the consequences of failure

You fail only if you stop.
Ray Bradbury

You made a mess. You had something in mind, you tried something new, and it didn’t work out the way you planned. It might have gone slightly off track or it might be a full head-on collision of a derailment. 

There are failures in life that can bring severe and devastating consequences but when we are talking about making art, taking chances, making running leaps of faith, it is almost ALWAYS better to try than to let fear stop you from making an effort.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Athletes like Michael Jordan miss far more shots than they land – but because they reach and risk and take those shots – at times they succeed.

IMG_3142 2

They fail, and they alone, who have not striven.
Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Fear keeps us from trying. We let an endless stream of excuses run through our heads and paralyze us into inaction. We forget that creating is a process. Every process has bits that are frustrating, ugly, difficult. Don’t let that stop you.

Stop and think for a minute of what the actual consequences are of making a piece of art you think is ugly, imperfect, or that does not live up to the ideal you had in your mind?

What if instead of giving up to turned around and took a good hard look at what you did? What if you analyzed what happened and figured out a new way to proceed. What if you learned something vital and necessary that you didn’t know you needed to know – because something went awry?

Write down the consequences of failure.
Write down the consequences of not trying.

Exhibition Announcement: artquilts voices

If you are in the Wake County, NC area, please join me tonight at the opening reception for:


A show of innovative quilts from The Professional Art Quilters Alliance-South (PAQA-South)

April 27 – July 2, 2016
Page-Walker Arts & History Center, Cary, NC

April 27, 2016:  Exhibit opens at Page-Walker Arts & History Center
April 29, 2016: Artist reception at Page-Walker Arts & History Center
July 2, 2016: Exhibit closes at Page-Walker Arts & History Center

tips to help quilt teachers enjoy their travel

You would laugh to hear us quilt teachers when we get together behind the scenes. We have our friendliest and most smiling faces on when we are in front of our students. Behind closed doors we let it all hang out and I’ll let you in on a little secret: we are actually pretty nice there too! We LOVE our jobs!


If we kvetch about anything it’s usually about the travel and the schlepping. We schlepp SO MUCH STUFF. I teach surface design, which isn’t within the traditional quilter’s usual milieu so I like to bring EVERYTHING for my students to play with during class. My students spend their time playing instead of worrying that they got the wrong weird art supply. That’s fine. Some of us quitl teachers kvetch about airports, but you know what? I love them.

WTbeNKYzg1ECI find airports relaxing. It might have something to do with the fact that my children aren’t there. Nobody is saying, “mom, I need this” every three minutes. The house phone doesn’t ring, I’m off the hook for housework (Hah! Like I ever do that anyway) and dinner prep and kid schlepping. 

Sitting in an airport is a perfect time to read a book. I don’t have time to sit down at home. No reading (and it just about kills me) and no TV. Just no time. Airports are filled to the brim with time. This last trip I started a book on Francis Perkins. She was an amazing woman. Spectacularly amazing. Usually I read something sic-fi or fantasy just to give my brain a fluffy rest.

I play games. Not on my device but in my head. I love moving walkways. I like to wait until there is quite a gap between me and the person in front of me before getting on so that I can hop on, take really long strides, and pretend I have speed walking super powers. 

I don’t mind showing up early and waiting because there is something genetically hard wired into my DNA that makes me totally stress out about being late. I also like longer layovers so I can walk and wander a bit and take a look through the terminal. The Charlotte, NC airport is one of my favorite. Anywhere there is a window there is also a plant and a rocking chair. In the main concourse there is also live music.Kinard_travel_tips12

Sometimes there are hilarious things to see to. No comment here.
Kinard_travel_tips11Get a window seat. Look out. It’s absolutely amazing. I’m continually amazed at the beauty of clouds. Anyone know how this phenomenon happens? I’ve seen the clouds line up in rows on several occasions now. IMG_2264

Sudoku is good, but I play “pictures” on my devices. I have numerous apps that will filter your photos and let you do cool things with them. I’m a visual person. It’s what I love.Kinard_travel_tips14I sketch too. Or make lists. Or write articles. All of these happen in whatever sketchbook I happen to have with me at the time. This celtic knot feels like Seuss met a Klingon.

Kinard_travel_tips13And always, I remember how lucky I am to do what I get to do. I play with fabric. I play with paint and foil and beads and make funky pretty wonderful stuff. I play with QUILTERS! They are the nicest people I know and I get to travel around the land and spend time with them.


top 10 packing tips for quilt teachers

I love teaching and I love quilting and I love people and I love travel. So basically the life of a traveling quilt teacher is a dream come true for me. Even if it’s not for you, you might be interested in the hilarious rigamarole that quilt teachers go through when getting ready to head off on their next adventure.

Tips for the Traveling Quilt Teacher

1. Play Tetris, or practice puzzling. You need to fit an inordinate amount of supplies into a infinitely finite space. It isn’t easy. Most of the time you strategically ship boxes ahead.kinard_travel_tips02

2. Buy really, really good luggage. It is an investment in your business. I only buy luggage with lifetime guarantee and repair service (Briggs & Riley, Victorinox). I’ve used that repair service. The luggage hasn’t been damaged by the airline – mostly corner stitching has come undone because I stuff them as full as possible. With heavy stuff. Every. Single. Trip. My rolling briefcase that carries my AV equipment (projector, iPad, cables, tripod, video camera) is built like a tank but will fit under the seat of even the littlest puddle-jumper.kinard_travel_tips09

3. Spinner carry-on’s are wonderful. You don’t have to lug the thing down the aisle of the airplane. But they aren’t quite so nice on a long carpeted hotel corridor. Pick your poison.

4. You need a luggage scale. Leave yourself half a pound of extra weight in case your scale is off. Put something that weighs a pound and will fit into your carry-on right on top so you can reach in and grab it if you end up overweight at the check-in counter.kinard_travel_tips04

5. Make lists. Check them off. Check them again. The minute you don’t look at your packing list you will forget something. Even if you’ve been teaching that same class for years. Ask me about the time I showed up for a paint class without the paint. 

6. Give yourself two days to pack… so you have time to remember anything you’ve forgotten. Or run out of. Or added to your supply list at the last minute and you are sure that half your students will not have read the email you sent out last week. And – if there are supplies you can get a local person to pick up for you, you might save some luggage room as well. It never hurts to ask.

7. When attaching a smaller bag to a larger one, hang it low. When you tip it the  center of gravity is way down low. Your wrists will thank you profusely. That little guy has a latch to hook it onto the top of the big suitcase but it is HEAVY when I tip it. When it is down low I can balance and pull it with almost no effort.kinard_travel_tips06

8. A second bag is far cheaper than one overweight bag. But they rarely weigh your carry-on. I pack my books in my carry on. It is ALWAYS over 50 lbs. I fly Southwest when it goes where I want to go to save the guilds the cost of two suitcases both ways.

9. Exercise. Lift weights. Or get help. Smile nice and ask a stranger to heave that carry-on into the overhead bin. Or, better yet, volunteer to check your bag at the gate when they say they won’t have enough space in the overhead bins. I ask and they often check my bag straight through to the final destination so I don’t have to haul it around during my layover.

10. Learn to travel light on the personal needs (clothes/shoes/toiletries) because you will need every ounce for your supplies. Wear something really comfortable during the flight. Your feet will thank you!kinard_travel_tips10


tutorial: satin stitched edges for art quilts

I have lots of little abstract tops floating around from my Abstract-A-Licious class and recently was able to layer and stitch a few of them up. They make great “to-go” embroidery projects when I’m at a meeting or waiting at one of my kids classes.kinard_satin_stitch_edge_tute_00When I work small (under 18″ or so) I leave my back layer off as I do all of my stitching. Yes, that means top and batting only while I do my machine and hand stitching. Then I fuse a backing on to cover up all the mess and trim everything nice and straight …. if it’s the kind of piece that wants to be nice and straight.kinard_satin_stitch_edge_tute_01

Next up is a very important little bit if you want to satin-stitch or even just zig-zag your edges as a finish. A little triangle of fusible craft stabilizer gets ironed to each corner. If you are a person who thinks ahead – you add this little triangle of craft stabilizer to the back of the quilt-let BEFORE you fuse the back on – so it hides between the layers. As you can see, I’m not a person who things ahead.kinard_satin_stitch_edge_tute_02Next up – choose your thread color – it will become an integral part of the design. I thought red would tie this little piece together without overwhelming anything. You can always pull out and double (or quadruple) up the thread and and lay it out on your quilt before actually choosing which color to use. Audition it. See what works. Take a picture of each option and look at the thumbnails all together if you can’t choose.kinard_satin_stitch_edge_tute_03

Now start in the middle of an edge. A few short straight stitches then a good wide zig-zag, although not your widest. I set the needle to just barely miss the right edge and head on down towards a corner.kinard_satin_stitch_edge_tute_04When you get to the corner, stop the needle on the right, leaving it down. Carefully lift the presser foot and swing the quilt-let down without moving it away from the needle.kinard_satin_stitch_edge_tute_05Now slowly make the next couple of zig-zags on top of the stitching that is already there. Carry on in the same manner all the way around. You can see in the photos here that I’m already on the second layer. My first layer of zig-zag seems to just hold the edges and everything together.kinard_satin_stitch_edge_tute_06On the second go-round I shorten my stitch length to satin stitch closeness – but widen out my zig-zag so that it is just wider than my first go-round.kinard_satin_stitch_edge_tute_07When you have gone all the way around a second time, end with a couple of very short straight stitches and back stitch just one or two stitches. I cut my thread then flip over the piece and give a good hard yank on the back thread to pop the front thread through just a bit. I trim the thread right there at the fabric and it leaves no fuzzy little tail on the front.

