Friday, December 4, 2009

New Work: Go Green Challenge

I haven't had much time in my studio lately. I have been focused on my software company's clients SAQA and my newest one Quilts, Inc. The on-line registration software is going very well.

But I did get this piece made. It's 30" x 30". I am participating in a challenge with quilters from the west coast and the UK. This is a traveling exhibit called "Go Green". I call this piece "View from Space". I imagined what the earth might look like if it was going green and spewing excess green color into the universe.

I had fun playing with trapunto.It's machine appliqued and quilted.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A new piece for my church

Today we celebrated our clergy at church in recognition of Clergy Appreciation month. I created this piece called 'Filled' which depicts the scene in Acts 2:4 when the Holy Spirit descends and fills the discples. This event is referred to as Pentecost and is celebrated 40 days after Easter. This piece was inspired by a painting by Vanessa Williams and was used with her permission.

Friday, October 30, 2009

"Art Under the Microscope" Exhibit Is Hanging

On Monday night, I was thrilled to attend a reception for the scientists that created the Bio Artography images. This is a shot of me with my folks, Bill and Dee Brehm. My piece is called Escher's Needlepoint and is based on a photo by scientist Kaelyn Male.
Here, scientist Linda Samuelson, is describing what is happening in Guts and Glory. The quilt is by Carole Nicholas. The scientific image is by Lymari Lopez-Diaz.
Maria Morrell is showing me her image called Green Feather. The quilt is by Annabel Ebersole.
Check out all the quilts by visiting our Fiber Artists @ Loose Ends gallery page.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Knitting: No, No, No

For years now, I have sat in meetings with fellow quilt artists and watched them knit. I would say to myself, "I do NOT want to learn to knit. The last thing I need is another activity to fill my brain and more stuff to put in my studio."

So while I was in Houston, I visited a booth called Gita Marie. She makes beautiful enamel pieces of jewelry and shawl pins. The booth folks were sporting beautiful shawls as examples of their kits which include one of the stunning pins. They assured me that it was a beginner's project and very easy to do. Friend Kathy Lincoln told me she would show me how to knit while in Houston. So.... I bought the kit and a pair of knitting needles. And sure enough, ten minutes before we were to leave the hotel for the airport, Kathy showed me how to cast-on, knit and decrease.

Two days later, I was at my Fiber Artists @ Loose Ends meeting and am knitting on a sample ball of yarn I purchased to practice. Friend Sandi Goldman then showed me how to purl and Barb Hollinger showed me how to hold the needles differently so that I could wrap the yarn more efficiently with my left hand. So between Kathy, Sandi and Barb, I felt ready to tackle my shawl project.

So here it is... my first knitting project.

And sure enough, what I tried to avoid has happened. I dragged my husband out to visit a cool yarn shop about 45 minutes from our home, to purchase some nice yarn to make more scarves. NO!!! I have no room in my studio or time. But it's so much fun!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Art For Healing Causes

Healing quilts is one of my passions. There are so many ways to use our artwork to make a difference in the lives of patients.

My FiberArtists at Loose Ends group creates exhibits that hang in hospitals and other healing centers. I donate my own artwork to raise money and awareness. And I purchase pieces to raise money to search for cures.

Art Now for Autism recently had a reverse auction. I purchased this piece called "Peaceful Presence" by Beth Wheeler. I love it and it helps support this terrible disease. Thank you to Beth for donating this piece and to Claudine Intner for her leadership in developing this initiative.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Back from Houston

I have returned from a fabulous four days at the International Quilt Festival. It was truly a thrill to have two pieces in the juried show this year. The first was my pirate quilt called "'Twas Me First Day With Me Hook". It is based on the favorite joke about a pirate walking into a bar and the bartender asking him how he lost his eye.

The second piece is called "Canna from Ellis Hollow" and is based on a photo by Craig Cramer of the Ellis Hollow blog and is used with his permission.

Thank you to Kathy Lincoln for taking these pictures of me with my quilts.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Quilts are Delivered to Michigan

I felt like Santa Claus making the delivery of the Bioartography pieces. It was like Christmas morning unwrapping the quilts and seeing the joy on their faces as each piece was revealed. Here are some of my favorite shots.

This is Kathi Talley unveiling Judy Busby's piece called Fibroblast.

Here is my piece called Escher's Needlepoint pictured with me, Kathi and my mom, Dee Brehm.

Here is Guts and Glory by Carole Nicholas:

Sunburst by Bunnie Jordan:

The exhibit goes up on October 19th. To see images of all the pieces, check out our BioArtography Gallery page.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How Do You Carry Twenty Quilts?

