Closeups (grapes)

I smelled grapes this morning. Wild Concord grape vines strangle the trees along the bike path and their dark purple fruit is ripening. Women were picking low growing grapes and filling plastic bags. Here are some closeups of grapes in my artwork over an almost 50 year span.

crayon on lined paper, 1960 (age 5)

This pin was made by covering red beads with sheer lavender fabric. Read the story of my pins here.

pin, 1978

The grapes in this fabric relief piece were made the same way as the pin, but about 1/2 the size. I used real curly grape vines. See another detail from “Vineyard Family” here.

detail from “Vineyard Family” 1985

Here’s one from my kitchen faux tiles, which you can see here.

faux tile, 1991

Here’s a scene from Mary Had a Little Lamb, when the lamb was following Mary to school. See other closeups from the book here.

detail from “Mary Had a Little Lamb” 1995

And this is a felt pin from my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects.

felt pin from “Felt Wee Folk” 2003

Note: See other posts in the Close-ups series archive here.

Pocketful of borders (Queen of hearts)

detail from "Queen of Hearts" from "Pocketful of Posies" 2010

I’ve been continuously working on the illustrations from Pocketful of Posies, getting them ready for framing. The traveling show of original fabric relief artwork will be launched in mid-Sept. and my husband just began making the wooden shadow box frames. Here’s a series of pictures of the “Queen of Hearts” rhyme, showing the process of adding an additional felt  and metallic braid border and mounting it on red upholstery fabric.  









Note: See other posts from the Pocketful of Borders series here.

Peas in the garden

This is the first harvest of peas from my garden this summer! Lately, I only plant snap peas, having given up on the chore of shelling regular peas. Later in the season, I’ll be shelling Lima beans, though, which are just starting to climb like Jack’s bean stalk. One pea plant is a rogue, shooting up way beyond the Burpee’s Oregon Sugar Pod II plants.

It has a pink and white flower and we shall see what kind of pea it offers.

The sugar snap peas are so tender when they’re young.

Early in the season the pea plants are healthy and lush. In a few weeks, I’ll barely be able to keep up with the picking. When the leaves are forming, they look like fans or complex origami.

The plant’s tendrils remind me of hopelessly tangled and knotted thread.

Soon, the peas will be growing so fast that I’ll miss picking them while they’re small. There will more than we can eat, so it’s blanching and freezing time! See some of my artwork that includes peas in an earlier post here.

Pocketful of borders (Pat-a-cake, etc.)

pages 18/19 from "Pocketful of Posies", Houghton Mifflin 2010

This double-page spread pictures 3 rhymes from my upcoming children’s book, Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes. I’m preparing the fabric relief illustrations for a traveling show, which you can learn about here.  

Illustration mounted on foam core board

 I chose a border of dark felt to contrast with the light lavender background. The outside edges were blanket stitched with variegated pima cotton. 


The corner pieces have the usual squiggles, along with my initials and the date. 



The 4 side border pieces are green, with variegated embroidery floss loops. These pictures show the tea house, which illustrates the rhyme, “Polly put the kettle on”. 

detail from "Polly put the kettle on"

 Here’s the cobbler shop from “Cobbler, cobbler mend my shoe”. I cut out the wooden signs with a jig saw and painted them. The shoe sign is a little over 1″ long.   The cobbler’s apron is made of leather.

detail from "Cobbler, Cobbler, mend my shoe"

Here is the finished border mounted on the stretched upholstery fabric background. 

pages 18/19 with the finished border

This shows the bakery for “Pat-a-cake, Pat-a-cake”. The baby buggy is made with floss wrapped wire, coiled around like a basket. Yes, I admit that it’s a bit obsessive. 

detail of "Pat-a-cake, Pat-a-cake"

detail, page 19, "Pocketful of Posies"

Note: See other posts from the Pocketful of Borders series here.

Close-ups (peas)

My peas are starting to come up in the garden. Their vines are such a cheery sight in the spring and then the first food to pick in June. This series of closeups begins with a peapod pin made with velvet ribbon and green wooden beads. You can read the story about my pins here.

peapod pin 1977

peapod pin 1977

Here’s a detail from “Picking Peas”, a fabric relief from 1985. The full scene is on another post here. The peapods are glass beads. I must have figured out how to knot the string to make the net or cut a piece out of an existing net.

detail from "Picking Peas" 1985

detail from “Picking Peas” 1985

The peapods in this illustration from Mary Had a Little Lamb are made from seed beads sewn inside thin satin ribbon.

detail from " Mary Had a Little lamb" 1995

detail from ” Mary Had a Little lamb” 1995

This is a felt pin from my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk. The peas in the ribbon pods are glass beads in both this photo and the one below.

pin from "Felt Wee Folk" 2003

pin from “Felt Wee Folk” 2003

 Here are some felt pea vines from an illustration in my upcoming book, Pocketful of Posies.

detail from Pocketful of Posies” 2010

Note: See other posts in the Close-ups series archive here.

Close-ups (hearts)

This selection of hearts begins with a sleeping cat on a heart covered bed spread from my book In the Heart. Then there is a felt balsam pillow and a heart pin covered in french knots, both projects from my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk. The last two are a chain stitched heart that’s part of the endpapers and a heart tart from “The Queen of Hearts” nursery rhyme (see in this post) from my upcoming book, Pocketful of Posies (Sept. 2010). The original illustrations will be shown in a traveling exhibition which you can find out about here.

detail from “In the Heart” 2001

balsam pillow from “Felt Wee Folk” 2003

pin from “Felt Wee Folk”

detail from “Pocketful of Posies” 2010

detail from “Pocketful of Posies” 2010

Note: See other posts in the Close-ups series archive here.

Snow and granola

I’ll add to the multitude of snow pictures being posted on the eastern seaboard today. We woke up to about a foot and a half of the white stuff this morning.

Rob got out his beloved Kabota tractor and plowed the driveway, while Ian and I shoveled.


For my friends and neighbors, I made a huge batch of granola and filled up a dozen quart canning  jars. For the labels, I cut paper circles with wavy scissors and decorated them with stamps, stickers and a dye cutter that cuts out tiny leaves. Then I stick them to the canning jar tops with double sticky tape and tied ribbon around.