Sunday, December 16, 2007

Accordion Photo Albums

I just finished three accordion-style photo albums for my brothers, inspired by a recent segment on Martha Stewart's craft show on DIY. Mine are similar, with my own take. Want instructions? Okay!

1. I cut two pieces of cardboard for each album, each a generous 6" x 8". Using an archival glue stick, I glued on some batting to cover one side of each piece of cardboard and trimmed to size. Then I laid the cardboard, batting side down, on a piece of dupioni silk fabric, and trimmed to about 1/2" to 3/4" out from each edge. I glue-sticked the edges of fabric, folded down a triangle at each corner over the cardboard, then pressed down all the sides so that it looked smooth and neat. These will be the album covers.

2. Luckily I happened to have some sheets of watercolor paper that were 30" x 22". First I scored lines (Martha used a bone folder but I couldn't find mine, so I used another sharp plastic tool) into the paper, long edge to long edge at 6" intervals. It was easy to do using the same 6"x 18" wide ruler that I use with my rotary cutter on fabric. Then I folded along the scored lines like an accordion. After that, I cut an 8" x 30" strip. It will have five 8" x 6" sections. You can get two strips per sheet, with a 6" strip left over.

3. Are you with me so far? Good. Go get your album covers. Spread glue on the outermost 6" x 8" section with your glue stick, and press one album cover over it firmly. Now spread glue on the other outermost 6" x 8" section, on the other side of the strip, and press the other album cover over it firmly. Look at the photos to see how it should look. Fold album closed, place under some heavy books to dry overnight.

4. I found something called a "Collage Pad" by Provo Craft, available at Michael's, with twenty sheets of 8 1/2" x 5 1/2" handmade papers. I cut them in half and glued one down in each folded section, alternating placing them higher and lower in the spaces.

5. You will need eight 4" x 6" photos per album. I used four photos of my mother on one side, and four of my father on the other side. I chose to trim off any borders. (A paper cutter is a time-saver during steps 4 and 5.) Then I attached the photographs to the album sections, overlapping the handmade papers, using archival photo corners. Look at the photograph to see placement.

6. I rubber stamped a large leaf pattern on the album covers to make them a little more arty. There are all sorts of things that could be done - embroidery, iron-on applique, etc.

I am not a "scrapper." My albums may look minimal compared to what an expert scrapper would do, but I am happy with the results.

My dad had Alzheimer's, and my mother has Alzheimer's. These accordion albums will remind my brothers that our parents used to be vibrant people. My only regret is that I didn't make one for myself. (I will, I swear.)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Book Signing at Soft Expressions; Ornaments at Folk Tree

The book signing at Soft Expressions was yesterday, and it was really fun. Four of us were there to sign Embellished Mini Quilts: author Jamie Fingal, me, Terry Waldron and Stacy Hurt. In addition to the book signing, there is a special exhibit of embellished small quilts in the upstairs gallery. The exhibit will be up for December and January, so you are welcome to come check it out, as well as the book and Sharla Hick's fabulous store, which caters to art quilters: Soft Expressions, 1230 N. Jefferson St. #M, Anaheim, CA 92807,

Here's a photo with me, Jamie, Terry and Stacy at the book signing.

Between jury duty and a trip to Colorado for Thanksgiving, November just zoomed by for me! Now it's December, and the holidays are in full swing. I went to an annual ornament exchange today. This is an easy exchange, because we each only have to make one ornament, and we get to take home a special, homemade ornament. This time I brought a blue fiber art ball to give (I think it's pictured in an earlier post, partly done), and I scored a beautiful table runner made by Mickey Berg. It's very colorful, and reversible to boot!

I also wanted to remind you about the handmade ornament exhibit/sale that I am participating in at the Folk Tree, 217 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, CA 91105. There are handmade ornaments made by over 25 artists, available until December 31. The regular hours are M-W, 11-6; Th-Sat, 10-6; Sun, 12-5.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Tied Up in Jury Duty

I"ve been doing my civic duty by serving on a jury. I'm not used to having so little time for myself! Every free moment I've been trying to finish up ornaments to sell at my friend Catherine's holiday boutique THIS SATURDAY! Yikes!

Before reporting to jury duty last week, I mailed off a bunch of fiber art balls and ornaments to Folk Tree in Pasadena, for their Ornaments and Adornments exhibit and sale, which starts this Saturday. Here's a photo of my Mexican fiber art ball.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

pepperminty basket revisited

Robyn has asked for more instructions on how to make the "pepperminty" basket out of plastic bags, seen in an earlier post. I didn't follow a pattern for the basket, I just winged it. I chained about 8 stitches, then made single crochets into each chain stitch to the end, then 2-3 stitches to go around the corner and single crochet down the other side. Then 2-3 stitches on the other end to round the corner. Then I went around and around to make a flat oval bottom, adding extra single crochets on the curves to help keep it flat. When I was happy with the size of the bottom, I started building up the sides. The way you do that is to stitch into the top part of each stitch in the outer row, then keep adding rows. I hope that makes sense - obviously, writing crochet instructions is not my area of expertise.

