Wild Flower Embroidery

I found an excellent book of wild flower designs last summer at the Oconaluftee Visitors Center in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and I’ve just finished the Catawba Rhododendron! I did that one first since I tend to confuse it with Mountain Laurel. Now I think I’m straight!

I’ve transferred 15 of the designs to pale green Kona fabric and I’m using brown embroidery thread with a threaded back stitch. I enlarged the designs to 11″ to fit on a 14″ block. My plan is to use these, eventually, on the back of a mountain Tshirt quilt. The needlework designs were compiled in 1971 by the Park Service Wives Organization of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The designs are by Novie Ahrenhold and include many of my favorite wild flowers. There’s even one that we have in our yard that I thought was yellow broom – come to find out it’s called Hearts-A-Bustin-With-Love! Such a great name! The flowers aren’t very distinguished, but the berries are charming.

I’m enjoying working on the flowers in between other projects, as I wait for Spring and day-dream about the Smoky Mountains.

Watercolor Journey

I mentioned in my last post five watercolor paintings for my local art association – here they are! I welcome your feedback – what you like about them, what you think could be improved, what you would have done differently.

I’m already exhibiting photographs with the group, and I would like to also show my watercolors. However, first my work must be accepted by a jury of the association’s board. Didn’t make it this time; maybe next time. Meanwhile, practice, practice, practice!! The Facebook group, Artist Journal Workshop, has been very helpful and I’ve been viewing Cathy Johnson’s youtube watercolor videos.

Daily Art Journal Sketches


January is slipping away! I’m of two minds about that – I’d like to slow time a bit, but I’m eager for Spring, and by the end of January I’ll have 31 days of journal sketches! Here’s a few of the better ones. I particularly like the Patterson Depot that my grandmother ran for 40 years, and the birdnest that the house finches built over our porchlight last spring! I found as the month went on, I became more apt to add color to my sketches. Maybe because I’ve also been working this month on five beach themed watercolors for our local art association. I’m pleased with those pieces and perhaps will post them after I’ve shared them with the group in early February. I’m  looking forward to later in February team teaching a Nature Journaling class at Covenant Woods with a fellow CoWo family member. More on that later. For those of you in the northern hemisphere, hope your winter hasn’t been too harsh so far. Stay warm!

Slot and Tab Journaling


I’ve joined a Facebook group that I’m really enjoying: Artist’s Journal Workshop. The group favors the watercolor/sketch type of art journal that I prefer and includes many excellent artists.  One of the members, Palma Rea, has posted a daily sketch challenge for January that I’m following – see photos above.  Here’s a link for her daily prompts, if you’d like to give it a try!

In Interweave’s Pages magazine, winter 2015 issue, there’s an article on making a journal without glue, tape, or thread, called a slot and tab book.  Here’s a link with an even clearer description than what’s in the magazine. I followed the directions, and it’s very simple and quick – so I made a couple! On the second one, which I’m using for the January sketch challenge, I did reinforce the paper folds with scotch tape that are slotted and tabbed.

Biking in Scenic Richmond

Back to the blog!  WordPress sends out an excellent end of year summary for each blog, which I thoroughly enjoy. However, it did point out that my posts have been sadly lacking over the past several months.  Hoping to do better in 2015! With that in mind, here’re the two projects I finished this week!

The first is my entry in the Richmond Quilters Guild Challenge, Scenic Virginia from a Bicycle.  The quilts will be exhibited at the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival at the Hampton Convention Center in February. The exhibit is in support of the UCI World Road Cycling Championships, a 9-day event that will come to Richmond September 19-127, 2015.  I’ve very happy with how the wall sized quilt came out!  It’s raw edged fused applique, machine quilted with cotton and silk fabrics.  I used wisps of cotton and Clorox to simulate the mist rising from the river.  The quilt is based on a photo I took early one November morning of the James River CSX Railroad Bridge, from the Powhite Expressway Bridge.  Thanks to my sister for the quilt idea, and to my husband for the placement of the required bicycle and the cotton wisps suggestions!

The second project is a tshirt quilt for a friend, constructed in such a manner that it is reversible and using more of each tshirt that methods I’d tried before.  I pleased with this approach, as it’s much easier to quilt each block before assembly.  Did take a lot of zig-zag stitching, however!  We’ll see what she thinks of it later today!

Happy New Year to all of you, may it be happy, healthy, and prosperous!

Exhibitions: Quilts, Photos, Watercolors!


Where did July and August go?! Here, at least, is what’s happening in my life in September! Early this morning I drove over to the Richmond International Raceway (RIR) to drop off quilts, and then swung by the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond to drop off photos and watercolors. The posters give the details on the two events.

The Richmond Quilters Guild Quilt Show happens every three years and I have three quilts that will be on display this weekend, Saturday and Sunday. The show promises to be excellent! The Richmond Times Dispatch has run two articles referencing the show: Decorate with Quilts, and Quilting Business Continues to Grow. Hope you get a chance to get by – along with approximately 300 quilts there will be vendors and a boutique.  Sales from that last all go toward Richmond Fisher House, a temporary lodging facility for families of hospitalized active-duty service members and veterans.

Next week is the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond’s annual Gallery Show. I’ve heard about this show forever as THE PLACE to sell and buy high quality art, but I’ve never been.  This year I decided to apply to show my photos and watercolors, and was accepted!  So check it out – I’ll have two framed photos on display and 25 matted photos and watercolors, all available for purchase.  The show opens on Wednesday evening and rumor has it that to see the best work you need to get there early!

In you’re in or near Richmond, Virginia, I hope to see you at one or both venues!

Veterans Impact Project

Yesterday I visited the third annual Art and Culture Expo here in Richmond – 75 art, performance, heritage and community groups. There were 24 performance throughout the day and interactive booths with the best of Richmond on display. If you didn’t get to it this year, put it on your calendar for 2015!

My daughter was there for Da Capo, a children’s musical education group whose choirs she accompanies.  I was providing support, and getting a taste of what’s going on around town.  I also was particularly interested in an effort Art on Wheels has had in the work for several years – their Veteran’s Impact Project. Our own neighborhood artist and good friend, James Robertson, built the ballista that was used by veterans and their family and friends to hurl representations of objects of significance to veterans against a clay panel. The panels were then cast and mounted. This was the unveiling of those panels!  They will eventually be on permanent display.