And – there you go. Enjoy!

creative wisdom: time management

FullSizeRenderI was introduced to a guild last week and my hostess said, “you can tell she is very organized and gets a lot done.” I always have to use every once of self control I have not to burst out in raucous guffaws – or at least refrain from rolling my eyes. I am busy past my eyeballs – up to the very top tip of my spiky hair busy. ALL. THE. TIME. So every time I get one things done, three more things fall by the wayside. Undone. Ignored. Behind schedule.

Lately that thing is the blog. Oh – and a haircut – if you scroll down to the next post you can see the too long hair and the spikes.

It’s just that time of my life. Teenagers who aren’t quite responsible enough to keep their driving privileges. Younger kids who want to do stuff every once in a while too. Heavy responsibility at church (which I know I could say no to, but won’t. Because the 10-30 hours every week I spend doing that stuff is more important than anything else and is making the world a better place. Right here where I can see it.) Teaching takes up far, far more time than just the days I’m out of town playing with the students.

So my magic time management advice? 


wait for it………………


Cue the maniacal laughter.


I write everything down and look at one day at a time. I look on my list and see what deadline is whooshing towards me at lightning speed and try my best to keep up. I’m seriously in favor of cloning technology – I need two or three.


I do have advice for staying somewhat sane in the midst of that kind of schedule though.

Preset Style = Bold Format = 6" (Medium) Format Margin = None Format Border = Straight Drawing = #2 Pencil Drawing Weight = Heavy Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = High Contrast Paint Lightness = Auto Paint Intensity = More Water = Tap Water Water Edges = Blurry Water Bleed = Average Brush = Fine Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Medium Paper = Watercolor Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Medium Options Faces = Enhance Faces

Breathe. Stop for a moment and appreciate that all the things you are running around for are good things. Look up and around and out. Life could be so much worse and truly, I am one lucky girl. Life is beautiful.

Preset Style = Bold Format = 6" (Medium) Format Margin = None Format Border = Straight Drawing = #2 Pencil Drawing Weight = Heavy Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = High Contrast Paint Lightness = Auto Paint Intensity = More Water = Tap Water Water Edges = Blurry Water Bleed = Average Brush = Fine Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Medium Paper = Watercolor Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Medium Options Faces = Enhance Faces

a question for you!

Do you ever wander around the house close to dinner time wondering what on earth you are going to eat – or feed you family? I do. Too often. When I’m not overwhelmed with other demands on my time I can be really good at menu planning and it makes life much easier. I love to cook – it’s just that coming up with the idea can be a pain when you don’t have time.


So help me with some “menu planning.” I’m sure you’ve noticed (or probably haven’t) that I haven’t blogged much lately. There are things in life that are making overwhelming demands on  my time right now. When I do have an idea I can throw out a blog post pretty quickly but my ideas usually come when I’m not at the computer and I forget them before I write them down. Ahhh – if I only had a brain!



(about anything – really.)

It would be a great help to me if you would let me know what you are interested in.

creative wisdom: fear of failure

There is no failure. Only feedback.
Robert G. Allen


I’d like to share part of an article I read recently called “Forgetting those things which are Behind” by Kenneth L. Higbee.

A newspaper editor, speaking to a college graduating class, asked, “How many of you have ever sawed wood? Let’s see your hands.”

Many hands went up.

Then he asked, “How many of you have ever sawed sawdust?”

No hands went up.

“Of course, you can’t saw sawdust!” he exclaimed. “It’s already sawed! And it’s the same with the past. When you start worrying about things that are over and done with, you’re merely trying to saw sawdust.”

Too many people make themselves miserable by dwelling needlessly on their past failures and mistakes. They lie awake at night agonizing over the mistakes they have made and what they should have done. Almost everyone occasionally does thoughtless, impulsive things that bring unpleasant consequences. Almost everyone occasionally misses golden opportunities through apathy or oversight. Almost everyone may be occasionally selfish or unkind.

We cannot help feeling despair over such occasions, but we should not feel as if we ought to be exiled from the human race simply because of them. In fact, mistakes are not only an acceptable part of life, but they may even be beneficial. The intelligent use of our mistakes helps us learn and grow; past failures may be guideposts to future successes. But our failures and mistakes can be constructive only if we analyze them, gain what profit we can from them, and then forget them.

A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he gives up.

This story can be applied to so many things in our lives, but especially to our art making. So many of the students I teach are held back by their fear of making a mistake. They look back on the work they have made and see only the errors. They equate their worth as an artist with those mistakes.

All artists make mistakes. Good artists accept mistakes as part of the process, learn from them and continue to progress. Over the next several months I’d like to talk about embracing failure as a vital part of every artist’s process. 

Think about your attitude towards failure.
What about the possibility of making mistakes holds you back?

I’d love to hear your comments and ideas and we can discuss them in upcoming posts.

Coloring Books

kinard_celtic_knot_coloring_book_300px    Heart_Nouveau_cover_Lyric_Kinard_web_400px

30 designs to color
hard copy book
9.99 available on Amazon
read more on this blog post



10 variations on a theme
digital download – print at home
4.99 available on Etsy
read more on this blog post


Knot_Deco_Lyric_Kinard_web400px   Sea_Shanties_Lyric_Kinard_web400px

10 variations on a theme
digital download – print at home
4.99 available on Etsy
read more on this blog post



10 variations on a theme
digital download – print at home
4.99 available on Etsy
read more on this blog post


Rondo_Lyric_Kinard_web400px   Scherzo_Lyric_Kinard_web400px
10 variations on a theme
digital download – print at home
4.99 available on Etsy
read more on this blog post
  10 variations on a theme
digital download – print at home
4.99 available on Etsy
read more on this blog post

for your inspiration: from the air


I reserve window seats as often as I can. There is something unbelievably beautiful about seeing the land from the air. On a recent trip to Omaha, Nebraska, the air itself was beautiful.


In a land that is full of rows and rows of cornfields during the growing season, the sky was seeded with row upon row of clouds.


Layers of soft floating blankets, clear blue, then line upon line of puffs. Weather fascinates me. If I had time I would go back to school and get a meteorology degree. And a fine arts degree, and an archeology and anthropology degree….. you get the idea.


It’s never too late to learn new things. The Omaha Quilters Guild was full of wonderful ladies who weren’t afraid to play and learn new things! Stamp carving, stenciling, screen printing, foiling, photo transfer! Art school for quilters!

how it’s made video: heart nouveau celtic knot

Thought you might enjoy seeking the process of knot making. Be warned – it’s a bit messy. I never know exactly where I’m going to end up when I start drafting a celtic knot. It might end up simple or complex. Sometimes it doesn’t work at all. A LOT of erasing happens. That is all simply part of the process. If you’ve ever been in a class with me you’ve heard me say “you’ve got to make a lot of bad art to get to the good stuff!”


Heart_Nouveau_cover_Lyric_KinardThe collection of designs derived from this knot is available as a downloadable set of coloring pages


celtic knots and kaleidoscopes to color: variations on a theme

It’s here!


30 designs to color!

Breathe deeply and smile as you get ready for some meditative coloring. Three intricate celtic knots are transformed into beautiful kaleidoscopic mandalas and patterns. Find your own personal zen-happy place as you bring each work to colorful life. 

Available for purchase on


Work in progress

I love quilting. Well – I should say I love making quilts. The actual quilting of the layers together is my least favorite part of the process. 

But – anything is fun when you do it at the beach. image


And with friends. 



Coloring Pages: scherzo

Scherzo_Lyric_Kinard10 celtic knots, kaleidoscopes, and patterns to color
PDF file
available for instant download



I have found that holding each page on a clipboard as I color is saving my neck. Do you do that “hunch over and crane your neck” thing when you are coloring too? If I hold the clipboard higher and on an angle on my lap, on a pillow or on my crossed legs, that my spine stays in alignment and I can see the fine details without killing my body.


This Variation on a Theme collection begins with a lovingly hand drafted celtic knot. The knot is then digitized and manipulated into exquisitely beautiful kaleidoscopic mandalas and tiled patterns for you to print and color.

Coloring Pages: rondo


10 celtic knots, kaleidoscopes, and patterns to color
available for instant download



I love the depth of shading you can play with when using colored pencils. I usually color in each space then go back in when the whole design is filled in and choose where to darken the colors.


I am so happy that these are immediately available to download. I find it much easier to just print and go. I keep the designs on a clipboard or in a folder which I find much easier to manage than a bound book…. although stay tuned – a book is on it’s way for those that prefer that format.


This Variation on a Theme collection begins with a lovingly hand drafted celtic knot. The knot is then digitized and manipulated into exquisitely beautiful kaleidoscopic mandalas and tiled patterns for you to print and color.

