22 Jun

Fun Stairs

We’ve owned our house for just over a year now, and have actually lived in it just under a year. It is looking cleaner, fresher, and a lot more modern these days. In the two and a half months before we moved in, my mom and step dad removed what seemed like a metric-tonne of wallpaper, and painted the bedrooms and a few other high use rooms. That made a huge difference in the house right away. Adding our furniture and stuff made it “ours.” Since then, we’ve been moving from project to project, hopefully improving the house, and definitely updating it. The deck (two posts previous) has proven to be well worth the money spent. We’ve been enjoying the warm weather and entertaining friends and family on it. The interim kitchen/dining room is comfortable (though not optimal for large groups — I think we’ll need a big table option). I love the upstairs bathroom (scroll past the “before” to see it’s bright “after”), and the colorful doors have continued downstairs. Of course, the girl’s room is still awesome. The downstairs bathroom, which we identified as a “right away” project is nearly done, but stalled out until I get around to tiling the baseboard. Guests report that it functions very nicely though! The other urgent project was to waterproof the basement storage area from the outside so it doesn’t leak. That’s now done, but things pretty much look the same. And we won’t really know if it’s fixed until torrential winter rains.

So, my most recent finish to share is the stairwell from upstairs to downstairs. It started out with wallpaper and worn grey carpet which we all agreed was just sad. A few months ago, my mom and step dad came over and we got rid of all the wallpaper. Then I did nothing (well, nothing on the stairwell. I was tiling the shower and freshening up the man cave instead).

Stairs wallpaper

Finally, a couple weeks ago, I realized that we were going to have a slew of houseguests and I probably needed to at least get the handrail back up. That meant I needed to paint the walls. with white walls and a fun orange handrail (to match the bathroom door and accent wall), I was compelled to rip up the carpet. The stairs underneath were a big mess and I spent a day with my heat gun, scraper, and sander getting rid of residual glue from rubber tread mats and smoothing out splintery edges.

Stairs WIP

I uncovered a bit of confetti patterned linoleum original to the house on the upper landing. It’s pretty dingy and crackled, but I think it will inspire the next flooring when we update the kitchen in a few years.

A few coats of primer and blue floor paint left over from the man cave update and the stairwell is looking almost inviting!

Stairs down

I’d like to add a runner, but for now, this will do.

Stairs up

04 Jun


I work in a quilt shop, and while I think I exercise great restraint, sometimes there are fabrics that I absolutely MUST have. Chipper by Tula Pink was one such fabric. It’s basically a collection of florals and coordinates, but in and amongst the blooms are foxes and chipmunks in psychedelic colors. Fun, but not something that the average not too Modern but not too Traditional quilter can easily imagine in a quilt.Chipmunk WIP 1

I could envision the chipmunks though in a kind of groovy, Modern take on Broderie Perse, the traditional appliqué method of taking motifs from a (usually) chintz fabric and re-arranging them to create a new and unique scene. I thought that a sample of this might get customers’ creative juices flowing too. So, I took it upon myself to buy some chipmunks and get to work.Chipmunk WIP 2

I combined several of the Chipper fabrics with other florals I had in my stash — Kaffe Fasset, some Amy Butler, and a few non-designer prints. I wanted the chipmunks to be circling something, so I made a floral poesie. It’s not as wildly weird as I had hoped, but I think it has a nice balance of Modern because of the colors, and Traditional because of the bouquet and needle turn appliqué.Chipmunk WIP 4

After finishing the Broderie Perse part, I added two scrappy borders in the same prints plus more from my stash. I had to include the ochre nuts which were part of a popular collection quite a few years ago. I plan on adding more borders Medallion style, and I think I may need another round of chipmunks, but that will have to wait. I have some other projects which need to take precedence, and this can probably go hang out at work while we still have bolts of the fabric to sell.

02 Jun

Our Deck!

Woo hoo, another finished home improvement project!

Actually, this one’s been done for a little while. We can report that this new deck is a success as we’ve been enjoying the evenings relaxing with the great view and an adult beverage.

Deck 1


The view was a big selling point for this house. The house is on a busy street, and is a bit odd inside, but the rooms are large and we can see Mt. St. Helen’s most days and the tip of Mt. Hood when the trees cooperate. When we bought the house, it had a large deck, but it was about 30 years old, rotting in many places, and didn’t have stairs to the yard.Deck 2


So, we had it torn down and started over with an upper deck to enjoy the view, and stairs down to the back yard. Because of the horizontal siding on the house, I really, really wanted horizontal cable railing. The compromise to be able to afford it was to use mahogany uprights instead of steel, and to forego a lower deck for the immediate future. I’m so happy we made that choice — I love the look of the deck, and all the neighbors who can see it from their yards have complimented it as well (no hiding the construction as the neighbors were subjected to the roar of power tools for several months!).Deck 3


The lower transition from the stairs to the concrete patio is larger than I expected, so it’s kind of a lower deck. Eventually, it will be the transition to a deck over the grass large enough for a big picnic table. Eventually, I’ll also paint the under structure to match the eventual color of the house, and do some tidy gravel area under the deck.Deck 4

We’ve now owned our house for one year and it’s feeling more like “our” home than something in transition. The deck is done, the garden is filling in, most of the rooms are freshly painted and decorated, we’re pretty sure the basement leak is fixed, and a bathroom renovation is nearly complete! It’s pretty nice.

