Aloha Tropicals!

tropicals quilt

I had a sweet surprise in the virtual mailbox this week: the lovely people at Hoffman Fabrics choose my Mousetrap pattern to show off their latest Tropicals and Conversationals prints, and sent me this image of their quilt. Love the aloha spirit! And check out the surfboard print!

And here’s a tidbit of trivia for you… did you know that Hoffman designed fabric for Tom Selleck’s shirts in Magnum PI?

aloha shirt

Alooooooha Tom!

Whew! Now that your 80’s flashback is over (or is it an 80’s hot flash?!)…

The quilt is heading to AQS in Paducah at the end of April to hang at the Hancocks of Paducah fabric store (if you’ve never been in there its well worth a visit). It might also make an appearance at Spring Quilt Market in Portland in May.

If you happen to see the quilt, get someone to snap a shot of you with it and send it to me, OK? Mahalo!

Tom Selleck Image courtesy the Aloha Shirt Museum


And the winners are…

Five readers chimed in with estimates, ranging from 1500 to 6789! The total for yesterday was 4447 (what a fun number!) and today by noon was 1136 – for a grand total of 5583.


So – being as I made a pretty confused mess out of this one (lesson learned about being clearer, and getting my comments turned on from an iPad!) I’d like to send some Sassy Button love to all five guestimators: So Sandra, Peg, Pamela, Sher and texasboxerlover – I’ve sent you an email requesting your mailing addy – please respond so I can send some goodies!

Now let’s get back to making art!


An insane day of traffic! – UPDATED – with comments turned on!

Update at 9pm: I did this original post from an iPad, and forgot to turn on the comments – OOPS! Guestimates are welcome until noon CA time on Tuesday March 26 2013 – and I will choose two winners to make up for goofing this up! ~ Sam

And another update! To clarify… I will count the insane Monday PLUS Tuesday till noon!!

Well, well, well! There’s been an incredible flurry of traffic coming to the site today! It started building over the weekend, and has launched like a rocket today.

It seems that you, my fab followers, have been rabidly sharing the post I wrote back in November, on how I calculate the value of a quilt.

And many of you have left great comments furthering the conversation about the fact that what we make has value beyond the mass produced. The dialog has been wonderful, and I appreciate that it has all been so respectful ( not always the case in the blogosphere!)

The number of views was over 1000 when I got home from early morning yoga, 1500 when I headed out for the day a couple hours later, and it just headed over 3500! It’s nuts, I tell ya! Insane! I’m tickled beyond description!

So let’s have some fun with this, shall we? Leave a post below with your estimate for the total views for today. I’ll look at the numbers tomorrow morning, and whoever guessed closest gets some Sassy Buttons in the mail. So lets play!


Comments now closed!

Filling the well – more process

Last week I experimented with a different way of working… instead of just working one thing to the end of a logical step, I tried giving several important things a spot of focus in the same day. When I work one thing at a time it feels like other things may begin to rot from lack of attention. I start to get unfocused on what I’m doing because I’m worrying that the neglected children on my to-do list are getting up to something naughty – and such lack of focus usually makes for some type of mess (an over-looked commitment, sewing through my finger…)

So I attempted to inch the major tasks forward all at the same time, and the result was that I was even more scattered. A great experiment in process, but in the end, not one that fit me well. Remember what I say about process – it’s the one that works for you that counts!

After a couple of days of feeling like a juggling clown, I was ready to take to the couch with an attack of the vapors, and possibly a box of chocolates (I would have gone to See’s, and had them hand-pack my favorite dark morsels – hellooooo Dark Chocolate Butterchew!). But instead, I decided to fill my mind instead of my tummy – and I headed for the Getty Center.

It would be easy to list the downsides* to living in Los Angeles, but being close to several world-class museums is not one of them. As they change their special exhibitions often, you can bet that on any given day there is more new art to look at than you can handle. This particular day was bright and sunny, the perfect day for refilling the well.

Refilling the well. Sharpening the saw. Feeding your head. When you live a life of creative output, there must be a balancing input. Yin and yang, circle of life, field and fallow. If we don’t occasionally feast, we will hit creative famine. Finding inspiration is a necessary part of artistic endeavor, and it is critical to your creative well-being to make this just as important as any other task in the studio.

Image courtesy of the Getty - Vermeer's Woman in Blue Reading a Letter

Image courtesy of the Getty – Vermeer’s Woman in Blue Reading a Letter

My reason for choosing the Getty was the young lady above, visiting our fair city for six very short weeks. She is Vermeer’s Woman in Blue Reading a Letter. I was fortunate to be among sparse crowds as I absorbed the painting’s mysteries, and spent about 20 minutes just looking deeply at the work.

She is lovely. While I’m picky about the realistic painting I like, every Vermeer I’ve had the privilege of getting my nose up to has taken my breath away. It’s not just that the painting technique is sublime, it’s the immediacy of moment that he captures. They feel as un-posed as Cartier-Bresson’s street photography, and they are so very enigmatic. Who is she? What’s in that letter? Is it good news or bad? I love getting lost in the questions a work asks me. (The Getty asked their blog followers to write the opening line of the letter).

And then there are the technical marvels. The tiny flecks of light added to the studs on the chairs to give them dimension. The myriad shades of blue – and not just in her jacket. They are deep, dark, bright, shiny, sunny, airy… how many ways can you use a blue? They are in the chairs, the finial, the walls, the cloth, even reflected into the envelope on the table. There is tension in her hands, and a slight parting of her lips. Is it a gasp of surprise? An exhalation on the cusp of despair? Vermeer allows us the room to craft our own story for her.

After my time with the lady, I re-visited a few favorite pieces, and then ate my lunch in the gardens while getting some sunshine on my skin. Head filled with ideas. Tummy filled with healthier fare than those chocolates. Heart filled with beauty. Art always makes things right in my world.

*And then I hit the traffic filled freeways to get home :-)

PS – Vermeer’s legendary Girl with the Pearl Earring is at the De Young Museum in San Francisco until June 2nd (first time out of Holland in 30 years). I’ll be making my way there soon!

The Ultimate Power Tool

She’s home!


The week before, as I worked through the last bit of a binding on my trusty steed, there came a sound. I know you’ve heard it (or one just like it). One of those ugly sounds that sewing machines and cars make when they heard you might have received a bonus, or a few bucks back from the IRS.

I packed her up and took her to my beloved repair folks – Frank’s Vacuum and Sewing in Monstrose, CA. Harlin spent a few minutes wiggling things around and told me he’d call in the morning. I drove off, holding my breath.

I got her back last night… it seems I had worn out the needle linkage and the bit that brings up the feed dogs to do their business. And nicked the bobbin case (again). She’s a working machine, not a show horse, so none of this sounded out of line considering I’m heading into my 10th year with her. I’ve put thousands of thread miles on her: I completed a Master of Fine Arts degree in Fiber with this machine, and have made and quilted close to a hundred quilts in just the last three years. To say she deserves some love is an understatement.

While she was gone, one of her sisters came to hang out and keep me company. I am blessed for good friends that share my taste in sewing machines* and are willing to let them come visit as needed. 

Tomorrow she and I have a date in the studio. We’re gonna test a pattern together. Can’t wait!

* She and her sisters are Janome Memory Craft 6500Ps. Love ’em dearly.