Coloring Pages: sea shanties


10 celtic knots, kaleidoscopes, and patterns to color
available for instant download


Sea_Shanties_Lyric_KinardThis Variation on a Theme collection begins with another lovingly hand drafted celtic knot. The knot is then digitized and manipulated into exquisitely beautiful kaleidoscopic mandalas and tiled patterns for you to print and color. You should see my kids and I geeking out as I cut and chop and digitally stitch together these  mandalas for you. 

Fishy_thumbnails_back_coverHere is a peek at the designs you will receive in the PDF file. I’m thinking of trying out some watercolor paper just to play around and see what happens!

And… the offer stands through Valentine’s day. The Heart Nouveau collection is on sale for only $1.99. And…. anyone that leaves a review on my Etsy shop and sends me a note will get a coupon for $4.25 towards anything in the shop. That means you can snap up your next favorite coloring page collection for about .75 cents!

Coloring Pages: knot deco


10 celtic knots, kaleidoscopes, and patterns to color
available for instant download



This Variation on a Theme collection begins with a lovingly hand drafted celtic knot. The knot is then digitized and manipulated into exquisitely beautiful kaleidoscopic mandalas and tiled patterns for you to print and color.


And here is an idea… I’m really trying to get my rankings up on my ETSY shop. I really need ratings in order to do so. If you buy any of my coloring page collection then leave a review on ETSY, I will send you a $4.99 coupon so that you can choose another collection for free! Please share this with any and all of your friends who love to color, I’d really appreciate it!

Valentine’s special – Downloadable Coloring Pages

Well I did it. I bit the bullet, invested in some serious professional software (the Adobe Creative Cloud) as well as a subscription to, and completely remade all of the coloring pages I’ve been working on for weeks. Finally, TA -DA!!!! I’m ready to share them with you!



10 designs available as an instant PDF download

This lovely little collection of 10 is available for instant download


Because it’s Valentine’s month, I’m offering it for $1.99 through the 14th.
(The price will go up quite a bit after then)


So breathe deeply, relax, smile, and pull out your sharpest colored pencils for this batch!


The best part is that you don’t have to go anywhere, or wait forever. You can just click the order button, wait for the payment to go through (it might take a minute or two) then download and print off your designs.



heart nouveau

Just in time for Valentines Day!


Heart Nouveau Thermofax Screen






Large = 7″ x 6.5″, Medium = 4.5″ x 4″, Small = 2.6″ x 3″

Size Image_Only Image+Frame Print_Ready
max image size  3×4
$5.00 $6.00 $10.00
max image size  4×7
$7.00 $9.00 $15.00
max image size  7×9.5
$9.00 $13.00 $18.00







Thermofax ThermoFAQ’s

a little gift – coloring pages for you

snow2016We are “snowed in” here in North Carolina. I have to laugh because there has been barely a coating of ice and snow – nothing compared to the feet and feet of snow that are north of us. Still, the lack of snow tires and clearing equipment, not to mention the inexperience of many southern drivers with icy roads, it’s better to stay home and enjoy it.

Enjoy it I have!

heart_nouveau_00Thank heaven that we kept power. A little explanation of that can be found at the bottom of the post. I spent some lovely days and late into the night playing with the celtic knots I’ve been drafting.

heart_nouveau_09What do you think? Got a hankering for coloring? I’ve created four PDF downloads, each with ten kaleidoscopes and tiled patterns made from one celtic knot. Heart Nouveau is ready to go but the other three are desperate for a clever name. Anyone got ideas?


Would you like to try them out? I’ve made a sample page for you to download from each set. Happy coloring!!!

Click HERE to download the Heart Nouveau PDF sample

Click HERE to download the Pointy Knot PDF sample


Click HERE to download the Loopy Knot sample


Click HERE to download the Deco Knot PDF sample

coloring3A little explanation about the southern landscape and ice and power: even with so little snow and ice thousands of people in our area lost power. A large part of the beautiful green that is the south is made up of Southern White Pine. It grows 6′ per year – very soft wood. It looses all it’s lower branches as it grows so it is very top heavy. Bad combination with ice as these 80′ trees tend to fall on everything – especially power lines.

playing with pictures – favorite apps



kinard_feathers_04Paper Camera 1

kinard_feathers_05Paper Camera 2

kinard_feathers_07Maku Hanga


tutorial: valentine’s day origami heart garland

kinard_origami_heart_garland3If you missed the tutorial on how to fold these sweet little origami hearts, just scroll down. The post should be right next to this one.



Here is a short video showing how I strung the hearts together to make a garland. I’ve used pearl cotton embroidery thread but you can use whatever decorative cord you wish.

 I had extra painted pages so I thought I’d package them up for you.


I have just a few packs. 5 sheets each – just shy of 4″ x 8″each. Red on one side and white on the other.  I threw in some pearle cotton and a needle so you don’t even have to hunt around to find something to string your hearts onto.

$12.00 plus $1.50 shipping (US only)


tutorial: valentine’s day origami heart


I thought I’d share a sweet and very doable project with you for Valentines day. This easily folded (I promise!) origami heart has a lovely little flower in its center.

kinard_origami_heart_garland4I have a collection of sheet music that I use for collage and origami projects. These pages were painted red on one side and white on the back.

Here is a quick (under 5 minutes) video of folding the hearts.


Tomorrow I will post a short video of how I strung them together.


 I had extra painted pages so I thought I’d package them up for you.


I have just a few packs. 5 sheets each – just shy of 4″ x 8″each. Red on one side and white on the other.  I threw in some pearle cotton and a needle so you don’t even have to hunt around to find something to string your hearts onto.

$12.00 plus $1.50 shipping (US only)



work in progress: screen printing mill wheels

The days I get to spend in the studio are few and far between… but they make me happy.IMG_8307

A morning spent on photoshop turns a photo into a screen for printing.
(You can see my tutorial for doing that here)IMG_8267

An afternoon spent going back and forth between discharge printing and (ack!) accounting while I waited for the stuff to dry so that I could print the in-between prints on the grid.FullSizeRender-1

I enjoy seeing the potential as each piece emerges – these are just two bits of the yardage I worked on.FullSizeRender-2

a peek through my sketchbook

This is one of the moleskin sketchbooks I’ve been using for drafting celtic knots.



work in progress

The days I get to spend in the studio are few and far between… but they make me happy.IMG_8307


A morning spent on photoshop turns a photo into a screen for printing.
(You can see my tutorial for doing that here)IMG_8267

An afternoon spent going back and forth between discharge printing and (ack!) accounting while I waited for the stuff to dry so that I could print the in-between prints on the grid.FullSizeRender-1


origami earrings

Over the holiday a few of my children and I would spend time here and there folding origami paper into this and that. Stars, flowers, birds, and hearts were the most popular.JPEG image-A6C0F0289372-1

I got a little carried away and decided to see if I could make some miniature cranes and then make them into earrings. Want some? I made a pair in my favorite color then made several extra.

kinard_origami_crane_earrings_blue3$20 includes domestic shipping – purchase this pair here.


Each pair measures about 1.5″ from beak to tail and hangs at about 1″ from the top of the ear wire to the bottom of the crane.

You can purchase the white origami crane earrings here for $20 (includes domestic shipping)


kinard_origami_crane_earrings_grey1You can purchase the grey origami crane earrings HERE for $20 (includes domestic shipping.)


kinard_origami_crane_earrings_pple4You can purchase the purple origami crane earrings here for $20 (includes domestic shipping)


a list for last year

Every few years I make a year-end accomplishment list – it’s much easier than making a list of goals for the new year.

Best of 2015

Weekend getaway to ft. Lauderdale Fl with the most amazing man on earth. We bring home a shell from most beach trips. This bit of coral got all dressed up because it was such a special time to remember.JPEG image-B33B5C305D94-1

Joined my neighborhood quilt bee. Friends who also love fabric are the best. They also do things like actually love and use and finish all of those UFO’s from 20 years ago that I know I’ll never get to. I absolutely love giving away things to people who I know will love them.

Entered a few quilt shows and won awards at MAQF and MQS.JPEG image-DBC56C54B465-1

Spent a weekend with both of my grown daughters in UT.

Preset Style = Bold Format = Medium Format Margin = None Format Border = Straight Drawing = #2 Pencil Drawing Weight = Heavy Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = High Contrast Paint Lightness = Normal Paint Intensity = More Water = Tap Water Water Edges = Blurry Water Bleed = Average Brush = Fine Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Medium Paper = Watercolor Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Medium

Traveled to and taught in NC, SC, GA, OR, AZ, CA, TX.

Saw my wonderful in-laws in Tucson, my brother’s family in CA, and my sister’s family in Portland. I wouldn’t have been able to see them if I weren’t teaching. I love my job.FullSizeRender-19

Taught in Canada for the first time. Victoria, BC is a little slice of heaven on earth.victoria)kinard

Spent an absolutely amazing few weeks with my daughter in Paris and Greece. The trip of a lifetime!Notre_Dame_02

Spent many hours researching ADD (inattentive type) as well as depression. Spent hours with a couple of my children at doctors/psychologists/psychiatrists. One child is thriving and the other is still making it and has NOT flunked out of school. Whew. I consider these my most hard fought accomplishments of the year.

