Friday, December 31, 2010

Into the New Year

It's hard to believe that we are moving into 2011 already! Where did 2010 go and why is the world spinning so fast?!? I've been thinking about what I want to see happen in 2011 and here are a few:

1) I want a happy, healthy family
2) I want to create happiness for others
3) I want to make art every day
4) I want to be recognized as an artist

There are plenty more wishes I have and goals to attain, but most importantly, I want to enjoy my life with my soul mate, my true love, my husband.

Happy New Year to all!!!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ideas blooming......

It's funny how different the whole "Christmas" season is for me now from when I was younger. Probably because I haven't raised children of my own to continue the "spirit". I am now one of those people who could skip it all and not miss a thing but, for the sake of nieces and nephews, continue to take part in. Once together, we all reminisce about Christmases past and recall our favorite memories which is always fun.

The things that I recognize now as being more important than picking out the "best" present for family members and friends are the news stories on t.v. that bring to my attention people who have reached out and helped those who are less fortunate or who fate has delt them a bad blow right before Christmas, or those who have been struggling ever since the world financial crisis started. Of course, not forgetting all of those people world-wide who do not have the opportunities and resources to create better lives for themselves.

So, for me, today is a day to think about those who have wonderful stories of how their communities rallied for them in an urgent time of need, how this time of year more people do more good things for others and the spirit endures. That is what I think of as Christmas today.

Hope yours is a wonderful and healthy one!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Lots of good things happening!

I am so excited to have two of my projects selected to be a part of the special publication, 101 Patchwork Projects by Quilting Arts and Interweave! In addition to that, I will have my second article/artwork published in the April/May 2011 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine!! I'm bubbling with excitement and can't wait to dive into more creative projects once the holidays are past. I'm also going to be taking Misty Mawn's "Stretching Within" on-line mixed-media workshop starting January 10th. On top of that, I'm going to try to keep up with the "Sketchbook Challenge". There is definitely a lot to keep up with but it's all good!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Best Christmas Gifts.....

I'm ENGAGED!!! To such a wonderful guy!!! I've waited long enough and it was worth it!!! Unfortunately, all of his plans were ruined by an unexpected hospital stay which is where he asked me to marry him LOL (of course it didn't matter to me at all). This Christmas will definitely go down in the history books. It feels really weird to think before long I will be referring to myself as Mrs. Margaret Applin-Happ!

One of the other gifts he gave to me was a rotary tool kit (like a Dremel) to use in my studio! Does this guy know me or what?????

Needless to say, he is a very special person and one I never thought I would meet. Thank you, Jim.
All my love,

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A little time in my studio

A little studio play this weekend! I needed it for sure! I've been running around since Thursday night and didn't think I would get a chance to play some but a slow start this morning with a few cups of coffee in my studio and Photoshop Elements and I've got a few more (I say "more" because I really do already have a lot of) digital collages on fabric to create something fabulous with. I happened to come across 4 big 13" x 19" silk habotai sheets for my printer so I was ecstatic to run a couple of those through the Epson. I'm still playing with the leaf imagery that I created over a month ago. I'm thinking a few quilted book covers. That size fabric sheet could make some really cool things. I'll have to price those out again as it has been a while since I purchased them.

Anywho, I need to get to bed early tonight because this week coming is going to be crazy with the holiday and everything. My BF is in the hospital with an infection and is receiving IV antibiotics every 4-6 hours. Hopefully tomorrow we will know what exactly the infection is and they can better treat it. It will be bad for everyone if he is still there over Christmas.


Best wishes for happy, healthy holiday and a happy New Year!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

At the end of each day.......

Somedays I forget to stop and breath
Somedays life moves so fast it's impossible to breath
When I finally get to stop over a dinner of Asian food
I savor my fortune cookie to bring me back, to slow down, to read and contemplate

What has your day brought you?
What did you give it back?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Misty Mawn and The Sketchbook Challenge

I'm so excited to be taking an on-line workshop with Misty Mawn!!! It's called Stretching Within (great title). I took a full-day workshop with her at ArtFest in 2008 and wish I was able to take another class. I'm really excited!!!! It is 5 weeks long beginning in January. Check out her blog here for more information!!

