Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm on TV!

Well, internet TV, but still . . . it's a real show, shot in a studio with lights, cameras and action and a live studio audience (I'm in the far left corner - you can hardly see me) in Boulder. I hope you can take the time to watch the whole thing so you can see why I love Ami and why I spend so much of my time volunteering for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. There's a picture of my Mom looking at my sister Beth Hartford's quilt towards the beginning . . . a silhouette of Dad on a sunset. Also, in the "after show" they did a slide show and there's a picture of me with Dad and a picture of a couple of the name quilts I collected names for and quilted.

You can now watch show #712 featuring Ami Simms and the new Alzheimer's Exhibit by clicking here: The Quilt Show. If you want to subscribe to The Quilt Show, use this coupon code for a 20% discount on a 6 month membership: 125030263501 (membership begins January 1, 2011), and by filling out a short form you can watch for the entire month of December for free. Please check it out!

If we've got you curious, look around on the AAQI site. If you're still looking for Christmas presents, check out the Quilts for Sale page!

Friday, December 3, 2010

More publicity for The Quilt Show Episode 712 with Ami Simms

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These are mostly "behind the scenes" pictures. The last one is the whole group from the AAQI. Right to left Alex Anderson, Kathy Kennedy-Dennis, Susan Pain, Mary Lecea, me, Ami Simms, my sister Beth Hartford and Ricky Tims.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Episode 712 of The Quilt Show

Click here to watch the trailer for Episode 712.

For those of you who don't already know, The Quilt Show, starring Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims is an online quilting show. They (collectively and personally) have been very supportive of the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative.

My sister Beth Hartford and I flew to Boulder for the taping of this show. We, along with Susan Pain and Kathy Kennedy-Dennis, were "roadies" for Ami Simms. The show was REALLY well done, it was fascinating to be behind the scenes, and Ami was terrific! The show explained a bit about what the AAQI does and why we do it, and unveiled a part of the new travelling exhibit Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Over 1,000 Quilts going to Houston!

Click on the YouTube video below to see some of the quilts that will be available for sale at the AAQI booth in Houston this year. Since I began scanning and uploading the quilts to the website, I can assure you that there are some really fantastic pieces in the bunch and some that are just plain fun!

I Used to be a Tablecloth . . .

Last in the series, finished and registered in the nick of time for Houston!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Lewy Body Dementia Week

Dementia has many forms - this is the particular disease my Dad has. Take a look at the website and learn about LBD - the second most common form of dementia to Alzheimer's!

Finished "I Used to be a Placemat"

Finally . . .

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Earth Laugh 2

My art has been "on hold" lately due to a very busy August, but I had a deadline (tomorrow) to meet on this, so I took some studio time and just did it. The title is Earth Laugh 2 and I just submitted it for consideration to the Dick Blick 12x12 show next month. It is a follow up to Earth Laugh 1, which was submitted for last year's 12x12 show. This is, again, a paper fabric background and the flower petals are also paper fabric, painted with caran d'ache watercolor crayons and finished with Liquitex Irridescent Medium (boy is that cool stuff!). The filaments had me stumped for awhile until I thought about hitting the hardware store to look at small tubing and realized I already had what I needed . . . zip ties! I just love mixed media pieces! I zigzagged them to make them look less plastic. The stamen are just felt with some wool roving inside.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I Used to be a Pillowcase

And the third one still working it's way to reality. This one I re-attached some of the lace border on the other 3 sides and colored the background with caran d'ache crayons.

I Used to be a Place Mat

I've got a series going here . . . not sure exactly how I'll quilt or finish this one - it's still deciding . . .

Monday, July 26, 2010

I Used to be a Dresser Scarf

Went to a garage sale a couple weeks ago and picked up a grouping of 3 embroidered dresser scarfs for $1.75. This is what was salvageable from one ofthem - a quick 8"x8" Priority Quilt! The background is fabric paper given to me by Fannie Narte - thanks Fannie! The binding is pieces from a chiffon scarf.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summer Breeze, Finished??

