Category Archives: Artists

Tempted by the Fruit of Another . . . Quilt Pattern Designer Carrie Payne + A Giveaway

Now how can I possibly connect the pirated lyrics of a 1980’s era British band* to a quilt-themed blog post? Where there is a will, most certainly there is a way. Check out these charming patterns from designer Carrie Payne and let me explain.

Patterns of Carrie Payne @

Carrie Payne patterns displayed at Scottsdale Quilts in Scottsdale, AZ.

Just one look . . . yes, another stolen lyric . . . and I was seduced. I’m not typically drawn to figurative patterns, but there is something so charming about Carrie Payne’s style that I couldn’t resist. Luckily, my eldest son was about to throw a surprise engagement party, which gave me the perfect excuse to make a gift for his fiance. See that bride on the blue background above? That’s my launching point.

Scottsdale Quilts owner Evan Duke got me totally committed to the project when she told me how popular the little quilt has been as an engagement/bridal shower gift, especially when family and friends contribute charms for the bride’s tiered skirt. Perfect! What a cool way to bring together two families who’ve never met and celebrate the engagement. It also helped that Evan the shopkeeper has a weakness for vintage lace and pretty doodads to add to the project supplies–check out that lace snippet below.

Test 1 of Hannah's bride

First draft of my bride on a composed background from a digital print.

I took a look at Carrie Payne’s website Believe Magic before I started the project and was transported by the diversity and wealth of her ideas. She has an aesthetic that’s easy and fun to tweak. That design-on-the-fly approach is reflected in her pattern which comes with multiple hairstyles, bodices, and sizes. I opted for the side bun and the V-neck bodice as I knew my son’s fiance’s taste in hairstyles and I also knew she wasn’t one for strapless fashions.

Test Hannah's bride

Next draft: more festive with the batik floral, but my son asked me to reorder their initials to something less like a famous Swedish clothing outlet.

I didn’t get my son too involved in the project, but I did get feedback about the monogramming–he banned the H&M draft as ridiculous, even though I figured the bride should get top billing in this era of female empowerment. Oh well, M&H it would be.

Detail of Hannah's bride

Charms from my mother and sisters as well as local friends.

If you’ve followed my adventures on my past blog See How We Sew, you’ll know I’ve a fondness for bead shops and embellishments. I must admit, that’s probably another motivator for this engagement gift, but beyond the glitz and sparkle, it’s emotionally uplifting to collect charms from the women important to the bride-to-be. I even teared up as I stitched them in place!

The finished engagement quilt with embellished with charms from women on both sides of the family.

The finished engagement quilt with embellishments from family on both sides as well as friends.

One item to mention is that I followed Darra Williamson’s approach to making postcard quilts when I assembled my little quilt. Carrie uses the classic quilt sandwich and binds the edges, whereas in Darra’s scheme, the quilt top, batting and backing are fused together and the slightly longer/wider edges of the quilt top are folded over to the backing and stitched in place. It was quicker and easier for me to take that road and I like the end result.

Giveaway Details!

Carrie is generously donating several patterns for you to enjoy. I’ll be doing a coordinated post here and at See How We Sew to spread the word to crafters and sewists.

Leave your comment here at Chasing Bright Shiny Objects by Monday, November 14,  to be entered for the giveaway. Here’s your challenge:  Please give me quick Do or Don’t advice for my future as a mother-in-law. I suspect “Say nothing” will be the most common suggestion!

Narrowed signature*Tempted by the Fruit of Another by Squeeze.



Filed under About, Artists, Crafts, Patterns, Projects

Third Time’s the Charm? Another Flower-Themed Post

Dale's roses

I do have it in mind to share a quilt project I’ve been incubating for about eighteen months, but not yet . . . I got distracted by a visit to a very special garden located nearby. A quilter’s garden as a matter of fact! This particular quilter, Dale Fleming, is an incredible textile artist and a rather gifted gardener as well. With our California drought continuing unabated, the thirsty European-style garden is become a scarce commodity, as it should, and Dale is about to transform her plot of dirt into a water-wise landscape. This visit was her last hurrah before she overhauls her plants. (And, wouldn’t you know, we experienced a rare rainy day while we were there.)

