyberg gave a keynote
  • Rode a scooter (while in blue hair and tiara)
  • laughed so hard I was crying (this is a good thing) - not while on the scooter, but that was pretty fun
  • Smiled at an old pup that reminded me of Lucky
  • Watched video of Lucky singing happy birthday earlier this year
  • Demonstrated techniques for not so traditional quilt I designed as part of a traditional shop-hop (featuring a moon)
  • Got on the twitter... love that I am calling it "the twitter"...
  • Had a logo designed so I can get a superhero costume made (slightly kidding)
  • Held various 70's dance party studio retreats
  • Watched the sunset - remembering to look outside office window in the evening!

Eh, that's kinda impressive huh? Oh, that's just the beginning... I'm keeping one of my birthday month adventures a secret for now...

Can't wait to share!



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Flamingos, Freedom & Fun

With great freedom comes great sacrifice.    Thanks to all our Veterans and their families.  Hats off to you! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA On the topic of hats... got a fun new "old" hat during my adventures at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. So great to see my friends at Festival, like Judy Gula from Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, Virginia (basically my neighbor in the DC metro area!) FlamingosFlamingos MGPostcard, bet you are wondering why this is about Flamingos.  Ya know my favorite color is Turquoise (well anything in the blues to greens is my favorite color like Teal, Peacock, Aqua)... eh-hem, Flamingos, back on to Flamingos... This year the Quilters Quest color palette had not just the colors of the sea, but also pinks and purples...  So, my mind goes to the Caribbean waters and flamingos... In my pattern "Flamingos Frolic in the Moonlight", these majestic creatures took on a whole lotta attitude.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA After painting highlights there was a whole lotta texture...  Which makes me wonder is the one on the right named "Lotta Fun"?  and maybe the one the left is really a cowboy flamingo named Long-necked Louie... Get this pattern during Quilt Quest and stop by my demos this Saturday November 15 (building birds using ABCs plus painting highlights on quilts).  at Material Girls Quilt Boutique; 6750 Crain Hwy, Suite B; La Plata, Maryland 20646      301.392.9575 I loved having Veterans at my demos today at Material Girls and creating impromptu poppies, after seeing the one I was wearing today. Hats off to you and all other Veterans! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Fruitful Art, Art for Fruit... just after filming video for Go Tell it at the Quilt Show with Quilt Alliance at the International Quilt Festival in Houston November 1, 2014.
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When you are lucky, you get just what you need, just when you need it.

Most of the time that's called Serendipity.

When I started the day, I wasn't feeling very creative or inspired, but then I heard Cheryl Lynch's talk "Inspiration From Squiggles and Dots". 

One of the photos in her slideshow was from Longwood Gardens - and I recognized the shape it was something I had taken a photo of last year...

here is my photo...
some of Cheryl's small pieces
Longwood Gardens artful manhole cover

why is it the funner photos are more blurred?  Fun has a blurring effect!

another interesting shape at Longwood Gardens

why did this shape appeal to me? see my feet?
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Unravelling the Lace

Come along on a design journey with me!
A glimpse into my creative process for my Arts and Old Lace Challenge...

Once the challenge was issued at the Power Suit Reveal, I started humming or outright singing "Chantilly Lace", by the Big Bopper, J.P. Richardson, I thought it was too silly a song to be an inspiration. I pondered and sketched out a closeup of a rose; roses go with both Arts and Old Lace. But the song kept playing and I decided I better give in to this inspiration,
you just can't always pick what inspires you.  
Images such as the one on 
show a guitar (a great circle, some nice curves and straight lines)
behold my design inspiration. the way, the lace I used is not "chantilly lace", chantilly lace is actually a very delicate fine lace, whereas this lace is quite thick and may be chemical lace.  Check out 
what do you think?

I was lucky enough to spend Memorial Day weekend at a good friend's house.  I packed up all my possible supplies for this project  - in fact this first image shows where I started the weekend..  I made this handdyed, by mixing green and blue; I added a circle for the sound chamber with one of the laces in my kit, and used a nice blue Ultrasuede for the pick guard.  Music give us wings so I added a bird.
But the bird didn't add to the overall feel I wanted- so bye bye birdie!
I like the curve of the double pico trim - it's kinda rockabilly...
So I say let's go crazy with the rockabilly.... and I added the words "chantilly lace", just in case, and a pony tail hanging down, oh baby you know what I like.  This project has me breaking into song way too much.  I blame (or credit)  Judy Gula and Cyndi Souder for this frivolity, that I am so enjoying!
I love all Ultrasuede but uh-oh noticed this cream Ultrasuede was starting to unravel with a light touch and this quilt needs to travel . 
So I somehow need to cover it...
let me try this sheer blue ribbon...

Okay, that was too crazy, even for me!  I lost the feeling of the guitar, but love the loops of rick rack (save idea for future fun)  
The blue ribbon adds a line that is ok, but not great.  
Let's take some more stuff off and add some buttons
Hmm, better, but what's up with the double pico trim ? looks weird...
Added strings - maybe to couch down - plus used the frog as the "bridge" 
I'm learning guitar terminology!

Those strings don't add to the guitar as much as an over all outline of the guitar would do... My friend had left overs of brown and blues of a mosaic project so I used those for the outline and background - plus I put a cream colored tulle over the whole thing - it tones down the blue pick guard and keeps the words from unraveling. 
I fused down the outline shape mosaics - I'm committing to it!

Next, I laid out some funky rectangle buttons to "tone down" the "brown" (hope my rhymes don't make you frown!)  
Used 4 buttons to represent the tuning pegs.

 Tried the curve of buttons along bottom again... and the strings...
 I think it needs to be simpler...

Tested out the rectangle buttons as if the pickguard got the measles - interesting, but not adding to the feel of a rockabilly guitar
Nah that's doesn't add to the guitarousity of it... 
Those buttons need to be on the brown squares, both to tone down the brown and add a little sparkly shape element

Trying the curve of buttons again on the pick guard....

Nope, I like the right side of the blue to be a clean stark edge.  
I love the frog trim, I want to use it.

The frog cannot stay there, moved it below.
Added the 4 buttons in the top spot.

Hmm, don't know why, but I must kiss this frog goodbye...


Voila,that's how I came up with this design.

FYI, I used a facing edge - my favorite edge, I hand stitched the buttons after the facing edge was complete.  I also tacked down the floral trim with a few hand stitches, since the quilt (I'm hoping!) will be on tour for quite a while!  The only elements that are "above the tulle" are the floral trim on the pickguard and all the buttons.

I really enjoyed the process of this design, 
thanks for coming along on this journey with me. 

Design Tool -  the digital camera.

I find the camera on the iphone to be very helpful in the design process.  Any digital camera will let you audition and flip between options. Most of the conversation here was played out as I would keep looking back at the phone and analysing the photos.

Bonus Two-fer -
The camera is also a great Memory Tool - capturing inspiring images, great ideas, someone's contact info (snap a photo of the business card, I can type it into a digital phone book later), take a photo a fully used white board so I don't lose the info, but can erase and have a nice blank space to scribble again, photos of steps in a complicated process (that I might not remember in 2 months), or  the cover of a book I want to order.  In fact I even use my phone camera to remember where I parked my car in a parking garage.  True story - when my sis was in the hospital (I was exhausted, I worked a full day- then was heading to the hospital to relieve my mom and be the overnight shift).  I knew the next morning I would have no clue where I parked, so I stood in front of the elevator (turned around so I would have the same view as when I emerge the next day) and just pointed the camera in direction of my car, typically there are numbers/letters or colors on poles/posts/walls and those will show up on your photo - remember, the cars are likely to change, but the building will still be the same! 

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Chantilly Lace Reveal

Artist statement
Chantilly Lace – Amy Parra Morusiewicz
My guitar shaped piece honors the memory of J. P. Richardson (the Big Bopper), his lighthearted music is like art to my ears. This rockabilly tune from 1958, plays in my head with new lyrics: “Chantilly Lace in an Eighteen Inch space, with a deadline hanging down, that inspired my art, with a giggle in my heart, fun makes the world go round, oh baby, that’s what I like.”  Humor and art can coexist.  My muse is to a-muse.  Visit my blog for more details on my arts and adventures:    I wish you Fun From A to Z!

