Monday, January 20, 2014

A Quiet Mountain Weekend

I live in the Salt Lake valley where we are sometimes subject to winter temperature inversions.  This means the surrounding mountains trap the cold air in the valley, which fills up with pollution, resulting in stinking, choking, yuck.  Lucky for us, we escaped to our cabin in the mountains which has clean air and is actually warmer than the valley.  I know, crazy but true.

Although we haven't had much snow this winter, we can't drive all the way to our cabin.  We have a parking area just off the paved road where everything is transferred to a sled pulled behind a snowmobile.  Mickey, our Springer Spaniel is quite nervous so we put a hard-sided crate in the sled for him and Juno, the adventurous Border Collie rode on my husband's lap.  It only takes about 5 minutes from the parking lot to the cabin, then we get busy turning on the water and making a fire in the stove.

On Saturday we went for a ride with our friends and then enjoyed the afternoon sun.

 I brought a book and 2 sewing projects to work on.  Here it is Monday, and I haven't lifted a needle yet.  The sewing projects travelled in my new sewing kit that I purchased from Material Obsessions, another great design by Wendy Williams.

The kit included this handy bag and felt to embellish the outside.  I'm not a huge fan of felt, preferring to work with felted wool.  But the felt costs less and since I'm going to use this bag everyday, I thought the felt would be fine - which it is.  Using my regular applique method, I cut out all the applique pieces and sewed them in place with my Aurifil wool threads using a whip stitch.  All of the embellishment was done with pearl cottons, both Valdani and Painter's Threads in size 8.  I kept the embellishment simple with straight stitches and lots of colonial knots.  When the embellishment was finished I used a Painter's Thread to whip stitch the felt to the bag.

I probably paid too much for the kit but you know how it is when you want something.  This idea would work on any bag with either felt or felted wool.  I don't know what kind of felt it is but it feels like a higher quality than what I've seen in craft stores.  Some of my local quilt stores have felt that may be better.  So even if the kit costs too much, I didn't have to search for just the right bag or buy more than I need of all the right colors of felt.  Yep, that's my justification story and I'm sticking to it!  At least I already had the embellishment threads.

We had planned to go back home today but this sunrise brought the promise of another beautiful day. I think today will include a walk, finish the book and get started on a new project.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Getting Ready For Retreat

The Winter Quilt Retreat at Bryce Canyon is just 3 weeks away and I'm busy getting ready for my classes.  I try not to leave things to the last minute just in case something unexpected comes up so last week was busy.

 Pieces cut for kits.
 A chair full of white wool for dying
 Silk and cotton threads cut for kits.
(I don't play tennis, Juno loves the sewing room and leaves her toys)

And a sneak preview of a new class project.

The Winter Quilt Retreat at Ruby's Inn, Bryce Canyon, is an annual tradition for many with classes, lectures, trunk shows, vendors and more.  I'm looking forward to seeing friends and teaching my Berry Bloom Mini-Purse and Embellishment.

More about the wool hexie project in a few days.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Time - Jar -Rocks - Water

I often hear my friends wish for more time to stitch, which goes along with the statement that they will never live long enough to finish all their projects.  I think we all feel this way sometimes  - that there just isn't enough time.

A few weeks ago I received an email from Ben Behunin with an invitation to visit his home and pottery studio in Salt Lake City.  Knowing my husband would enjoy this experience too, we invited our friends, Roger and Marsha to tag along with us.  


That was our unanimous response to the beautiful home, filled with Ben's tiles, his amazing studio and pottery.  Ben is also an author and I bought his new book, Put A Cherry On Top, the secrets of creating an artful life.

I love to read but usually devote my time to murder mysteries, and waiting for the next Longmire (my make-believe boyfriend) book to be released.  I never pick up a book on self improvement even though I probably should.  I scanned through Put A Cherry On Top while touring Ben's home, then put it back on the stack.  While in the studio I picked it up again and finally bought it, along with some hand-made tiles.

Are you now wondering if I've totally lost it?  How does this relate to Time - Jar - Rocks and Water?  In the book is an object lesson that reads if you fill a jar with rocks, it looks full - but there is still room for sand - and when it is full to the top with sand, you can still pour in some water.  But, if you fill the jar with water first, nothing else will fit.

From an early age I was told that my chores (water) had to be finished before I could play (rocks).  It was a good lesson and made me a very productive adult.  Unfortunately, it didn't leave me much time for creativity or day dreaming.  It seems like there are just too many chores. Here's the question I asked myself:  Do all the chores have to be done every day?  Can I wait until tomorrow to buy groceries and clean the house? After reading Ben's book my answer is YES!!!

I'm changing my "rocks" this year to stitching, reading, time with friends, daydreaming and creating.  My bet is that I will still find time to buy groceries and clean, but after I do the things I enjoy.

If you would like to begin on a creative journey Ben's book is very inspiring and is available on Amazon.  You can see more about Ben on his website at and if you are close to Salt Lake City don't miss a chance to visit his home and studio.

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