I think I saw someone make a little basket out of jute on "Uncommon Threads," to get the basic construction idea.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Soft Expressions exhibit

My quilts are up and hanging at Soft Expressions, in the upstairs gallery. The address is 1230 North Jefferson St., Suite M, Anaheim, CA 92807. They'll be up until the end of November. And a few of my quilts will continue to hang in the following exhibit, which celebrates the new Embellished Mini Quilts book.

So if you're in the area, come by and take a look!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

What I'm up to these days

I made a couple of painted fabric pumpkins, to give away. I saw the idea on Crafters Coast to Coast. It was fun! I get in a crafty mood this time of year. What do you think?

I'm headed to PIQF with Terry Waldron for a few days. It'll be so much fun! My "Garden of Earthly Delights" will be on view..... When I get back I'm hanging up several of my quilts at Soft Expressions, Anaheim, in their upstairs space. They'll be up from mid-October through the end of November, and some of them will continue to hang with Jamie's grouping, in honor of her new book, Embellished Mini Quilts.

I'm making ornaments and fiber art balls to sell at the Folk Tree in Pasadena's "Ornaments and Adornments" special showing, as well as at my friend Catherine's holiday boutique. More details on those events later. Here are some examples:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Come to the book signing!

Book Signing at Soft Expressions on Saturday, December 1st from 10am to 2pm.Author: Jamie Fingal, and Local Contributing Artists: Cindy Cooksey, Stacy Hurt & Terry Waldron 1230 N. Jefferson Street, Suite M, Anaheim, CA 92807714/630-7414The Upstairs Gallery will feature embellished works of art from the book, as well as, other pieces in December & January.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Embellished Mini Quilts

Jamie Fingal's new book, Embellished Mini Quilts, is coming out shortly! Several other artists are also in the book. I have two quilts in it. I saw an advance copy and it is beautiful. The photographs are amazing! Here's the ordering info:

All of the books purchased from Soft Expressions will be autographed. Click on this link for Soft Expressions (Check out their website for beautiful pictures of some of the art quilts inside the book).



Monday, August 27, 2007

Trip to San Francisco

I just got back from a trip to San Francisco with my husband. The first night we actually stayed in Healdsburg, in the wine country. It was my birthday. There's a little shop called Yazuko with clothes made with Japanese fabrics, and they sell little bags of wonderful silk fabric scraps. I bought one of these bags a couple of years ago and used it all up, so I had to buy another little bag, as well as a little pack of kimono fabric-covered buttons. They're beautiful! Anyway, most of the time we were in San Francisco, which was crawling with tourists. We stayed at the Argonaut in the Fisherman's Wharf area. We had a cool view of the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge and the cable cars right outside of our window. So here's a photo of the cable car area, such as it is, taking a photo through window glass.
Highlights were walking through Golden Gate Park, going to SF Moma and the DeYoung art museum. We used to live in San Francisco back in the early 70's, so all sorts of memories come flooding back. Ideas for new art quilts are swirling in my head. Maybe not a good idea to talk about too much here, but a couple of the rough ideas are: layers of time/San Francisco memories; and Is it art yet?

fiber fest quilt

Now that Fiber Fest in Santa Monica is over, I can show my "Peace in Bloom" quilt. It was part of the Quilts on the Wall exhibit there. I made the quilt for my friend Catherine. Part of my Peace series - can you tell???

Fiber Fest happens every year in mid-August. Besides quilts, they have knitting, spinning yarn, weaving, beads, etc. Lots of creative energy! It makes me want to try everything! The weirdest thing I saw there was a guy sitting with an angora rabbit on his lap. He was sitting in front of a spinning wheel, spinning yarn from the tufts that he was gently gathering from the rabbit's fur. No, he wasn't hurting the rabbit.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Saqa Auction News

The SAQA auction finished up earlier this week. I hear they made $27,750! I bought a fun quilt by Pam RuBert, which I absolutely love. It's called, "Take me to your Dentist!" On the SAQA website, the background looked blue, but I hope you can see here that it is definitely purple. What fun!
My "Peace Signs" quilt went to art quilt expert Penny McMorris. Thank you so much!

Monday, July 23, 2007

SAQA Foot Square Auction

My "Peace Signs" quilt is on page 3 of the SAQA Foot Square Auction pages. Pages 1 and 2 have been auctioned off over the past week. Pages 3 and 4 will be auctioned off starting tomorrow, July 24, over the next 7 days. Go to to view all the beautiful quilts and to read about the rules for this "Reverse Auction."
Also, I went to the Visions Art Quilt Gallery a couple of weekends ago. It is a fabulous new venue for art quilts, so by all means check it out when you can. The current exhibit is the Thomas Contemporary Quilt Collection, running through August 5.
I think I've mentioned it before, but a few of my fiber art balls are available for sale in the gift shop.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Crocheting with plastic bags

I'm happy to find that I can still use my sewing machine, even a few weeks after hip replacement surgery. My Bernina Aurora has a push button feature, so I can free motion machine quilt without touching the foot pedal. Woohoo!
One silly project I've been doing in my free time is crocheting with plastic bags. I saw it done in Craft magazine and on television, I forget where. Here's how you do it: take a plastic bag and roll it up, jelly roll style, with the top and bottom of the bags on either ends of the roll. (See first photo) Then cut one-inch slices, as shown.

Each slice is a loop of plastic. Slip knot them together, forming a long string of loops. (Refer to second photo) When you are done slip knotting all the loops, roll it into a ball, like a ball of yarn.

Now you can crochet with it, like yarn. Use a large crochet hook - I'm using a size H crochet hook, which was the largest that I had on hand, and I stuck to the single crochet stitch, for sturdiness. You can make purses, baskets.... use your imagination. Experiment and have fun!

When you come to the end of your string of loops, simply cut up more plastic bags and slip knot them to the last loop. You can crochet for a while, then make more "yarn," then crochet some more. You only have to make as much "yarn" as you need.

Some plastic bags work better than others. I found that the thinner, cheaper bags worked the best. You can use thicker plastic bags, but they will be harder to work with. Cutting the loops less wide might help.

When I started working with the plastic bag "yarn," I used a random bunch of different plastic bags, one after another. I found that the crocheted shapes warped and distorted more when I did this. There is less warping when you use similar kinds of plastic bags. Here is a little basket I made entirely from the little red and white bags one of my newspapers comes in. Soooo pepperminty!

Friday, July 6, 2007

What I've been up to lately...

Hi! It's been almost two and a half weeks since my hip replacement surgery. It went well. I've progressed from a walker to a cane, I can go up and down the stairs routinely, walk around the block, etc. Some things I can't do for 8 weeks: bend over too far, drive. :-( But otherwise things are going great.

So I've been trying to fit in a little arts, crafts, and quilting, in between the physical therapy sessions. I took some photos you can see what I've been up to. I've been thumbing through a wonderful new book, Kaleidoscope: Ideas and Projects to Spark Your Creativity. Suzanne Simanaitis is the author, and North Light Books is the publisher. Check it out!

I've been working on my quilt for Quilts on the Wall's "Beauty in Imperfection" challenge. Can't show that yet. I've also puttered in my art studio trying to start a little quilt for the Quilt Art List's "Flower Power" challenge. Puttering is still hard for me - I keep dropping things. Luckily, I have a grabber tool, since I can't bend over to pick up anything.

I've worked on another of my fiber art balls. Here's a photo of it in progress. I made it "inside out" this time, for something different. You can see more of my fiber art balls on my website ( and at the Visions Art Quilt Gallery gift shop in San Diego.

I'm also working on a crocheting project. I'm crocheting recycled plastic bags. I'll give instructions and show photos in my next post.

I've also been doing little sketches in my art journals. This is something I started earlier this year, just for fun. I use a variety of drawing tools, including water color pencils, Niji water brushes, regular pencils and colored pencils, and sometimes an ink pen.
In the 80's I used to do a LOT of pen and ink drawings. I'm using the ink sparingly and more casually this time around - I don't want to get too uptight, like my old drawings were. I haven't done much drawing for many years, so this feels good! Gotta keep those synapses stimulated.

Monday, June 18, 2007

I'm a hip chick...

I'm having hip replacement surgery tomorrow at 12:30. I only bring it up because it may cause a slow-down in my quilting, as well as my posts, for a little while. But it won't take long for me to be up and at 'em!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Pamela Allen Workshop

I was in the amazing Pamela Allen workshop last week at Jamie Fingal's studio. We did several quick exercises. I couldn't believe everyone's results from working so fast! Here are some of my workshop pieces: a couple of cats, a still life with a fish, a two-color still life, a person (my original person got transformed into a wild woman), and a complementary color landscape.
Some of these may be expanded into finished quilts; others will stay in the UFO pile.
Anyway, I had a lot of fun. It was very freeing.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Books, books, books!

