Friday, March 21, 2008

A Fresh Start

Spring has sprung and it's snowing again! But I still love it. I mailed my new fabric designs to FreeSpirit this week, so a new chapter begins. My walls look very bare and my Bernina is aching to be used. But first I have to clean up this studio! It's strange to finally have a real workroom and realize that I could use even more space.

The magazines are a particular problem; they are stacked on every available surface. I subscribe to a few periodicals that are so beautiful and full of inspiration that they must be saved FOREVER. So, of course this is our design dilemma for the week.

We found some sturdy magazine file boxes at Ikea, where else? Even though they are quite functional, they are plain and mundane to look at. I want them to be jazzy if they are going on my shelves and holding all those wonderful volumes.

So with the help of that great product, Tacky Glue and a stack of Sassaman fabric, we transformed those average boxes into "things of beauty". My friend, Susan, found these fun buttons which are actually sewn through the box and secured with a small clear button on the opposite side. Then we found some colorful dingle tags for labels.

They look great on the bookshelves and just in time for the 4H Club visit!


I have been contacted by my friends and fellow "Women of the Cloth", Mary Stori and Jamie Kalvastran to participate in a "blog tag". The idea is to share our own favorite bloggers and blog sites, thus spreading the inspiration around. 

Each of us is, also, supposed to share 7 things about ourselves that you may not know. Now here is payback time! This is a question I always ask my students and now I have to scrape up some answers, too. So here goes...

1. I love old radio shows and movies. I have listened to "Those Were the Days" almost every Saturday for the last 25 years. This is a local (and now on Internet) radio program which features vintage radio shows. I also subscribe to, a wonderful site where you can download or listen-on-demand to thousands of old radio shows like Phil Harris, Jack Benny, Fibber Magee & Molly, etc. Of course, Turner Classic Movies is my favorite TV station.

2. I am, also, a classic mystery lover. Favorites include Dorothy Sayers, Ruth Rendell, P. D. James, Patricia Highsmith, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain and Dick Francis. Love to listen to books on tape in the studio.

3. I collect books on design and decorative arts. is a blessing and a curse. Used bookstores are the best. Who knows what treasures linger on those shelves?

4. I don't knit... yet.

5. My husband is the real creative force in our house. He is interested in everything and has an intuitive sense of design and fun. I am just very tunnel visioned and a type A personality.

6. I love to work on weekends, when I should be doing chores.

7. I have many talented friends. Check out their websites and blogs under Fabric Friends, below.


Friday, March 7, 2008

Design Time

Phew! I have been designing the next line of fabric since December. Traditionally, I try to keep the winter months unscheduled, specifically to be able to "get into the zone" of designing. This big block of uninterupted time allows me to concentrate on the job; it takes lots of dreaming, doodling, drawing, experimenting and adjusting. It can be a bumpy ride, like any creative process. The "thrill of victory and the agony of defeat" are par for the course!

So now I can see the end in site, even though I can't see my worktable or the ironing board!

My walls are covered with designs grouped in their color families and the final adjustments are being made. It's an exciting time and I'm looking forward to fondling some "real" fabric after all this pencil and computer work. I still have lots of plans and projects for the Hothouse fabrics. But first the studio needs a spring cleaning!

All of these pictures are from last years design session for Jane's Hothouse Garden. Everything looks the same (even my outfit) except the designs on the walls. I'm afraid you will have to wait until Houston Market to see it. Sorry, but for now it's TOP SECRET!
This week I received a copy of The Quilter's Catalog: A Comprehensive Resource Guide by Meg Cox, Workman Publishing. It is a brick of a book which covers every aspect of the quilting world. I was especially happy to read her perceptive chapter, "Fabulous Fabric and Where to Find It". She is one of the first to recognize that commercial fabric can be designed as art and so can be collected for it's own sake.  There is also good coverage about using the computer as a design tool. I get sucked in whenever I pick it up!