Category: Family & Friends

This is all making me think

Yet another snow day here. January has just been full of cold and wet weather. Between holidays and bad weather, will things every get back into a normal schedule?

Yesterday, I had a conversion with a friend who is a textile artist. It was very thought-provoking for me. There’s a common ground you find with people on the same path in life. There’s an understanding of the inevitable challenges we face in our profession. You realize you’re not alone in the struggles. When you talk with someone who understands, you not only find support, but you also find yourself thinking more deeply about your own personal journey.

When you decide to be a professional artist, unless you’re very lucky (or wealthy), you have to be responsible for all tasks of running your business. You are the marketing agent, shipping clerk, bookkeeper, administrative assistant and technical support team all encased in one body (and mind). Within a normal 24 hour day, you must accomplish the business tasks and find time to create the art.

Then there’s the question of “How??? Do I make the money?” Do you stay true to the artistic voice that screams in your head? Or, do you sell out and go for the money promoting products and services? Or maybe you do a little of both? And then what happens when, let’s say after you’ve made a name, you decide to venture into some other style or art form?

It really becomes a balancing act. I have artist friends who are in the business of marketing their art at very commercial levels. And, I have others friends who are in it for art sake. Its interesting to see how they both push themselves (or not) and what happens to them on the journey. I know my weaknesses and strengths. And on this snowy Wednesday, this is all making me think.


I’ve been published!

Quilting Arts Magazine
Cover Artist
Click Here to Get a Signed Copy!


The right answer to “how?”

I’ve been a long time subscriber to Quilting Arts magazine. Over the past decade they have truly inspired me to pursue my artistic interest. This past week I received my Dec17/Jan18 copy of the magazine. It’s always a surreal moment when you see your artwork in print. The honor is even greater for me this time, since I’m such a big fan of the publication.

All of this is about taking a leap of faith. That’s what I truly hope to inspire in other people. If you really want something don’t say “can’t.” Try to come up with the answer to “how?

This idea has long been in my head, but it took several things to push me over the edge. One thing that happened was I met Lea McComas while I was at Quilt Festival in Houston about 2 years ago. I knew who she was, had admired her work, and saw her a number a times during my visit at Festival. On my last night there, I went to dinner with my sister and a friend and had to use the restroom. Lea happen to be in line waiting and we started chatting. Just casual chatter. On our way back to our respective tables, she asked me “Why haven’t you published?” I know I came up with some excuse, but our conversation hit a nerve. When you’re at these shows, its interesting how random encounters become meaningful and inspiring events.

I really don’t know why Lea asked the question, but it hasn’t left me. I even jotted her question down on a piece of paper and tacked it to a bulletin board in my studio. I wanted to be reminded. At the time, there really wasn’t a good answer to her question. But her question left me pondering my personal barriers and eventually finding the right answer to “how?”



See my work and discover my process of “Creating Highlights & Shadows
Quilting Arts Magazine
December 2017/January 2018
available book stores or online at Interweave Press

Laugh with life whenever possible

I believe we learn lessons about life from situations we’re placed in. We can also learn alot by watching how others handle situations. I’ve been learning a lot the past few weeks as I witness 2 friends battle cancer. They are both amazing women, creative and funny. They make me laugh; I love that about them. Because of their sense of human and strong character, they are both facing their diagnosis with positive and determined ways. They are powerful to watch.

Shortly after receiving her diagnosis, one of my friends made a promise to her husband to clear out her stash before she dies. She didn’t want to leave him with this burden. She held to her promise and organized her things, then invited people to come “adopt” her craft supplies. “Take all that you want and use it,” she told us with a big smile. It gave her great joy to see her things go to people who would love and appreciate what she had. I don’t know that I would be so organized and determined after receiving such news.

I surely don’t need more fabric, but I did go “adobpt” a few things and brought home a mascot. This funky hedgehog is truly special to me. It will remind me of the strong character, grace and humor of my friend. It will also remind me to love what I do, give graciously, and laugh with life whenever possible.