I learned a few things with this piece. I don't like it as much with the soft watercolor edges trimmed off - and it's the canvas I used for a background - it gives the finished piece a rough texture that is the opposite of watercolor softness. I didn't see this until I trimmed it, but it's done and I'll make the best of it. I'm also wondering if it needs some "sparkle" - think I'll bead the centers of the flowers for sure and maybe even couch some gold thread along the binding.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer Breeze, phase 2

Obviously, I don't work very fast! I finally sat down to fill in the grass detail this morning, using two different colors of variegated green thread, and I think I like it!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer Breeze

Today I am beginning a new piece that has been in my "to do" pile for awhile. I read an article in QA about thread sketching an outline and filling in with watercolor pastels (too long ago to give credit where credit is due, sorry!). I also feel a bit like I'm lifting the idea from Fannie Narte, whose work often has this same soft look. This is canvas. I thread sketched the central flower then used black resist on it and on the background flowers. It needs refinement and detail - I'll let it set a bit and see if I want to thread paint details or use watercolor pencils ... or both!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gone, Finished!

Got my registration number, made the label and GONE is ready to go. The binding went on smoothly, but there was an unfortunate color change at the join - I'm tempted to use a little black water color to make it less obvious.

I like to make my labels special too, so I used the tree and some of the background color.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I'm not sure I like the thread effect as much as I thought I would - might have been better with a thin poly black, but it is what it is. I do really like the two extra tiny footprints, though!

All that is left now is to square it up and bind it. I'm going to use the same hand dye black that I did for the trees.

Gone, Artist's Statement

I really find it useful to blog about a piece, mainly because seeing the picture or scan online can give you perspective that having it right in front of you doesn't. Staring at it just now, I wrote the Artist's Statement, which will hang next to the piece - should it get juried into Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope.

In a world suddenly awry with foreboding shapes and colors, the dementia sufferer wanders; looking for something familiar to anchor himself to. As his path gets more and more frightening, he is slowly gone, unreachable, and finally, lost forever.

Gone, Stage Three

Back to the scanner today since I fused everything down yesterday. Next step is to thread paint the trees with this fab variegated black thread I found in the Superior Thread booth at Rosemont last month. This will give the bigger trees some texture and fill in the branches on all of them. Think I'll add one more tiny set of footprints too.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Gone, Stage Two

After my week in FL for the MS150, I have finally gotten back to this, which is a good thing, because there's a deadline looming in less than a week. I'm adding the trees, will still be tweaking a few things on the two larger trees and need to add many more trees to the distant tree line, but I feel better now that I can see the design becoming real. A large chunk of the big tree will be trimmed to make the 9" wide requirement, so I'm not worrying too much about thinning it out.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Gone, The Beginning

I decided to try making my blog a little more interesting by posting progress pictures of what I'm working on. Those of you that saw Solitude can guess where this is going . . .

Of course it's hard to guess when I forget to upload the picture before I hit "publish post."

This is more of my sister Beth's hand dyed silk from Quilters Stitch Together.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

From Heartbreak to Hope Name Quilt

This is a section from the third 6" wide by 7' long name quilts I'm quilting for the AAQI new exhibit Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope. The three I've quilted will hang with 180 others, each bearing the names of 55 people who have or have died with Alzheimer's or a related dementia. Will mail Monday to Kathy Kennedy-Dennis in Houston for finishing!

One of the nicest parts of working with the AAQI is getting to know (even if it's just virtually) so many wonderful women from all over the country. The AAQI is totally volunteer-driven and it takes a lot of us! Quilters are wonderful people, in general, and really pitch in when someone needs help. Especially if they can do it using fabric, needle and thread! So, if you've ever wanted to make 9x12 quilts, you now have a purpose for them! Read Make a Donation Quilt.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The West Wing

This is my latest Priority Quilt. I sent in the registration today . . .

Width: 11.5” Length: 9”

Materials/techniques: Background is commercial fabric, White House is printed on lutradur. Tree is Rust Tex and scraps of green commercial fabrics. Clouds are Angelina. TV set is made of etal painted black with a glossy print of the white house for a “screen”. Flag is a party toothpick.