In addition to Misty Mawn's workshop, I just found The Sketchbook Challenge!! It is being sponsored by Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors magazine - what could be better!?! You can follow along with some really amazing artists as they work in their sketchbooks with monthly themes and they want people to also post their sketchbook pages. I really want to start sketching and practice and this will be a great way to get started. Check out the blog site here.

I'm still playing with my 3-ring notebook cover that I made using Lyric Kinard's process. At the moment, I can't remember which QA Magazine it was in. I think I will make book covers for my nieces for x-mas with funky designs all over. We will see how much time is available. Check out Misty's workshop!!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Exploring NYC

What a day! Up at 4:30 a.m. to board a bus at 6:00 a.m. with member's of Jim's HOG group. At the last minute, we had decided to go with them to NYC on Saturday. It was a long day for sure and from 10:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. we explored Ground Zero, Soho, Times Square and a little Rockefeller Center, did some bull-riding at Johnny Utah's and made some great new friends.

The World Trade Center site of course is under construction still. It was good to be there looking at all the pictures and quotes of those who experienced 9/11 firsthand. The tourguides were two amazing women, one who almost lost her husband on that horrific day and the other who actually did. We got to experience firsthand their emotions and thoughts as the event happened and the aftermath. It was so surprising to hear about the amount of assistance that was provided to the families of the victims from all over the world and for the first time, I was aware of just how much the event touched everyone on this planet. It was also amazing to find out that many immediate events surrounding 9/11 actually contributed to a smaller amount of people in those two towers than what normally would be there at that time of day. Only a couple of hours separated the loss of 3,000 and 17,000 or more. I can't believe it has been almost 10 years since the event. It still seems like yesterday.

We struck out walking back from The World Trade Center site through Soho but it was too cold so we ended up on the subway. We had stopped in Soho at a little tea bar and had appetizers and some spiced red wine which definitely warmed us up!

As it was getting dark, we arrived in Times Square. All the lights and flash were great to see in person! You can't look anywhere without being overwhelmed by the stacks of advertisements and lights on the buildings. We stopped at the Marriott Marquis hoping to have food and drinks at The View, which I think was up around the 48th floor, but we had to settle for drinks in the Atrium lobby which was fantastic anyway!

From there, we headed off to Johnny Utah's where others from the group were meeting for drinks and food. We ran out of time and had to head back to the bus pick-up location but not before taking in some really funny bull-riding! I've never seen bull-riding at a bar before and it was hysterical. Some of these guys were really talented riders including Jim!

It was a fun day, meeting some new friends and exploring NYC. Next time we will determine ahead of time what we want to see and where we want to go. There is so much and it can't be condensed into one day there. With another cup of coffee, I might be able to get something done in the studio. Cheers!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I'm good...

I'm good, really good. It's the others that worry me.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

More than one way to use your artwork

I had to post again today because I am having tons of fun playing with a few images from painting on paper. There is always more than one way to use an image. Here's 2!

November in New England

Well, the temperatures are finally dropping. I swear it was 27 F when I got out of my car at 9:00 pm last night. Brrrrr. We have had so much warmth here we have been spoiled. I really can't believe how fast time is passing. We are a week away from Thanksgiving and Christmas will arrive in no time. I've been super busy in the studio at night and on the weekends cranking out projects to submit to QA's 101 Patchwork Projects special publication. They extended the deadline to Nov 28th so I made one more project to submit. I have a feeling that even though they are beautiful and interesting, they will not exactly fit within their "patchwork" definition. Will have to wait and see.

I did a little painting on canvas this week. I surprised myself when I stopped playing with this one at midnight. It isn't finished yet and I'm waiting for it to talk to me....I think it needs a little text.

I need to once again explore new images on paper as it is a part of my process. The summer butterfly artwork is exhausted and I need to get back to the journal. I'm feel like I have so much to say but when I get to the paper, I know that what I would create would reveal too much. I really need to use symbols and images to express what I am feeling and make it not so obvious to others. I feel like the center of a wheel right now with so many spokes branching out from my solid center that are spinning all around me. Well, there you go. To the journal......

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Organize and Clean Up Day

There is a little bit of everything going on here today. A little clean-up from the projects I finished last week for the 101 Patchwork Projects submission deadline. My worktable gets so bad at times that I have layers of projects out and I can't see them anymore.