SEE MY QUILT “Soar” at the 
Sacred Threads Exhibition
July 7, 2017 – July 23, 2017
Floris United Methodist Church, Herndon, VA


It’s a new year and I’m trying to get myself into a rhythm of working. Sometimes however, I get distracted.

I vaguely remember owning an infamous “Sock Monkey” when I was a child. I’m told that my mother and grandmother would make these stuffed dolls for us.

Back in the 1980’s, I found that you could still purchase the “Red Heel” socks that were used to make these iconic characters from my youth. Back in the ’80s, I was a new auntie who loved to craft and I made a set monkeys for all my nieces and nephews.

Flash forward a few decades and the munchkin nephews are now parents of their own toddlers. Unfortunately, none of their sock monkey friends survived long enough to be passed down to the next generation of kids. However, when I heard “the Mav” LOVED monkeys, great-auntie kicked it into gear to start the Great Sock Monkey Project of 2017.

Well, if you make one…you might as well make 4! Right? Both the niece and nephew got new buddies, along with some of their friends.

And yes, you can still easily find “Red Heel” socks online (e.g., If you buy the original Rockford Red Heel socks, inside the label you’ll find the directions on how to make them.

I’m told the kiddos love their new BFFs. — Sometimes it pays to get distracted.


No Guarantees

cypress_treesThe end of the year is almost here. There was one last thing I promised to do before the end of the year. I’ve been kind of quiet about it, because you just never know what will happen. Although people cheer me on…after the fact… that they knew I would get this or do that, there is always the realist in me who whispers…”don’t get cocky.” There are never guarantees in life, especially when you put yourself in competition with people. I’m sure some enter a competition and say to themselves, “I got this!” But personally, I think that sets me up for major disappointment when I don’t win.

My personal philosophy is to keep a low profile. I don’t make a big deal about any competition I enter, because I understand that as much as I may want to be accepted…there are no guarantees, no matter how much my friends and family tell me they believe in me.

This year, I submitted entries into 4 different shows. Entering shows is a competition. Everyone who enters is competing for the few slots available in the exhibit space. Each of us believe we are worthy of acceptance, otherwise we wouldn’t be entering. But there again, no guarantees. At year’s end, I’m ranking 2 for 4; a 50% success rate.

Right now, I’m trying to work on a large piece, but my procrastination has been high. I really haven’t been excited about finishing it, life is getting in my way. I wanted to enter it for consideration into a call for entry that opens in January. But, it just has been plunking along with little progress. I’m lacking motivation. I even considered backing out of my exhibit this November. I just wasn’t sure how I could make enough pieces. Sigh…self doubt can strangle you.

And then this past Saturday, I received a plain manilla envelope in the mail…more junk mail? I opened it with curiosity and then, seeing the contents, I immediately lost my breath.

You see, from the start of this year, I had planned to enter another competition. A very selfish competition. I was required to write a proposal and share a dream. I had to pull-together supporting documentation and get letters of recommendations. I attended meetings to learn more about the process and asked questions from people who believed in me. I applied for a grant and have been waiting for the news since October.

This past Saturday, in the plain little envelope where the words which today inspire me to keep going. I received full funding for a Regional Artist Grant. I’ve learned since then the very few people get full funding for this highly competitive “selfish” grant; I was only one of 2 who received full funding this year.

I call it selfish, because it’s all about the recipient. As an artist, we get to dream big and ask for money to fulfill that dream. My dream is to own an industrial-style sewing machine that will allow me to more accurately and proficiently stitch larger quilts. Thanks to the Arts Council and my tenacity to apply for this grant, in 2016 I will own one of these machines. Wow! I’m excited!

My artwork will improve because of this machine. But until then, the large quilt I was procrastinating about will go on hold so I can do it right on this new machine. And, until then, I will place my focus on making smaller pieces on my domestic machine.

Sometimes I think destiny dictates how my art is suppose to happen. When I get upset with my progress, or lack there of, I have to remember to step back and just accept what’s happening. I’ve always believed the pieces I make speak to me; some times I forget to listen. As in this case, I think my swampy quilt knew what was coming.

I like not knowing the outcome, because when things happen that I don’t expect I’m overjoyed. Life’s fun that way. I like having no guarantees.