Launching into Spring

This is Jane

Spring is here and I just got back from a short Spring break excursion on the Mendocino Coast. During Covid times options to get away have been limited but we have managed a few camping trips and this time we were not disappointed.

Russian Gulch State Park

Booking tent camping at this time of year can be like Russian roulette but we were lucky to go during a warm and (more importantly) a dry spell. It was cold in the evenings and during the night but by taking along our new Solo Stove for our campfire, it was super efficient and really kept us warm in the evenings. During the day we got the opportunity to explore the coastline between Fort Bragg and Mendocino. We loved the rugged beauty, especially as it had been 20 years since our last visit.

We stayed near Caspar at Jug Handle Creek Farm and I booked our camping through the Hipcamp website. It was a great experience and location. We could walk to Jug Handle Beach and to the Ecological Staircase hike. This hike took us through various terrains including redwood forests up to the Pygmy forest, which was a total surprise.

Hiking on the Mendocino Headlands in our masks.
http://www.foothillquilters.org/2021quiltshow.html

My local quilt guild, Foothill Quilters Guild, just opened their virtual quilt show. It is online for the whole of April. As we cancelled the show last year and it was not going to happen this year we decided to hold it online. Check it out at the link above. It’s easy to navigate with quilts to look at in various categories. Don’t forget to vote for your favorites! Also support the Vendors that have special events, discount codes and links to their websites. If you click on Artistic Alchemy here or on the vendor page you can see our new Promo video. Heidi, Sandra and I had a lot of fun, and laughs, chatting about the upcoming retreat.

Heidi, Sandra and myself at Zephyr Point, Lake Tahoe

We are all getting excited about the retreat this September. Enrollment continues to grow for Sandra’s matrix class, my mark-making and collage workshop and especially for Open Studio that Heidi is going to lead. We are also excited to introduce evening breakout sessions for small groups and small projects. You’ll be able to sign up for those at check-in. Also remember if you are thinking of joining us we do assign lake-view rooms on a first-come, first serve basis.

Beautiful Lake Tahoe

Coming this Spring I am launching some NEW online workshops. If you wish to take the Red-eyed Tree Frog workshop that will be on May 23rd, as part of the Road@Home May event. The Big-eyed Chameleon and my popular Sunflower workshop will be part of the Mancuso’s CREATE event held in early June. Registration has just opened for both of these online events so check them out.

I continue to keep busy with memory quilts that I custom make but when I get the chance I am trying to carve out time for “my work”. This small piece was an experiment using Lesley Riley TAP paper for the nest, a handprinted bird, free-motion stitching and some hand stitching.

‘Spring’ my SAQA Spotlight Auction donation

If you are thinking about joining me for my workshop at our retreat this year my plan is to have a full day playing with paints, inks, printing and generally making our own fabrics. Then we will get into the collage technique. Either using a photo or one of my patterns. I will guide you through the process from creating an enlarged pattern, making the collage to stitching and finishing the piece.

Choice of two sunflower patterns for Fabric Collage

I do have a couple of spots in a small group, online workshop I am hosting on April 21st 1-4pm PST. It is using my Sunflower Fabric Collage patterns. If you are interested contact me and I will give you more details.

Last summer I put together my Love of Pets Workshop as an on-demand, online class on Coursecraft and it has been very successful. I have a few more classes in the works including this baby giraffe collage pattern. I like to support the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and donated half the proceeds when I sold ‘Melman, the Vulnerable Giraffe’ quilt to support this cause. I plan on doing something similar with this pattern. Stay tuned for sneak peeks of the other workshops!

So after my short break I am slowly getting back into the swing of my work and sewing. I have my 1st vaccine on Sunday and pretty soon I will be back in-person talking and teaching to guilds which is exciting. So until next time, remember to check out our new Promo Video on the home page, ‘Stay Creative’ and Happy Easter.

Life’s not All about Sewing!

This is Jane. My post this week will not only be a catch-up of what I have been up to these last few months but I will talk about some of the books I have read this year. Normally I read about 6-8 books a year but looking back at my Kindle I was surprised to see I have already read 14 books.

I have been trying to get out and walk most mornings but with the California wildfires leaving us with unhealthy air and smoky skies it has been hard to do! This morning the sun looked like a red halo behind the smoke.

Smoky Skies in Christian Valley, Auburn, ,CA

Another nice thing about walking and exploring my neighborhood streets is that I get to visit with the local animals. A shortcut from my house takes me down a quiet irrigation canal, the NID and I get to visit with these goats and alpaca. They make me laugh.

Look at this guy, I think he is going to have to be in a quilt!

2020 has left me at home working on custom quilt orders, and lecturing to quilt guilds online and also teaching classes via Zoom. I really don’t have much free time to finish off my own work or even start new projects. This leaves me little time to spend on chores around the house ūüôā or reorganize and tidy, as I have a desire to do! My plan is to take December off from sewing which is something I haven’t done in years!

It seems like other people have the time to sort and gather old shirts ready for a quilt. I am getting plenty of people contacting me wanting to get these projects started. I enjoy making these quilts as they are all unique and its quite a challenge to unify this items into a lovable heirloom. I just don’t want to be kept so busy that I can’t work on my own quilts too!

This quilt was an interesting one. It combines a lot of items from the career of a Minnesota Vikings cheerleader. She sent me a knit hat, jean jacket, socks, fake leather booties and some small and shiny athletic clothing as well as a couple of T-shirts! It turned out great, totally unique and I got a nice thank-you note from the recipient.

Another challenge I have been enjoying is taking silk neckties, deconstructing them, then using a string piecing method to construct blocks. My daughter Lucy, who is not working right now, has been coming home to help me out. We spend a lot of time trying to make all these random colors and patterns blend together to make the perfect quilt!

Amazing sunsets happen when you get smoke filled skies!

Now I’ll get to share a few of the books I have been enjoying this year. I like to read but the only time I get to is before I fall asleep at night and then if I wake during the night. I think in my menopausal state I have trouble sleeping and rather than lie awake stressing about not sleeping I just fire up the Kindle and read. I love it for that reason!

Have you heard of Bookbub? Every Friday I receive a weekly email from Bookbub with ebook offers that show selected books that are on sale for that week. Either from Amazon or wherever you download your ebooks. Many of these I purchased, at the time, for $1.99 instead of $12-14. You just sign up and check all the genres that you like to read and wait to see what’s on offer.

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier. This story is set in England on the south coast of Dorset and follows the early life of Mary Annings. Growing up in England I was intrigued by her life as she discovered many of the early famous fossils in her home town of Lyme Regis.

Ruthless River by Holly Fitzgerald was real page turner. A true adventure of a newly wed couple who end up on a raft in the middle of the Amazon trying to survive.

The Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd. Having recently got into playing with Indigo and dyeing my own fabrics I was intrigued to read about an early history of this plant. The story of Eliza Lucas as she steers her way to running one of her fathers plantations in South Carolina in the early 18th century and her desire to make this crop successful is powerful.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi The story of two half sisters born in Ghana in the 18th Century, one will marry an Englishman and the other sold into slavery. They are not aware of one another but over the generations their lives twist and turn in different ways.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See. I loved this book. A story about family, love, tradition, tea farming and the bond between mothers and daughters.

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See. When I read this I hadn’t realized it was by the same author as the above and maybe that’s why I loved it so much. When we aren’t able to travel reading about places I’ve never seen makes me an armchair traveller. This one I highly recommend although I remember a very disturbing scene.

Last one. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. This book, released this summer was on various recommended reading lists and book club choices. Another book of parallel lives. It took a little to get into the characters but once I did it was hard to put down, even at 4 in the morning!

I added the links to Amazon to make it easier, although I am not affiliated with Amazon in any way.

I hope you have enjoyed hearing about these books and I do like receiving good book recommendations. Maybe in another post I will tell you about my all time favorite books. All of which I still own and don’t want to throw away.

My Coursecraft workshop

Just a short plug for the online workshop that I put together back in June, (seems so long ago now!). Love of Pets is available for purchase and you will have access to it 24/7 for as long as you wish and you get to work at your own pace. Through photos, videos and step by step instructions I guide you from the photo to collage to finishing your quilt. I know Sandra Bruce has been spending a lot of time working on her Material Matrix course, Heidi has started on hers and I know Christine Barnes is working on an online color course too.

Check out my website for any upcoming events I am teaching for online or look in my shop for kits and patterns that I sell. Although we can’t meet on person it is so good for Artistic Alchemy to still be able to share our creativity during Covid times.

DesignsbyHeidi.wordpress.com Comes to the Artistic Alchemy Blog Post This Week!

by HEIDI EMMETT

This was supposed to be the week of our 8th annual Artistic Alchemy Retreat at Zephyr Point, on the shores of Lake Tahoe. Less than 24 hours after the decision was made for Jane, & Sandra, and me to postpone our retreat until next September,¬† two of my dear friends from Portland, Oregon (who always drive down for this event), called to boost my spirits and said to me, “we’ll figure something out, how about our own Open Studio?”

Fast forward to the last week of August. These same two friends, Linda and Karenanne, rolled into Grass Valley after 10 hours on the road. They were so excited to be back in the Grass Valley area for a whole week of sewing fun. Are you kidding! I was so happy to have them here too because over the years when they come down two days before the Artistic Alchemy Retreat, THEY COOK FOR ME AND MY HUSBAND! This time it’s many, many gourmet meals to come. They cook, I clean up. Works for me.

The set up was fast. First thing the next morning. We re-arranged as more machines were added. We had a couple of sergers and another sewing machine (mine) a better ironing set up and design walls to come.
The dining table was perfect for cutting out our projects. Open Studio via Heidi’s house, ready to go in under 1/2 hour.¬† Karenanne began her project immediately, a quilt for her step-daughter and son-in-law. They love everything to do with “Day of The Dead.”
A beautiful book by Tula Pink & Angela Walters from which Karenanne found her “Day of the Dead” project, skulls. It’s the project right in the middle (blues and grays) above.
Design wall up and being used. It’s flannel on a stand. 5’x5′. More about this later. The beautiful blue fabrics are discussed in last weeks post. Go here if you missed it.
Riley the “helper” dog checking out Karenanne’s progress on her sewing table set-up.
Karenanne & Linda were soooo smart. Before we even greeted each other upon their arrival, they had treats for Riley. It’s their first meet and greet with our dog and they knew just how to win him over. Riley is in love! His tail is wagging so fast it’s a blur.
There it is, My “Sweet Sixteen.” I purchased it used, 3 years ago.
Somewhere within the first 6 months I actually quilted this Terrific Tabard on the Sweet 16.
Trying it out, Sadly, I really had no idea what I was doing. I watched 2 short videos. How I managed to get this vest quilted is beyond me. What IS that “thunk, thunk, thunk,” sound? Acckk…Ohhh forget it! Yep, I walked away from it. It has been sitting for over 2 years until NOW!¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†I LOVE YOU LINDA! She told me on Sunday afternoon, that on Tuesday morning, right after breakfast, be prepared to sit with her and we WILL LEARN HOW TO USE THIS MACHINE! She had the perfect opportunity to see if she wanted one herself. O.K. I’ll do it as I dragged myself up the stairs.¬† Only 1 hour later, a bunch of videos, sample tests, checking the manual, and Linda was quilting a baby quilt she had put together ahead of time. WOW! I can do this! The “thunking” sound from before, gone! (thinking the needle was placed in the wrong direction).¬† I have a quilt sandwiched together and will quilt on my own after I get this blog post published.
Another project of mine, a baby quilt. After the 2nd time I blew it on piecing the backing to fit correctly ( I mean REALLY Heidi, you can’t piece the backing properly the first time?…sigh…) It was sort of folded, wadded, in the corner of this same room. “Heidi, let’s get this quilt finished so you can give it to the baby while she is still a toddler,” was Linda’s comment to me. I had actually thought that as long as she got it before college I would be o.k. with that. Ha, Ha. Linda calls finishing projects, “Closing Windows.” Her job at home is in technology (in a very BIG way. She is in charge of soft wear implementation in hospitals and clinics in western states with over 100 people working under her) She said she is sooo tired of hearing people at work tell her, “this or that project is finished, but…¬† No more BUTS. Let’s CLOSE THE WINDOW!
I did whine about not knowing how to quilt it. Linda said, it’s a baby quilt. Keep it simple. She used a simple serpentine stitch on her super big open armed Janomie and zipped zipped right through this quilt.
Whoo hoo, almost finished. At one point, all three of us were sewing bindings on various quilts at the exact same time. We were in a circle facing each other, and laughing, and talking, and having the BEST time. We thought that this must be what an old-fashioned quilting bee was like.

I cut out this quilt while up at Zephyr Point in June. So I pulled it out (gotta close another window!) and got started on it. Villa Rosa has great fabric and quilting patterns for sale on line. Go here to check out this weeks special.
Looking good. Some progress. Sigh…”I spy” some strips (black ones) that are either too narrow or too wide. “Rippp” goes yee olde seam ripper. That’s o.k. I have always felt that the mark of a good sewist is one who knows how to rip out their seams properly.
How about my cool design wall? It is perfect when you are short on wall space.
I haven’t been able to find a web site for these design walls. Yes, I own 3 different sizes. But here’s a number and address. Love mine and they are really well made.
I was tired of lugging my heavy, older Bernina up and down the stairs for classes or whatever. This Baby Lock “Joy” (I got it 2 days before the shutdown here in CA in March) and it does just what I need for “classroom” sewing. It purrs along very nicely. Some things are in different places than what I’m used to, but for $175. it will pay for itself in no time (no more chiropractic fees for the bad back). Ha, ha.
A few more of Karenanne’s and Linda’s “favorite things” that they gave to me. These little clips are so strong and handy for holding bindings in place. No more blood on a quilt or hand done hem (when using straight pins).
How about this Yo,Yo magnifier/LED light? You NEED one of these puppies. Love led lights.

I have tried oodles of granolas. This one is by far my favorite. Linda made some last year for the first time and ohh yes! They brought some for us this year. We like Muesli for breakfast and with the fresh fruits of summer this granola is perfect. Then add about a cup of 2% plain, Greek yogurt  (good for your gut, high in protein) and on top add a tsp. of cinnamon (lowers blood sugar). Recipe below.

This is just a smidge of all we did at “Open Studio” at Heidi’s with Linda and Karenanne. I can’t wait to share more next week. Please join me at DesignsbyHeidi.wordpress.com if you can. I hope you will have time for some creativity this weekend,¬† even if it is by yourself. Thank you so much for stopping by. Big hugs to you all, Heidi

Reflections on the Artistic Alchemy Retreat

by Jane Haworth

Lake view from Zephyr Point

We have reached the end of August and during normal times we would all, students and teachers, be prepping for the Zephyr retreat but these aren’t normal times. Sadly Labor Day weekend will come and go without the excitement of driving to Tahoe, unpacking, settling in and meeting all the students. Alas we will have to wait until September 2021 for this. My post this time will be reflections about the retreat and I am happy to share I have some guest writers to help with me this.

Fallen Leaf Conference Room

If you have never joined us for a retreat Artistic Alchemy is a group of of three but previously four teachers that host a selection of workshops from quilting, collage, upcycling, designing and making wearables and surface design. This would have been the 7th year for Sandra Bruce, Heidi Emmett and I to organize and host this retreat for about 40-50 students.

Early morning solace at the lake

One of my favorite things to do while staying at the Zephyr Point Conference Center is to take an early morning walk around the property, then sit on the dock and look out at Lake Tahoe. 7am is a quiet time and this particular morning unfortunately a smoke haze could be seen in the distance. 2020 I was going to do an organized early morning walk with those who felt the urge or needed the exercise!

Postcard circa 2018

I was lucky enough to join Artistic Alchemy in 2018 after Christine Barnes stepped down. I knew Christine, Sandra and Heidi from the local teaching circuit and the day we took this photo was the day I met Mary. I was honored to join these wonderful ladies and be able to add another creative thread to the retreat.