Dale's roses 2

Dale's rose 3

Dale's rose 4

Clematis is an usual flower for a California garden, but here various purple varieties glow.

Dale's clematis

Dale's clematis 2

Dale's clematis 4

Dale's clematis 3

The roadside view of the garden is a delight: it is a little wild, meandering, and with a typical Dale touch, inventive with its plant choice and placement. I could see myself whiling away a few hours with a good book and tasty refreshments in her garden retreat.

Dale's garden

Dale's garden 2

These are Nigella–Dale says the seeds are edible, like poppy seeds.


Dale's garden 3

Here’s a before/after series of a Knautia blossom. The seeds are tasty fare for chickadees.


Dale's garden 4

The after: the flower in full bloom.


Dale's garden 5

I will mourn the passing of Dale’s Euro-style garden, but I suspect her water-wise interpretation will be just as wonderful. It’s no surprise that, for many quilters, their creative lives balance textile love with green thumbs. Dale is clearly one shining example of that sorority. Thanks for the tour!



Filed under About, Artists, Inspirations

Media Finds: Artists at Work

Have tools, create art?

Have tools, create art?

Dilettante here:  I wish I were completely, perfectly, soul-satisfyingly proficient in an art form, but I cannot settle down to one pursuit and thus I’m a wicked dabbler. There are those, though, who do and they are extraordinary. Lately, I’ve found a wellspring of artists profiles on cable  TV and I thought I’d share some of the artists who’ve tantalized me with their skill and accomplishments.

How did find these artists? Well, that discovery was an unexpected boon from my husband’s channel-surfing habit. I don’t know if you’ve come across NHK World, it’s a Japanese TV network, but do give it a try if you can. Albeit funky at times, the cultural programing is remarkable and even mind-blowing. The other finds are serendipitous as well, but from more conventional sources like PBS and YouTube.

Mika Toba & Katazome Textile Dyeing

Meet Mika Toba, a woman artist who uses an ancient Japanese dyeing technique called Katazome to create fabric panels. The program we caught was called Creating a Zen World. The segment follows Toba as she conceptualizes a major commission for a Zen temple called Ryōan-ji in Kyoto–parts of it date to the 12th century, but the temple itself was constructed sometime after 1450. Toba’s completed screens would keep company with the work of revered artists and craftsmen of bygone times. The segment shows how Toba is more than up for the task from her initial renderings of the zen-like landscapes that would be dyed onto the screens to her dogged commitment to following age-old techniques and materials to complete her commission. She has singlehandedly kept artisanal workshops in Kyoto from shuttering in order to help create her art.

What is remarkable about the Zen temple commission is that she created scenes on both sides of the wall-sized screens. But it’s Toba herself who intrigued me more. I cannot help but be swept up by the single-mindedness of her vision and commitment, which is really what a dabbler/artist lacks, or at least experiences only spasmodically. I let life intrude and she, well, she doesn’t. After that fun ride on Toba’s Katazome journey, I’m an NHK fan. You will be as well if you are the least intrigued by Japanese art forms and cultural eccentricities–witness the segment on all manner cosmetic brushes each with a very specific use!

Mika Toba & her Katazome art--visit her website to learn more about this incredible artist

Mika Toba & her Katazome art–visit her website to learn more about this incredible artist

Sharon Isbin, Troubadour

Photo by J. Henry Fair and posted on Isbin's website

Photo by J. Henry Fair and posted on Isbin’s website

My husband and I caught this artist profile one evening on PBS, Sharon Isbin, Troubadour, although I suspect it forms part of a larger public television series. Sharon Isbin is a classical guitarist who is not only an international performer and Grammy winner, she also is the director of guitar for the Aspen Music Festival and The Julliard School. I was enchanted by her maverick take on guitar music. Rising through the ranks as a woman in a musical form dominated by iconoclastic guitarists like Andres Segovia is not her only grand achievement, she also experiments outrageously with musicians from all backgrounds and styles. The results reflect that diversity–some are great and some are odd, but why not? It was fun to see her interactions with rock musicians and avant-garde composers.

