Mo’ Mo

Posted on Mar 20, 2016 | 6 comments

Morrison the muse. Who knew his furry persona would inspire so many fabric conversations … and not just about dry cleaning bills!

Nancy Zieman’s blog (one of the thousands I seem to subscribe to) had a call for a pillow contest. I’ve been playing with fabric collage and thread painting so I thought this would be the perfect incentive for trying a pet portrait.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough daylight left before the contest entry deadline to get a good picture. But I got a better one this morning … and, of course, Morrison has an uncanny ability to sense a photo op …


I made mistakes, ripped out more than a few stiches and pieces of fabric, finally got the eyes to not look possessed, and came up with a quite passable portrait. Then I added a fabric frame with a bit of flat piping and sewed it up into a pillow.

mo_collage_couchI was particularly happy with: the swirls fabric I used for part of the ears, the print did the job of conjuring the wispy fur; using thread painting to soften the eyes; and adding the flat flange inside the frame. The stuff I don’t like? I’ll think about that tomorrow.

This was a fun project and learned a lot as I worked and ripped. Thank you Nancy Z for unknowingly pushing me to do it!

Nancy Zieman's 2016 Pillow Challenge

– See more at:

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d-liver …
d-letter …
d-sooner …

Posted on Mar 10, 2016 | 0 comments

It’s old school time! Specifically old junior high school time.

For those who don’t remember, we used to have to put all our facebook statuses, instagram pictures, and tweets on paper and then send them via snail mail to our friends. It could take a week or more before Laurie found out that Kathy had broken up with Jim at Julie’s party after making out with Steve who was supposed to be Linda’s boyfriend!!!

Anyway, in a fit of cleaning, I recently found some old letters and got the urge to play. After some photography and photoshop, I had the images printed on fabric and made some envelope-sized purses for my girlfriends who had sent those letters so long ago. (Please note the 8¢ stamp!)

And for those who don’t understand the title of this post … please enjoy the Motown’s marvelous Marvelettes and Please Mr. Postman.

Ah, so nice to occasionally get some vindication for all the “stuff” I’ve kept around for all these years!

envelope bag

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upcycling for dollars
redux …

Posted on May 8, 2015 | 0 comments

upcycling for dollars redux …

Every May our local elementary school, Countryside Elementary, has a silent auction fundraiser. Every April I think, “hmmmm, what can I do with t-shirts this year?” After the recent “extreme-snow” winter I’m ready for picnic weather! (For any Countryside alumni parents, the fundraiser is tonight, it should be a fun party!)

The top is pieced from donated school t-shirts and flannel pajama pants and measures approximately 60″ square.

To provide some protection from the still damp spring ground, I backed the quilt/blanket with medium weight nylon packcloth. To keep the picnic from drifting away in the spring breeze, I added triangular pockets in each back corner to hold a small rock or other weighty object. So that it doesn’t end up in a messy pile in the trunk, I added a side tie to make it easy to roll and secure.

Hmmmm, I may have to make another one like this for me! I’ll keep it in the car as a light windbreak or bleacher cover for those cool spring baseball games or for a quick picnic between those summer doubleheaders (by the way, if you are ever in Ware, MA between a couple of sad ball games, it can all be redeemed at Pig Park BBQ … really). And I’ll need a place to sit on the beach while I wait for the Marc Anthony’s pizza delivery … and breakfast picnics at the deCordova Sculpture Park … and ….
Oh yeah, and it machine washes nicely in cool water.

down by the cside ...

rock pocket for breezy days

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thinking inside the box …

Posted on Apr 30, 2015 | 2 comments

thinking inside the box …

Everyone talks about thinking outside the box. But sometimes, what really stretches you is thinking inside that box. Taking what you already know and re-working it to fit inside the box you are given.

In this case? A cigarette box. Yes, I’m talking Art-o-mat!!

Ever since I saw my first one, I’ve been hooked. I just had to come up with an idea to fit into that box. Well, after playing around with pictures and scraps and thread and stuffing, I did it. I made miniature pet pillows that will stand on their own and fit in a cigarette pack size box. And even better? I submitted my idea to the Art-o-mat folks. And better yet? They accepted my proposal! And the proverbial icing on the cake? Boston’s first Art-o-mat was recently installed in the new South End Whole Foods and my hypoallergenic MINI porta-pets will be sold there!
Clark Whittington, the mastermind of Art-o-mat, will be in town Friday, May 1st at 6:30pm for a meet and greet at the South End Whole Foods (old Boston Herald location). And I will be stopping by as well. If you haven’t picked up your weekend groceries and want to stop by for a smile, I’ll see you there!

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every fabric tells a story …

Posted on Apr 1, 2015 | 0 comments

every fabric tells a story …

After 50+ years, it suddenly dawns on me: I love stories. Reading stories. Listening to stories. And telling stories. So obvious, yet (oddly enough) I’ve never put that sentiment into words.

Our stories bind us together. Whether it’s the story of a personal journey, shared family stories, or stories that tie us to our larger community.

My love of sewing and fabrics moved from the personal to the professional a few years ago. And it’s been great fun (and often a great challenge) making new bags/aprons/quilts/pillows and honing my technique. Yet, I’ve struggled with defining my work. What is the over-arching thread (!) that ties it all together? Now I know. Stories.

For me, every fabric tells a story.

My t-shirt and memory quilts are pure narrative. I love the process of working with clients to narrow down their collection to tell their story. Sometimes we work with a pile of t-shirts, no longer worn but too precious to toss; or baby clothes filled with small memories; or special garments left behind by a loved one. Finding the story in that fabric and transforming it into a tangible object is a delight. I now hereby dub them Story Quilts!

Bess went to camp ...

So many of our stories are shared at the table. I first printed tea towels with my grandmother’s hand-written cookie recipe and it’s been a lovely connection to a shared family history. I’ve since added others to my collection, and as gifts for others, and each one tells a story.

Visiting Grandma ...

Pet pillows started as way for my college-bound daughter to take her kitten with her to school. And with each new pillow request, I’ve gathered another story.

Suzie is not impressed

Then there are the fabric stories to come: luggage tags and bags for the new adventures, aprons and tableware for the stories brought home.

Stories. Who knew?!

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don’t go around artless …*

Posted on Jan 14, 2015 | 0 comments

don’t go around artless …*

While in Santa Fe this Christmas I came across my first Art-o-Mat machine! And it took me to a very, very happy place. Why? I’m not sure. But I love it.

Art-o-mat machines are retired cigarette vending machines that have been converted to vend, well, art. Put in $5.00, choose an artist, pull the knob, and out pops your very own art in a 2″ x 3″ format.

There are paintings, sculptures, jewelry … I even bought my very own slug shaped glycerin soap! (Yes, I chose it and yes I am saving it for a special soaping occasion.)

*For the full story, check out the Art-o-Mat website or their Facebook page. It’s just great fun!

Hmmm … what can I make for them …

decide ... pull ... art!

Santa Fe Art-o-Mat

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merry (retro) christmas!

Posted on Dec 12, 2014 | 0 comments

merry (retro) christmas!

So much of the commercially available holiday fabric is cute. Too cute. And too much the same. However, sometimes I find some special yardage.

And this is one of them! I’ve had it for a while but not wanted to cut into it … but finally I did to make these fun holiday drink coasters. Perfect for that festive martini with the green and red olive!

Next up? A retro hostess apron for serving those martinis!

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