Guest post from Christine Barnes

“There‚Äôs something magical about Artistic Alchemy at Zephyr Point. I think it‚Äôs a combination of the higher-altitude air, the amazing ‚Äúwater colors,‚ÄĚ and a simplicity like no other place on Tahoe. When you add in the energy of committed sewists and quilters, all happy to be a part of the collective creativity, the result is a very special experience. In each of the four years I taught color workshops, I came home tired but on a high, thrilled to be a part of AA and excited to go after new ideas that came from watching my students work with color. (Getting somewhere with color takes practice, but gosh, the result is worth the effort!) I confess to feeling a bit down the year after I retired, but the memories and the insights I gained stay with me. I hope it‚Äôs been the same for my students‚ÄĒyou can‚Äôt see me, but when I look at my pictures, I‚Äôm smiling at what you did and who you are.” Christine

Our design wall was color on display!
A whole of of auditioning went on at the wall. Here is one of my students from the Dakotas working on her Spumoni blocks. I think this is Gail, or Laurie‚ÄĒsorry I can‚Äôt quite recall.:-)

Guest post from Mary Boalt

“I want to thank Jane for asking me to reminisce for a moment or two. About now it‚Äôs good to spend a few minutes thinking about some happier times. I have fond memories of our retreats at Zephyr. The camaraderie among the women was amazing. Whether a quilter, art quilter, or wearable artist, the relationships built during that week were undeniable. We all shared a love of creating. What could be more fun? To spend four days immersed in learning a new technique and adding it to your repertoire of skills feels like pure joy and indulgence! I think the most exciting year was the five year anniversary of Artistic Alchemy. What a testament to the vision that Heidi, Christine and Sandra had to create a retreat for like minded women and have them ‚Äúplay‚ÄĚ together for a week! Additionally, that first week in September has the best weather ever to be enjoyed along with the best view ever! I hope by this time next year you will be able to have this pleasure again. In the meantime, be careful, be safe and carry on creatively.” Fondly Mary Boalt.

Gail showing off her vest
Mary and some wonderful painted canvases

Guest post from Heidi Emmett

“I will TOTALLY miss the camaraderie that is developed during this time with each of my students and how we become a cohesive group with ideas bouncing off the walls for something that’s upcycled or a new technique to try. Everyone is enthusiastic in their own way and it is so fun to be a part of. I will miss the “ahha” moments when it is discovered that they CAN make and ENJOY a garment that they sewed themselves using my Art to Wear patterns. AND that it IS O.K. to break some sewing garment rules. They finally feel free to get some creativity going and it feels mighty fine!” Heidi. 

Sunset over Lake Tahoe. This happened during our nightly program

Sharing the lake with others is what Lake Tahoe is all about.

Guest post from Sandra Bruce

“One of my favorite parts of being at Zephyr with Artistic Alchemy is the shot we get of everyone at the end, on the last day. We don‚Äôt always get every single person, some ladies have to scoot early to catch planes, for instance, but it is so fun to gather as a group one last time for this picture. Friendships have been made, stories told and shared, and the week has been diffused with lots of creativity, learning, and laughs! Here‚Äôs the collection‚Ķ2015 is missing from my photo library, but the rest are here.” Sandra

Group Phot0 2014
Group Photo 2016
Group Photo 2017
Group Photo 2018
Group Photo 2019

What a great look back over the years! Unfortunately Sandra couldn’t find the group photo for 2015. It is nice to see so many friendly, familiar faces and returning students too. Has anyone been to every retreat!

I remember in maybe 2015 looking at the Artistic Alchemy website and contemplating signing up for Open Studio. I joined the group in 2018 and it was my first retreat, first time at Zephyr Point and first time in this group. For the Artistic Alchemy 5th anniversary I contacted various quilt companies and individuals to see if they would donate some free swag for giveaways and I was totally surprised how generous people were. Thank you sponsors. It was so fun each night at the program/show and tell to be able to share all this swag!

Everyone looks happy with their free swag!!

I was looking forward to my workshop this year it was called Mark-making and Collage and would have included a day of playing and printing with fabric paints. I started to put together a fabric journal with some of my samples but I suppose now I have another year to work on this.

Working to combine the pages of this fabric Journal

Best wishes to you all for following along with our journey and although we won’t be at the Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center this year we can all dream about it. We are planing to return next year September 6-10th 2021. Keep safe, keep well and keep creating.

Jane, Sandra, Mary and Heidi Sept 2019

Trip To Zephyr Point – THE HOME OF OUR ARTISTIC ALCHEMY RETREAT!

by HEIDI EMMETT

Some of you may know that my husband, Robert, and I volunteer for one week during the summer at the Zephyr Point gift shop. I run the retail side and Robert is the Frozen Yogurt King! Going up and staying at Zephyr Point during the summer ALWAYS gets me excited about our up coming Artistic Alchemy Retreat. This year, sadly, was quite different.

     AA Logo1

A picture from the deck of the gift shop. Now you can see why we want to “volunteer” to work in the gift shop. We sleep down below. So we have the same view from our private deck.