Lots of things going on. I'm excited to be part of a wonderful book that will come out in October. It's called Embellished Small Quilts; Jamie Fingal is the author, Lark Books is the publisher. I have two quilts in it, "Happy Birthday to Me" and "Lily Pond," which you can see on my website: From what I've seen, it's going to be a great book! You can find more information about this book on Amazon and/or the Lark Books website. Check it out!

Also, the Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece book is out! My copy just arrived in the mail today. All profit from the sale of the book will be used to fund Alzheimer's research. My quilt, "Gaps," is on page 10. The quilts are touring the country, plus there's a DVD, and now a beautiful book! If you want to learn more about it, go to

Saturday, April 28, 2007

one foot square quilts

My "Peace Signs" quilt is now on view on the SAQA website, third page of the 12" square pieces for their auction. Here's the link:
http://www.saqa. com/newsebulleti ns/onefootsquare sT3.aspx

Jamie Fingal has a cool looking quilt with lots of metal on the same page.

Speaking of peace signs, I'm trying to finish my original peace quilt. It's the first one I started, the last one to be finished. My aim is to finish it in time for Houston.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Adventures Start Here

I'm proud to be part of the 9-member team that created wall hangings (one huge one, two smaller panels on either side) for the children's section of the Orange Public Library, which opened today.

The second photo shows me by the section I worked on, with part of the train and rocket. You can read more about the quilt at

Friday, April 13, 2007

new book coming out!

There's going to be a book about the "Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece" exhibit that is touring the country. A small piece of every artist's quilt is on the cover, as you can see. Mine is in the top row, third from the right.
For info about pre-ordering the book, go to

Sunday, April 8, 2007


Correction: My Landslide quilt is up at Soft Expressions until the end of April! Here is the address. A detail of the quilt is to the right.

Soft Expressions
1230 N. Jefferson , Suite M
Anaheim, CA 92807
March 15 thru April 30

Monday, April 2, 2007

sneak peek

I've been busy. My website is up! Check it out at Also, I finished my "Peace in Bloom" quilt, but I can't show it yet because I want to enter it in Fiber Fest.

I'm donating a 12" x 12" piece for the SAQA auction. I'm calling it "Peace Signs." It's hand appliqued, machine quilted, embroidered, and stenciled.


My "Landslide" quilt has been to Road to California and was at Soft Expressions in Anaheim in March with the other Earth quilts. They're calling the exhibit "Noble Elements: Earth" now. For the rest of the year, the exhibit will be in the Sew, Quilt andEmbroidery Festival. Here are the places and dates:

Cincinnati, OH June 28 - 30
Saratoga Springs, NY July 6 - 8
Honolulu, HI August 3 - 5
Reno, NY August 24 - 26
San Rafael, CA August 30 - September 1
Council Bluffs, IA September 21 - 23

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Handkerchief transformed

Everyone in Cutloose Quilters was given a man's handkerchief, and we were instructed to transform it in any way we saw fit, other than cutting or folding the handkerchief. It turned out to be fun! Mine was tie-dyed, rubber stamped, foiled, and embroidered. We'll be showing our results to Quilts on the Wall this Saturday.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

too busy!

I've been really busy lately. For one thing, I'm trying to plan my website. So many decisions to make! There have lots of deadlines, too. I'll have photos to share on new stuff soon. In the meantime, here is another quilt in my Essential Elements collection, this time for Fire. I call it "Happy Birthday to me." Detail on the right.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

In January, I had a couple of quilts shown at Road to California. One quilt, "Gaps," is part of Ami Simm's "Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece" exhibit. I can't show the quilt here, but you can get more information about it at I worked at the booth for 3 hours on Thursday, the first day of the show, and it was a very powerful experience. Many people were moved enough to say something to me about their mother, their uncle, their husband, their neighbor, etc. One person told me that she herself had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The group of 52 quilts will be on tour for the next few years, and there is a CD. It will be at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt festival in Hampton, Virginia February 22-25, and AQS Quilt Show in Paducah, KY April 25-28.

The other quilt I had at Road was part of the "Essential Elements: Earth" exhibit organized by Margrit Hall. It was shown in the tent section of the show, and the wind was blowing so bad that they closed the tent down on Sunday. My quilt is called "Landslide," based on a photo I took of a landslide on PCH in Central California (shown on the left). This exhibit will be traveling around the country in 2007. I will try to post a schedule of its whereabouts.
In previous years we made quilts of other essential elements, namely water and fire. Now we have to do one for wind. I have an idea for it but haven't started yet.