Since April I’ve spent between 10 and 30 hours per week serving the wonderful women in my congregation as the Relief Society President. I have grown to love these sisters fiercely! No matter how exhausted I am at the end of the week, I know I’ve spent it well.IMG_0859



happy new year

I wish you a year full of love, light, joy and peace.


This past year has been a time of learning for me. I’ve only been able to keep the bare minimum afloat with my teaching – obviously the blog has suffered. My art has taken a far second place to family and church responsibilities. There has been a lot to deal with. Through it all I have been slowly learning to find peace. It most certainly does NOT come from my circumstances. It comes from learning to calm myself and find the love and light and joy that is there when I open my eyes to see it. It is not a natural ability for me to slow down and breathe and be grateful – but I’m learning.

tutorial: origami 5 part star



And here are step by step photos if you weren’t quick enough to fold along with the video.
Seriously – all you need is a little more caffeine to go that fast, right!?

kinard_5pt_star_tute1Begin with 5 rectangles (half a square)

kinard_5pt_star_tute2Fold one rectangle in half the long way

kinard_5pt_star_tute3Unfold and fold two corners in to meet the line

kinard_5pt_star_tute4Fold one corner in on the other side

kinard_5pt_star_tute5Fold your point in to meet that corner

kinard_5pt_star_tute6flip the paper over and unfold that one corner

kinard_5pt_star_tute7fold the two corners in to meet the center line again

kinard_5pt_star_tute8repeat, folding in the two corners again
(it feels like a paper airplane)

kinard_5pt_star_tute9flip the paper over again so you can see the pointed flap

kinard_5pt_star_tute11fold the flat edge up under the flap

kinard_5pt_star_tute12repeat, folding the edge up again

kinard_5pt_star_tute13repeat again, creasing the fold tightly

kinard_5pt_star_tute14make five more of these units

kinard_5pt_star_tute16take two units, and notice the pocket here

kinard_5pt_star_tute17slide one unit’s strip into that pocket

kinard_5pt_star_tute18flip the units over

kinard_5pt_star_tute19tuck the second strip into the back/point pocket

Kinard_origami_5pt_star1repeat with the rest of the units until all five are tucked into each other.

TA DA!!!!

Kinard_origami_5pt_star3This star works perfectly with paper money.
If you are giving cash as a gift this is a lovely way to do it.


It looks just as pretty from the back.



tutorial: felted wool ornaments

I’d like to point you towards Judy Coates Perez’ sweet little tutorial for making felted wool ornaments.
You can find her instructions here.


tutorial: braided corona star

I spent half a day ignoring all the “shoulds” on my list.
The result was this spectacular piece of origami.Kinard_origami_braided_corona_star6

Braided Corona Star
origami designed by Maria Sinayskaya


I have a collection of old sheet music that I use for just such purposes.

Kinard_origami_braided_corona_star1For this project I used 8 pages. Four were painted red, four white. The back of all 8 were painted gold.

Kinard_origami_braided_corona_star9After the paint dried I ironed each sheet nice and flat then cut them perfectly square.

Kinard_origami_braided_corona_star4There were several steps along the way with this star where I was completely smitten…

Kinard_origami_braided_corona_star5… in love with the geometry and beauty of this feat of simple yet complex engineering.

You can find Maria’s step by step and easy to follow video tutorial here:

I went back in with more paint after the star was finished and cleaned up some of my messy paint.

Glitter, Glisten, Glimmer: Beaded Ornament Tutorial

Let’s make a lovely little ornament.
I’m using Miyuki twisted bugle beads, number 6, 11, and 15 seed beads, and a felt ball.
I use a #11 straw or applique needle and Nymo or Sylamide beading thread.
Knot your thread –  push it straight through then knot on the other end just to be safe. Trim the tail.
Place a #6 bead on the needle, slide it down, then pick up a #11 on the needle without sliding it down. 
Stick the needle back down through the #6 hole then straight out through the other side. 
Make a knot there to be safe then make this same little stack at each pole and on each of the four directions of your little globe.
After you’ve made your six stacks, make a knot as close to underneath the bead as possible. If your thread is too short get another one ready. 
Load on a #11, a bugle, and another #11 – keep the  last bead on the needle. Slide the needle back through the bugle and bottom seed bead and come out on the other side of the #6.

Make six of these bugle stacks around the #6 stack.

After making six of these bugle stacks send your needle through the felt ball to the next #6 bead stack and repeat the process around each center bead.
Make knots fairly often to secure your thread by taking a little bite of the felt ball as close to underneath a bead as you can. Leave the needle half way through.
Wrap the thread around the front end of the needle, hold the wrap there with your finger, then pull the needle through.
Send your needle through one of your seed/bugle stacks – you can catch the top bead after you’ve pulled the needle through if you miss it on the first pass. 
Pick up a bugle bead then send your needle through the seed bead on the top of the next stack in the circle. 
Add a bugle between each of the stacks without going back down to the felt ball. Just hop from one seed bead on the top of a bugle to the next. 
When you get to the last seed bead, go through it again, and through the bugle and the next seed bead.
Take your needle back down to the felt ball through the bugle and seed bead, bringing the needle back up under the next #6 bead.
Repeat the process of adding a bugle between each stack until you have a lovely hexagon around each #6 bead stack center thingie. (Yes – “thingie” is a technical term.)
Make sure you have plenty of thread to make a loop, doubled thread is a good option here. Bring your needle up through one of those big #6 bead center thingies, and add lots of little tiny #15 seed beads until you have a string of them long enough to make a hanging loop.
Take your needle back down through the #6 stack and bring it out as close under one of the other hexagon bead formations as you can. 

Do the knot thing, in fact knot it twice for good measure. Send the needle anywhere through the felt ball and then trim the tail. 
Something beautiful to hang on your tree, or in your window, or on your rear-view mirror.
If you don’t happen to have those dazzling twisted bugles in your stash – no worries.
I’ve put together kits for you with everything you need to make your own ornament.
Each kit includes one felt ball, all the beads you need, a spool of nymo beading thread and a needle.


 Shipping within the U.S. is free.

Choose your color

And if you liked this tutorial, you will love my DVD.
It’s 90 minutes of blissful beading play time and full of inspiration.
Learn to apply beads to fabric and make your own wonderful works of art.
Pop it in your computer and print out a PDF pattern for the floral quilt on the cover.
$24.95 + $5.50 shipping


tutorial: origami 8 part star “robin”

I love origami. Because I also love music I get a kick out of folding ornaments out of a few old piano books I found. It still feels a little sacrilegious to cut them up but the results are a thing of beauty.


Play along with me as I create this star

The origami Robin Star was designed by Maria Sinayskaya


Here is the star with plain, rather than gold painted paper.


And here is the star folded in variation #2 as shown in 
this most excellent diagram

Tutorial: Snowflake Pinwheel Ornament

This December I hope to post and point you to some lovely tutorials.
Let’s make stuff – bring beauty and light into a world that needs it!

Snowflake Pinwheel Ornament

My children and I were playing around with scissors and paper – it happens every year about this time. We came up with some wonderful variations on snowflakes and I fancied them up for you. Enjoy!

Choose your material – paper, interfacing, whatever you have about. I’ve used some old sheet music and Lutrador.

Cut out squares – I liked mine 4″ as a tree ornament. The kids and I used regular paper and made them much larger. Experiment!

I wanted to brighten up the yellowed paper so I brushed some gesso over it. You could use any white paint you have lying about. This isn’t necessary if your material is white to begin with and it’s optional even if it isn’t.

The paper curls if you only paint one side. No worries. Let the paint dry then iron it flat.

Fold your square corner to corner and crease the edge. (I’m showing you the Lutrador now.)

Fold again, corner to corner and crease the edge.

Fold one last time, corner to corner. DO NOT crease this edge – keep it soft.

Find the side with all the edges showing (from the last picture) and cut a simple wave along the top.

Now find the edge with a few folds on it and cut a couple of shallow shapes from it, leaving some of the edge intact. Leave the corners alone too – don’t cut them off.

On the last edge you should only be able to see one fold. Get fancy with your scissor here and cut a few deep shapes but leave part of the edge intact.

Open up your four sided snowflake and snip from each corner almost (but not quite) to the middle.

Hunt around for whatever you have that will stiffen up the paper or interfacing (or cloth, or stabilizer) your are using.

Brush or spray it on both sides. Be gentle.

Now for the fun part. Find some glitter (this is fancy micro-fine stuff) and sprinkle it on while your stiff-stuff is still wet.

Find a needle and some thread or embroidery floss. Double the thread and make a knot in the end. Pull it through the center then through one of the corners as shown.

Pull that corner down the thread until it meets the center then work your way to the other three corners, doing the same thing.

Make a knot in the thread then cut it. You could add a button here to fancy it up or simply tape, glue (then clamp until it dries) or staple the corners in to make it simpler.

Use the embroidery floss, or thread and poke your needle into the tip and make a loop for hanging the ornament. To make it super simple you could tape the loop on or even use an ornament hook.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial! 

celtic snowflake


celtic snowflake 1 options



Celtic Snowflake Thermofax Screen

Large = 7″ x 8″, Medium = 4″ x 4.5″, Small = 2.6″ x 3″

Size Image_Only Image+Frame Print_Ready
max image size  3×4
$5.00 $6.00 $10.00
max image size  4×7
$7.00 $9.00 $15.00
max image size  7×9.5
$9.00 $13.00 $18.00

christmas simplified

Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me Matt. 25:40

It’s that time of the year when America seems to do an odd thing. We develop a split personality. We fuss and stress and go way overboard spending money on truly unnecessary gifts that often go unappreciated. We give more to charities than at other times of the year, we smile, we are willing to be patient and kind to perfect strangers.

Which way do you want to be?

December has become my favorite time of year because we have worked very hard to make Christmas meaningful. We deliberately cut out everything that was stressful and didn’t bring our family together. We try each year to do as many of the things we find wonderful as we have energy for-  and then let the rest slide right on by without any feelings of guilt.

This is what we do to Christmas meaningful. I can imagine that the list would be different for every family.

MUSIC – Several of us play together in a Messiah Orchestra – that’s one of my favorites. There are Christmas Parades where we cheer our children as they march with their school bands. There are school concerts and recitals. I pull down my Mountain Dulcimers (these were custom made by Ron Ewing) and play Christmas music in the evenings. Sometimes we host a neighborhood caroling party – firepit blazing in the cul-du-sac, hot chocolate, and of course singing. It can be pretty rag-tag but we enjoy it.

NATIVITIES – We wait to set up our own collection of nativity sets so that they can first be displayed at the Apex Nativity Celebration. As a gift to the community our church spends a week setting up hundreds of nativity sets from around the world. For three days Thu/Fri/Sat the 10th/11th/12th there is live music (that’s where we get to play the Messiah for a sing-along) and a beautiful reminder of the precious gift we are celebrating. Once our own nativity sets (we have lots) are up in the house, three of our wise men go on a journey day by day. The kids have to find where they are each morning.

GIFTS – Each of the children pull a name from the “Angel Tree” at their school and the kids help me do the shopping for a child in need. I make sure they know we are spending more money on others than we are spending on them. They learn that we are very blessed materially and there are others who have much, much less. Our children receive one gift each, after all it’s not their birthday. We are celebrating Christ’s birthday. What is the best gift we can give him? To love and serve others.

Some years they buy or make gifts for each other but we don’t stress about it. Among extended family members sometimes we trade names, sometimes we don’t exchange gifts at all. We are all very far away from each other so we make sure to call and spend time talking together. Some years (my favorite!) we choose a common childhood memory and each write out version of it.

MAKING THINGS – We love gingerbread houses made out of graham crackers (because baking gingerbread is one step too many for me these days.) We cut out lots of paper snowflakes (come back on the 6th for a Christmas tutorial –  a fun variation on this theme.) Sometimes we bake. Sometimes we decorate. Often our decorating looks like this. No matter. There are more important things to fuss about and with young children about there isn’t time for perfection.

Tell me how you choose to spend this season? 

celtic star thermofax screens


Celtic Star DECO options

Large Stars = 7″ x 9″
Medium Stars = 4″ x 4.5″
Small Stars = 3″ x 3.4″


Celtic Star QUILTY options



Celtic Star WREATH options


Size Image_Only Image+Frame Print_Ready
max image size  3×4
$4.00 $6.00 $9.00
max image size  4×7
$6.00 $9.00 $12.00
max image size  7×9.5
$.8.00 $13.00 $16.00

travel: royal british columbia museum

On a recent trip to Victoria, B.C. I had the privilege of spending an afternoon in the Royal British Columbia Museum. I spent most of my time in the First Nations exhibits.

kinard_royal_bcMuseum1I have a thing for frogs.

kinard_royal_bcMuseum3To my delight, so do the First Nations of Victoria, B.C.




kinard_victoriaThe legislature building – feels very old school european

gratitude – beauty on my travels

Preset Style = Vibrant Format = 6" (Medium) Format Margin = None Format Border = Straight Drawing = #2 Pencil Drawing Weight = Medium Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = Natural Paint Lightness = Normal Paint Intensity = More Water = Tap Water Water Edges = Medium Water Bleed = Average Brush = Natural Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Narrow Paper = Watercolor Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Light Options Faces = Enhance Faces

color in the rain


wall to wall windows with rocking chairs in the Seattle airport


best seafood chowder I’ve ever had in Victoria, B.C.
(mussels, clams, salmon, prawns, shrimp)

Preset Style = Bold Format = 6" (Medium) Format Margin = None Format Border = Straight Drawing = #2 Pencil Drawing Weight = Heavy Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = High Contrast Paint Lightness = Normal Paint Intensity = More Water = Tap Water Water Edges = Blurry Water Bleed = Average Brush = Fine Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Medium Paper = Watercolor Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Medium Options Faces = Enhance Faces

Super Funky Squash to brighten a fall day

(original photographs, snapseed  & waterlogue apps)

See me on the quilt show!!!

As promised – here is a link for you to enjoy watching
The Quilt Show with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson

@ Gregory Case Photography

From November 15 through the 22nd you can watch the show and explore everything on the site for free. There are classrooms and instructional videos to take a look at (including my Bead It Like You Mean It DVD), many fabulous guests to meet on the shows, and lots and lots of beautiful quilts to peruse. Enjoy!!!!

foil for fabric

Ready to SHINE?

Five sheets of metallic foil, 5″ x 12 silver, gold, copper, purple, turquoise
1 oz jar of foil adhesive (plenty to last!)

    Foil For Fabric    

    Gray Glue for Foil    

Fast! Fun! Fabulous!

Foil can be applied to cloth any way that you apply paint: screen printed, brushed, stamped, stenciled. You are limited only by your imagination.




  • Use washed and ironed cloth
  • Any fiber is acceptable as long as it can be ironed on “hot!”
  • Foil will adhere better to smoother, tightly woven fabrics

Gray Glue

  • Glue can be applied to your cloth any way that you can apply paint
  • print with stamps, screen print (make sure to wash screens quickly as glue dries very quickly), stencil, brush
  • Printing on cloth works best if you use a padded print surface such as a piece of craft felt
  • Allow gray glue to dry completely, overnight is best for thicker applications
  • A hair dryer can speed up the drying process



  • Lay a a solid heat proof surface such as a metal cookie sheet on top of your ironing board
  • Lay your fabric, glue side up onto the metal sheet
  • Lay foil COLOR SIDE UP on top of the glue
  • Use a piece of parchment on top to protect the foil until you figure out how hot your iron is
  • Scrape firmly with the edge of your iron, cotton setting – both heat and pressure are required
  • Let the fabric cool then peel away foil
  • Move foil and repeat the process for any areas that did not transfer
  • You can use the foil over and over until the foil sheet is entirely used up
  • Foil adhered to fabric is gently machine washable

Tutorial: how to draw a Celtic knot

As promised… here is a video tutorial for how to puzzle out the celtic knots I’ve been playing with.


In the meantime…

image image image image image imageI challenge you to give it a try! If we are Facebook friends (we really should be if we aren’t already) post your results and tag me. Share the link!

international quilt festival – coming up for air

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here. There has been a lot of life happening. A LOT! On top of things at home I spent several weeks struggling to prepare to teach six classes, one lecture and two samplers at the International Quilt Festival. That’s a lot of kits to prepare, samples to make, merchandise to ship, and plans to make.thumb_IMG_7985_1024I have a million pictures I can share – and hope to find time to do so. But first I have to show you my pieces in the exhibits. It was SUCH an honor to have quilts included in this venue. The best of the best are here. Above you can see my piece in Affinity. The quality of this exhibit is truly breathtaking. More later.thumb_IMG_8119_1024These are my two entries in the “painted surface” category. The portrait was originally entered in the “people” category but the show moved it. Who knows why? I suppose it IS painted.

my work on the cover!!!

I’m a cover girl!!!!!

Can you tell I’m a little giddy with excitement?
My work has been published in many books and magazines but has never made it to the cover.

affinity 2015  The exhibition that this book catalogs

by the Dinner at Eight Artists

will open at the end of next week
October 24 – November 1st in Houston TexasEssence_full_webat the 
International Quilt Festival and Market

The catalog is available for $15.00 on Amazon 

travel: paris street fashion


skinny checked pants, jacket, bare ankles on the one hand, casual attire on the other. But always well groomed.

I’m taking a few minutes here and there to go back through my pictures of the trip I took this spring to Paris and Greece. It’s a fun way to bring back memories. My daughter Avia and I would sit at a street cafe and I, at least, loved to watch people walk by. We were in a lot of tourist areas and I thought for sure I’d see a stark difference between the well dressed french and the scruffy americans but that wasn’t the case. I’d mark someone in tennis shoes and a baseball cap as a tourist and then hear them speak the fluid native tongue. Although, men in checked pants, bare ankles, and a suit jacket were always very French. And if there was facial hair it was pretty much always impeccably groomed.


A dapper man, straight from the 40’s?

I have a question. Do you obsess about what to wear when you travel, especially abroad? Not like I have vast experience with traveling abroad. I’ve always loved clothes and also LOVE to travel as light as possible. And I’ve alway read about how the French are impeccably dressed and groomed. So I spent ages of brain time figuring out what to wear.


