Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Artful Garden

Block printing using Speedball blocks that make it easy to carve on using carving tools. This is the paint that I bought and then figured out that I could use acrylic paint too.

I also used RJR Fabrics Supreme Solids. I love how they have every color of the rainbow. I pre-fused all of the fabric with Mistyfuse. I carved a strip that I used to frame each flower and leaf. I really like the imperfections that a block print creates with the background cuts.

I asked friends on Facebook to weigh into what fabrics would set off the blocks the best. It is really about each persons preference in colors and pattern. I had first wanted to use the black and white polka dot.

This is what I ended up using and both made by RJR Fabrics. The big dots are from one of Leslie Tucker Jenison’s lines and the black and white drips from Flaurie & Finch. I really like the way the blocks look with these fabrics. 

The Artful Garden 36x36 made for The Power of Women exhibit that will be shown at The International Quilt Festival in Houston in the Fall. The deadline for pieces is the Monday of Labor Day weekend. Go to the Quilts, inc website for more info 

Thursday, July 19, 2018


In contemplating what I was going to make for the upcoming Dinner at Eight Artists exhibition in Houston, we asked our artists to choose a theme from the last nine years. My most favorite exhibit was called rituals. My original piece was titled ‘Make a Wish on the Purple House.’ I am one of the jurors of Dinner at Eight Artists along with Leslie Tucker Jenison and we always make a quilt each year. This will be our tenth and final year exhibiting in Houston at the International Quilt Market/Festival.

For a few years I have been making wool felt squares about 10” square and hand sewing them at night. My nightly ritual. This is how they begin with a variety of wool felt in different colors and Sizzix die cut flowers. Everything in pinned onto a wool blended felt substrate. 

This is what they can become. I love the randomness of the shapes and stitching. I add interesting embellishments as I go. I challenge myself to do harder subjects, which is totally fun. I think I have made over 40 of these and they are all different and fun! Zen Stitching is my name for them and I also teach this as a class. It is so relaxing! There are little treasures in every square. 

And then I decided to make some of them into a quilt for Dinner at Eight Artists final exhibit. My nightly labor of love to be seen by the public and printed in a book. I hand sewed each square onto a piece of wool blended felt by National Nonwovens 30x50 vertical format. It took a chunk of time. You can see many fun objects and stitches in this photo.

Zen Stitching on my design wall. If you click on the image, you can see it closer. It is flawed, uneven, imperfect, colorful, intriguing, fun and so me. I am so happy how it turned out. 

And a detail shot. I really need to add a YKK zipper, because it is part of who I am as a designer. The zipper queen! 

This is how I store my felt supplies

Another view! This exhibition of 38 quilts will be shown at the International Quilt Market and Festival in November of this year. So exciting. Here is the blog address 
Dinner at Eight Artists

Monday, July 09, 2018

Pages from my Sketchbook

I usually draw inside a Moleskine Storybook sketchbook where the windows are about 2x3. This was my visual to do list from June 18

For these drawings, I used index paper 8-1/2x11 size paper. Birdhouses scattered. I might end up painting this and making some fabric on Spoonflower. Who knows. 

I like this one and tea cups

And some paint brushes 

And challenging myself to draw vintage cameras

And dresses. I love drawing and the fact that I can draw anywhere is very appealing to me. Thanks for stopping by my Twisted Sister blog! Onward and upward.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Dinner at Eight Artists

Dinner at Eight Artists acceptances were announced today

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

iPad Pro Cover

I am a happy camper and was able to buy an iPad Pro, so I could learn how to draw on this device, among other things. I did buy a protective case for it, but I needed something to protect the screen when I take it outside my house or to travel with.

I am using two of my fabric lines by RJR- Sewing 101 and Hopscotch. First things first. Using wool blended felt as the middle layer, and that white stitching at the top is a portion that I never use, but it thought it would be kinda cool for this project.

I prefused all of the fabrics with Mistyfuse. These are the fabrics in my newest line Sewing 101. Ask your local quilting store to carry this line. You can click on the image to see it larger. All of my favorite things: scissors, buttons, bobbins, thread, embroidery hoops and a sampling of my favorite tools on the focus fabric

I want to keep the integrity of the white stitching on the felt. Top is fused and folded over the top 

I thought it would be fun to add a selvage. The orange squares and green loops are part of my Hopscotch fabric line, which is a basics line at RJR and will always be available. These designs are all hand drawn

I cut from the back using the felt as my guide. Havel’s scissors actually hug the fabric, so there is no slipping 

I have fused both sides on this and added these Sizzix die cuts of circles just for fun

Free motion quilted, added a fold at the bottom to keep the iPad in place. Hand sewed the ends and middle

I used shoe laces for the tie. Sew fun! Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Welcome to the Florabunda Blog Hop!