Then, I will be working on finishing my Copper and Cornflowers project. I can't decide if I will submit this to Art Quilting Studio or Cloth Paper Scissors. I'll have to decide once completed. I know they are going to turn out fabulous and I want to hang them up!!

What is also nice about this weekend is the hour gained. It's like a gift - one more hour to clean, organize and relax (if you can fit all that into one hour LOL).

Happy Fall!!!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

let the beauty we love be what we do: Art Quilting Studio#links

let the beauty we love be what we do: Art Quilting Studio#links Can' wait for the new Art Quilting Studio!!! I love Somerset's publications and I wish the fiber-art pubs were more frequent. Until then.....I'm hanging on the edge waiting for new inspiration!


I'm working hard this weekend at finishing my series on the cornflower photos I took. Everything is coming together nicely and I'm so excited for the copper wire to make the art quilts pop! It's all handwork from here. Here's a taste:

The texture from this picture frame I found in NH is stunning and it's calling to me to incorporate somehow in a new piece. Maybe I ought to practice my drawing skills. I can see that design digitally, in a screen, in a transfer to fabric, all sorts of ways. We will see what becomes....

I can't wait for the new Art Quilting Studio to come out and it looks like Ruth Rae is searching for new work!!Yahoo! Check out Ruth Rae's blog here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Creative Weekend

Wow! I've been doing lots in the studio this weekend (basically Saturday) and experimenting with reverse-applique and newspaper screen prints. Of course, I'm also working hard on my mixed media submission for CPS which I hope to have completed this week (I'm very excited!!!) I pounded a lot of copper wire yesterday for this project (thanks to a very generous donation by my BF!!)

After downloading two new Quilting Arts Workshops DVDs, Beryl Taylor's "Mixed Media Art Quilts and Kerr Grabowski's "Adventures in Surface Design", I was totally inspired to try the techniques. I experimented with a leaf design for the reverse-applique, which I'm not too thrilled with as I'm working through it. I will try another shape/design again and with only a few layers, but here is a pic of how far I did get.

I loved both workshop DVDs and I experimented with the newspaper cut screen-prints. THis first design worked out fine and then I ran into problems as soon as I flipped the newspaper over to incorporate the reverse print in my next run. The paint was drying way too fast and I had to scrape it off. You really have to move fast with this technique. Anyway, at least this one worked out great. I'm already thinking of how to develop this into an art quilt.

And last, but not least, a glimpse of the copper wire pounding results :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hub Bub: Quilt top Finished and a bit of business

Hub Bub: Quilt top Finished and a bit of business: "Last night I sewed the last two seams in my Big Quilt Project. Despite the hilarious wonkiness of the whole top, there is a great deal of sa..."

I love this post!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I'm loving fall right now as the mornings get really cool and the sunny days reflect a blanket of cinnamon, amber, and gold all around us. I'm a little disappointed that the colors are not as vibrant as last year but we still have a lot of leaf turning to go.

After visiting Applecrest farms in Hampton Falls, NH yesterday, we stopped at a little antique shop. We had no intentions of buying anything but couldn't leave without this old picture frame that had a really unique embossed border around it. I plan on using that border to get some patterning onto fabric using the Shiva paintsticks. Who knows where else that design may end up????

I'm dedicated to finishing a trio of free-motion stitched flowers that I worked on last weekend to create a series to send off to Sew Somerset. Haven't heard anything back from QA yet and I'm hoping they like at least one project that I've submitted. We will see :)

Happy Fall!!
(me and Jim at Applecrest)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Crochet Things

Wow!! I can't believe it has been a month since I have posted last. If I had any followers, they wouldn't tolerate that! hehehe I have been hard at work with the stolen hours I have working on submissions to Quilting Arts Magazine. I'm done for now and can't wait to get started on some pieces for submission to Sew Somerset. In the meantime, I'm hooked on crochet again. This seems to happen every now and then when I see a great project that draws me back in. I'm having fun with it and incorporating some of it into my quilted projects. I'll probably continue using edge trims and fine gauge yarns. I experimented with yo yo crocheting and that's fun too and works up really fast. I'll be working on some crochet gifts for the holidays during my lunch hours when I can. I plan on a reduced budget for xmas this year but I still want to give practical and beautiful things. Crochet is perfect for that.

Here's a snapshot of yo yo's and an edge I was practicing with :) Not half bad!!

