29 Jun

A Quick Family Vacation

After I returned from my trip to North Carolina for Homefront & Downrange, our family went to California to celebrate my sister in law’s birthday. A great time was had by all.

Highlights include the Museum of Tech and Innovation in San Jose, where we tried to build an internet,

SF 10



Crack codes (too easy, but fun nonetheless as you had to crack the first, to get the second, to get the third),SF 09


and picked locks. The kids agreed that it would be much harder to pick a lock that you can’t see into and that isn’t super sized.SF 08


We also went to the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. I really enjoyed it. Currently, A Common Thread is one of the exhibits. The mix of techniques and artists were exactly the types that appeal to me, so I was engrossed. Some of my favorite works are by Joetta Maue, Maggy Rozycki Hiltner, Jeana Eva Klein, and Rebecca Ringquist. Take the time to click the links and look at their work. There was also a small collection and a video of “Kawandi” inspired quilts by Margaret Fabrizio that intrigued me as in as they have a very peculiar way of contracting the quilts, with lots of scraps as “batting.”SF 07


Part of the family gathering was at beautiful China Camp State Park, SF 05

where I found the mother load of beach glass!SF 06


My son had his hands full too — catching crabs.SF 04


My daughter preferred to get her hands wet back at our hotel, communing with the koi.SF 03


The kids chose Alcatraz as our touristy destination. They loved it!SF 02


I have to admit, it’s kind of an amazing place.SF 01

12 Jun

New House Progress

It’s been a few weeks since I posted anything about our new house. There’s been no real progress on the bathroom with the yellow sink, but that’s only because it’s not as high a priority as other, more practical things, like replacing locks on exterior doors, and painting as many walls as possible before the furniture arrives.

Remember this wallpapery entry hall?

Entry before


Thanks to Team Deco-Reno, it now looks like this:

Entry painted 2

There’s plans for a fun new door, but for now I’m very happy with it’s fresh, bright look.

Similarly, here’s what the Master Bedroom looked like when we first viewed the house (staging is for wimps).

MBR before


And here it is all de-wallpapered and move-in ready:

MBR Painted


I can’t wait to see it with all of our things, but that’s still a month and a half away.


It’s tough being on the other side of the country from all this nesting preparation, but my mom and I have been entertaining each other, and staying on the same page aesthetically, via text and Pinterest. My recent messages look like this:Downstairs bath colors Upper Bath inspiration Upper BR colorsIt’s pretty fun while I wait to actually get into the house.


16 May

And So It Begins

We have officially bought our first house. Unfortunately, I won’t move in until nearly August, as the kids need to finish the school year and I have some east coast commitments. But, Team Decorate/Renovate is already on the job! (see my inspirations on this previous post.) Let the house transformation posts begin!

Facebook friends were introduced to the house with our entryway. There’s a real commitment to wallpaper in the whole house. Note the racing stripe on the door, wallpaper on the molding, on the baseboards — and even on the heater!

Entry before


There’s even wallpaper between the ceiling joists in the basement work/storage room!

Storage before

Team Deco/Reno made quick work of it though.

Entry removal

That said, they tell me real work doesn’t happen without coffee, their union rep insists they can’t work past 6pm, and they charge by the layer not the wall.


Luckily for us though, they are amenable to payment in tacos. And they do a great job!

BR Removal


Meanwhile, I found the perfect sink in Alabama via eBay and it has arrived safe and sound. I am inexplicably excited about this sink.

The sink


I’m doing what I can from afar — looking at materials and sketching possibilities for the sad downstairs bathroom. I realized the quartz or recycled glass countertop I loved was more expensive than I thought — boo. Then I did some calculations and realized that bathroom counters are pretty small. Yay! Also, my tile aspirations are quite modest. Now to decide if I want contrasting tile color on the floor of the shower, and if I want it on the bathroom walls or not (there’s a mysterious panel that may actually be important access to plumbing which may determine the extent of tiling). At sometime there will be a trip to the Re-Store to see what we can find in an interesting cabinet. Not sure if that will happen in person or via text. :-)

Downstairs bath reno sketch


18 Apr

Have you seen my sink?

We’re buying our first house, and with that comes the fun part of putting our personal stamp on it. Just for fun (and to keep Team Decorate/Renovate on track), I made mood boards for the rooms that will most set the tone for the house. The house was built in 1952, and we want to keep a bit of that mid-century charm. Wanna see?

