Be a Superhero

Just for you, an easy 9 step process to used to identify and unleash your super self!  But first a few fun thoughts that took me down this path!  See my Superman elbow and my Clark Kent glasses?   IMG_3868I was stitching on Bernina's longarm the Q24 when I met Roger Teller from Bernina International.  Ya'll know I love to scribble on fabric. My 13 stitches per inch quilting looks fab with Superior's KingTut on black fabric. Loved the sweet smoothness of self directed free motion. IMG_3857   I challenged Roger to drive the Q24. Check out Roger's smooth loops and artistic Christmas tree shape below my signature. See, it's true - I am not the only engineer that quilts!           At Quilt Festival, I met many superheroes including Kathy and Gerald Purdy from Steady Betty. This dynamic duo is gracious, genuine and fabulously FUN. I'm a longtime user of the SteadyBetty surface and excited add to my Pressing Matters techniques. Can't wait to harness the powers of the "Be Flat" wooden pressing tool AND Make it Your Own! Want me to bump that up on the schedule? Let me know cause you, the FUN audience are part of my blog too! Check out the physical space created when we pop out our elbows, it helps show our superhero side! At my "More FUN, less stress, Manage your Mess" lecture,  I use ELBOW SPACE as a memory tool, a mnemonic to tell my fun story and share my tips. My fabulous FUN audience tells me what the next letter is next and I just keep the fun rolling along!  Remind me to share ELBOW SPACE in a future blog post! For today, the topic is SUPERHEROS Typically superheroes are mild-mannered regular folk. Except Bruce Wayne and Oliver Queen, who are the billionaires behind the secret identities of Batman and the Arrow. Are you squirming and saying vigilante, not true superhero... Well, that's part of the battle isn't it? Forgive me for now and let's say that superheroes are like all of us, especially that there is a big variety of styles.  
There is a fine line between superhero and super-villian. From  Spider-Man we learned that with great power comes great responsibility! Let's make sure we use our powers for good. We are in this world together. Let's help each other achieve superhero awesomeness. Play well with others! Allow your superpowers shine, but don't hurt people with your strength! Let people know how awesome they are...  most people see their own weakness but do not realize their own awesomeness. Watch out for those who talk of their own awesomeness but don't build awesome in others (not so awesome in my book!). There are lessons we can learn from the good and the bad.

Nine steps to Be a Superhero

S- smile and show up. This is the hardest part sometimes, just being fully present in a world filled with distraction technology can be a challenge. Heroes are present.  Note: heroes also have a fortress that they go to after a day of fighting to good fight to regain their strength and be able to continue to smile and show up.  Part of being a hero is taking care of yourself, which leads to ... U     U- understand your humanity! Take care of your physical vehicle (body), your computer (brain), and your force (spirit/soul). Might sound silly, but "drinking more water" is good for all three parts of you. P- promote others honestly! This is the share and give credit part, or else it's just stealing. Honestly if you like someone's idea, product, technique, let people know you like it, who's it is and how to get it. Give credit if you adapt people's ideas too.  My "Minutes in Between" (MIB) came from my use of Nancy Zieman's 10-20-30 minutes to sew philosophy. In life often we build of the ideas of others, standing on the shoulders of giants! Those who give credit (or props, as the kids say), those are the ones I respect the most! E- empower others to find their powers, and learn to use them.  Teachers serve the students, and the students in return teach the teachers.  Growth is a two way street, but you need to drive yourself down it - not be pushed or pulled.  My favorite teaching quote is:  I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught. Winston Churchill

I teach Making it Your Own, and giving proper credit! If your local quilt shop doesn't carry the "Sewing Skull" t-shirt by Cheryl Sleboda yet, you can order directly from her at