I'm also saving a bunch of glass jars and bottles lately, not sure exactly why, but you never know what idea will pop up next. Happy October!!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Work in progress

I'm working away as the summer days get shorter and the sun is setting earlier here in the northeast. Seems like a lot later in the evening when I get to my studio and I'll get sleepy faster. This coming weekend, we will trek to Portage, Maine to visit with my aunt and uncle. It will be much cooler by then as we will be beyond this late summer heat wave :(((( I bet I'll return with a bunch of great outdoor photos!

Here are a couple of project pics. I'm enjoying hand stitching embellishment and have more to go. Can't wait to see how they develop!

I'm using some of my new thermofax screens! Love the look!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Waiting on the weekend!

I've got lots of new ideas floating around in my head right now. I'm happy about that for sure but sad that this week is going by so slow, delaying my time in the studio. This weekend will be all about finishing up my Castine wall hanging project, a mini-book to submit to the CPS reader challenge and using the brand new thermofax screens that I made 2 weeks ago. I'm loving my new designs and can't wait to see them on fabric so I can start incorporating them into a project! I'm patiently waiting for Quilting Arts' response to a submission I made recently and new projects are germinating every day.

I am loving these two images using my flower pictures and will end up creating something soon with them. Maybe something Ruth Rae-ish. I've been dying to make one of her soulful doors ever since I received my QA DVD. I love her book as well!

I'm super charged up for Traci Bautista's new art marketing e-course, discovering Y.O.U., that starts Monday, August 23rd!! I've taken her workshops before, both on-line and in person, and I love the format and the loads of inspiration and information she provides. Next week will be hectic at work but I'll be be glued to the computer every night!

I can't wait for the new Quilting Arts Gifts issue coming out! I've decided that this year, all my holiday gifts are going to be handmade, even the ones for the kids. I'm thinking handmade journals, wall hangings and cloth dolls for the girls and no ideas yet for the boys. I'd better get the machines cleaned and oiled up!

I finally broke down and bought myself a new computer. It's been hard designing on my laptop since the screen is so small. It's running slow and the new computer will have a large screen and lots of speed! This Friday, the Geek Squad will be here setting it up! I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!!

Stay passionate, stay creative, and stay open!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Camp Fatima

This weekend, I joined the local HOG members for a ride out to Lunenburg, MA to a great little restaurant called Harley's. Fabulous place for brunch! After that, the group rode all the way up to Camp Fatima which is located in Gilmanton Iron Works, NH. The group had recently done a ride for charity for Camp Fatima and they were asked to come up for the kick-off of Exceptional Citizen's Week, a co-ed week-long camp for children and adults 9 years and older with mental or physical challenges. You can find more information here about the Camp and CE here This week there is one volunteer for each camper that dedicates their time 24-7 to one of these campers. They are an amazing group of people, truly angels.

While we were visiting, we met Lloyd Caswell from Marblehead, MA. The more I learned about Lloyd, the more I was impressed! Read more about Lloyd's involvement in the community here What I didn't realize was that this year is the 20th anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Lloyd is an active member of the Marblehead Disabilities Commission and much more. I was truly honored to meet Lloyd and to talk with him about his contributions and awards. His challenges were very apparent but they don't seem to hold him back any. It was a pleasure meeting him and sharing a part of his day at Camp Fatima.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

From Image to Stitch

I'm loving Maggie Grey's book From Image to Stitch. I feel like it takes my current process to another level that I will enjoy playing with but not so sure it's for me. Still, a fabulous book for anyone who loves creating artwork in digital format and taking it to textiles. I made a trip to Lowell to Friends Fabric Art at the Western Ave Studios to make some new thermofax screens. You can never have enough!!! I will be playing with my new screens today as well as finishing up my wall hanging of Castine.

I was just notified that my Scrap Wisdom Collage article from Quilting Arts Oct/Nov 2008 issue will be included in their upcoming free e-book!!!! Time to do some serious contemplating (13 days left) on what I want the viewers (if any) to see when they go to my website (which I have not been able to update since I posted the pics of that article).

Got to get busy, busy, busy!!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Too much heat!