Artist's Statement: I was lucky enough to read Ami’s blog at the right time when she was offering Allison Janney signature blocks. I wanted to do something different with it – something that said “West Wing” so I came up with the White House idea. This was fun!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Finished first of two name quilts

This is a section from the first of two 6" wide by 7' long name quilts I'm quilting for the AAQI new exhibit Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope. The two I'm doing will hang with 180 others, each bearing the names of 55 people who have or have died with Alzheimer's or a related dementia. I got the names for my two quilts, plus a few extra's from two places. A great many of them came from the Mather Pavilion in Evanston IL, where I volunteer on one of their two "special care" floors. The others I got from the Good Samaratian Home in Lodi WI, where my Dad now lives. I got many of the names from the Activities Directors of both institutions - who were familiar with many names of people who had lived there in the past, so I was able to tap both past and present residents.

Finished the second one, too and mailed them both off to Kathy Kennedy-Dennis in Houston for finishing!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hand Sewn Sunshine on Etsy

My quilt Let the Sun Shine was chosen for a special collection on Etsy called HAND SEWN SUNSHINE. This quilt was made as a result of an online class by Ellen Linder called Instant Art Quilts. Last I heard Ellen was still using it in her student sample gallery. It was really fun to make - basically you ripped up a piece of cool hand dye (gulp) and re-assembled it. It was a lesson in design, color, value and contrast. No buyer yet, but it's fun to be picked out!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Post It Notes

I usually don't post about non-art-related stuff here, but I was just cleaning my keyboard with my ever-present Post Its and I remembered how grateful I was to read somewhere that you can use them to clean between keys on your keyboard. Love 'em for so many reasons!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Finally Finished Fear

This is a quilt about fear, specifically about the fear a person feels when they realize their mind is not working right. When they can't think straight. When they can't remember the simplest things. My Dad has Loewy Body Disease, a variant of Alzheimer's tied to Parkinsonism. The symptoms are very much the same as any other dementia.

This 9"x12" quilt will be donated to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative, a 501(c)(3) organization raising money for Alzheimer's research.

As my family struggled through the early stages of the disease with Dad it was sometimes hard to remember that the motivation behind all the paranoia, anger, frustration and irritability was plain and simple fear. Try to imagine the devastating horror a person must go through as they get the diagnosis, and then realize that they are no longer capable of handling day-to-day situations. Imagine you can no longer remember names, and later, no longer remember the relationships. Strangers all around you, trying to get you to eat, take pills, take a shower, put clothes on. The disease progresses and there are only flashes when you realize with terror that you have no idea what is going on. The natural reaction is to find somebody or something to blame it on. To find a reason, other than that you are losing yourself, for this craziness that is happening.

I feel physical pain in my heart when I think about how terrifying it must have been for Dad to feel himself slipping away and be powerless to stop it. I get sick to my stomach when I think about the heriditary links and realize that I or one of my siblings may face this fear someday.

These days my Dad is beyond the fear. His irritability now stems from not being able to reason through why somebody is asking him to do something. As sad as it is to see him looking at me with blank eyes, I am glad he is no longer afraid. And there are those wonderful moments when he looks at me with love in his eyes, no longer knowing who I am but knowing that he loves me. When he smiles or reaches out for a hug. As horrible a price as he has paid for this "peace", I am glad it is finally his.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Solitude, reprise

Finally, a sunny day! This still doesn't capture the silk, but I think it's the best I'm gonna do!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Solitude finished

I'm going to have to wait for sun and re-take this picture and see if I can capture the "feel" - it's snow dyed silk from QST and it's GORGEOUS! It has a depth that isn't showing here because of the rivers of color through the silk.

This is another piece that has been sitting around for awhile - I intended to give it a thin border of the green and then bind it in black and even got so far as to sew the black binding on before I realized that the green was way better. So I ripped the black binding off and then had to do a fused binding with the green because the only piece I had left was 15" wide. No other green in my stash would do!