Tomorrow I am going to Ann Arbor, Michigan to visit the Gifts of Art folks and deliver the Art Under the Microscope exhibit. My art group, Fiber Artists @ Loose Ends has created this exhibit based on scientific images by U of M researchers. Check out the gallery of our pieces by clicking here. (This is really worth clicking on. The quilts are spectacular).

I asked my husband Mike to help me figure out how to carry them. Here is what we did.

Step 1. We stacked the quilts and placed acid free tissue paper between each quilt and folded up over the sides. We used bubble wrap on the bottom and top.
Step 2. We folded bubble wrap around the entire package.
Step 3. We bought stretcher bars from the local craft store and constructed two square frames. The frames were screwed to pieces of heavy duty foam core. Then Mike drilled holes in the frames to accommodate string. Then he wrapped the string to hold it all together.
Step 4. Mike made handles so I can carry it. Here I am giving it a try.

It's not too heavy! And the quilts are well protected.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Saint Francis Quilt Show

On Saturday I attended the St. Francis County Fair which includes a quilt show of local artists. This event has been going on for 28 years. This was my first visit and what a treat. I have never seen quilts hung this way. It was fabulous. I had two pieces in the show, Miriam's Dance and Follow Me. Both of these pieces were in the Sacred Threads 2007 show. I was honored to be asked to submit these works. I will definitely catch this event every year.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Work - Fun with Stencils - Autumn Ginkgo

I just completed this little piece I call "Autumn Ginkgo". I used a stencil from Laura Murray Designs and Stewart Gill paint to make the ginkgo leaves. I had made the background and the pleated border quite some time ago. (The border is a technique I learned from friend Vikki Pignatelli.) So when my good friend Cyndi Souder said she was teaching a stencil class in Houston and would love to borrow any samples I might have, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to use my new stencil and create one for her. Another UFO done.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

SAQA Auction - Fourth Purchase

This delightful piece is by Shelley Brucar. I have been on a fish kick lately so this piece goes nicely with Clowning Around by Jan Potter and the series I made over the summer. My beach house in California is going to get some great artwork.

Monday, September 28, 2009

SAQA Auction - Third Purchase

This piece is by Vivien Zepf. It's called Together II. I was drawn to the imagery of helping hands. I was recently designing a logo for my new company called Giving Back Technology and came up with a very similar image. The message portrayed by these two hands transcends our personal beliefs in religion or politics. It shows caring about another and making the world a better place.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

SAQA Auction - Second Purchase

This is the second piece I purchased in round one of the SAQA auction. It's called Rita Experiences Her First Hot Flash. The artist is Patricia Charity. So you can probably guess why this piece was meaningful to me. Hint: I celebrated my 50th birthday recently. The thread work is stunning. Click on the picture to see it close-up.

Thank you Patricia for donating this piece.

Friday, September 18, 2009

SAQA Auction - My First Purchase

In the first round of the auction, I purchased three pieces. Two have arrived. I am very excited. The artwork is so much better than I realized from the photos on the SAQA website. So here is my first one, called Clowning Around by Jan Potter. Jan had a similar piece in Sacred Threads. I immediately recognized her SAQA donation since I am intimately familiar with all the Sacred Threads pieces. So this feels like a souvenir of the Sacred Threads show.

Thank you Jan for donating this piece.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

New Work. University of Michigan Bioartography

I have finished a new piece called Escher's Needlepoint. It is based on a scientific photo by Kaelyn Male, a scientist at the University of Michigan. My Fiber Artists and Loose Ends group is doing a collaborative exhibit called "Art Under the Microscope"with University of Michigan scientists from the Center for Organogenesis, the Gifts of Art program and the Society for the Arts in Healthcare. The exhibit opens October 19th. To learn more, visit the exhibit announcement on the Gifts of Art website.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

SAQA Auction Started Today

At 2:00 (ET) the SAQA 12" x 12" reverse auction began. Last year I purchased three beautiful pieces and now have them mounted and hung in my home.

This year, I donated a piece called Icelandic Poppies. I am thrilled that it has sold on the first day (within the first few minutes). Here is a screen capture showing the sale. Thank you to Ann Sielman, our Executive Director, Martha Sielman's mother.

I hope everyone will check out the auction. It's a great way to contribute to this wonderful organization and to acquire some unique pieces of art. Here is the link:

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I Admit it. I'm a Cat Person.

I have three rescued cats. At one time we also had two dogs and a lizard. I asked the vet how many pets a family could have before they were considered eccentric. She said that when the number of pets is greater than the number of people in the home, well it's something to think about.