20 May

2016 SAQA Benefit Auction

It’s that time of year again, when SAQA members start donating 12×12 work for the annual benefit auction. It is great fun to see the variety of work from fellow members. Some years i donate artwork, some years I just donate money. This year I’m donating artwork as part of my quest to get my work out from under my bed and into the open where it can be enjoyed. My donation this year is Americana V, part of my series created from an older quilt that wasn’t working and is now transformed into smaller, more attractive, and easier to incorporate into one’s decor, pieces.

The auction will be in September, but SAQA is starting to share the artwork online here and here.

Americana V web

19 May

Follow Me

Thinking about yesterday’s post and what to write about, it dawned on me that now might be a good time to remind readers that I do post shorter, but more regular, images and thoughts on my professional Facebook page, and even more so, on my Instagram feed. So, between sporadic blog posts, I encourage you to follow me:

Home is Where night Follow me on Facebook! This is my professional page where I post information about what I’m working on and where to see my work. No cat or food photos here — just art.

Shroud WIPFollow me on Instagram! Here are my creative endeavors and what inspires me. It’s mostly art, but there’s a good amount of knitting and home renovation as well. Plus the occasional pretty flower, cat, or food pic.

16 May

The One About Nothing

I hate it when the first thing I read on a blog post is, “I can’t believe it’s been x months since I last posted,” or “I know I’ve been away for a while but this is where I renew my commitment to my blog.” Just blog or don’t blog — no need to explain or apologize. But I find myself in exactly these shoes. I have the best intentions of blogging, and then other things take precedence, or more likely, I can’t think of anything to blog about.

I was wondering the other day what has changed in my life that I no longer have anything to write about. The obvious is that I’m not going to cool German fests, or exploring exotic Hawai’i, but that doesn’t mean I can’t write about my new locale. There’s certainly a lot going on in Portland. No, I think my biggest stumbling block has more to do with expectations. My expectations. I am constantly influenced by what I see on social media — mostly Facebook and Instagram — and most of it is beautiful and curated. I get that it’s branding. Consistency is good. I get that the people posting are known for the kinds of things they post. And I have to admit that I like the way pretty scenery or carefully staged projects look. They are putting their best foot forward and I admire that.

I think that subconsciously (or maybe pretty consciously), I’m not blogging because I don’t have anything finished or aesthetically pleasing to post about. I can’t post weekly if I’m not completing things weekly. The home renovation projects are inching forward, but who wants to see a new light fixture next to the same old sink with no faucet? The embroidery progresses, but who wants to see another word in condensed san serif type when the last thing I posted was a word in san serif type. I’m working on a commission, but it’s in it’s ugly experimental phase and not ready for prime time. I’m making samples for work, but they’re not complete yet.

So bear with me while I sort out how to tell stories on my blog in an era of quick (but seductive) glimpses on social media. I feel like this space deserves better than just copying my Instagram photos, but at the moment I don’t have anything cohesive.

24 Apr

Just Checking in

So often it’s hard to blog because I’m just not sure what to blog about. For lack of any finished projects or deep thoughts, here’s a random sampling of what’s going on in my world right now.

There’s been a lot of work on our house projects, both by me and my mom and by hired pros, but nothing is quite finished yet.

Bathroom Vanity

Bathroom Vanity in progress: pro built, stained by me, I added hardware, waiting on a countertop and plumbing.

I took a block printing workshop with Valori Wells yesterday (through the Portland Modern Quilt Guild) which was lots of fun and jump started my thinking about fabric designs again.

Block Printing

I’m super happy with how these designs turned out — both from a printing standpoint, and a design standpoint.

I’m plugging away at several stitchy projects…

Project Chair

Hand stitching at the ready for quiet evenings.

… which have taken over and made more of a mess than anything else!

Project Table

Lots of work in progress on my studio table and sewing machine. Nothing worth showing yet though.

Work at The Pine Needle is excellent, and I’ve got some behind the scenes projects I’m working on with the team in preparation of summer shop hops and our Fall catalog.

The Pine Needle

This is where I work — surrounded by a wide variety of gorgeous fabrics. That yellow, teal, and maroon whirligig sample in the middle of the photo is one I made. I’m working on an asian-inspired version now.

I hope you all are knee deep in fulfilling projects too; every little bit counts, even if doesn’t seem very blog- or Instagram-worthy.

21 Mar

Home is Where the Army Sends Us

Along with Home Fires going to Rhode Island, I am honored to also have had my newest artwork, Home is Where The Army Sends Us accepted into the ground breaking exhibition at The George Washington University Museum/The Textile Museum, Stories of Migration.

Housed in the new George Washington University museum, The Textile Museum is hosting a juried exhibition in collaboration with SAQA, Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora. Works will include 3-D pieces, large installations, and video.


photo by Mark Frey

This textile sculpture is a mobile village reflecting a military family’s canny ability, or heartfelt desire, to bring their communities with them when they relocate. The houses are created from old Army uniforms, an Army issue blanket, and bits and pieces of previous quilted projects in order to convey the lives lived in them. They also have crocheted roots, searching for purchase, but ultimately being dragged along wherever the mobile piece goes. I sent stickers along with the piece to be placed on the floor to encourage visitors to randomly move the village. Military moves are often last minute, and not always of the family’s choice, and are always on the horizon, so I wanted my artwork to reflect that instability. I can’t wait to hear from visitors if this aspect of the sculpture is realized.

Before I sent it off I tried to create a quick video of the village in various settings. I’d like there to be more locations and smoother transitions, but that will be a task when the piece comes back. For now, here’s a fun, quick, video we’ll call a rough sketch.


Stories of Migration

April 16th – September 4th, 2016
The Textile Museum
701 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC