House of Quilts Visited

On my recent travels to Nashville, TN, I found a very nice shop called House of Quilts in Shepherdsville, KY. You can look at their website by clicking HERE.

I saw a large sign on the side of the highway as we neared Shepherdsville and decided to stop. 

It is a lovely shop selling items designed by Donna Sharp.  I found fabrics, bags, jewelry, bedding, tech accessories and more. I met Kathy who was getting the store organized. She is a very enthusiastic person. 

I had not heard of Donna Sharp and her fabrics. I must say they are very nice. The photo below shows the two pieces I purchased to make a cosmetic bag. I also bought two coin purses for friends I was visiting and received the tote bag to carry them home in.

Kathy gave me permission to snap some photos to let you see the store and some of the items. So here is the tour:

In the Discounted Area, which Kathy called the Bargain Cave, there were some wonderful finds of which I have only a few shown: 

Whether in the store or in the discounted area, the prices were very good and the products of great quality. 

I was told that there will be a Warehouse Sale down the road in the first part of May.

I look forward to returning some day soon. Kathy told us about nearby Bernheim Arboretum & Forest. The hiking trails are of interest to me as well as the Arboretum.

Perhaps some day, you will be able to visit this area and the store.


Art and the Heart

“In art,
the hand can never execute anything higher
than the heart can imagine.” 
Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Inspire Your Heart with Art Day

I did not know this national day existed. Although the day has come and gone for 2015, Patience Brewster contacted a select group of bloggers, including me, asking us to share ways in which we celebrate and enjoy art--inspiring our hearts throughout the year! She wants us to tell the positive impact art has on us and how we incorporate art into our daily lives.

I had to investigate this special day. National Day Calendar verified that, indeed, there is such a day. The website it says,
“Inspire Your Heart with Art Day is a day to ponder how art effects your heart. Art is valued and appreciated for all sorts of reasons. This Day’s title does suggest that you inspire “your” heart; however, you may also use it to inspire another person’s heart.
You may choose to admire a beautiful masterpiece, go to a special concert, dance, paint, take photographs, create a sculpture, visit a museum or any of the thousands of forms of art.  Whichever you choose, enjoy this day and pass it on.”

An article from Examiner.com tells the reader,
While the origins of this annual "holiday" are unknown, Inspire Your Heart with Art Day celebrates art of all shapes, sizes and varieties. Whether it's a trip to a local museum, watching or acting in a play at the local theater or tapping your toes to a rockin' concert, today celebrates creativity with an artistic flair as well as the positive effect it has on our lives. Art inspires us to get creative and appreciate all different forms of art.”

Art can and should inspire us every day. I know that doing something artistic (or as I call it: creative) is satisfying to me and relaxes me. At times I get lost in what I am doing, which usually isn't a bad thing. As Pablo Picasso said, "Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." Which is probably why I feel so much better after having spent even a small amount of time on some creative project. 

As a child I enjoyed making things. My parents fostered creativity as much as they did academics. My mother taught me cross-stitch, how to sew clothes, paper crafts, baking (yes, culinary arts inspire the heart), and the love of music and performing. My father enjoyed photography and was a talented woodworker who showed me how to make all kinds of wooden things. I gained an appreciation of various woods that is with me today. He also hooked me on rock collecting! 

Every child is an artist. 
The problem is how to remain an artist 
once he grows up.” 
Pablo Picasso 

Watercolor 1973
I took 3 art classes in the final years of high school. I gained the confidence in making art that I had lost in my early teens. In college I lost the confidence again with Art 101. Luckily for me I had to take Industrial Education for the Elementary Teacher. Woodworking was like riding a bike. I ended up taking an extra semester of Industrial Ed. classes for certification. 

It took me a while as an adult to realize that I was able to make things and they did not have to look like the patterns. That is what I enjoy today--making what I envision in my mind. And that process sometimes involves throwing out many of the attempts.

6" clam shell jewelry box with lid 1986

Heart shelves and quilt hanger made of wood

One Stroke Painting Technique 1999

So what are my creative projects? How do I inspire my heart each day? 

I enjoy looking for ideas for things to make or try to make. I find inspiration from magazines, the internet, blogs, Pinterest, library books, television shows, DVDs, craft sales, and the local Art Council exhibits as well as. Sometimes I replicate, then I change and alter what I have seen. This helps me to grasp how a piece was constructed. From there I try to modify in my own way to make something different that I feel is mine. Paul Gauguin said, "Art is either plagiarism or revolution." I like to think of it as imitation or evolution.

Quilting is my favorite form of art. I try to sew every day. I have a bit of a messy sewing area, but I have 2 or 3 things going at once. I like to sew my quilt tops by machine and find it much more relaxing than sewing clothes. I do some handwork while I am listening to the television at night. I enjoy designing quilts using the Electric Quilt program. I find that getting together with my quilting friends is good for my heart, too. We share ideas, fabrics, magazines and books. We work on common projects. I take classes whenever I can. We take trips to visit quilt stores I have not been to. 

I garden in the summer. I think that is artistic. Choosing colors of flowers and laying out the garden area is creative. 

I enjoy going to museums, local theater performances, concerts and the ballet. 

I make decorations for the house and greeting cards to fit the seasons. I gift some of my quilted items to others. I enjoy teaching young and old to make some of the crafts I have created. I have donated scrappy quilts to various causes and organizations. I have written some patterns that are sold through two vendors.

The impact of art in my life has been in making many friends, traveling to many states, gaining confidence, allowing me to relax more, learning about business, and having added beauty to my life and home and hopefully those of others, too.

I thank you for taking the time to read about my art. Share with me and the readers how you inspire your heart with art each day. Leave a comment; I will get back to you. 


Kitchen Projects

I finished sewing the items I am giving to my brother and sister-in-law.

A tabletopper made from a linen tablecloth my mother had. I am sure it was from the 1950s. I was able to cut 4 of the center pictures so I can make some others. But this one goes to my brother. (The grey is my floor left from cropping.)

I made the Michigan potholders (blurry photo). He lives out of state, so I am sure he will like these. 


Four in Art Reveal

This year each member of the Four in Art Quilting Group will be interpreting the theme of LITERATURE in their 4 works. We have worked with a 12" x 12" square quilt limit in the past challenges and I am continuing with that this year. (The other reveals are scheduled for May 1, August 1 and November 1.)

My focus for the theme is Children's Literature. I will donate my Literature quilts to my local library for permanent display.

My series begins with children's books as the building blocks of reading. 

From my elementary school teaching experiences of more than 26 years and reading to my own daughters, I had an extensive list of books (as well a quite a collection!) to picked from in developing this first piece. I think this small quilt will bring the child (and parents) into the quilt and thus its message.

Around or at the reading table -- that is one place children experience books. The center of my quilt is the "wood" table. One of the first books my daughters enjoyed listening to and "reading" was Pat the Bunny  by  Dorothy Kunhardt. That is the first block sewn to the table. I built the COURTHOUSE STEPS around the table to indicate the steps of reading, climbing the ladder, and moving down the steps to begin the wonderful journey that reading can provide. 

My goal was to use a variety of techniques to put words on the fabric. I took a class with Susan Purney-Mark a few years ago where we explored various media to add LETTERS to our quilted pieces.

These are the marking tools I used in the process: 
  • Pat the Bunny was printed directly to fabric using my computer printer. I taped the edges of the fabric to paper to feed it into the printer. 
  • The Bic Mark-It ultra fine points were used to print Little Bear (by Else Holmelund Minarik) and Planting a Rainbow (by  Lois Ehlert). I found they bled a bit too much for my liking.
  • I found the Pentel ENERGEL pens to be the best to write on fabric. They were used to write Today is Monday (traditional words illustrated by Eric Carle), Harold and the Purple Crayon (by Crockett Johnson) and outlining the letters of The Foot Book (by Dr. Seuss).
  • The letters for The Foot Book  were painted with Jacquard Textile (Color 111 Sky Blue).
  • Plaid latex Craft Paint (20586 Canary Yellow) was used straight from the bottle for Corduroy (by Don Freeman) and Goodnight Moon (by Margaret Wise Brown). 
  • It was a bit difficult using the paints with the thin brush. The fabric fibers were rough enough to stop an even spread of paint.
  • A medium black Jimnie Gel Rollerball by Zebra worked nicely for Winnie the Pooh (by A. A Milne). I did like the way this wrote on the fabric.
  • The Velveteen Rabbit (by Margery Williams) was written with a medium Zebra Z-Grip pen I found in my pen basket. I liked the way it rolled on the fabric. 
  • Strega Nona (by Tomie dePaola) was written with a black ZIG Chisel tip and the gold dots were made with a Krylon 18kt Gold Leafing Pen. This was cool to use and would be interesting to use on a larger area in a quilted project. 
  • The Magic Fish (by Freya Littledale) was painted using a mixture of Liquitex Soft Body Cadmium Red Light and Cadmium Yellow Deep to try to make a goldfish color. Unfortunately, I had added a bit of Folk Art Extreme Glitter for a shimmer (which did not occur) and it made the Liquitex stiffer and plastic-y.  

I was not sure I liked the appearance of the piece when it was only a block. But after layering and quilting in the ditch, it began growing on me. The binding is simply the backing brought around to the front, held down for stitching using 1/4" water soluble basting tape--the best "third hand" I can ask for when working with hemming! Adding this binding, I thought, finished it off very nicely. 

Let me and the other readers know what  book you remember reading at a young age or reading to a child. Or if you have you ever incorporated words or letters into a quilted piece and how you did that.

Thank you for visiting. Be sure to look at the other members' pieces at their sites below to view their works:

Betty at a Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com
Catherine  at Knotted Cotton
Elizabeth at OPQuilt.com 
Jennifer at Secondhand Dinosaur 
Nancy at  Patchwork Breeze (You are here.)
Rachel at The Life of Riley
Simone at Quiltalicious
Susan at PatchworknPlay