This morning I was winding a bobbin. I like to multi-task. So after it started to wind, I got up to check my email. When I came back, Kahlua was playing with the moving thread. This can't be good. But it is amusing. I managed to grab the camera and catch her in the act.

She also decided that the machine is tasty. If you look closely you will see her pink tongue licking the top of my machine.

It's time to take my machine in to be serviced. Fred will probably ask me about all the cat hair. Hopefully he won't notice the cat spit.

Friday, August 28, 2009

New Work - What I Did During My Summer Vacation

I spent five glorious weeks at our summer home in California. The weather actually was not very nice. It was overcast and chilly. So rather than spending a considerable time down at the beach, I spent more time in my studio.

While I brought UFOs to work on, I ended up creating these four new pieces. The pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

It all started with a cool fish stencil I bought while at the Long Beach IQF show. It's by Laura Murray. The stencil also has some feathery plants which look like seaweed or kelp. I haven't done a lot of beading so this was good practice to use beads for the fish eyes.

After this piece, I knew I was going to visit my friend Claudia Sammis so I wanted to make something for her. I also wanted to experiment with Angelina fibers and couching on decorative threads. This little 12" x 12" is the result. I call it "Fish for Claudia".

After the fun of couching on decorative threads, I decided I wanted to try more of that so I made this next piece. The background fabric was one of my purchases from Long Beach. Friend Cathie Hoover saw it and said it looked like me. So of course, I bought it. The pleated border at the bottom I learned from quilt teacher and friend Vikki Pignatelli.

Finally, I made this last piece. More couching and a focus on beads this time. At the bottom you can see shells from our beach that have been drilled to make buttons. The large orange fish is from the stencil but enlarged and done with thread work instead of paint.

Here's a close-up of the shell buttons from our beach.

All in all, it was a great summer in my studio. I stretched myself to do more embellishing with paint, beads and fibers.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hoffman Challenge Picture from Suzanne

I received this picture from quilting friend Suzanne Kistler. She attended the Rocky Mountain Quilt Festival and got to see all the Hoffman Challenge 2009 pieces. My piece Woodland Spring is traveling in trunk QC-F. Thanks Suzanne!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

California Beach House and Milestone Birthdays

I have been off-line for quite awhile now. I am in California at my summer house. During the weeks we are here, we are unplugged. We have no Internet, no TV and limited cell phone coverage. I spend my days in my studio and sitting at the beach. This pile of stones is a reminder to bask in God's beautiful creation. Tomorrow I celebrate a milestone birthday. I have lived half a century. This is the perfect place to think about all my blessings and dream of the next half century.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Beyond the Barrier - Sacred Threads Special Exhibit

From the Sacred Threads Website:

"In the fall of 2008, prison Chaplain Jami Burns formed a new activity group at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville, OH which provided the participating inmates with an opportunity to express their life’s journey through quilting. Many of these women have never quilted before but their works give voice to powerful emotions and deep faith."

This piece called "Here I Am..." is by Ronda Carmella Edwards. Here is her artist statement:

"I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the Seraphim: each one had six wings with twain he covered his feet and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, holy, holy, holy is Sabaoth the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory. And the house was filled with smoke. Then said I “woe is me!” for I am undone; because I am a wo-man of unclean lips and dwell in the midst of people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the king, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the Seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: and he laid it upon my mouth and said, lo, this hath touched thy lips, and thine iniquity is taken away and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying, whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, here am I; send me. Isaiah 6;1-8He changed me, molded me, clothed me, and allowed me away out of hell fires, by washing me. He sent a sinner back to the sinners so they can see Christ inside of me. God kept the fight in me he just changed the purpose of it. He took my pain and hurt and turned it into love, joy, peace and gave me a job to renew the minds, and the brokenhearted.

To visit the entire exhibit. Please visit:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

University of Michigan - Cancer Quilts Gallery

My Fiber Artists @ Loose Ends group made art quilts for the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Michigan. They are currently on display until August 17th in the waiting area gallery. The theme of each piece is a plant or animal being used in chemotherapy.

Click here to learn more and get directions to the exhibit. Pictures provided courtesy of Anne Cooper from the University of Michigan. After August 17, 2009, the pieces will be moved to their permanent home in the Bone Marrow Transplant area of the Cancer Center. I recently received an email from a women who was very touched by the exhibit. She was there waiting for her sister who is being treated for Breast Cancer.
To see close-up pictures of the individual cancer quilts on the Fiber Artists @ Loose Ends website , click here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sacred Threads 2009

I have returned from Columbus Ohio. It was a short trip to see several quilt exhibits including NQA, Quilt National and Sacred Threads. Here are my Sacred Threads pieces: Fire Dance and Praise.

