Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Posts

I have a Christmas memory post I want to write, but in the meantime, here's a little Christmas MeMe that seems to be floating around:

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Egg nog thinned with a little milk. I don't like it thick and gooey and don't really like it homemade. One time a junior high school friend made homemade egg nog, which I thought was great until she took a sip of hers and the little string from the egg white was stuck to her lip. EEUUWW!!

Colored lights on tree or white?
Colored, please, and NOT BLINKING. I am the official light stringer in our family - I have a very TypeA approach (or perhaps it's the artist in me) - each branch has to have lights all the way to the center and they must be evenly balanced.

When do you put your decorations up?
Depends on the year, but usually the first week of December.

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
A couple: sweet potatoes with mini marshmallows, toasted to a nice golden brown; Bruce's grandma's jello salad; and now, a new favorite - Turkey Roulade from the Barefoot Contessa's "Back to Basics."  It's the best way to cook turkey, IMHO.

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I think it was just one of those gradual understandings. Nothing dramatic or traumatic.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
I like sparkly decorations and balls (you already read about my light fixation).  Some keepsake ornaments.  A nice variety.  I used to like tinsel, but not so much any more.

Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Love it!  Wish we could be in it right now!

Can you ice skate?
Have in the past when I was a kid, but not so sure now.

Do you remember your favorite gift?
Hard to remember the kid gifts - wether you got them for Christmas or your birthday, but usually anything Barbie was fine for me. 

What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Spending time with family.  Wish there could be more of that.

What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Anything as long as it's tasty.  

What is your favorite tradition?
When I was a kid Santa always put an orange in my stocking, and sometimes nuts in the shells.  This year I started a new one with my mother-in-law - a cookie "throwdown."  This year we made Snickerdoodles; hers from the classic recipe and mine from my Baking Illustrated, highly scientific, chef-tested recipe.  She won - hands down!  Now we have to think of what to make for next year!

Which do you prefer, Giving or Receiving?
Giving, especially when it's just the right thing.

What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Burl Ives, "Have A Holly Jolly Christmas."  It always makes me smile.

Ever recycled a Christmas present?
No, but definitely recycle the gift wrap!  This year is the first year in about five that I actually had to purchase a roll - but it was only one roll!  Now if I could just figure out something to do with Christmas cards.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Work - Breakfast Ti

This is one of my pieces for the upcoming "Celebration of Hawaii" show.  "Breakfast Ti" is inspired by the variegated Ti leaf plants in our yard.  It's 24"x44", created in silk, and quilted using silk and polyester threads.  Available through Viewpoints Gallery - $2900.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Shootin' Good Time

Today was the Oliver Ricketson memorial trap shoot at Maui Trap & Gun Club.  There were about 25 shooters overall, and I competed with another lady for the Ladies Championship.  Last year was the first year I shot in the tournament and I came out with a dismal 50 out of 100. This year was a different story all together!

With a score of 86, I won the Ladies Championship and I beat all of the guys in C Class to win the class - 16 yard trap. Even more exciting...I shot my first 25 straight!
Last February was my closest - a 24 - and I really haven't seen much of the upper 20's for most of the year.  In fact, during the last couple of months I've been lucky to hit 20 at all.  Today it was one target at a time, with 21, 21, 25 and 19. WHOO HOO!

It was a great way to finish the weekend.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Way to go, Ina!

Ina Garten is coming to my house tonight to help me with tomorrow's dinner. Ha! I wish, but she WILL be visiting in the form of this book:

I bought it as a gift recently and, after thumbing through the pages before I wrapped it (I didn't USE it, I swear!), I ran right back out and bought another copy at Costco FOR ME.

I think my SIL bought me my first Barefoot Contessa cookbook and I have steadily added nearly every one she's published to my library (I don't have "Parties," and apparently that is a HUGE oversight on my part after what I've been reading on the Internet, but that's another story).

Keep in mind that you do not buy Ina's cookbooks for their diet-friendly recipes (although there are a few that are passable). I buy them because no matter what recipe I try, it always comes out delicious (with the exception of Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic, which was downright nasty, but I'm sure it was something I did, though I have no idea what).

Last night I made "Baked Shrimp Scampi" for dinner, because Bruce loves scampi and I've never made a truly successful scampi. Not only was it easy (despite quite a bit of prep and chopping), but it smelled delicious and tasted equally so. Bruce said it was the best he'd ever had and my MIL said it was better than going out to dinner! I served it on spaghetti drizzled with a little olive oil. And like Ina says in the cookbook, that last little bit of lemon spritzed on just before serving was the magic touch!

Tonight we're having Roasted Pear Salad, and tomorrow for Thanksgiving we're having Roasted Turkey Roulade as our entree and Pumpkin Roulade with Ginger Buttercream for dessert. Last week we had Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Apple Cider Vinaigrette. That particular salad has become the house favorite - and we're having that tomorrow, too.

If you love to cook, I highly recommend this book. Now, if I could just find pancetta on Maui, I'd be set!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fun with Jane

Finally! A few spare moments to sit down and post a little bit about our class with Jane Sassaman.  Jane was here for a three-day workshop on "Abstracting from Nature."  I'm a long-time fan of hers but could never get to the mainland for her classes, so I brought her here instead!

We had a full class with 20 students.  Our first day was at the scenic Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center in Makawao.  The children's studio building was just right!  Lots of windows, fresh air, and Jane's stunning quilts to admire.  Many in the class brought fresh plants and flowers for inspiration.  After stumbling around a bit, I chose Naupaka Kahakai or "beach naupaka."  It is a flower with an interesting Hawaiian legend attached (more on that in another post).

Here is a look at the work in progress.  I still have a lot of fine tuning to do, but I'm very happy with the results!

 Jane went back to Chicago yesterday.  I miss her already!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Huelo Hideaway

My office pal, Gina, lives a short trail away from this lovely little bay on Maui's remote north shore.

You can scramble down the hill and walk on the little beach (on the left) below.

Just looking at this view is relaxing!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Quilting World Rock Stars & Top Chef

Jane Sassaman arrives on Thursday for a 3-day workshop and lecture! I am a long time fan of hers and ecstatic that she will be on Maui.

I was trying to explain the significance of her visit to my non-quilting co-workers and left it at this: She is simply a "rock star" of the quilting world. I hope I don't wear her out with my enthusiasm - I'm going to have to kick it down a notch. Thankfully for her sake I personally know a little bit about teaching and a LOT about accommodating visiting teachers, so she can rest assured of a great visit.

I have TONS of pictures in my camera and will try to share some of the backlog over the next two days, including the utter chaos my studio is in right now. Since I am coordinating the workshop and taking it, too, you can just imagine.

And finally, a new season of TOP CHEF starts tomorrow! I really got into it last season and can't wait to see what they cook up next.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


My day job has been taking a great deal of my time lately. This isn't necessarily a bad thing and I'm not complaining since I'm happy with where I work and what I do, but it isn't leaving much time for anything else! That will all change at the end of the month when my quarterly reports using the new accounting system will be done and I can finally PAUSE and take a breath.

I plan to attack the aganpanthus quilt border this weekend. I was able to visit my friend Joan (who has a fabulous, spacious studio) and square up the background, getting ready for borders. I will cut them out and sew them on this weekend and start the hand applique with the blossoms. How I MISS the peace, quiet and steady rhythm of hand applique! I am really looking forward to this next step, which needs to be completed NO LATER than the end of November so I have time to quilt and finish it, photograph it, and get certain show entries on their merry way. Something to look forward to in the new year!

Our art quilt group meets tonight - Barbara Douglas from Stone Cottage Designs will be giving a demo with Presencia Threads. We are all waiting with patient excitement to see what she will bring! Then, next month, the incomparable Jane Sassaman will be here for a 3-day workshop AND a lecture - just the thing to kick off the holidays in my opinion!

So, I am hanging in there, shoveling through the numbers. I'll be back soon!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Back to Work!

I finally got the agapanthus quilt back out to finish!  Because this project is so large, I couldn't stand back far enough to get in the whole pattern, but you get the drift.  I only have that last portion on the right to finish for the background.

Once I finish piecing the background, it will be time to add the border and do all of the hand applique.  I plan to applique all of the blossoms for the flowers - lot's of work, but I think it will go quicker than the piecing!  Plus, I'm really looking forward to doing some hand work.

Here's some of the array of 
fabrics I'm using for this quilt.  It has been fun to collect different fabrics to get the variety I wanted.  Now I have a TON of black and whites.  I really had to search high and low to find white fabrics with just a little bit of black.

The last picture shows the quilt in progress.  The color is terrible (I'm not sure what's up with my camera!), but you get the idea.  This quilt is big and doesn't fit on my small design wall.  Once I get the last piece done I'll move it out to the big design wall in the garage for a better pic!

It feels good to get back to a project.  I really enjoy working on this one.  More soon...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I'm Still Here

Are you still there?  It has been a long time since I've posted, but I've sort of been in a quilting "funk" since I got home from the mainland.

Things perked up again this weekend, with the completion of a UFO:

It was good to see fabric scattered on my worktable again!  The quilt pattern is from the book "Scrap Frenzy" by Sally Schneider (That Patchwork Place).  It's called "Woven Star."  I started this quilt several years ago and I was surprised and pleased at how much of it I had already prepped.  Here is the quilt in progress on the design wall:

And the completed top:

That's all I have for now, except this one little tidbit:

It's the start of my "One Foot Square" donation for the SAQA auction.  Hopefully, I can get it finished in time.

This week I'm off to Washington, D.C. for a work-related trip but, joy of joys, I get to stop in LA over the weekend to see my mom and go to the IQF quilt show in Long Beach.  Whoo Hoo!

I'll report when I get back.  Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Going on Vacation

I'm leaving tonight to meet up with Bruce in Cody, Wyoming!  He's been on the mainland for three weeks and I MISS HIM LIKE CRAZY! I cant believe tonight is the night to fly out.

I'm leaving you with a picture of "Huelo Sunrise"  - a quilt I finished this week to take to Viewpoints Gallery.  It is approximately 50"x24" and is made with silk that my friend Robin hand dyed.  I have a new love, and it's name is SILK!

Hope your summer is off to a great start.  I'll post when I get back!

Side Projects

I've always wanted to print some cards using images from my quilts, and I finally got to playing around with it.  I like how these turned out.  The pictures are printed on photo paper then spray glued to the card stock.

I'm taking an online quilt class with Laura Cater-Woods right now.  She asked that we have a sketchbook and a notebook for the class, so here are mine:

What kind of quilter would I be if I didn't make a couple of book covers?  The one on the left features scraps of my Kaffe Fasset collection - I knew I was hanging on to those tiny bits for something!  Besides, I love those colors and just looking at the fabrics makes me happy.  The one on the right is made of leftovers from my November class with Carol Taylor at Art Quilt Tahoe.  That reminds me, I'm going to have to finish my quilt from that class - SOON.

Friday, May 23, 2008


A new tool! No, it's not for rolling Fimo was actually purchased for its intended purpose: pasta making.

I must say, I am quite pleased with myself for locating this exotic tool on our quaint little island (do you detect the sarcasm?). After I discovered the delicious recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagne in THIS fabulous book, I was on the hunt for a pasta machine.

I originally thought I would buy the pasta rolling attachment for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer - alas, I did not want to spend $149+ in the event I was once again discouraged from a career in pasta-making. Let me back up a bit...

Many years ago I found a recipe for tri-color pasta ribbons and thought they would make fabulous Christmas gifts for friends and family. Over the course of a very long weekend, I cooked the vegetables for the colors, mixed the pasta, rolled and cut it (using my hand cranked pasta machine much like the one pictured above), and lovingly laid it out on the kitchen counter to dry. We came back to the kitchen several hours later only to discover that our very fluffy Persian cat decided that the pasta made a wonderful bed. EEUUUWWWW. After a good cry, the pasta was dumped in the trash and the machine unceremoniously tossed onto the garage sale pile.

Fast forward 15 or so years, and here I am again with the urge to make fresh pasta, but not at considerable expense just in case I am thwarted again. I found it at Ross for $16.99.

UPDATE:  Pasta turned out great!  Although I don't intend to make a career of it, I'm glad I have the machine.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Process for Hana Sunrise

I'm back! It's been a LONG TIME since I've posted.  Seems like I just haven't had a single spare minute to do this.  I've really missed it!

The last quilt I finished, Hana Sunrise, was 42"x56".  It was one of the largest pieces I've worked on in my tiny studio, so I thought you'd like to see some of the process.

First, I needed a new, larger design wall.  There wasn't room in the laundry room, so we came up with this:

It's in the garage, but I have a sheet that I can drop over the entire wall to keep it clean.  Plus, I don't leave anything up in there.  I just needed a place to SEE this quilt and stand back from it.

After I fused the bamboo pieces to the background, I stitched them down:

I do this kind of stitching on a layer of batting so I don't get any puckering.  When I go to quilt, I add another layer of batting, then quilt.  My friend Joan turned me on to this concept.  It makes for a nice, sturdy wall hanging.  She discovered after using a single layer of batting that, over the years, the wall hanging tends to lose it's "freshness" and can hang limp.

Then it was time for the quilting, which required a lot of THIS:

Thank goodness we have our own espresso machine now!

The intricate quilting took many, many hours.  Thankfully, both of my machines behaved beautifully during the process.  I was under a very tight deadline to get this completed before the clients returned to Canada, so I was very happy everything worked as it should.

I opened up my folding cutting table to support the weight of this quilt as I sewed.  The silk and two layers of batting were very heavy and the quilting process was exhausting physical work!

Here's a detail shot:

I'm working on one more bamboo piece for the gallery, which I hope to get finished this weekend.  I wanted them to have it before I leave on my trip a week from Friday.  Good thing I have a three-day weekend coming up.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Hana Sunrise

Quick peek at the latest commission: Hana Sunrise.  

I'll post a whole lot more this weekend!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Commission Complete

"Maui Fire" was delivered last week to my client in Wailea and they loved it!  I am working on a second commission for them right now. I'll show pictures of that piece (bamboo on silk) as soon as it's complete.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Commission Sneak Peek

I'm currently working on a commission! Here's a sneak peek.

Art Maui Opening

"Unconscious Convenience"

I'm finally getting around to posting pictures from the Art Maui 2008 opening. Without going into a lot of detail, suffice it to say that last week was no bowl of cherries around here. Thankfully, this week is looking a lot better!

Many of you are probably looking at the quilt and saying, "What the ????" Well, this quilt has been on the drawing board for a little over 2 years now. I am a big proponent for the reusable bag cause, brought on by the distressing way our island is suffocating under a layer of this useless tool of convenience. You can see the real life version of this quilt if you are on Maui and drive up (or down) Pulehu Road in front of the dump. The quilt is stitched to a background frame of pipe and chicken wire to imitate a plastic bag blown up against a chain link fence.

It's quite outside the usual box for me. It's not pretty, but it's not supposed to be. It's something I feel very strongly about and wanted to translate into a quilt. There's no denying that my work is inspired by my environment; this is just a different perspective.

Two other quilt/fiber friends are also in the show. At left is Kathy Kastles' "Young Leaves" quilt. It has a commanding presence in one corner of the gallery. I don't have a close up, but the center medallion features beautifully painted Geishas - many translucent layers give it incredible depth and richness. The outside background is artfully machine quilted with bamboo and palm leaves.

Nancy Meyer's quilt, "It Could Happen to You" tells the story of the many "faces" Nancy wore during her bout with breast cancer. During the opening there were three little girls, probably ranging in age from 9 to 12 or so, who were standing in front of Nancy's quilt arm in arm as they looked at it. I tried to get a picture of them but they hurried off too quickly and I missed the moment.

We finished the evening off with dinner at Mama's Fish House and were treated to this spectacular sunset view:

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Got a Date for Me, Dad?

Please don't get the idea that this is a regular occurrence at our house!

Bruce recently finished this great little kitchen seat and table, and I finally got the cushions done last week.

This morning Cody hopped up on the seat and sat himself next to Bruce uninvited. The little computer cursor caught his eye and this is what resulted!

We're going to have to sit on the ends of the seats for awhile to discourage this from happening again but, you have to admit, it is cute!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

More About Art Maui

The Maui News printed a quick recap about Art Maui in today's paper. Turns out that 566 pieces were submitted and 125 were selected for "the island’s most prestigious competition and installation of its artists’ work." Read the article HERE.

Be sure to read the Fact Box for more information on the juror, Wayne Levin, and his thoughts about jurying. One of his comments that makes me feel especially good to be part of the show this year is at the end: "Some art may work on two or three of these levels, but for me it need only communicate articulately on one level to be successful.”

The opening reception is on Saturday afternoon, so I will take pictures and report back later.

Friday, February 22, 2008


What do fabric, plastic bags, chicken wire and galvanized pipe have to do with a quilt? They are all part of "Unconscious Convenience," a piece I entered into Art Maui this year, and I GOT IN! The back of the quilt features newspaper printed on fabric that I showed in the blog post HERE.

I don't have any pictures to show, yet. I didn't have a suitable place to hang it to get one before I dropped it off on receiving day. The show opens on March 2, so I'll post pictures then.

This piece is far off the usual path for my work, but it's something I've had in my mind to make for over a year now. It's not pretty but makes a serious statement about our environment suffocating under a layer of plastic bags. It has a lot of personal meaning for me, so I am thrilled it was selected.

After I finish more "pretty" stuff, perhaps I'll pursue a few more environmental pieces.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I Want to Change My Header!!

I made this new header for my blog and I can't get it to work! I thought all I'd have to do is upload a new picture to the header. It's not working! Can anyone help?

Monday, February 04, 2008


I had a very productive weekend in the studio. My Art Maui entry is coming together and I had time to make (and finish!) two more gift quilts.

I started quilting 20 years ago and my first project was a Dresden Plate wall hanging. I'm proud of my roots in traditional quilting, since it's through these quilts that I honed my skills as a quilt maker. I'm happy to have that "toolbox" of skills to fall back on when I need them.

Baby quilt #2 using the disappearing nine patch pattern. I love that pattern for quick and easy quilts.

As I was cutting up various pieces for this quilt I was left with some very small scraps, including some strips that were only 1" wide. Since I couldn't bear to throw them out (another traditional quilter value!), I decided to whip up a little doll quilt for the baby's sister, who just turned 4.

This mini log cabin is made with that assortment of 1" strips and just 12 simple blocks.

Although my art quilts have taken me down a completely different path, I still get a thrill when I see a beautifully made traditional quilt, especially an old antique. Doing these quick gift projects satisfies my "traditional" genes.

And speaking of scraps, here are some leftovers from a recent project:

And what does chicken wire have to do with quilts? Stay tuned and find out!

Viewpoints Gallery Opening

The Celebration of Hawaii show opened on Sunday, January 17. I managed to get this shot of Honu III before things got too crowded. There were a lot of people there!

This is third year for the show and it keeps getting better and better. One interesting thing I noticed this year is that there were many more large scale pieces than in previous years. I don't know if that's necessarily true or just the way the show was hung, but that's how it appeared to me.

Honu III is swimming away at the close of the show - he sold on January 31! Turns out that January 2008 was the most profitable month for the gallery on record. With all of the beautiful art, it's hardly surprising. There were several pieces I wished I could have taken home, including this lovely pastel from Kit Gentry. The photo does not do it is framed by a mat of lovely green raw silk that changes from gold or green depending on the angle.

The opening featured Hawaiian prayer, chant, and dance. Here is a shot of the crowd from outside the gallery. The day started out raining like crazy, but it cleared at the last minute and everyone had a wonderful time.

We ended the evening with a sunset dinner at Kula Lodge. Nice!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sneak Peak

Another little snippet of something I'm working on right now - all thanks to the "Disappearing Nine Patch" I posted about earlier. This works well in a small format too; these blocks are about 2" square, finished.

I'll show you the completed project next week!

Back of New Quilt

I'm working on a new quilt for an upcoming show. Although I can't show you the front, I can show you the back - this is "newspaper" fabric that my friend Joan printed for me. It is interspersed with a black and white "chain link" fabric. It is fused to muslin, then I zigzagged over all of the raw edges with white thread.

I love this! It is so fun. It has me started on an idea for a whole series (of maybe two or three quilts).

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Celebration of Hawaii Show at Viewpoints Gallery

I received the email version of the postcard for the upcoming Celebration of Hawaii show today, and guess who's on the back?

Honu III! The show opens on Sunday, January 20, in Makawao, at Viewpoints Gallery.

I've decided that Honu III is going to be the last in this design, but not the last of the series. I have other ideas for sea turtle quilts - I just have to take more pictures and do more sketching. I'm also working on a second quilt for the show - a single flower version of my Night Light quilt - but I've got a lot of work to do in a short time.

If you are visiting Maui during the show, please drop by for a visit. It runs through Tuesday, February 12.