 Cyndi Souder, Judy Gula and me at the artists reception

Tomorrow, I'll give you a glimpse into my creative process and share one of my favorite design tools.
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Boone Moon – Reveal Day 10


  • Gelatin Plate printed the negative of a fern with light green metallic paint on Paprika kona (great name for a spicy color)*!!!
  • I looked around sewing studio for suitable background fabric - auditioned a few, then boom boom boom like the moon moon moon, I looked over on the back of my sewing chair I had draped this fabric print that I bought - well I copied my friend Linda Boone who had just bought the same fabric about 10 seconds before me - and it was exactly right.  Sometimes the right solution is easy and right in front of you (or in my case, draped on the chair behind me) and all you need to do is be open to it.
  • Free Motion ZigZagged applique on using multiple passes
  • Quilted in the stem
  • Free Motion Machine quilted the background fabric using the movement in the colors to maneuver the quilting stitches

      * - These steps were done prior to 12x12x12 challenge
    !!! - First time I ever did this type of thing

    Probably I would have tried to match the Paprika color for the stem stitches but out of pure laziness I did not change the blue thread on machine from Day 9 quilt - and I like the effect I got by adding the color to the stem. Luck of the Laze!
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    Dragon – Reveal Day 8

     Based on a sketch from spring 2011


    • Fused background fabric to Freezer paper for stability
    • Wavy S shape drawn with Sewline Air Erasable pen
    • Circles drawn along the line using the Staedtler Professional Combo Circle template
    • Colored in the spheres with Tsukineko Inks blending rainbow colors and adding some spherical shapes
    • Accidentally used steam when setting the inks, and got a nice smeary effect on the red to oranges and teals (interesting effect - may need to try on purpose) !!!   

    • Free Motion Machine quilted around spheres first
    • Quilted lines moving top to bottom around the spheres!!! and echoing curves on upper right
    • Added a dragon scale (or fern-like) quilting in areas that needed tighter quilting !!!
    • Did a vertical stitching below dragon echoing the tail - I like the checkerboard effect it gives.  I don't know if I like the quilting inside the dragon tail...
    • Bound using chunks of fused fabrics, fused on front and wrapped to the back!!!
      Fun to take an idea from the sketchbook to the quilt.  This was just a shape (not a dragon) til I took one look at it from a different angle, turned it upside down and voila - dragon.  After it was quilted, I really  liked this quilt - but then when I bound it I feel that it came to life in a whole new way- now I love it, it's one of my favorites.

        * - These steps were done prior to 12x12x12 challenge
      !!! - First time I ever did this type of thing

      pizza cheese fabric

      and I end this post with the cheese fabric on the back
      why you ask?
      because we all know "the cheese stands alone"!
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      Bloom – Reveal Day 7

      I love my flower cogs (flogs), I find these to be a happy shape. I love when Art makes me happy!  Many happy mornings were spent watching Bob Ross painting happy clouds.  Again I diverge, but wait, isn't divergence part of the journey?  So I take this moment to thank those who came before and inspired me and taught me I can be myself and I can be silly, you don't need to be what others think is a serious mopey artist to be making art, seriously! 
      • Flogs cut from Artfabrik handdyes (leftovers from class with Laura Wasilowski last year) - circles drawn with Staedtler Halfpipe Pen Style Compass, circles cut and wedges cut out
      • Free cut stems on the bias
      • McTavishing Free Motion Machine quilted the background first then applique stitched since I wanted to overlap the applique over the quilting
      • Orange Flogs appliqued with a tighter freemotion zigzag
      • Red/Yellow Flogs appliqued with a free motion zigzag keeping the quilt oriented the same way no mater where on the flower I am, then turning quilt 90degrees and repeating
      • Hand sewed french knots in each flower - using DMC variegated floss (90, 106 and 51) - the Yellow Flogs have strands 90 and one each of 106 and 51, Orange has 2 strands 51, one each of others...  For the 2 strands that are the same floss, turned one so that the result is a more mottled look of color rather than the distinct color variations.

      The birth of "Flog"...
      Once upon a time in a challenge project long long ago, a tiny artist wanted to show the inner workings of her mind, so a cog or gear shape was in order.  She cut out a circle that was too static and round - so cut some wedge shapes out of it, kinda free and kinda messy like.  The cog was born, and all was good, but the cog looked kinda like a flower, and the tiny artist called it a "Flower Cog" for a while, but that is too long a name, so Flog it is!   I was pleased to find that Flog is an acronym: "For Love of God". Found that on Wikipedia, for the love of God!

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