The Amped-up Realism of Marcello Barenghi 

Hyper realism of Marcello Barenghi featured on his website

I realized as I was composing this post that there’s a larger story at work with my BSOz adventure here:  I LOVE to see an artist at work. Many times I’d rather experience the behind-the-scenes story than see the result–it’s the struggle that yields to innovation that is compelling for me. And this artist of hyper realism delivers just that:  videos of him making drawings that are as good as photographs. Take a look at Marcello Barenghi’s time-lapse snippets and be awed.

Always a Dancer, Even if the Body Complains

A gallery of ballet dancers UK Royal Ballet from web

Click photo to visit the ballet company’s website

So far I’ve given you a textile art, music, and drawing, and so I’ll close with a bit of sublime dance. This is one of my favorite YouTube clips from the Royal Ballet in London, England. As a ballet practitioner who has run way past her dance expiration date (‘dem legs do creak and protest!), I adore watching ballet class as it should be done. I hope you do too, but know that the big stuff–turns, jumps, leaps–come toward the end of class.

BSOz for you!

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Filed under Artisans, Artists, Dance

Raw Goods + Quirky Point of View = An Inspirational Trip to Arizona

Folk Art from Scottsdale, AZ, Distrito Restaurant

Hello all, I’m just back from a foray southward to Arizona to hang with family. It’s always fun for me to visit a city like Phoenix with a distinct landscape and a strong sense of its identity. Mostly it’s wonderful to escape routine, although I’m now committed to a strict two-margaritas-only policy after exceeding my meager limits to ill effect one night. Two icy limey margaritas + chips/guacamole = conviviality; 3 = rubbery legs + major headache!

Despite the lingering malaise from my first night’s celebration, I didn’t let that keep me from enjoying the modern Southwestern design style that’s taking over Arizona’s newest restaurants, shops, and public places. The cliche of howling coyotes and desert color palettes have been replaced by an edgier approach that harnesses humble inputs like acid-washed metal and concrete, cutting edge lighting design, and whimsy for new inspiration on desert themes.

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Take the Saguaro, a boutique hotel in Scottsdale, and its in-house restaurant/bar called Distrito. The restaurant sells itself on the notoriety of its celebrity chef, Jose Garces, an Iron Chef and James Beard Award winner, but what got me excited was the design of the dining and social spaces, in addition to the tasty fare, of course. Distrito’s decor is emblematic of a Southwestern mod fusion that elevates humble elements to high style.

Elastic Design Couture at Distrito in Scottsdale, AZ

My family—husband, our sons and their girlfriends—thought I was a bit obsessive with my photo taking, but really, elastic yardage? Seriously? Take a look at these iterations of the elastic-as-room-divider application. Brilliant!

Then, take the humble aluminum lawn chair with its plastic woven bands of webbing—the one that pinched badly if your hand was in the wrong place at the wrong time—and imagine using that webbing as fabric. Mind you, a better and tighter weave in a prettier color and made into whole cloth for upholstery purposes. As I’m a huge fan of purple in all its manifestations, I particularly loved the orchid/blue plaid of the chairs next to the warm wood tones of the furniture.

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Next, and my favorite detail, a wall of thousands of tiny colored yarn balls lined up cheek by jowl. I’ll think much differently about those bulk bags of yarn balls when I next visit a craft store!

Yarn Art Elevated at Distrito in Scottsdale, AZ

The other artwork was imaginatively curated as well. I got a kick out of this artist, Michael David Little, and his quirky portraits (Brian Claybrook Photography’s post of some of Little’s work). The spaceman was a particular favorite for my family of SciFi fans.

Painting Exhibited in Distrito

Oh, I almost forgot, a larger view of the painted skull display at the entrance to the restaurant, truly Day of the Dead on steroids.

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Before I close this installment, here’s a peek at something pretty I spotted while shopping in Scottsdale . . . sublime Oscar de la Renta couture. Boy, that dress takes me back to my childhood ballet dreams. I loved the Bluebird Fairy from Sleeping Beauty and fantasized about dancing in a flower bedecked tutu just like that dress. If only my typically down-home life had space and funds for such a dreamy dress.

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There you have it, a visual tour of Scottsdale, Arizona running from the rustic to high fashion.

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Filed under About, Artists, Food Matters, Places