Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Butterflies! They are the most beautiful and fragile of creatures.  A couple of summers ago, I raised Monarchs on my back deck.  I don't know which experience was more awe inspiring; seeing the caterpillar go into chrysalis or emerge as the butterfly.  Some native American tribes call butterflies the secret keepers.  In honor of the butterfly and their ability to keep secrets, I have created the Butterfly Box and Mini Album.

This altered cigar box measures 7"x7"x 2.5".  It's interior is lined with velvet and the box's exterior is covered with-you guessed it-Graphic45, Once Upon a Springtime papers.

The top is embellished with paper punched butterflies from Marvy Uchida's large butterfly punch, paper roses, page corners and half pearls in pink and white.  The hinges and latch are original to the box and the feet are Tim Holtz.

The five page chipboard mini album measures 5.5"x 5.5". Each embellished page has either a photo mat and/or journaling tags.
  The pages of the album are held together by a large tassel in soft greens and pinks.
I chose not to name the album as I would like the person receiving it to name it themselves. The oval bronze frame is waiting for that name.
 Butterflies, fairies and flowers, an enchanting combination.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Isabella's Treasure Box and Mini Album

Treasure Box and Mini Album

The fact that I created a treasure box and mini album in the style of the Twilight Saga should not come as a surprise to any one who knows me.  The thought that I might be leaning towards Jacob's team, well that might surprise them, but for me, it's the wolf thing.

A few months ago I bought Jacqueline Sullivan's DVD, Acrylics: Textures, Layers and Metallics and applied the techniques I learned to alter the cigar box.  I distressed the box (6.5" x 8" x 2.5') with gesso and applied the first layers of Golden Fluid Acrylic Quinacridone Nickle Azo Gold and Quinacridone Burnt Orange.  Then added layers of molding paste, tissue paper and watermark Uzumaki Spiral paper between applications of fluid acrylics until I got the color and texture I wanted.
I further embellished the box with Tim Holtz feet and page corners from 7 Gypsies. The interior is lined with red velvet, paper from Graphic45 and contains the Mini Album.   
 The Mini Album measuring 4 7/8" by 5 7/8",  consists of five embellished chipboard pages.  The pages all have areas for journaling and/or for photographs.  These two pieces were so much fun to make, as are all my pieces.  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


This queen size quilt features Honu, the turtle of Hawaiian folklore. 
The flowers and turtle are machined appliqued on hand dyed fabric representing the spinnaker of SV Honu, whose owners commissioned this quilt.
SV Honu

The block known as the vanishing-nine-patch surrounds the spinnaker representing the land, sea and sky of the Hawaiian islands.   Beautiful, bright, intensely colorful hand-dyes and batiks were used through out this quilt.
  Free motion machine quilting of waves, small sail boats, exotic flowers and dolphins further enhance this queen size beauty.
Free motion quilting by Glenda Irvine 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Crazy Quilts

"Crazy quilting can be defined as a method of laying down bits and pieces of fabric in a haphazard fashion and sewing or appliqueing them to a whole cloth."  Judith Baker Montano

This style of quilting was born in 1876 at the World Fair held in Philadelphia.

The embroiders who visited the Fair fell in love with the asymmetrical designs of the Japanese art and ceramic exhibits.  The designs had a crazed look which is incorporated into their  patchwork.  This gave them a wonderful opportunity to show off their needlework skills as every seam line was (should be) embroidered. The spaces between the lines were (should be)  filled with even more embroidery.

 More is good!

Crazy quilts have no other purpose than to be beautiful. They are items for display.

Rich velvets, silks, blended cottons, brocades, lace, beads and bling are just some of the fabrics and findings used to create these lavish pieces. 

Threads and fibers create texture and movement, sparkle, adds interest and dimension.

I love crazy quilting because I'm able to combine needlework and quilting into one beautiful project.  I'll share the progress of this quilt, so stay tuned.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Out of the Box

Quite often, when I am stuck for ideas some one would suggest that I "think-out-of-the-box".  My response is always the same, "you gotta have a box first."  Here are some of my boxes (altered cigar boxes and soft fold box).