OWOH Winners!

I've sent emails to Shona and Jenn. This was such fun again this year and I really appreciate everyone who stopped by and left a comment!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Almost Done!

I admit, I work slow . . . I often let things sit around for awhile, waiting for that little voice to speak in my ear. This one is has been worked that way. I finally realized it was the flower centers that were bugging me, so I took a walk down to Ayla's Beads yesterday afternoon and found some really cool stuff. Although it's hard not to find cool stuff in that store! So the centers are on (one is a singleton earring given me by a neighbor) and I just need to stitch on a few butterfly beads and a (you're gonna love this, Beth) an awsome turtle bead I found yesterday.

I added an image transfer of some words (hope, love and research) to the background, and then FMQed the same words in a variegated thread. I added some grass and some roots, which I think help to weight the bottom sufficiently to offset the flowers and also take some of the emphasis off the word Fear. So far, I'm pretty happy with it and will be auditioning bindings next.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Chinese New Year Cards

I have a couple of friends who always want me to design a Chinese New Year card for them. 2010 is the year of the tiger. Royalty free image from stockxchg - background removed, crumpled paper overlay, netting overlay. Chinese symbol for tiger, snagged off the internet somewhere . . .

Just listed it in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fear (working post)

I got this 9x12 future Priority Quilt laid out this morning. This quilt is about dementia, and how fear is the root of many the difficult behaviours. Ribbon stems are computer printed. Flowers (purchased as is) are a velvet paper that can be painted - I'm thinking watercolor purples, as purple is the color of the Alzheimer's Association. Need to add centers - only one came with a beaded center. Beth you might recognize one of your unique hand dyes in the background. Lois, that's one of your rusted fabrics as the dirt (also computer printed).
I will be adding leaves and am thinking of quilting the word "hope" in the background - but I'll have to practice that one for awhile! Ideas? Suggestions?

Sunday, January 24, 2010


This initiative is really fun and you are exposed to blogs from all over the world . . . and they are reading yours too! If you are not familiar with OWOH, read all about it here:


My first give-away is pictured below - it's an altered 6x6 American Crafts Mini Album with ten 6"x6" fixed page protectors, that can hold 20 pages or sheets of paper back to back. I used ripped up printed napkins to make the outside cover, the inside is covered with a handmade (not by me, tho!) paper. A ribbon, heart ribbon buckle, tag, rose charm and some lovely chenille fiber make up the cover embellishments.

I plan to make at least one more, maybe two (I got a great price on the albums at House of Paper and these napkins from Joggles are way fun to work with!) so your chances of winning will increase with each one I get inspired to finish before this program ends.

The inside looks just the same as above except I used yellow mulberry for the end flaps.

The fine print: You MUST have an active blog. You MUST leave a comment on my blog - and that post has to include a way I can contact you if you win. You can leave your email or you can leave your blog address (but make sure your "contact me" info is current on your blog!).

THE END - yes, all good things must end - is on February 15th - the day the winners will be posted. So the cut off for comments on my blog will be midnight on the 14th. I'll use a random number generator to pick the winners.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Present to my Family

This was an emotional journey turned learning experience. Dad has Loewy Body Disease - an Alzheimer's-like dementia. The idea for this collage was inspired by Marcia Middents, who created a Priority Alzheimer's Quilt with this concept. See Searching For Memories.

The digital collage was the easy part once I got past the tears of deciding which words and pictures to use. I wanted it to be heart-wrenching, yet somehow positive. The learning experience came in when I figured out how to cover artist stretcher bars with batting and fabric, backed it and got the hanging hardware on it. Many, many hot glue sticks were sacrificed! I made 5 of these - this is the one I kept for myself - the others all had different fabrics and embellishments.

I should go take another picture - this one is a bit blurry, but you get the idea.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year All!

I wish all of my blogging friends a happy and creative 2010!

Mine is starting off with a bang with two of my quilts on auction for the next 10 days at Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative.