Month: August 2007

Studio before and after

The Big Clean

If you saw my letter from the editor picture in this latest issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, you’ll know what I mean when I say my studio easily could have been mistaken for the set of “The Swamp Thing.”  With the amount of clutter and gunk I had accumulated, it resembled a marshy landscape of questionable hygiene. And more importantly, I had an impossible time finding anything. Ever.

Here’s what I mean:


and this:


And since I’m exposing my messy ways, let me show you this:


As Good As It’s Gonna Get

Everyday for the past month, I’ve slowly chipped away at cleaning it up. How did I motivate myself to do this? I pictured my mother (otherwise known as “mA”), coming out from Las Vegas for a long-awaited visit. We’d hug at the airport and loop arms around each other as we entered the house. We’d  ascend the stairs to my beloved studio—my atelier, my secret, cherished garden so to speak.  With pride and joy, I’d open the studio door, only to hear her gasp, look over her shoulder at me with trembling lips and say, “Could you really be my daughter? Because no daughter of mine could ever disrespect her things–or herself–like this.”

This imagined, shame-inducing scenario worked. (Thanks mA!)

As of this morning, April 1st (and this is no April Fool’s), my studio looks something like this:


and this…


And this…


  And OH OH OH…this!


And I can’t forget this!


  And and and…


Oh! And one more…


So there. I’ve cleaned up my act. A few things to point out about the cleaning:

1. I organized all my hand threads into plastic bags, sorting them by color. All of the skeins have been placed on large key rings inside the plastic bags. This way they never get tangled and I can always find exactly what I need. Mary Fisher (the most organized person I know) taught me this trick.2. All of my rubber stamps are sorted into bins by theme (i.e. human forms, alphabet letters, abstract designs, floral designs, etc.)3. All of my hand-dyed and over-dyed fabrics that I love to pet and ogle at everyday, get a special place on the shelf. All my other fabrics (quilting and novelty fabrics) are sorted by color into large bins that fit under the tables, I do not bother folding any of this stuff–I just toss it in.4. I’ve separated my studio into four general areas:     a. Mixed-media and stabilizers (all my “burning” supplies and tools, chiffon scarves, Angelina, silk     cocoons, water-soluble stabilizers, Pellon, etc.) are placed in bins near the sewing machine area.    b. Hand-threads and quilting supplies.    c. Rubber stamps, paints, papers, and adhesives.    d. quilting and machine threads. I have a design wall and a peg board to keep my rotary cutters,        color wheels, rulers, and other supplies.

Although I’m constantly mixing it all up, it does help to keep each craft housed in their own corners so to speak.

If you want to see other artists’ studios, click here.

Countdown to Chicago and news on ATCs

I’m so thrilled––International Quilt Festival/Spring and Make It U! with Cloth Paper Scissors® is just three short weeks away. I recently received the floor map of where the Make It U! section will be, and it’s smack in the middle of the quilt show—wonderful as it will certainly draw the crowds. If you are thinking of signing up for a Make It U! workshop, I recommend signing up promptly when you arrive at the show, as the workshops are sure to fill up quickly. If you have absolutely no idea what the heck I’m talking about, click here. 

And I have news—most of the ATCs that were sent to Cloth Paper Scissors® for the Chicago trade will be published! (I’ll spill more on that very soon.) And if you missed the March 6th deadline, and still want to participate in the trade and possibly have your ATCs published, here’s some information that we posted on the Make It U! web page:

ATC TRADE UPDATE! 3/15/06In case you missed the March 6th deadline to submit ATCs for our ATC Exhibit, there will still be a chance to trade your ATCs at the show if you bring them to Chicago. Please note this is a separate trade from the ATC exhibit, and your ATCs will be traded with the editors of Quilting Arts, LLC. It’s quite possible your ATCs will be published (hence why we want to keep them), so be sure to include your name, address, and email on the back of each ATC.

Rules for this CPS Editorial ATC Trade in Chicago:

– You must bring your ATCs to the show and be present in order to trade. Do not mail them to our offices in Stow, MA. – 5 ATC limit per person.- Trading will take place during designated trading hours (to be announced soon).- This ATC trade will only be open to the first 200 ATCs received.

– ATCs must be traded at the quilt show.

Now for some art…

ATC by Jill Lundstrom submitted for the ATC Trade in Chicago.

Here, it looks as though Jill took a vintage photograph, and added bits of torn papers and antique buttons. Very fun!

I dug through my stash of ATCs I’ve made, and found this:

I can’t remember exactly how I made it, but my best guess is I began with a piece of hand-dyed fabric that I stamped with gold Lumiere paint and an Indian print block. I then outlined the stamped image with free-motion quilting. For the Fleur-de-lis image, I impressed one of Dale Rollerson’s Illumination stamps into Model Magic (a trick I learned from Beryl Taylor), then after I let the Model Magic dry overnight, colored it with acrylic paints and finally gilded with Treasure Gold. I then glued the Fleur-de-lis image and four fragments for the corners to the ATC background.

I will be posting more ATCs and other artwork in the near future and invite you to guess as to how they were constructed (I find this to be a fun learning exercise.)


I’ve always been slow to catch onto anything hip (proven by the fact that I’ve yet to watch a single episode of “Project Runway”).  Yet I’d get email after email from friends and colleagues who’d apprise me that they were journaling on the Net, and for me to come visit. Finally, I gave into curiosity when Lesley Riley told me that I absolutely must read Loretta Marvel’s expressive and inspiring tidbits of wisdom or she’d smack me with one of her fabric books. From then on, my morning ritual was forever altered as I now wake up thirty minutes earlier, sip coffee in bed, and slowly wake to the musings of others.

Hoards of artists are putting out wonderful, insightful, inspiring blogs reminiscent of “morning pages,” or warm–ups––ways for artists to work out their artistic fears and discover their dreams as they slowly, word after word, psyche themselves into a creative place. I discovered that blogs were a way to stay connected with the larger artistic community, to share works in progress (one of my favorite aspects of blogging), and to get feedback from friends.

In this blog I’ll be sharing a little bit about myself as an editor/quilter and using this informal, relaxed venue to ask you questions and share with you what we’re up to at Quilting Arts, LLC. I’ll share sneak peaks on reader challenges and updates on submissions. I’ll also post some reviews on the latest books and products that we weren’t able to fit into our magazines. Lastly, I promise to impart the latest information on calls for entries and upcoming events.

Speaking of events, I hope many of you are making your hotel reservations for the International Quilt Festival-Spring in Chicago, April 7-9.  Make It U! with Cloth Paper Scissors  is shaping up to be an exhilarating event at this spectacular quilt festival. If you’ve never been to this quilt show, you’re missing out. The quilts are mind-blowing in their creativity and sheer number—everything from traditional to art quilts with all kinds of media, and aisle after aisle of vendors, selling a myriad of fabrics and embellishments. (I spend ALL my hard-earned money at these shows.)  And you’re hearing it on this blog first: If you send in up to five ATCS for the ATC Trade that will be taking place right on the show floor, whether or not you can come to Chicago to get your trades, there is a very, very high probability that your ATCs will be published––in a book, no less. So I hope that you can sneak some time in this week to make up to five mixed-media ATCs and mail them to us to make the March 6th deadline.

Happy creating,


Setting a Shipping Record


More than 2000 pounds and 80 boxes later, we’re on our way to Chicago for the International Quilt Festival/Spring.  I don’t know who’s more shocked by this record-setting shipment––the dog or the UPS guy.

I will try (key word being “try”) to upload pictures of Chicago while we’re there, and when we return, we’ll post the finalists for the “How Does Your Garden Grow?” 2007 Calendar Contest on our website (we received more than 100 beautiful entries.)

For what it’s worth, I’ll be making a small TV appearance on the local ABC News in Chicago, this Thursday at 11:00 AM to promote the Quilt Festival, so if you are local, tune in (and wish me luck).

Hope to see many of you in Chicago and that you’ll sign up for one of our Make It U! with Cloth Paper Scissors Workshops!


Whoa baby!

This is too cool for school… check out the loot that Jacquard Products sent us in addition to our order for paints we placed with them last week:

sea_of_paints-1506386 I asked for some product to help with my workshops for Make It U! and I’m positively bowled over by their generosity. They sent bags of small samples of their Lumieres and Sherrill Kahn sorbets, a set of their gorgeous new line of Lumieres in the 2/25 oz. bottles, as well as some Pearl-Ex powders in luscious colors.

When we placed our order last week I saw that they now have Sherrill Kahn sorbets in the 2.25 oz. bottles and I’m ecstatic. Those bright, springy colors are so yummy, and readers keep asking me when we’ll have them. They’re here! After Chicago, we’ll put them up on our website (around April 15th).

So what are my plans with all this paint? The first 25 people who sign up for my Mixed-media Fabric Painting and Collage Workshop Friday night will get a complimentary canvas tote bag from Quilting Arts, LLC:


And in one hour, we’re going to paint (and get a little grubby in the process) as we turn them into something like this:


Fun will be had by all, I promise. Hope you’ll join me…

News flash!

Thanks to reader support over the years, starting in 2007, both Quilting Arts Magazine and Cloth Paper Scissors will be going to a six-issue publication schedule. Here’s how the publishing schedules break down:

Quilting Arts MagazineFebruary/MarchApril/MayJune/JulyAugust/SeptemberOctober/November


Cloth Paper ScissorsJanuary/FebruaryMarch/AprilMay/JuneJuly/AugustSeptember/October


To say I’m excited about the new schedule is an understatement; it just means we can do so much more with both publications. With no quilt shows on the immediate horizon, we’ll be heavily focused on editorial so if you have a piece of artwork or a technique you want us to feature, do tell us about it. (Submission guidelines can be found on our Quilting Arts, LLC, website.)

In celebration of the new publishing schedule, the first FIVE people who answer the following question AND email me their address will get a FREE ONE-YEAR SUBSCRIPTION or RENEWAL to either Quilting Arts Magazine or Cloth Paper Scissors. Please note: You must be the first five to answer the following question on the blog and email me your address at

Question: What was the single most beautiful, inspiring piece of artwork you saw within the last twelve months and where did you see it? Why did the piece have so much meaning for you? If you don’t remember the name or artist, please describe the piece and let us know where you saw it.
If you see that you’re not in the first five, I hope you’ll still share with us!

Now for some inspiration…

In September I mailed 30 people kind enough to read this blog a small package of embellishments, which included hand-dyed coffee filters, ribbons, papers, fabric, and other bits of ephemera. (To see the particulars of the challenge scroll down to the blog post entitled “In Thanks.”)

There were no rules how to use the package particulars and the results show how diverse and creative all of you are. I am so humbled by the talent!

Here are just a handful of some of the creations (I’ll be posting more later):

Sue Bleiweiss


Ginger Henkel


Joanna van Ritbergen


Karen Stiehl Osborn


Lisa Gallup


In other news, tomorrow (Saturday) I’ll be connecting with Bernie Berlin in New Hampshire to meet my new dog Sophie from Bernie’s rescue program, A Place To Bark. John and I are so excited to welcome Sophie to our family, and I hope to post some pictures on the blog soon to kick off Bernie’s mixed-media auction on eBay later in the month.


Have a beautiful weekend, everybody.

2007 Calendar, Teens Alone, and a Rare Raffle Opportunity


‘Tis the season for giving, and have we got a special deal for you right now––buy a 2007 Quilting Arts Calendar and get a 2006 Calendar for free! And if that’s not reason enough, here’s another: Quilting Arts, LLC, donates $1 for every calendar sold each year to a non-profit organization that we feel does excellent work. For our 2007 calendar we chose Teens Alone, a community-based organization that helps homeless teenagers stay in their communities so they have a better shot at graduating high school. I met Lydia Kihm, the Director of Teens Alone two years ago when she visited the International Quilt Festival/Spring in Chicago. When Lydia walked through Mary Fisher’s Abataka exhibit, like many viewers, she was moved to heavy tears. (This is a woman who cares deeply about the welfare of children.)



I recently had the chance to interview Lydia to find out more about Teens Alone.

What does Teens Alone do?            Teens Alone has four counselors who provide free counseling to teens and parents in Minneapolis’s western suburbs. We also facilitate in-school and community groups. Last year we had 399 youth clients and 73 parents.            Daunting issues that bring teens to us include: sadness over losing a girlfriend or boyfriend, divorce and the challenges of blended families, pregnancy worries, mental health issues, self-mutilation, trouble with the law, problems at school, drug and alcohol experimentation, and chemical dependency            A growing concern is that almost 100 of the teens we worked with were on the verge of, or had already lost stable housing. (I doubt that our geographical area is much different from other communities). There are no local housing options for teens…they have to go into Minneapolis. Most of them refuse by saying, “I’ve lost my home. All I have is school and my job and now you want me to give that up, too?”

            Studies show that youth who remain in their home community are less likely to drop out of school, so we are committed to lead the community into finding local options to support these kids to stay in school.

How difficult is it to get funding?            The economy collapsed after September 11, 2001. Businesses felt the impact first. Non profits didn’t feel the effects until 2003. Since then, so many funding streams have dried up.

            Having Quilting Arts Magazine recognize Teens Alone and give proceeds from the beautiful calendar (I’m looking at my 2006 calendar right now!) is mind-boggling.

What are your dreams for Teens Alone?
            That we’ll go out of business! In a perfect world, adolescents would have fewer bumps along the road and parents could love their kids and find balance between allowing their kids to make mistakes and protecting them at the same time. Since I don’t think that will happen any time soon….my dream is that we remain a free, easily accessible, non-bureaucratic service. My other dream is that I’m standing in the background with a huge smile on my face, watching folks cut a ribbon for housing for kids without a home.

And if your home for kids becomes a reality I think I know a few people who would be overjoyed to make some quilts! I have to ask this–do the kids craft?
            We have a youth advisory board and one of the boys, who is a junior, knits. We also have clients who are beaders and painters.

We love hearing that! For anyone wanting to make a donation to Teens Alone, read on––we have an incentive for you!

Teens Alone & Quilting Arts Magazine Raffle


For anyone wanting to make a holiday donation to Teens Alone,if you make a monetary donation of at least $25 to Teens Alone by Tuesday, December 12th, 5:00 PM E.S.T., your name will go into a raffle to win one of three sets of sold-out Quilting Arts Magazine Issues 2-6. For anyone who has tried to obtain these on eBay, you know they go for big bucks. I have a handful of these issues left (for the future grandkids, of course), but I am donating three sets of these sold-out issues to three people who win the raffle.

Here’s how to get your name in the raffle:
1.Go to and make (at minimum) a $25 donation. All you need is a credit card, and in the special message area, write QUILTING ARTS RAFFLE.

2. After you’ve made your monetary donation, email, and in the subject line write QA RAFFLE. In the body of your email write your full name and mailing address. Please note that it is crucial you include your full name and address in the body of your email.

You must make your donation and email Quilting Arts that you’ve made your donation by 5:00 PM EST on Tuesday, December 12th. On Wednesday, December 13th, I’ll announce the three winners on the blog.

Good luck and I hope you donate. (It’s good karma!)