I saw more red and pink pants on men, and “man-purses”! I loved that French men loved color.


Shorts and sportcoats. It was a thing.

I was in a border town for half a day many many years ago when I traveled around Germany on my own right after college. I think it was Strasbourg? The town literally straddled the border so half was French and half was German. I distinctly remember that on the german side the people were rather un-groomed and often slightly unwashed but the environment was impeccable. Buildings, windows, streets – all scrubbed clean and a box full of flowers in every window.


Tux Shorts? Not sure that should be a thing.

Just over the border on the French side the environment was positively grungy with dirty buildings, cigarette butts everywhere on the ground – and dog poop. But the people looked like they all had stepped out of a fashion magazine, and they smelled like perfume. No practical shoes anywhere. 


Long white beard, one glove, very pointy shoes, leather jacket and top hat. Unique even for Paris.

Funny but I didn’t notice the women being any different from American women in any large city on this trip. The men were definitely better groomed and seemed more free to wear color. I like the groomed look – guess I’m not a fan of the current american shaggy beard look.

Do you think he was a stay-at-home dad or just on his way home from work and waiting to meet his wife at the park? Nice shoes!

Do you think he was a stay-at-home dad or just on his way home from work and waiting to meet his wife at the park? Nice shoes!

The picture that got away? A picture of a very well dressed couple walking down the street holding hands. Very upscale business casual. She was in a very nice spring dress and heels with a fancy handbag and jewelry. He was in a button down, tie, dress shoes and socks…. and a straight denim miniskirt.

Again – I love places where people freely where whatever they darn well please! 

student work: once in a blue moon

Susan Brubaker Knap and I taught for three days at our Once in a Blue Moon retreat. Each student had a day and a half with one of us then switched. Susan taught photo realistic painting techniques and I taught abstract design principles. Opposite ends of the spectrum. These abstract designs might appear to be quite simple and perhaps they are. But each is completely unique, a new and hard-won idea. I think many of the students progressed far on their journey towards original design and abstract thought. Each worked hard to learn and understand the underlying principles of the visual language.

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Once In A Blue Moon

I love the mountains and stately old buildings nestled in their quiet spaces.OIABM1rMost students stayed in the lodge, rather than this place up the hill. It turned out to be perfect as they were just down the hall from their classrooms.

I love quilters and artists and brave souls who try new things.FullSizeRender-10Because of the rain we opted for indoor activities such as this blind contour drawing exercise. Snug and warm in comfy chairs instead of hiking out in the wet.

I love autumn colors.leaf


I love the fabulous work shared by so many fabulous ladies at our show-off evening!FullSizeRender-6





THANK YOU to all of the wonderful women who shared a few days with Susan Brubaker Knapp and I at last week’s Once In A Blue Moon retreat!

Tomorrow I’m going to show off student work from our Abstract-A-Licious workshop.

new work: names and choices

I finished up this little piece – sort of – while at the Lake Norman Quilt Show.IMG_6221

A little play time and I added some beaded wings – but I can’t decide if I want to keep them.

What do you think?IMG_6220

And do you have any suggestions for a title?

lake norman quilt show (and having a cohesive voice)

Earlier this summer I was the featured artist at the Lake Norman Quilt Show.  I was stationed right at the main entrance and got to chat with many delightful visitors.IMG_6195

It was a delightful weekend. Most of the visitors seemed to be unfamiliar with the art side of quilting so I had a great time exposing them to something new

I re-learned something I already knew. If I ever want to have a solo show I need to start working in a series. I like all the different kinds of work I’ve made, and each looks like MY work…. but. It lacks cohesionIMG_6206

Having hung numerous juried exhibits I know how important having a cohesive visual whole is to the success of any exhibit. That Oooooh! factor when people walk in and see a beautifully curated group of art is worth the effort. The combined effect of the parts becomes greater than each of the pieces could be on their own.IMG_6204

I have, in fact, been invited to be part of a five person show at a museum next year (more information on that later). Imagine a wall full of portraits – looking at each other. Or a colorful series of variations on the XOX kisses and hugs theme. 


I have so many directions to choose from – that’s the hardest part. Which cartoon was it where the character stood there saying “Which way should I go? Which way should I go?”

sketching faces

It’s been a long time since I’ve sketched, but I downloaded Pam Carriker’s new book Mixed Media Portraits before a recent trip and got a little bit inspired.


IMG_6225 IMG_6226 IMG_6227

Student Spotlight: valley quiltmakers

I’m the luckiest person alive – to have a career where I get to travel and play with quilters.IMG_6895Last week I was in southern California with several guilds and enjoyed their heat wave and humidity – which to me felt lovely and dry.IMG_6893The Valley Quiltmakers and I worked with a reverse appliqué technique I call Apli-Punto.IMG_6891Beautiful and complex designs – made easy.IMG_6889Even students who really weren’t sure appliqué was a technique they wanted to explore came away with something wonderful.IMG_6894And what fun – playing with beautiful colors and shapes!

travel: paris – doors




The Association of Parisian Grocers.
At least when the building was constructed, who knows who is there now?Pars_doors_16

This is a gorgeous door and set from the Musee du Orsay.

a little bit of art

Sigh. The first week of school happened last week. I’m up at 5:30 every day and it’s amazing how much I’m getting done in those first several hours of the day. Back to my yoga classes, and back to…. the studio.


These sweet little 4×6 postcards should have been done three weeks ago and really it should only have taken me a day and a half to print the cloth and sew them up.


But I haven’t had a day and a half – or even a few hours – all summer long. Having the kids back in school is bliss.


These were made as a sweet “thank you” to the featured artists who shared their work with me for The Quilt Show with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson. Go take a peek at their art (and the work of other fine artists who participated in the exercise) in the Reality Warps on-line exhibition.

artist spotlight: gavin aung than

I browse the web on occasion… usually following links from here to there that I’ve seen on Pinterest of Facebook. (There hasn’t been time for that for the past few months.) Every once in a while a gem comes through that is worth watching. 
Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 2.30.42 PMIt’s a website where inspirational quotes from famous people are adapted into cartoons. The artist, Gavin Aung Than, is a cartoonist based in Melbourne, Australia. After working in the corporate graphic design industry for 8 years he quit his unfulfilling job at the end of 2011 to focus on his true passion, drawing cartoons. Gavin launched Zen Pencils at the start of 2012, a cartoon blog which adapts inspirational quotes into comic stories, and hasn’t looked back since.


I seriously love his work.


My kidlets fight over who gets the tear-out poster from his first book. 24x36_500px_largeI just bought a second copy of it so that I could cut out some of the illustrated quotes and tape them to their walls. You can find his posters here.PHOTO_590

He just announced the availability of his second book, Zen Pencils-Volume Two: Dream the Impossible Dream.  I’ve already pre-ordered my two copies. 

It will include my favorite illustration of a quote from Amelia Earheart: The fears are paper tigers. Than’s illustration brings it to life in a way that captured my heart and my mind! C’mon – go look at it now. Then support an artist who is making the world a better place by buying his book. 🙂 You’ll be glad you did!

travel: paris – doors and windows

Sometimes even the simplest door would have a beautiful detail in Paris.Paris_doors_20
And sometimes there was so much detail that I needed to narrow my focus in order to enjoy it.Pars_doors_14

Can you imagine living in a place where a door as beautiful of this almost looks ordinary?Paris_doors_19

Paris_doors_21And this might be your view?

paris_doors_25Or this?

paris_doors_26Or this?

travels: paris, the louvre and funny faces

Another thing that caught my eye and became a wonderfully fun treasure hunt was funny faces. I had one of those halt in my tracks, turn back and try to keep myself from squealing moments when I chanced upon a set of Archimboldo paintings. Delighting in the wackiness of these portraits sent me off in another direction – finding funny faces. I wasn’t ignoring women here – there just weren’t any women making funny faces in the wings I wandered.FullSizeRender-1

Do me a favor – come up with some hilarious captions for these and I’ll add them to the post.


Cinq maitres de la Renaissance florentine


Autoportrait avec un ami (Self portrait with a friend by Raffaello Santi, de Raphael)


Portrait de deux jeunes hommes (portrait of two young men by anonymous vénitien painter)

“If you pretend you don’t smell anything, they won’t know it was you.”


La Seance de portrait (the portrait session by Gaspare Traversi)


David vainqueur de Goliath (David vanquishes Goliath by Guido Reni)

“Yep. All in a day’s work.”


Portrait d’un graveur en pierres fines (Portrait of a fine stone engraver by Jacopo Carrucci)

“Wait, who took the last cookie!”