  Sarah asked to have a photo because of my shirt that adapted Cheryl's sew skully.  I pointed her to Fiber on A Whim's booth since they sold Cheryl's skull stuff at Quilt Festival. Don't you love Sarah's discharged (aka bleached) shirt. R- realize that the world doesn't know your secret identity, and go about your life.  Know that your awesomeness is real, even if others don't acknowledge it or even see it. Seriously, are you super because other people know you are awesome or are you super cause of the awesome stuff you do and the awesome way you live your life? I started watching the new SuperGirl. Two quick comments - love that she lands like her cousin the man of steel (same pose), did you see the sewing machine in the scene where she gets a costume?   See what Kathy Mathews liked about SuperGirl.  Personally  I have eaten Chinese food out of the carton and I will again (no dishes to wash!)   I've been teaching since forever but on the smaller scale, less formal way and making awesome stuff.  In my class my student get to see how awesome we are together and how I am in awe of their success! Here are two of my students, see an IQA finalist ribbon? loved your underwater quilt! remembered your laugh, but forgot your name (email me so I can update this!) ok, time for HERO... H-have fun! True FUN is like joy, and comes from the building up of others and self.  Bring out the goodness of life. Be the good! IMG_1160E- escape the clutches of the villains.  In doing so, beware that their influence does not feed your fear monster and make you powerless or worse, turn you into a villain. Sometimes the best way to save someone is to show them how you save yourself - be a role model of a person who puts one foot in front of the other and steps away to protect yourself. Be the example you want to see.  Don't worry about the bad example of others, the true hero will see through that and the real people will too.  Be the good! R- repeat! The superhero life is not about saving one plane, or mentoring one future hero, it's a wash, rinse, repeat kind of experience.  And in all that hard work, remember that you need your rest  too so you can keep up the good fight! Did you know that Cheryl Sleboda made a quilt a week for 5 years.  What a great story! “Working Weekly – Staying Inspired” – How small quilts helped me find my artistic voice   O- Oh my! Be open to the wow! Look for the awesome, look for it and you will see it.   Look for the following superpowers:

Genuine Compassion

Strength & Patience

Smiling Perseverance

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Evolving, oh yeah!

So maybe art quilting has moved past "emerging" as an art form, maybe "evolving" captures where we are as an art form. Punk Rock had an undefinable influence on mainstream music, as I would say that the Art Quilt has done the same for all Quilting.  But we are still evolving in becoming an established art form.  In mCognition2y humble opinion (IMHO) when we are all still answering the question of what is an art quilt, its feels presumptuous to say we are fully established. I feel a responsibility to the future to humbly promote the medium.  But I feel a stronger responsibility to myself to fling myself into the creation process in the here and now, push the envelope, and getting a little edgy and keep jumping out of the box. in the The Art Quilt by Robert Shaw "As the millennium approaches, the art quilt is, perhaps, poised to move decisively beyond its own, often too self-referential, world. In the years to come, it may at last find the public and critical attention and acceptance it has sought since its earliest days. It still has many obstacles to overcome, some external, others at least partly of the movement's own creation, and many personal and artistic growing pains to endure as it strives to become an acknowledged part of the larger art world. Whatever their future recognition and achievements may be, however, the art quilt's brightest and best proponents are unlikely to rest on their laurels, but will instead keep pushing forward, driven by their insatiable creative desires. As Jean Ray Laury puts it, "I don't know whether an artist ever feels really successful. Nothing is ever really complete. There's always something else you need to try, some idea of where you'd like to go next." PUNKs (aka punk rockerOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAs) are marked with an edginess and pushing of the envelope.  What society saw as "out of the box" 10, 20 years ago becomes the box of day. So thinking of punk rock... The true punk rockers would not call themselves punks - they are just out there doing their thing.  One of my fav punk bands did a cover of Needles and Pins... which really sounds like needles and pin-za... Ramones aye-oh, let's go! I'm a big fan of lyrics, but in the Ramones there is a guitar and drum thing going on, where the music is the message and the lyrics are there to hold the music together.  Even when it's softer and sweeter like Baby, I Love You.  Disclaimer, I'm not a musician, so I don't say this from the perspective of deep knowledge just from my experience. Imagine my logo as drum art on a bass drum... a-to-z_logo_2                       Rock on!
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Tuesday’s Texture

20140503-004016.jpg Hope is the...
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Viva La Vida