The Jazz Age and Bella's Box
Tag box

Monday, May 9, 2011


The quilt is done.  It is never easy to say good-bye, even to a quilt.  However, with the greatest of care, I placed the quilt in a United States Postal Service Priority Mail box,  all wrapped in a plastic zippered bag and sent it off to the couple who commissioned the quilt.

I look forward to them contacting me with the news that they have received the quilt, as they should have it by Wednesday.  Once the quilt is in their hands, I will then publish the name, more photos, etc.

This evening I will be attending the West Broward Quilt Guild monthly meeting.  It is a nice way to spend an evening, as the women are as entertaining as they are creative.  My favorite part of the evening is "Show and Tell"  and leaving a gift for my secret pal.

I was given the name of a member of our guild who is to be my secret pal for the next few months.  It is a way for us to get to know each other and add some mysterious fun.  The idea is to leave little gifts, tokens, etc. unbeknown to her though the "gift table" or give the items to the guild's president for her to pass on for me.  The fun part of all of this, seeing the person receive the gift and seeing all the items being passed around and no one is saying who sent it or who made it.  Needless-to-say, we do a whole lot of guessing.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Through the Studio Window

Friday, May 6, 2011

First Encounters

Quilts are such beautiful things.  It is unusual to find quilts in the twin island states of Trinidad and Tobago where I grew up.

Our neighbor married an English woman and one afternoon while my mom and aunts were discussing their sewing projects over a cup of tea, Suzie brought over her quilt.  There was great excitement, as I don't believe we had ever seen a quilt in progress.  She was making the quilt for the coming baby's room.

Years later, when I married my husband and moved to Detroit MI, we visited the Detroit Museum of Art and there I saw for the first time, the most breathtaking Japanese art quilts.  The beauty of the silks, the attention to detail, the perfect stitches, made your heart stop.

Since that time to now, I have seen hundreds of quilts; at quilt shows, quilt shops,  hanging on laundry lines in back yards and museums all across America and it is important to remember, that whether the quilts are hung on a wall as art to be admired, covers a bed, cradles a child or comforts a woman/man, it is a thing of beauty.  It was made with care and thought, strength and determination.  It is the quilt maker's gift to the world.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Janome 6260

Grant Park 2008

There is something to be said for the home sewing machine.  This was quilted on my Janome 6260.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Dream Machine

My Dream Machine- HQ18 Avante

I have been dreaming of spending quality time with this machine for years now.  Today, I spent five hours with my dream machine at Quiltplay in North Miami.  Dr. Jeanne Bergeron is a knowledgeable and generous instructor. (She knows her machines!)

Me and my dream machine

The HQ18 Avante lived up to my expectations - from the ease of loading the quilt, the smooth, flawless, quiet tracking, groove boards, the laser stylus, all way cool!  I am looking forward to spending more time with this machine in the coming weeks.  Therefore, those quilts that I have neglected, need to be dug out and finished, so we can go play with my new BFF.

Dr. Jeanne Bergeron

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Living My Dream

Hi there, Welcome to Susan's Studio Arts and Silk Road Fabric Arts.

Eight months ago I was asked to leave the runway (fired, voted off the island, laid-off, whatever you choose to call it) today am living my dream - with some trepidation mind you.  Ten years ago I learned to quilt and since then I have been dreaming of having my own quilting studio.  Many of the quilts made in the last ten years were given away to friends, many have used them to adorn their homes but a few have paid me the honor of using their quilt as a source of comfort, to cover the incubator of their babies or whenever they had to go for their cancer treatments.  A few of my art quilts were entered into competitions and shown in art galleries.  Now, armed with the knowledge of taking tons of quilting classes (and still doing so), attending shows in Houston Texas, Tennessee, Sisters Oregon, Fort Lauderdale Florida I am ready to move to the next step on this exciting journey.

Each day I arrive in my studio (the master bedroom of our home) dressed and ready for "work".   I am in the process of putting borders on one commissioned quilt top and binding another.

Tomorrow I go to Quiltplay in North Miami for my first lessons on the HQ18 Avante longarm quilt machine. I am thrilled to be taking this class.

Thanks for the visit and stay tuned for tomorrow's adventures.