Self Portrait by Jacques-Louis David

“The original duck-lip selfie!”

travels: paris, the louvre and strong women

When there is so much to see, in such a short amount of time, it sometimes helps if you have limited parameters. Instead of trying to see everything – choose one or two things to concentrate on. louvre-women2I didn’t have any particular parameters in mind when I began our peripatetic perusal, but after this powerful woman on a plinth caught my eye. I decided to see how many paintings I could find with powerful women as the main subject. louvre-women5Not Madonna’s – although I think of them as very strong. There were just too many of them. And clothed would be nice. Have you ever stopped to consider the ratio of naked women to men in art museums? Hmmmm.louvre-women3Most all of the paintings with women as the main subject were allegorical in the galleries we visited. No idea what collections we visited. I also don’t remember seeing a lot of “women as sexual objects”. Either I missed those ones or they came later in the art world. I hopped over to the wiki site for the Louvre and of course I missed a great number of works that feature women… some in the “sexual object” category. I also missed Michelangelo’s Dying Slaves. (I think I would have actually fought the crowd to see that one!)

louvre-women1Still, most of what I saw was woman as saint or goddess, or symbol or something otherworldly. I would have loved to see a few Vermeers. Have you seen the film Tim’s Vermeer yet? I recommend it. It is an entertaining and educational hypothesis about an optical device Tim believes Vermeer used to paint his works.louvre-women4Interesting that the only portrait of a real (non-allegorical) woman I saw was painted by a female artist. Elizabeth Lebrun was born in Paris to a portraitist father and by the time she was 16 was painting portraits professionally herself. Click here to go to the wiki page about her. She was a very interesting woman. I don’t remember her being mentioned in my art history class. I wonder how many other interesting women weren’t mentioned in my art history classes? Did you know that 

travels: paris, the louvre – odd bits here and there

Once you start walking through the Louvre you realize how overwhelming such a collection can be. Almost any work here could be a national treasure on it’s own, to be gazed at and appreciated for hours in any smaller museum. But here at the Louvre, when there are hundreds and hundreds of treasures, you start just glancing here and there until something catches your eye. Avia quickly found works that she had recently studied in her art history course.FullSizeRender-29I quickly forgot that this place used to be the palace for the French Royalty. Until I was reminded by a room like this….


louvre-statue-egyptian-romanHubby and I were talking the other night and I was telling him a little more about the trip. I kind of feel like, “Paris – Check! Greece – honey you’ve GOT to see this!”

That might only be because he loves sun and beaches. Museums – not so much. Because who doesn’t want to travel across the world to see some hellenistic dude dressing up like Pharaoh? Right?

But then we started thinking of all sorts of crazy fun ideas like, “Let’s go spend a season in Paris. You go to Le Cordon Bleu for cooking school, I’ll go see and make art every day.”

louvre-paintingThat idea takes Paris right back into the “when can we go!” category. Sigh. The answer to that question is most likely – after the kids are grown. We have a ways to go there.

Can you imagine being in Paris during the off season, heading off to the Louvre (or any one of the other amazing museums) without the crowds, and tucking yourself in a corner to just really learn from one of your favorites?

louvre-statues4And without the crowds maybe you could laugh out loud when you see these guys contemplating…..


It took some hunting but Avia found a piece she had written an essay on last semester. How cool is that!? To see it in real life? In all it’s hugeness? Very cool. 
louvre-avia1Although by the end of the day all you want to do is snap a quick picture to prove you were there and then find somewhere to sit down. It’s all good – a day well spent.

travels: paris, overwhelmed at the Louvre

Once I tore myself away from the stone tablets in the Islamic wing of the Louvre, Avia led the way to one piece she wanted to revisit.FullSizeRender-15

The Winged Victory of Samothrace is, for all it’s incompleteness, is one of the most graceful and beautiful sculptures I’ve ever seen. I wonder if I would have such a visceral reaction to the flowing lines and the feeling of movement and grace if she did have a face?FullSizeRender-13

And I wonder if she is yet another national treasure, spirited away during the Turkish occupation of Greece to a foreign land. Anybody know? She was excavated by the French consul and amateur archaeologist Charles Champoiseau, in 1863 who sent her right away to Paris. Her setting here is certainly magnificent!

I can’t help but think though, if this beauty, and so many of the other magnificent sculptures from ancient Greece were still IN Greece, FullSizeRender-14would there be crowds like this there?


The next thing I really remember is turning a corner and gasping for breath thinking – it’s SO beautiful as I looked at a painting/fresco. Then I did the inner gasp thing again, thinking to myself, is this a Botticelli!?FullSizeRender-25

Looked down at the title card and sure enough, there is the name. Coming face to face with favorite works from several college art history classes many many many years ago can be disarming. There truly is no way to capture the essence of a work, especially a large scale work, in the pages of a book. The figures in this fresco were almost life size if I’m remembering correctly.FullSizeRender-25

Then there are works that might make as much of an impact in a book, because they are tiny in real life. And – who wants to fight that crowd to get a glimpse? That was shoulder to shoulder, push your way through. Not my favorite way to see art.IMG_4969 So technically I DID see the Mona Lisa. But no, I didn’t think it was worth it to fight the crowd.


travels: paris, the louvre in stone

Everything inside the Louvre is a treasure. The most overlooked artifact there would be a centerpiece of any smaller museum.IMG_4976-1Statues from ancient Greece and Rome..IMG_4975A mosaic on the floor that most people rush by on their way to see that one paintingIMG_4984-1This was Avia’s second time in the Louvre but I think she had mostly spent her time in the Islamic wing. She humored me for a quick trip through where I was inexplicably drawn past exquisite mosaics and tapestries and entranced by stone after stone.IMG_4983

With her French study abroad program she had spent several weeks in Paris studying immigrants in France as well as several weeks in Morocco studying French Colonialism’s effect on North Africa. They had spent weeks analyzing and picking apart cultural biases and interactions.FullSizeRender-5I think it was something of a lightening of spirit to be able to just go and enjoy the beauty of the artifacts.FullSizeRenderHave you ever seen a more beautiful script?FullSizeRenderIf I can find translations somewhere (anyone able to help me search them out?) these might end up as thermofax screens. I wouldn’t want to be disrespectful if they are religious texts. FullSizeRenderI’m hoping for grocery lists or epitaphs. What do you think they are? The pictures are quite heavily digitally edited so that I can see the scripts more clearly. Here is an original for comparison.IMG_4982

travels: paris, entering the louvre

FullSizeRenderIt’s a BIG place. All the exterior pictures I’ve ever seen of the Louvre picture I.M. Pei’s pyramid in the courtyard. I think we might have come in through the back entrance of what was once the Royal Palace. Do you ever wonder what today’s American equivalent of royalty is? We certainly don’t revere our politicians. TV and Movie stars perhaps. Perhaps professional athletes (mostly in Football and Basketball.) I don’t watch TV or sports (no time) so I wouldn’t really know but I get the feeling those people are as spoiled and behave as badly as did the French Royalty. I can imagine what the palace must have been like as one giant stage for the nobles to be seen upon. And don’t ask me how I ended up with a chinese map – is it chinese?Louvre_exterior1I think we must have come in the back door. The big empty dirt yard was a little underwhelming. But the building itself went on forever.Louvre_exterior2In through the first arcade… It was interesting to see all the details, wondering when the lamps were added then thinking, what did they use before lamps and what did that look like?Louvre_exterior3Old and new always butt up against each other. Did they even bother to repair or scrub the buildings before they had cranes? I was thinking that we were in great luck and that the tourists had all decided to stay home that day. Honestly – this place is huge. You can just glimpse I. M. Pei’s glass pyramid through the next arcade. We definitely came in the back door. Every picture I’ve seen of the place showed the pyramid from the other side.Louvre_exterior5I’m not sure if the ugly red box is semi-permanent or not. It might house ticketing booths. I know the other side of that glass holds enormous lines of people from all over the world. Which could be really annoying.Louvre_exterior6Or, if you have the right shoes and the right attitude it could be really fun. The people were honestly as interesting as the art.Louvre_exterior8 Just listening and trying to identify how many languages you can hear at a place like this is an adventure worth taking.Louvre_exterior9With the Paris Museum Pass you can skip the ticket line, but not the security lines. Fortunately those go pretty quickly. Louvre_exterior10And really, it’s worth the wait. Stay tuned for the ART!

travels: paris – on the way to the louvre

Or in this case – on the way to the Louvre. I’ve just decided that I need to print up maps and mark all the places we wandered. I’ve already forgotten a lot of them… or at least where they were on the map. Of course – if you keep your eyes open – many of the most delightful discoveries are on the way to your destination. Or when you are lost.


paris_pass1paris_pass2I’m not sure if we walked all the way to the Louvre or if we took the Metro. Avia had a pass and we decided that for the time I was there a bundle of 10 tickets was the least expensive option. It was much nicer to just be able to decide on the spur of the moment to hop a train rather than needing to stop and purchase tickets for each part of our last minute journey.

Paris is more than a world class city when it comes to art. It’s paradise! Bring your shoes. And if you go, I recommend the Paris Museum Pass. You can purchase it at varying costs for however many days you will be there. It gave us the freedom and flexibility to pop in and out of some of the smaller places that we would not have wanted to pay for. It also lets you skip a lot of the lines – which is a THING in and of itself.

But seriously, take your time and look around during the journey instead of focusing entirely on the destination. Everywhere you look there is something really interesting to see. Who built this? What is it? I really want to see what it looks like in there! Don’t you love the asymmetrical awning?
I wonder if this is a shop or factory? Or is it both? I have never had a desire for name brand stuff and couldn’t spot a Louis Vuitton anything if my life depended on it, but it’s a very lovely building.FullSizeRender-18And this…. I don’t even know what it is or what it says but don’t you wish they made details on buildings like this these days? And finally – we arrive at the Louvre – but are completely distracted by what is across the street. We both love exploring cathedrals. There seems to be one every few blocks in Paris, an embarrassment of architectural riches to be sure. We chose to hit these on our way back – although I don’t remember if we actually ever did.FullSizeRender-23

travel: paris – doors and details

Pars_doors_08How many years does it take for a patina to be created then worn away?