David Garrett is a must-listen-to musician. I enjoy music, but appreciate it from an outsiders perspective, having taken a few beginner classes in piano and knowing almost nothing about music...  But like art, sometimes the audience doesn't need to know the artist's tools or how to use them in order to appreciate the result. One of my favorite pieces on his Music album is Viva La Vida. You can here snippets of the song on the video. David Garrett - 'Making of Music' Mini-documentary. Found David Garrett via public tv, early on a Saturday morning this spring. Love the title of the show; The Artist's Toolbox: secrets of creative genius.  
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Star struck

Added a new handshake to my collection today. Today I met  someone that took the simple act of sewing into space. Yep, first person to quilt in space, Karen Nyberg. 20140326-212559.jpg You gotta see her sewing in space! Karen issued a challenge while aboard ISS to make star blocks that will be put together with hers.
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Warm Thoughts of Fun, Fabric and Fish…

2014 Library Display/ Southern Comforters Quilt Guild/ Curated by Amalia Morusiewicz
as the sign on the left reads

Southern Comforters Quilt Guild wishes you warm thoughts of Fun, Fabric and Fish for February!

This display features quilts and items made by our members.

If you enjoy looking at this come to our great quilt show in March!

If you sew or aspire to sew, please feel free to visit our meetings 7:00 pm 2nd & 4th Wed.   3120 Belair Drive in Bowie or drop in on select sewing days at the Crofton Library

view as you enter library/ 2014 Library Display/ Southern Comforters Quilt Guild/ Curated by Amalia Morusiewicz
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Never heard of "Wine and Canvas" til my sister told me of a groupon, she and her friends needed to use. Wonder if we can start the phrase "the groupon made me do it" and could groupon replace the devil as an excuse maker? 20140116-012933.jpgWhat a fun way to spend the evening! As we got to our table, the canvas, brushes, palette with paint were there and calling to me. But I resisted their temptation to play with paint as we socialized and waited for the instruction. The painting part was fun and easy! They do a great job making it simple and20140116-012916.jpg approachable and who doesn't love raising your hand to get paint refills as easily as a drink refill! We mixed our colors and painted the backgrounds, then drew our horizon line, then the instructor said she was then going to wait a few minutes for people to catch up... as if possessed, the paintbrush spun in my hand and scratched out a note in the damp paint of the horizon.   The words were "This is what happens when they slow down and I'm still on painting mode".  The back of a paintbrush does make graffiti scratched words really well, but doesn't have good grammar... what should it have been? on mode, in mode, en mode, ala mode? I must consult with the grammar gurus!  What would the GGs say about graffiti + opportunity = grafopportunity. 20140116-012534.jpg Later in the painting party another grafopportunity popped up and the words "Make My Own Path, Not Following Directions" emerged in the lower left, plus I started playing with 20140115-230422.jpga starburst design which is a distant cousin of my friend, the flog.  And one starburst led to another, and another.     Pretty cool, from this distance my sister's painting and mine look pretty similar... 20140116-012952.jpg But check out the sample painting from the website, then my sisters... baybridge ala wine and canvas20140116-012857.jpg mine, then the full moon tonight   20140116-221345.jpg20140116-195055.jpg isn't mother nature the best artist of all?
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First Friends

Today marks the anniversary of the formation of one of my favorite groups. No, not They Might Be Giants... but me and my sisters... I'm pretty sure that if we had a theme song, it is likely to be a TMBG song, well if we had a theme album it would definitely be "Flood". So what seem like a gazillion years ago, Cristi and Tere (oh yea, that's me!) were joined by our baby sister, Maria and suddenly it wasn't just me and my first friend, but now we were a group of friends!   Hope to make them cry a little and smile as they ponder these deep meanings... our story's infinite, Like the Longines Symphonette it doesn't rest!

20140115-231731.jpgbluebird of friendliness, like guardian angels it's always near

Who watches over you Make a little birdhouse in your soul Not to put too fine a point on it Say I'm the only bee in your bonnet!

sisters playing

'Cause a little bird never tells me anything I want to know, she's my best friend


So take me back to Constantinople No, you can't go back to Constantinople Been a long time gone, Constantinople Why did Constantinople get the works? That's nobody's business but the Turks


Happy Birthday Maria!

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Savage Selvedge: Life on the Edge

this was a fun project to do -  well, the inside was fun - the border was a lot of work but worth it and the piping and binding was fun too!  I'm super excited to have 2 ribbons for this quilt, a Vendors' Choice from Material Girls and a 3rd place in the large quilt pieced one-person category at the Southern Comforters Quilt Show this weekend.
as of November 2010

pattern I used is Red Zinger - originally the directions were available on Karen Griska's blog

but looking for the link now, I see that she has it for sale at

check out photos of some of my favorite selevedge projects - including the covered chair that is on my to do list!

2 books I have on Selvedge Quilts and Projects

Quilts from the Selvage Edge by Karen Griska 2007

SAVE THE SELVAGES Quilting Project Book using Fabric Selvages for Small Projects  by Sandy Thompson 2012




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Interview with Misty Cole

Introducing my first blog interview - with fellow quilter, blogger, bibliophile AND friend - 


Here is what I sent to Misty as we did this using old school paper and ink.  
Her answers are in bold...

Rules –
The first rule of interview is we don’t talk about rules!  I’d say try and and answer one question at a time, don’t read ahead, don’t think too hard. I thought it would be fun to go old school and give this to you in hardcopy, there is a certain aspect of artist that in me needs paper and pen. 
Do what works for you.  Feel free to respond electronically or hardcopy or telephonically or in-personally which is not to say impersonally!This should be easy and fun, if a question isn’t, let me know and we’ll remove it from the interview.  This is about you so share what you want. 

Thanks and wish you funfromAtoZ!
Amalia Teresa Parra Morusiewicz

Congrats Misty on being selected as the featured quilter for the Southern Comforter’s Annual Quilt Show!  I think it would be fun to get some of the behind the scenes glimpses into you and your work.  So close your eyes and let’s pretend we are sitting in a nice coffee or tea shop and having this conversation face to face…

Ok, open your eyes
First question – what are you drinking in this pretend game?
The Republic of Tea – Black Currant & Cardamom Rooibos Tea

Excellent Answer, see this is so easy!

I read your bio on I learned that you grew up surrounded by of creative women, who did all types of handwork.  Growing up within a creative community is a great experience.  Any lessons that you learned back in the day that are still vital to your art today?
Use the best tools you can afford.
Collaboration can be both fun and aggravating.
It is important to share your creations plus your knowledge & skills with future generations.

I don’t think you can throw out the baby with the bath water, so feel to talk “art” in general way don’t worry if it’s a quilt or a painting. You grew up in the south, studied art in Baton Rouge, a city filled with rich artistic influences.  How has this experience influenced your art?
Actually grew up in rural Northern LA, not much going on artistically. 
 [studio audience – Misty means Louisiana, not Los Angeles]
I watched a lot of Bob Ross. 
[Me too – I love his happy trees, and the twacking of the brush on the easel]

I was lucky to have some wonderful art teachers 
who encouraged me to pursue my passions, unlike others who didn’t “get” it.

Let’s play a number guessing game, so you don’t need to look up the answers, guessing is totally fine… And you are welcome to tell any stories you want along the way, this is all about you!
I understand that you, like many other quilters, first caught the quilting bug when you had a baby.  So starting with that first quilt, how many quilts have you made? 
Probably about 80

Ok, the quilt police show up at your door, how many quilts would the  quilt police say are traditional vs art quilt?  

Percent of the time that you have in your bag something that allows you to create on the go?  (Could be handsewing, knitting/crochet, sketchbook )
Even if I don’t have a specific project, 
I am the type to write down an idea on a dinner napkin, a receipt, any paper, my hand, etc.

Number of scissors you own?  
6ish just for sewing.  I’m a get rid of the old when I replace it gal.         
 [I should learn from you!]

Favorite size machine sewing needle?     
80/12 Universal

Shades of Baltimore
Personally, I love that you have made traditional quilts that have a very current flair.  Your Shades of Baltimore in another colorway, wouldn’t have the zing.  Now I get to use one of my favorite words… Juxtaposition!  Tell me about the creative process for that quilt, did you think of the juxtaposition of the very traditional Baltimore Applique with the black background and candy color that are right out of the Easter basket?  Sorry, leading the witness!  Jury, please disregard that last question… I’ll rephrase, tell me about your creative design process for this quilt.  Pattern? Inspirations? Thoughts?

I think this is funny because I DID NOT DESIGN THIS – totally a kit that I bought, all the hand dyed came with it, I wanted to try applique and saw that in a magazine and thought I’d try it out.  But the photo caught my eye – the traditional design with those brights contrasting on black.
Tempus Fugit

Do you know which of your quilts is one of my favorite?
Tempus Fugit?

Well, I do like that high flying quilt, but the 2 favorites I was thinking of are…

Orange Lotus (upside down!)

Orange Lotus
One is Orange Lotus – I’m obsessed with circles, so that’s one reason, but it has that prettiness and grace that hand applique offers; and a unique curved border that is very organic, a spilled milk on the counter kinda way. 

Coral Snake
And you know I love Crab Cakes!  It’s got undeniable whimsy and humor.  You captured the essence of Ace of Cakes and created a piece with real Maryland flavor, incorporating both sewing and painting techniques.  If you got it, flaunt it!

Here’s my tough question – which 2 quilts do you consider your favorites and why?

I love Orange Lotus, too.  I enjoyed every step of making that quilt. I’m glad I gave myself permission to machine quilt it.  I loved sifting through the button box.

I like the one called Coral Snake – it was a round robin with a friend, Alicia Simon. We work very differently, I learned a lot.  Plus it looks great in my living room.  The fabric was a gift from my sis from Cambodia and I love it.

You are a mom, wife, teacher, artist and have many other roles in life. I see a happy, balanced spirit in you, what words of wisdom do you have for other regarding balance?

If you don’t love it, let it go.
Do what you can.
Set a Timer.
Ask for help.
Forgive yourself.
Get up early.
Make a list.
Don’t apologize for doing what you need to do – others understand and respect it.
My kids will remember my passion for my work- I let them see me struggle, fail and try again.

Next we enter the speed portion of the interview – pick one word from each of the 13 pairs below.
party or peace
time or money
salty or sweet (my fave combo)
realistic or abstract
symmetry or uniqueness
chanting or humming
water or oil
summer or winter
pen or pencil
odd or even
chance or certainty
paper or plastic
questions or answers
Studio audience - I have secretly put 13 pairs in here, because 13 is Misty’s favorite number.

And now, the question every quilter, traditional or art is wondering – do you sew with your shoes on or off? Or do you kick off the right shoe?
I’m barefoot whenever possible, must be my redneck roots showing.

Oh, yes, I forgot to mention, I have a time machine and you can send a message back to your younger self - what advice would you give yourself about adventures in art?
Stop worrying about what everybody else thinks.
Make art for yourself.  You don’t have to show anyone if you don’t want to.
Play and have fun.
Try new things.
And that art teacher in college that made you second guess yourself was an idiot.

Thanks for playing along with me!  Is there anything else about your art or your artistic journey you would like to add?
I still feel like a beginner in many ways, even though I’ve been making art since I could hold a pencil. 
My art at age 10 looks like my art nearing age 40.  

 For me making art is not optional, it is something I do like breathing or taking a walk.

Visit Misty next week, at the Southern Comforter's Quilt Show as the Featured Quilter!
And check out Misty's blog

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Art in Motion

The opportunity to see your art work out there in the world, is a moving experience.
My 12x12x12 is on the top floor - in the center above.

Maryland Quilts 2013

From February 6 through April 2, the Greenbelt Federal Courthouse is displaying quilts from 40 Maryland quilters.  Visit this display in the US District Court for the District of Maryland, Greenbelt Courthouse.
Greenbelt Federal Courthouse
 6500 Cherrywood Lane
Greenbelt, MD 20770
This is blurry since I took if from a moving escalator!
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Enjoy More!

Taking a deep breath and enjoying the beautiful sunshine today!  
Sunny but cold, so staying inside and thinking warm thoughts of warm water and warm air!  This photo is from Bonaire, I love how these colors of blue/green and thoughts of water, are so calming.

I read a great blog post and had to share it with you... hope you enjoy! 
Do Less: A Short Guide By Leo Babauta

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