The Sacred Threads show was even better than I anticipated. I was very familiar with all the quilts from working on the Show CD and the jurying system. But, seeing the work in person is incredible.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More People To Love My Kids

You read about "blended families" and that kids having more adults to love them can be a wonderful blessing. Well, my kids have that, sort of. They have Honorary Grandparents. Don and Peggy have been close friends of my parents since before I was born. We celebrated Thanksgiving together for as long as I can remember. And as an adult, they loved to tell me what they thought of my various boyfriends that I would bring home for visits. One of my sweetest memories is when Don took me to lunch on the day I was to be married, after a painful broken engagement. He reached out to me on a tough day. Now when that anniversary comes around, I remember his kind gesture and our time together.

So when I was pregnant with our first child, Mike and I asked Don and Peggy to be Honorary Grandparents. Mike's parents are both deceased so this gave our kids two sets of grandparents and increased our extended family circle.

Don and Peggy are true grandparents. They celebrate all our major events and love and dote on the kids. It wasn't until the kids were older, that they realized that Gran and Gramps weren't actually blood relatives. When my youngest was in elementary school she wrote a little paper on how she had inherited her love and skill for painting from her grandfather. (His website is

So, this past weekend, Don celebrated his 80th birthday. I made this little quilt to celebrate. The photo was taken at my son's Eagle Court of Honor.

You just can't have too many people that love your kids.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hoffman Challenge 2009

My Hoffman Challenge piece called Woodland Spring is done and on its way to Fort Collins, CO.

It took me awhile to be inspired by this year's Hoffman Challenge fabric. But finally, the idea for Woodland Spring surfaced. New leaves and blossoms are just appearing in the forest.
I used my Lazy Landscape for the background and my Graceful Trees design. Hot fix pearls made the sweet little blossoms.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Quilt Camp - Finally, Time for New Work

Just before Easter, I had the great fun of having 5 friends join me at my beach house in California for a week of sewing. We set up the family room, overlooking the ocean, with sewing tables, ironing boards and a cutting area.
We had a blast. It was one of my best vacations ever. I concentrated on UFOs and made this new piece here called Icelandic Poppies. I was inspired by all the California poppies that were in bloom.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Special Occasion Quilt

In late March we celebrated my Dad's 80th birthday. So naturally, I wanted to make a special gift to commemorate the occasion.
This simple piece features a photo of my folks, my brother and me, our spouses and the 6 grandkids. I had each of my kids write a sentence about why they love Papa. I free-motion quilted their words in the blue border.
I learned a lesson in making this small piece. I added the narrow black flange to the blue border before I attached it to the half-square triangle inner border. Duh, the flange covers up my near perfect points.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Alliance for American Quilts: Quilters' S.O.S.

I was interviewed for the Alliance of American Quilts - Quilters' S.O.S. - Save our Stories as an artist in the Sacred Threads Quilt Exhibit. You can read my interview, by clicking here.

This picture is of my quilt, Miriam's Dance which exhibited at Sacred Threads in 2007.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Work: Compassion

A dear friend of mine from church, Babette, went on a mission trip last summer to Rwanda. Knowing my love for quilting, she brought back this beautiful batik which I used here as the central panel. I added the black and half square triangle borders and then quilted it. I call this piece Compassion since she was on a trip with the Christian humanitarian organization called Compassion International.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Laptop Pattern For Sale

I am pleased to report that my first pattern is for sale! This pattern is based on the pre-cut 2-1/2" strips of Hoffman Bali Pops or any jelly roll collection. It is easy to make and adjusts to any size laptop.

You can purchase this pattern on-line directly from me, by going to my home page.

Carly Mul at also carries the pattern and you can buy the wonderful Bali-Pops directly from her website. Click here to see the pattern at

For local Washington DC Quilters, Leslie Pfeifer at the Quilt Patch also carries the pattern in the store.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New Work called Punch Line: “‘Twas Me First Day With Me Hook”

My Fiber Artists @ Loose Ends group is exhibiting "Punch Line" at Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton, VA, February 26-March 1, 2009. My piece is called “‘Twas Me First Day With Me Hook”

This inspiration drawing, shown above, was by my husband, Michael Ellis. My piece illustrates the last line of a famous joke about a pirate talking to a bartender about how he lost his eye.
A pirate walks into a bar. The bartender says, "I haven't seen you lately. Last time you had both eyes.""Arrgh," says the pirate, "I was swabbing me deck, when gulls were flying over. I looked up, and one of them pooped in me eye.""So?" replied the bartender, "You couldn't have lost an eye just from that!"
"Well," says the pirate, "’Twas was me first day with me hook.”