The gift shop is the top floor. Our sleeping area is the lower deck, it’s a studio apt. There are no volunteers this year. But, we were able to come and pay to stay in this very studio apt. from June 19th-26th. It was a REAL VACATION! Haven’t had a total week off in 3 yrs.It was an amazing but oh so different time.
This would have been our 9th year of volunteering during the summer. And of course summer is Zephyr Point’s busiest time.I started my first day there this year by walking around the grounds. The view above is of Tallac Mountain at over 9,000ft. Can you see the cross outline of snow near the top of the Mtn.?
On the walk from from our cabin to Tallac Center and the Dining room. The Dining room is closed this year. Only the cabins are open. They rent out approx. 40 cabins on site.
This is the back of Cabin # 8. It’s the only cabin on the property with the cute, carved shutters. The level you are looking at is the gift shop. Cabin #8 (the studio we stayed in) is now available to rent for the summer months only. There is no insulation.
This is cabin # 28. It is the newly revamped coffee shop on the grounds. Closed for the summer. Miss sitting out on the deck and looking at the “Peek a Boo” view of the lake, watching the birds, chipmunks, people watching, all this while sipping a cuppa.
Wandering around the beautiful grounds of the “hotel” type sleeping rooms of Tallac center. These are rooms Artistic Alchemy retreat students covet. The “Lakeside” rooms! All closed up. This is such a surreal summer.
Above and to the left is Inspiration Point. It is a two story, soaring,open and light filled conference room that is used during the Artistic Alchemy retreat. And 3 stories of more sleeping rooms of which Artistic Alchemy uses all of them. It is so eerily silent.
Go through that archway (Portal of Prayer) and step down a few steps and look at the most amazing view! A prayer of thanksgiving for this amazing place is in order too.
Look how close these rooms are to the lake itself! The views from the sleeping rooms alone are worth the price of admission to our Artistic Alchemy retreat.
Full on view of Inspiration Point. You could be here but sadly, not until September of 2021. What an “Inspiration” Inspiration Point is right now, shhh….it’s SO QUIET! Listen to the sounds of nature and the occasional boat going by.
Total relaxation in my “upcycled” tunic (by The Upcycled Closet via Etsy) and doing some hand work.

     AA Logo1
Oh my goodness! Can it be, Heidi working on cutting out a quilt!
Simple running stitches on a piece and contemplating adding a butterfly from scraps. Both of these are home decorating fabric scrap pieces.
My dear friend Linda made me a zippered bag (it is holding all my threads,needles, and beads that I’m working with) that has the cutest panels on it. Yep, this is me.
Or maybe this is me! For the record, I owned a pair of candy striped “cat eyed” glasses in 4th grade.I found out later (my brother married the girl next door) that my sister-in-law was very jealous of my cool glasses and wished she wore glasses. Seriously?! My hair has never been green, but during all that’s going on, I just might dye it that color to hide my dark roots.

I leave you with this inspirational picture.I took it from the deck of our cabin. I spoke with the woman who is SWIMMING! (water temp. 40-46 degrees all year round. Yowzaa!) A family member always followed her. We were at Zephyr Point the same amount of days and without fail, she swam each and every morning. She told me she wanted to push herself EVEN on the mornings she didn’t feel like it. And she always felt so good and so glad when she DID IT.

How about us? During this time in 2020 are we pushing ourselves to do things we maybe have never tried? Or started something and let it slide because we “didn’t feel like it anymore?” I most certainly include myself in this. So let’s all pick something (make a small list, not too long or we’ll be overwhelmed) and let’s “JUST DO IT.”

Blessings and hugs, Heidi

     AA Logo1

 

Let’s JUST DO IT!

by HEIDI EMMETT

With all my “gigs” canceled or postponed, I’m seeing it as a great opportunity. The purging and cleaning part, JUST DO IT! I am starting to feel that I can accomplish more within my creative life as the slate is being “wiped clean” so to speak.

I just “purged” my email account. Oh my! I was going to be so good to keep that one up…I have 4 categories in my email account and just to give you an idea of how many emails I keep around, in the “Updates” category alone, I had 20,639 emails. Whoo hooooo! All gone! (I did save important emails but, I might have missed some). So if you don’t hear from me and you wrote to me via email about something, try again.

It is so hard to work from home people! And that brings up something else, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, can really take a chunk out of ones “working” time.¬† I only really use Pinterest and only in the mornings, 15 minutes, well it has stretched to 40-60min. ha, ha. ¬†I don’t message on FB, Pinterest, or Instagram. I honestly don’t know how and have no time for it (I know, your saying, she’s too busy on Pinterest). I’m not saying these platforms aren’t good, I like them for my business’ sake but not for messages.

Email me if you want to ask me a question or whatever. And now that I have cleaned out my emails I will see your email that much faster. So, JUST DO IT! I know,email is so “last year” but it is MY way of communicating. Here is my email address: hmemmett@gmail.com¬† P.S. I do respond to my blog post comments.

   AA Logo1

I am so excited to tell you that, I JUST DID IT!, my Etsy store has been UPDATED to now include every one of my patterns in a pdf/digital format. Now you have two choices, “hard copy” (everything in a plastic sleeve), or pdf/digital (cheaper but you print it out at home).¬† You can always buy directly from me as well for either a hard copy or pdf. Email address again: hmemmett@gmail.com¬† ¬†ESPECIALLY good for overseas orders. I can save you $ in shipping charges.¬†¬†

I have also been looking into creating on-line classes. I want them fun and informative. They will be technique oriented. I’m very excited about it and now I have time so I will JUST DO IT!

And I have a couple more patterns that need to be finished too. Heidi, JUST DO IT!

Please peruse through my “Art to Wear” pattern line below and to get more information about them, tap on the Etsy icon (sprinkled throughout this post).¬† Remember, my patterns are all “blank canvases” for you to use your own techniques, fabrics, and color schemes.

     AA Logo1

 

 

     AA Logo1

Having a year off from¬† the Artistic Alchemy Retreat is going to put new ideas into the mix to truly make 2021 the best retreat ever!¬† So keep coming to our blog (tap on the icon in the “lineup” of icons above). We will continue to bring you things that are happening in all 3 of our creative filled lives that make up the whole idea of ARTISTIC ALCHEMY.

It’s time people! JUST DO IT! Get your creative going this weekend in the garden, at your sewing machine, with your knitting needles, etc.

I leave you with these thoughts: Wherever you are today, may the sun shine on you. Whatever you do today, may it give you a sense of peace and completion…Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God!

Hugs, Heidi

Changing Times. Embracing Technology!

This is Jane. My blog post this week will start from a message from us all.