Welcome to the Florabunda Blog Hop for Melanie Testa new line with RJR Fabrics.
RJR will be highlighting some of the blog hop participants and will host a 5-day-long giveaway through Instagram. (Follow them on Instagram at 

Quilty Box , a company that sells and ships specially selected fabrics, tools and other exciting products for quilters by subscription, will also have special offers for those who follow Florabunda! Blog Hoppers on Instagram (don’t forget @RJRFabrics, @QuiltyBox and @MellyTesta) to increase your chances for winning the give-aways).

There are 12 quilt makers and artists participating, and all of us have made quilts and usable items showcasing Florabunda! Join us each day through June 16. 

June 7: Tiffany Hayes 

June 8: Deborah Boschert

June 9: Sara Mika

June 10: Lyric Kinard

June 11: Kathy York

June 11: Teri Lucas

June 12: Susan Brubaker Knapp

June 12: Leslie Tucker Jenison

June 13: Tiffany Hayes 

June 13: Jamie Fingal - ME!

June 14: Heidi Kelly

June 15: David Gillieland

June 15: Melanie Testa

June 16: Melanie Testa

I pre-fused all of the fabrics with Mistyfuse. If you follow me, you know how much I love hexagons and Sizzix. It is much easier to have this machine do the precision cutting than me. I have arthritis in my hands. When using this machine, I can stack up 7 layers of fused fabrics on the die to cut. For this project I used the tendrils, be gel and the zig zaggle.

Here are some of my cuts

Putting it together and trying to make it work with color and contrast. Turning some fabrics so they don’t go in all of the same direction. I want a flow

These fabrics have been fused to wool blended felt, not batting. Backed with more of Melly’s fabrics. Just starting to free motion quilt in an organic flowing plan with leaves and stems

I am really happy how it looks. This is to show you the quilting up close

Some artsy shots. This one is on the fence near the train tracks in bright sunshine. I love how the vines really pop on this 18x18 wall quilt

On the scissor door leading into my studio and a change in the colors a bit

Last one in the garden outside the door of my studio. Thanks for stopping by! 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Join Me at Craft Napa in 2019

Craft Napa for 2019 is a tremendous way to jump start your creative year! Registration begins on June 1, 2018. The retreat takes place at Embassy Suites in Napa, CA. I will be teaching, along with this amazing group of teachers. January 10-13, 2019. 

I am teaching two full day classes and a night class. I absolutely love teaching at this venue. The full day class start at nine in the morning and goes till five, and you get a two hour lunch. There is also a vendor night on Friday, where I will be selling my artwork and bundles of fabric. My first class is on Thursday ‘write your own story’ and making a typewriter quilt. 

Thursday night from 6:30-9:30 I will be teaching ‘stencil scrumble’ using my vast collection of StencilGirl stencils

Friday bring back my faces class that was a huge success last year ‘picture this: faces in fabric.’ All of the details are on the Crafting a 
Life website. This is a remarkable retreat and my favorite place to teach. Embassy Suites offers a complimentary hot breakfast and wine and snacks in the late afternoon. There are unique restaurants nearby that you can drive to or take a Lyft. Plenty of fun things to do in and around Napa. I hope to see you there!

Monday, May 28, 2018

The Garden, My Other Studio

Memorial weekend is my time to do some major gardening in preparation for Summer

A new succulent garden. Since I’ve been working with a personal trainer since January, I can now carry a 40 pound bag of rocks

The bird cage used to be a bird feeder, but it now filled with trailing flowers

This area is beautiful, but the nasturtiums are getting a little weary in places, so this is my concentration for the weekend redo

Love this hedge of bougainvillea. We have about a dozen of these gorgeous plants in our yard

This garden has a combination of succulents and flowers

The middle of this garden. Love the succulents with the hot pink flowers and I wish I could remember the name of this plant

Growing green beans in these pots. Going to plant watermelons and cucumbers too

My tiny sweet pea garden. One of my most favorite flowers and next year I want a larger garden of these flowers

Two friends enjoying the garden 

Sadly, our two huge Schefflera trees are dead, but the bougainvillea makes a nice place for the vines and blooms

This area is partially cleaned out and new flowers have been planted and a larger bird cage on the left hold more trailing flowers

I love really unusual plants and this one is pretty cool. The name is a Lions Head and they like full sun. It is in the hottest part of our yard.