The living room is bright and white and sunny. I’m thinking our two paintings will set the tone. I covet the California coffee table, but seriously doubt that will ever be an actual purchase. A new sofa along the lines of the one on the board will be in order though.

Mood Board-Living Room sm

The kitchen is a big open blank canvas right now. It’s perfectly clean and serviceable, but I know it can be better. In a year or two when we we’ve had a chance to settle in to the house, this aqua and red, slightly retro feel is probably the direction we’ll want to go.

Mood Board-Kitchen sm


The real project is the downstairs bathroom. It’s a hot mess. My mom and I have been having lots of fun looking for renovation inspiration.

Mood Board-Downstairs Bath sm

On Thursday she found a photo of the perfect sink. I made a drawing of how I think the bathroom is shaping up on the vanity side.

Downstairs Bathroom sketch

After too much internet browsing and searching for the correct terminology for this style sink, I have determined that it’s a drop in, apron style, and this particular one is probably the Dresslyn by American Standard. And yes, I do want that yellow (though I’d settle for gray or white)! There are several resources in Portland and not in Portland, and my mom already has a guy keeping an eye open, but in the mean time, if you have a sink like this and want to get rid of it — email me.

16 Mar

House Hunting

My newly established blogging rhythm has faltered a bit of late. It’s because hubby and I went to Portland, OR for a week to find a house. He is now officially retired from the Army and we have chosen Portland as our permanent home.

We’ve been visiting the area for years and really like it. This last visit felt very comfortable (in no small part to my “Quilt Aunt” Terry and the many more friends we have made like Gerrie too!). This is our very first time buying a house, and we appreciated the wisdom of friends and family to guide us.

House hunt

We discovered a lot during this hunt. We went into it with the parameters of a budget, a size (three bedrooms and a space for a studio), and several school districts. We soon found out that it can be hard to know when you’ve found your dream house when you really have no idea what your dream house consists of — and when you know you can make pretty much anything work. 20 years of assigned housing will do that to a person.

So, as much as we really would love to live in a cute Craftsman style cottage, a view to the floor below between the risers and treads on the stairwell was just too much project for us (not to mention all the other structural renovations needed would have blown our budget by half before we could even move in). That pink sink surround looks adorable, but let me tell you the rest of the room was a mess. Also, photos make things look better. The rooms that looked decrepit in person, actually don’t look half bad in photos — like that yellow kitchen and beautifully staged living room. But they came with evidence of a leaky roof, rotted siding and a few holes in walls. That scary bathroom with the press board and red tape in the corner was part of the same cottage with the stairwell view, though it was adorable from the outside. Many homes were just too small for us, and one was on a busy street with no parking. I couldn’t abide the move in ready house in the planned community way out in the suburbs, even though it was walkable to the MAX train. In the end, we discovered that our parameters landed us pretty solidly in one particular school district and 70s ranch house neighborhoods. The giant white tile kitchen that screamed jello molds and canapés was tempting, but the house had rooms in odd places, and backed up to a freeway. We almost made an offer on the house with the vaulted ceiling, super 70s entryway, and basement wet bar (partaay!), but the bedrooms and baths seemed tight to me. In the end, we chose a place that has a central location, more space than we expected, and a great view (not to mention a price tag that allowed for immediate renovation of the bathroom held together with masking tape and toilet paper). Our fingers are crossed that the dream house we are imagining lies under the masses of furniture, wallpaper, and debris of slovenly tenants really is there.

We’ll be moving this summer when the kids get out of school. If this house deal goes through, brace yourselves for lots of before and after photos on the blog.

29 Jan

And Now For Something Completely Different

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of going to the Virginia Museum of Fine Art with my friends Lorie and Jill. We went to see the Forbidden City exhibit of Chinese treasures, which was absolutely gorgeous. We took a little time afterward to wander around the museum’s permanent collection and I stumbled upon two tiny pieces that cracked me up.

Indian mini1


Indian mini2


These are part of a series by Italian artist Francesco Clemente. He takes antique Indian miniatures of little value and replaces their images with his own in the same style — except that his subject matter is much more subversive. I think what attracts me to these is that they look like one thing from afar, but tell a completely different story up close. I also like the absurd.

08 Jan

Part of Those New Year’s Goals

Some of my goals for the new year are to post to my blog more, update my website, and get better at promoting my work. I tackled an easy one first. I created a Facebook Fan Page and it’s going to be awesome. Why? Because I am somewhat ambivalent about my personal Facebook page. I know that FB is a good way to connect to people who might be interested in my art. It’s also a great way to keep in touch with far-flung family and friends. And then there’s the people from past lives or professional connections, who I want to stay connected to, but don’t necessarily want to know what they are doing on a daily basis, or want them to see all of my goofy antics. I’ve limited my Facebook “friends” to people I know personally or have established professional relationships with, and I try to keep my posts pretty art-related. It’s a tough balance and it means that not everyone who is interested in my artwork will be able to find me on FB to see what I’m up to.

A fan page is open to everyone. I will post my art, some inspiration and in-progress work, and information about where to see my work. February is a big month for me, so be sure to “like” the page to get updates, and tell your friends too. I may even end up posting more on my Kristin La Flamme – Artist page than on my personal page. My personal page will probably narrow down to travel, family, knitting, goofing off with friends. I may even unfriend a bunch of professional contacts if I know they are happily following my artist fan page — where my professional info will be. That would come in time though.

Next step should be to create a newsletter. That will be awesome for those who don’t do much Facebook.

24 Nov

Around The World Blog Hop

My buddy Deborah Boschert tagged me in an Around the World Blog hop in which we answer four questions about our creative process and then tag two more bloggers to do the same. Check out Deborah’s blog post to read her answers and follow her links to read back through many other fascinating blog hoppers.


1. What am I working on?
I’ve usually got several things going on at once which each appeal to different moods and need.
• Right now I’m working on the next in my series of Security Blankets. This one has to do with the TSA and incorporates those blue figures I was working on a while ago, plus floral weaponry.
• I’m also working on a piece, or collection of pieces, for my Army Wife series. Inspired by eye momentos, either photographs or miniature paintings set into jewelry as a reminder of absent loved ones, I have transferred images of my husband’s eye (at specific time periods) onto hankies and am now in the process of embroidering the dates and locations of his corresponding deployments onto the hankies.
• And, in the background, I am working on creating a business in which I make stylish lap quilts from military uniforms. It will be called Modern Military Quilts and I hope to have more to say about it soon.

Star Quilt sm

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This is a tough question for me because I’m not entirely sure what my genre is. I love to draw on the history of traditional quilts, but my work is definitely not traditional. I suppose I could categorize my work with improvisational quilters, but mine has narrative underpinnings. Of course, every quilt has a story, so it’s really just a matter of how far that story goes. I call myself an art quilter, and I suppose my work differs from many in that genre in that I don’t stick to just the quilt form, but work in other fiber techniques as the concept of the individual work dictates. But, already I can think of many artists who work in various fiber traditions simultaneously, so I’m not so different in that way. My work is definitely concept driven, but there is a precedent for that both in the art quilt crowd and in the greater art world. In fact, I worry that if I call my work conceptual I’ll be too readily compared to others who are far smarter than I in their artwork. Maybe my work is different in that it doesn’t easily fit into a genre, but that’s a little too self-important for my tastes. We all like to think we’re different in our own ways.
Momento of an absent loved one


3. Why do I write/create what I do?

I make art because I am, and always have been, compelled to do so. I love working with my hands and there is no lack of ideas in my head to fuel those hands.
Floral Weaponry

4. How does my writing/creating process work?
I start with an idea, of course. Then I go to my sketchbook, which is more like a diary or log book some days; I write the basic idea and then a conversation with myself about ways I could interpret said idea. Sometimes things flow, sometimes I let it percolate for a while and add notes a day, or a week, or on occasion a year, later. At some point, it’s time to get to the making, so I gather my supplies — which may be fabric from my stash, but recently has meant deconstructing a flag, culling photos from our albums, or experimenting with methods of sun printing human bodies. If I need to prepare a cartoon or grid to follow, as in Zeitgeist, Selfie, or Temporary Safety, now is the time for that and it includes some time at my computer working with Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. Click on the link to Selfie for a nice blog post about the process of creating that particular artwork. Of course, each piece is different, so for example, the process of actually making Selfie is very different than the making of embroidered hankies. I almost always have an idea in my head of what I want the finished artwork to looks like, generally, but it really takes form in the making. I never know exactly how each fabric or element is going to affect the others until I see it in the cloth. That keeps the process fresh for me. There is always room for adjustment, surprise, and serendipity while I’m making something. A piece is finished when I feel like I can walk away from it.


I tagged my local friend Lotta Helleberg to join the blog hop next. Be sure to check out her post next Monday, November 31st. Since tagging a second person was confounded by our good friend Murphy and his laws, my friend Terry Grant graciously offered the post she wrote only a little while ago. You can read her answers and follow her links right now.