 It is our utmost desire when having our retreats at Zephyr to give you the optimum experience….where you are able to learn, laugh, and enjoy the company of the other sewists in the beautiful setting of Lake Tahoe. We three, Jane, Heidi and Sandra have been in constant communication with Zephyr, and between ourselves, about the fate of the September retreat in light of the Covid virus. We want, more than anything, to be able to go forward there in safety and assurance of a positive experience for you all. When we were in discussion about this issue we came to the ultimate conclusion that we cannot assure these objectives. In many ways it is out of our hands and for that reason we are postponing our September retreat until 2021. Your safety and positive experience are our primary goals.
  
We know how disappointed you are, as are we, but you surely understand where we are coming from in postponing the retreat. Please email us for any questions you may have. This is unprecedented territory for us, and we pledge to be fair and equitable going forward. We want 2021 to be a fantastic year with a retreat that is the best yet.

Artistic Alchemy retreat Zephyr Point

Lake view from Zephyr Point

It makes us sad to have made this decision but I feel we can all now move forward and focus on the retreat for 2021. As a traveling quilt teacher I have just about written off 2020. I still have a few things on my calendar but I shall have to wait and see if they go ahead. As I said in my blog title, even I am now having to jump on the technology bandwagon, something a few weeks ago I just wasn’t interested in doing.

Mark-making and Collage Jane Haworth

Fabric Journal, one of the samples for Artistic Alchemy retreat

As for technology I recently presented my lecture ‘Living a Creative Life’ to the San Francisco Quilt Guild using Zoom! My Power Point lasted 30 minutes, followed by Q & A, and went down well, I believe! ¬†We had 138 attendees and all stayed till the end. I will say I did miss the audience reactions and participation though.

Pet Portrait Fabric collage Jane Haworth

Precious

And I am now working on putting together an online class called Love of Pets Fabric Collage. This wasn’t something I had considered but as time goes on and reality sets in I know I won’t be teaching in person for a while. When I think about the opportunities that this opens up, its pretty good. Quilters from all around the country and world will have the chance¬†to take my class.

Fabric Jane Haworth

Fabric selection ideas for Love of Pets online class

The good thing that has come out of this pandemic is reconnecting with family, and friends using either Messenger video groups, Instagram Live or Zoom. I come from a large family, all of them in the UK and for the first we have been catching up virtually. Pokey Bolton has a daily chat with quilters and artists on Instagram Live at 1pm pacific time and I was on with her a few weeks ago talking about this very subject, teaching cancellations and ways to move forward. Then lets not mention the funny glasses my close friend Ronnie and I found on Messenger video!

Hanging out on the porch May 2020

Porch time during lockdown

Staying at home I think is made easier by creating routines. I will work in the morning, have a family lunch and play Yahtzee on the iPad, listen to Pokey’s 1pm chat, work the afternoon till about 5 when its “Beer O’clock”. This is our family time for a beer on the porch and daily card game challenge! Our favorites are Wizard, Knaves and Phase 10.

Big Frank Jane Haworth

Big Frank 46″ x 69″

Now that I have had more time for sewing I will share what I’ve been working on over the last couple of months. With the deadline to enter the World of Beauty quilt competition at IQF Houston coming up, I decided to make a couple of large quilts. I always think a quilt needs to be big to look impressive hanging in a quilt show. So Big Frank was created! I’m pretty happy with him and am now working on Little Frank and perhaps pattern I can share.

Big Franks Eye Jane Haworth

Detail of the eye, approx 9” x 6”

Here is a detail of his eye and really I don’t think it looks as impressive close-up as you just see the different fabrics I included. Some are pretty random! When I started this quilt my intent to use scraps and those old fabrics I have but never use. Pretty much the ugly ones! I started with a grey, brown and blue palette but as the quilt grew I would get bored with using these same fabrics and so I’d look through my stash and grab a bunch in another color. So now as he progressed I added those greens, ochres and even pinks!

Notes of Hope Jane Haworth

Notes of Hope 81” x 61”

This is the other large quilt I have been working on and just finished. ¬†I made it in response to the Mountain Art Quilters Spring challenge. The category that spoke to me was ‘Colors of Emotion’

Forestall Bridge

Small ‘messages of hope’ attached to the railings on the Foresthill Bridge, CA

The story behind this quilt. In 2018 I remember hearing on the news that a lady from Auburn, Brittney Hendricks, organized for volunteers to make ‘Notes of Hope’ that they attached to the railings on the Foresthill Bridge. This bridge is located just outside Auburn, CA is the highest bridge in California and fourth highest in the USA and has been the scene for 90 suicides since it was built in 1947. These ‘messages of hope’ attached to the bridge are¬†an attempt to convince people that life continues to be worth living. I walked the bridge with my son James in the new year and took many photos.

These photos I printed onto fabric sheets and then Improv pieced everything together. Starting with the words, the dark black fabrics around them, included a small colorful border and then more black border. I will say it was a little tricky to square it up!

This little ‘Yorkie’ quilt is one of many samples started whilst demoing in the classes I teach. Having more time now I want to work on these. Once the collage was finished it was time to choose the background. I put these photos on my new Facebook group Fabric Collage School asking for opinions and although I love the busy background on the left I settled with the more restful blue one on the right. Its so fun to get peoples ideas and opinions while you are still working on something!

Dirty Machine Jane Haworth

Time to clean this machine!

After spending a month making masks, and sewing everyday I finally decided it was time to clean out my sewing machine. I have a Juki 2010Q which is a straight stitch semi-industrial machine and I love it. Its a workhorse. Everyday I oil my machine and clean out around the bobbin but it has this little hatch underneath that was last cleaned out around Christmas. I think it was time!

Now its time to get back to sewing, video taping my work in progress for my online class and entering my quilts into World of Beauty. Although sadly we won’t be holding our retreat I do want to devote some time to fabric play and mark-making and come up with some great samples for next time. Out of interest is anyone up for some kind of virtual Artistic Alchemy event?

 

Friday FEATURE: Off The Grid Vest from Anchorage, Alaska!

by Heidi Emmett

Before we get started on this Friday’s “FEATURE”, a few words from the Artistic Alchemy team. We are in touch with Zephyr Point Conference Center quite often to find out the status of our Artistic Alchemy Retreat this September 7-11th. I last spoke with them just yesterday 4/30 and they are excited to see us all in September. So yes!! we are still a GO for the Artistic Alchemy Retreat. And there is still room for you in all the classes so, knowing you will be ohhh sooo ready for a retreat this September to the Mountains and Lake Tahoe, and all the SEWING/CREATIVE time you could want, SIGN UP NOW!

Hello spring! It has really sprung here in Northern CA. Record highs for the end of April. But wait, it’s May 1st. The dates and days are all running together in my opinion. Have you noticed that too?

     AA Logo1

I know it’s HUGE! Surprisingly, “hugely” sweet too.
The color! Luscious.
I like how my super amazing tasting, first of the season strawberries look on my vintage tea towel. And these beauties tasted even BETTER than they look here.

Candy Tuft NEVER disappoints. Grows well in many zones. It blooms without fail every single year. I have some that is at least 25 years old. And the deer don’t like it!

And now I want to introduce to you Sandy W. from Anchorage, Alaska who made this wallhanging. Isn’t this quilt STUNNING! It is titled¬† “Girl With a Pearl by The Sea.” The composition, the colors, the design, the 3-dimensional quality, all come together to make for a lovely creation. It is her own design and quilting is just one of the things she does. She also creates AMAZING watercolor paintings. I can’t show you her latest as it is going into a show and can’t be seen by anyone until the show starts.¬† And sewing is something else she does.

Sandy, using my Art to Wear, “OFF THE GRID VEST” pattern made NOT just One, not even Two¬† OFF THE GRID’S, but FIVE of them, one right after the other!!¬† Yes, she had some time up in Anchorage, Alaska.

     AA Logo1

Please read what Sandy had to say about her versions of OFF THE GRID VEST.
Regarding the vests, I worked steadily on each one for two and a half days. Was just on a roll, as I haven’t had so much fun sewing in years. The green one, where I put the fronts to the sides before cutting and made the collar longer, actually gave me the most trouble. Reversed front of binding multiple times.
Watercolor painting has pretty much what I have been doing daily for 20 months, being retired. I have fabrics picked out for a blue version, and might send the purple one to my 94 year old Mother.

Don’t you love how she used to basic pattern pieces and did her own thing!
I like the cool pocket Sandy added to this OFF THE GRID VEST.

     AA Logo1
Sandy kept with the ombre’ fabric that I used in my cover shot, but the splitting of the fabric¬† and inserting long curving shapes gives some real depth and drama and of course the long and lean look I’m always talking about in all of my Art To Wear sewing patterns.
“Purple passion with patch pockets.” That’s what I call this OFF THE GRID VEST. I like the over and under strips that showcase the front panels.
This OFF THE GRID VEST features an Ombre’ fabric that is used so effectively in this version. It is one piece of fabric deftly cut to its’ best advantage. I think the black trim is the perfect color choice for this “Simply Elegant” look. Check out the pocket that moves over to the far side of the front, and is held in place by the finishing trim.

What’s different about this OFF THE GRID VEST? Sandy eliminated the collar piece. That’s what you do when you are on vest # 5, yes, FIVE.
The color choices for this OFF THE GRID VEST make it a stand out! Well done Sandy.
When this OFF THE GRID VEST is opened and laid out you can see all the detailing minus the collar. Sandy, SANDY! Thank you SO MUCH for this eye opening fashion show of 5 OFF THE GRID VESTS! What an amazing job! Your creativity and color sense and beautiful stitching show off my vest pattern so nicely.  You are the BEST!

Hey everyone I know this fashion show will give you ideas for your own OFF THE GRID VEST. Contact me (Heidi Emmett) at my email: hmemmett@gmail.com for ways to buy this Art to Wear pattern (or any of my others) and save $ on shipping.

Please visit my own personal blog at: DesignsbyHeidi.wordpress.com for more sewing and creative adventures. Go here!

     AA Logo1

I leave you all with a song to put you in a Zen mood to get you ready for your next creative adventure. Hugs, Heidi

     AA Logo1

Announcing our 7th Annual Artistic Alchemy Retreat – September 7th-11th, 2020

Welcome everyone to our 2020 line up of workshops and Open Studio!

We accidentally hit the “PUBLISH” button the other night before everything was perfectly in place. So, here’s a chance to view the IMPROVED version. And we’re here to answer questions.

Please note that the date seems later, but it’s just the way the calendar worked out this year. Arrive on Monday (Labor Day), the 7th and return home late morning of Friday, the 11th.

Mary Boalt will not be with us for 2020 because of personal family obligations. We have REALLY enjoyed working with Mary and she will be greatly missed.

Another change this year for 2020 is that we are planning on having Open Studio in its own room. We want you to enjoy working at your own pace, staying up all night (if you want); bring all your UFO’s, and enjoy being with other Open Studio attendees. Be inspired by the nightly programs, the scenery,and the new friends you will make. To enable this “private space” to happen we will need a good showing of attendees. So sign up early! Open studio prices are listed on the registration form and the prices include your sleeping room and your working space, etc.

As you check out the workshops, please read all the way through each one. All the workshops have sewing skill parameters and we want you to be aware of each teacher’s needs for the BEST possible experience for YOU! If you have any questions, email that teacher before you sign up. We’ll get back to you asap.

Thank you for stopping by. Start by perusing the updated 2020 drop down Menu Bar. We hope to see YOU at our Artistic Alchemy Retreat this year.

All the best from Sandra, Heidi and Jane.

Take a Look Back on 2019 with Designs by Heidi Emmett

by HEIDI EMMETT¬† I have not stood still this year! Well, there was this one month, but more about that later. I am always pressing forward with new ideas and creations. It’s what I LOVE to do! I can’t wait to get up in the morning and see what I can be working on that is fiber related.

Throughout the year Christine Barnes and I did our famous “Kaffe Fassett Extravaganza Trunk Show.” It’s a fun, fast paced look at the amazing¬† color King himself; his fabric, knitting, needlepoint and more.
I first created this pillow using Kaffe Fassett stripes for a magazine project (Stitch magazine).
Part of the Kaffe Fassett trunk show includes his knitted garments. Here is my “batwing” sleeved sweater that Kaffe designed for Peruvian Connection.¬† Check out my earrings made from Kaffe fabric. They are a project from my book, Fashion Quilted Accessories.

There are Kaffe F. fabrics in the two vests above. This is one of my most popular vest “art to wear” patterns. Contact me at hmemmett@gmail.com for info. on purchasing this pattern directly from me.

The back of TERRIFIC TABARD using Kaffe Fabrics, including his stripes to bind the edges. One of the workshops I do is on this pattern. I also have done my own Trunk Show at Wearable Art Groups and Quilt guilds, all about creating your own Art To Wear pieces.

Whisper Blouse- In fall colored stripes, and a Kaffe Fassett sweater, it is just what I want to wear while collecting leaves for a fall display.

Send me an email – to see about purchasing my Whisper Blouse pattern, hmemmett@gmail.com

In June I was working on projects for my Artistic Alchemy retreat. I teach Upcycling projects (techniques to make a favorite top or shirt(that no longer fits well) into something you will want to wear once again and now it will FIT).¬† A linen top here was too short, sooo……

I am a great believer in taking classes or attending retreats myself whenever I can. The beginning of July I took an amazing Shibori class. Learning new techniques and gathering ideas for future projects, it can’t get any better than that!

I wasn’t 100% when I took the Shibori class. 6 days before the class I was nursing what I thought was a bruised muscle (sphincter muscle on the right near the small intestine. YES, there is a sphincter muscle there as well as in our eyes, and an anal one too). 3 days after the class I had an emergency appendectomy. Somewhere in those 9 days before, I ruptured my appendix. I NEVER had the pain that is usually associated with this.
I was one sick cookie. I was on 2 very high powered antibiotics while in the hospital and 2 more after the hospital. When I finally went home the parting words from the nurse were to take probiotics. Lot’s of them to replenish the flora in my gut because of the antibiotics. I started doing some research and for me, I came up with this product. The more I read, the more I discover that so MANY of health issues originate in the gut.There are many, many, pre,pro, biotics on the market. This is the one I use. Find what works for you. A good¬† preventative.¬† Proper diet and exercise go hand in hand with this. I have never felt better.

I was given a clean bill of health, on August 30th, 3 days before our Artistic Alchemy Retreat. Thank you to all my friends and family for prayers of healing. God is good! I give Him all the Glory for my complete recovery.
I was very bad at picture taking of my workshop. Too busy with my students and doing creative and fun stuff. Fiber jewelry was on the list for one session. I had amazing students this past September. The ideas, suggestions, and camaraderie that flowed, was so inspiring for all of us!¬† They all became my “Focus Group.” We had a serious discussion on five garments that I felt were possibilities for new “Art to Wear” patterns. Their input was so valuable to me. I have begun on pattern # 1. I can’t wait to introduce it to you. Sigh…They take months, so sometime after the new year.

We miss you already, our friends of this past Artistic Alchemy retreat. Until next year, September 7-11th, 2020.  Within days of coming home I received an invitation to go to Ottawa Canada to speak and teach workshops. I was BEYOND Honored to be asked. Two more Kaffe Trunk shows followed the retreat and in October, I had some big orders (for my patterns) to get ready for my distributors. Dozens upon dozens of patterns (all packaged by me, and printed by my husband) get sent everywhere, United States, Canada, Australia, and Europe. So exciting!
On Tuesday, November 26th at 1:07p.m. (I take snowfalls VERY seriously) it started to snow. This is my back deck one hour and 45 minutes later. We ended up with 10″ of snow + in about 12 hours. This is a FIRST for us. In the many, many, years I have lived in Cedar Ridge, CA we have NEVER had snow 2 days BEFORE Thanksgiving. The morning of the big Turkey feast, I lamented to my husband, “we forgot to get ice for the drinks.” My husband slowly turned and pointed to the outdoors. Ha, ha, ha. I was even able to put my leftovers in their original pots and pans out in the snow too. I had 26 this year for Thanksgiving. It was cozy, but a great time was had by one and all. We all had so much to be Thankful for this year. If you haven’t, please visit my personal site for new ideas DesignsbyHeidi.wordpress.com And if you haven’t, please visit Artisticalchemyblog.wordpress.com¬† to see what we four teachers are up to.¬† Until next time, get your creative going full steam!¬† Hugs, Heidi