Pars_doors_12This building was somewhere on the way to the Musee’ du Orsay.Pars_doors_013New and old mix everywhere in Paris.
I couldn’t figure out if this was a very exclusive shop or residence.
It’s possible it was both.

Pars_doors_06I tried opening it, but my parseltongue is a bit rusty.

Travels: Paris street art

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travels: paris, the food!

Paris sweets tend to focus their variety on pastries, the cake like specialty cookies that I can’t remember the name of (confiseries – I had to look it up), and of course macarons. All of them are spectacularly beautiful and artistically presented – but I didn’t see a lot of other options either in the tourist areas or the neighborhoods we explored. Every once in a while there was a surprise. See those three chocolate truffles? Served with home made real whipped creme. At the equivalent of a fast food bagel shop!!!! When I ordered it I thought I was just getting one truffle for desert. What a lovely surprise. paris_food15

Then there are the meringues. No pretty ribbed little drops. The meringues are simply big, blobby blobs of sugar, light as air and crispy. They are usually displayed in a bowl on top of the counter. Often they are dusted with cocoa. They were the only sweet that was sweet like Americans like sweet. Which is to say – ridiculously sweet. I saw a couple of them that were the size of a flattened football. They crumble and fall apart when you bite into them so I’m not sure how one would share such a monster.paris_food12This beauty was obviously an exception. Here is Avia in the lovely apartment we rented through AirBnB for the week. (It was wonderful and ideally located by the way!) She had been eyeing this thing for a couple of weeks and neither one of us were quite sure what it was. We knew it was chocolate on the outside so how could one go wrong?paris_food14Other than making a royal mess on the table, the process of discovery was a delight. A meringue coated in a light chocolate whipped cream, dipped in chocolate crackle stuff. Impossible to eat politely and absolutely delicious!

So – I’ve cultivated a love of surprises when it comes to food. I know so many people who only like the same things to eat (one of them lives in my house but I hope he’ll grow out of it.) I suppose if your tummy tends to rebel it would make it hard to like surprises but I think exploring with all my senses is half the adventure of travel! What have been your best (or worst) food surprises when you’ve traveled?

Whimsical Inspirations by Jamie Fingal

There are times you just need to stop. To relax. To breathe. 


The times I get to actually REST are few and far between for me. Besides the things you see here on this blog I have children at home and other very heavy responsibilities that weigh on my mind all the time.


Sometimes I need something to take my mind off of things and when my good friend Jamie Fingal published this sweet coloring book for grown ups I ordered one immediately. Of course it took me weeks to find a moment to sit down and just empty my mind and blissfully play with color. The designs are so detailed that it takes just enough concentration to let me forget everything else.


When I had surgery and was out of commission for weeks a couple of years ago, a dear, sweet friend brought over a brand new set of colored pencils and a Dover coloring book. It was perfect. No pressure. Just mindlessly playing with color. Jamie’s coloring book is even better. Detailed patterns that delight me every time I open the book. Too much for a small child but plenty perfect for the child in me.


Interested in seeing more? This week more of Jamie’s friends will be sharing what they have done with some of the other coloring pages. I’m looking forward to seeing them myself.

IMG_1227Tuesday, August 4 – Leslie / Watercolors or Markers – Coffee Cups
Wednesday, August 5 – Desiree / Ink Tense Pencils – Trailers
Thursday, August 6 – Deborah / watercolors – Houses
Friday, August 7 – Susan / watercolors – Flowers on Page 3
Saturday, August 8 – Sue / colored pencils – Dresses

Leave a comment on any of the blog posts. Jamie will be giving away coloring books to two random commenters. (U.S. entries only please – make sure you leave a way of her to get in touch with you!) Why don’t you tell me what it is YOU do when you need to meditate – to chill. Do you color?

Even better – pop over to Jamie’s blog and order your own coloring book and spend some quiet hours meditating with color. Come on…. you know you want to! The order button is right there in to right hand column on her blog. Totally worth it!

travel: paris – le petit musée du chocolat

When you have your eyes open and aren’t glued to a map, or in a hurry to get somewhere, or if you get lost, you find amazing things. IMG_4718

This is straight down the hill from Sacre Ceaur, a big Basilica on a hill in Paris. Two of my favorite things. Chocolate and a Museum. I had read about this place in a guidebook or on a blog somewhere but it wasn’t high enough on the list to seek out. Running into it in passing was a very delightful accident.


This is just the shop. Crystal chandeliers (and a guy on a ladder polishing them by hand.) And loads and loads of chocolate. 


We didn’t go downstairs through the museum. It was our last day on our trip and we were winding down. Didn’t want to pay the fee. And – there was enough amazing stuff upstairs to keep us happy for a quick run through. I have a brother who drives a mini, and builds model ships. Guess who this picture made me think of.




Just so you can compare and see how amazing the detail on this sculpture really was…



This, of course, was my very favorite. I don’t like scary (no horror films for me!) but I do love things a little weird sometimes and gargoyles are just… cool. Especially when made of chocolate!


Yes, we bought chocolate. It was good. We brought some home for family. I am very pleased to say that I live in an area of the country where I can find food, and chocolate, just as good as I found in Paris. Rarely as beautifully presented – but not everyplace can be Paris!

travels: paris, the food – it’s all about the presentation

I think the Parisiens are very keyed into the visual language of beauty. They like to dress beautifully, trim their trees into (ridiculous) rectangles so the beautiful view is unobstructed, and every pastry shop was like an art gallery.

Honestly – look at that display! Everything is just so …. Beautiful!paris_food05

I wonder if they like to just loooooook at all the beautiful food? To many Americans, desensitized by the presence of sweeteners in practically everything we put into our mouths, the taste doesn’t quite live up to the visual. The pastries just aren’t as sweet as American pastries. That’s probably not a bad thing. Oh, and they don’t skimp on butter – ever. I think that when you aren’t constantly eating sugar, and live in a country where the default is walking rather than hopping in a car to get anywhere – that you can eat butter!paris_food01

This lunch was arranged as beautifully on the plate as the pastries in the shop. And here is another wonderfully interesting thing about Paris. See the chairs in the cafe across the street? They are all facing the street. That was more the norm than were we were sitting. I think the people watching is as much part of the experience as the food. I loved it. Except for the fact that smoking is far more accepted there. During this particular meal a guy sitting nearby kept blowing huge puffs of a super stinky cigar our way. 
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This was a chain store – we saw the same place in several touristy areas of town. But still….paris_food16

Pressed tin ceiling, perfectly stacked cookies (what do you call al little cake biscuit thing?) and everything color coordinated.paris_food17

Even the fish market was artfully arranged. It’s all about beauty. Or at least, they care enough to dress even every day things with beautiful arrangements.paris_food06

travels: paris – the food!

One of our favorite things in Paris was to hunt down any sort of treat that was recommended to us. We were told of a great gelato (ice cream) shop in Isle de la Cite’. We found a place, bought a really expensive tiny scoop – and were not really impressed. paris_food19

Walking back along the tiny cobblestone road we found another place, with almost the same name, with a line of loud and rowdy American teenagers (and their loud and rowdy chaperones) and decided we definitely had room for another cone. Avia tried the Poire (pear) and it was truly delicious. Don’t remember what flavor I had. I do remember that we ended up trying Pear flavored gelato whenever we found it on the rest of the trip. This place was definitely better than the first! We ate this cone on the banks of the Seine river at sunset – before racing through the city to catch the twinkling of the Eiffel tower.


Another favorite, simply for the style, was the shop that turned each cone into a flower. This might be raspberry, basil-lime, and coconut. 


Another night we were thinking we couldn’t be in Paris and not visit a Fromagerie. (cheese!) This required a little more advanced planning as they keep French hours and close at lunch and in the evening. We were told this was THE best place and that we must try a desert cheese called Fontainebleau. (wow – I just googled the name of the cheese to make sure I was spelling it right and the Barthelemy Fromagerie came up on the list first thing!


It was great for a very light late dinner of baguette and fresh strawberries. It was sort of like a very, very light whipped ricotta – and my sincerest apologies to cheese experts. To us uneducated (in the world of cheese) Americans that is the closest I could come. Just the tiniest bit sweet – a perfect match to the tartness of the berry.


Another day we traveled to Maison Pradier to try what we were told were the BEST eclairs. The fun thing about traveling outside the tourist zones is that in Paris, there are no boring strip malls and monotonous suburbs. Every place is an adventure. This place was around the corner from Deroylle… scroll down if you missed this cabinet of curiosities. Every part of the trip was an adventure. I highly recommend that when you travel you TRY NEW THINGS!!!! Sure you can stop by a McDonalds almost anywhere in the world – (URG!) but why would you spend the big bucks to go someplace completely different and do something you can do every day at home. (again – URG!)

Of course, there really is no way to go wrong with the sweets in Paris. Have you been there? What was your favorite?

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