Ok, I'm about ready for fall. Well, not quite ready to give up the beautiful sunny green world around me. Definitely not ready to see the flowers fade or the trees lose their leaves. But my love for the fall season is very strong and if the temperatures remain in the 90's here in the northeast, I will beg Mother Nature for relief!
I'm still thinking about Maine. It's in my blood and the images circulate in my brain right along with my creative ideas. It doesn't leave a whole lot of room for all of the other important stuff :)
My boyfriend loves me enough to allow me to skip out on all the motorcycle rides this weekend. I hate being anti-social, but I really need this big chunk of time in the studio.

Stay cool and enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's Time Once Again

Time for Maine!!! I'm convinced that I should be a part of that place forever. Sprinkle my ashes over my favorite beach where I will become a part of shore, the fields, the river and all the life that inhabits it. It will be nice to get away for a few days just by myself. Can't wait!!!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

There goes the parsley!!!!

I came home the other day to find these vibrant little creatures munching on two of my parsley plants! I quickly moved them away from the rest of my potted herbs in my deck garden then grabbed my camera to take some macro shots! Their bright lime and black coloring was amazing and I can't help but want to draw them now. As of today, they are no where to be found. I think they became lunch for some of the many birds I hear singing outside my window every morning. Good thing because I only had one more parsley pot left!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Butterflies won't leave.....

I need to find a new image to work with. The butterflies are popping up continuously and I can't seem to shake them. I'm enjoying the play, of course, but sooner or later, the season for them will move on and something else will take their place. I plan on making a journal based on all my artwork of butterflies. I love how these pieces continue to develop by fusing my paper-based art and digital art. What is still elusive is the purpose.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Roben-Marie's Beautiful Work!!!!

Two of my MOST favorite mixed media artists are Dina Wakley and Roben-Marie Smith. If you haven't visited Roben-Marie's blog, make sure you do! She is taking one of Dina's workshops and has posted pictures of what she is creating from her play. I am soooooo impressed and inspired by the fusion of their styles in the simply beautiful creations from Roben-Marie's play!!! Both artists are truly amazing in my book and frequently, everything I create has foundation in their techniques. Go here to see Roben-Marie's pictures:

Here's a little of my own play :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Printing, Painting, Stitching..............

I'm already overwhelmed with ideas and am jumping from one project to the next. I've got to reign myself in and finish each project because of its potential. Can't get them out there unless they are done. I've placed my second order for Spoonflower fabric and can't wait to see what this one looks like. I've cut out a handbag in the first fabric and will be stitching that one this weekend. Play date tomorrow and there will be lots to do. I'm totally loving Dina Wakely's journal pages and my doodling to digital process is so much fun!!!!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Fun with butterflies....

I'm having tons of fun with collages I'm making with butterflies. Tons of ideas continue to flow and I'm trying to capture a little bit of everything. I'm still using way more color than I want to but I'm finding it hard to restrict myself that way. Then, of course, it's paper or fabric? I haven't yet found my middle ground but that's good for experimentation and testing. I know if I continue to play, I will stumble upon a concept just like I did after ArtFest. Until then, I'm going to continue to play with butterflies....

Monday, April 26, 2010

Back at it!!

This reminds me of spring! With all the various green shades popping out all over New England, everything feels fresh and renewed.... I feel fresh and renewed!!! The minute all my work for my class was finished, I whipped out my paints and sprays and stencils and created with abandon. It felt sooooooo good.....every collage, every fabric print, every idea I have pushing me forward. I can't stop and it's weird because it finally feels like my creative energy is finally timed along with my ability to make it flow unrestricted through my fingers and my computer.

The digital aspect of my creativity is a major component and I can't imagine being without it. Very shortly, I will purchase an iMac 27". It hasn't been easy designing on a 15" screen. It's time to add that big, beautiful tool to my studio. I truly believe it will have a significant impact on my artwork to really see what I am creating. I can feel it......

So until then, I continue to PLAY, PLAY, PLAY and I can already feel the ideas filling up my head. Now I just need to capture them all on paper.

Happy Spring!!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

2 Week Countdown to Creative Freedom

April is passing by before my eyes. I'm coming in to the last stretch of this LAST class and the creative bug is biting me soooooo bad. The past couple of days, I haven't been able to keep away from my journals and art supplies. I have so much I want to create, in addition to all the things I promised to do for other people that have sat on the back burner for these 7 weeks. I can't wait to BUST OUT!!!!! Trying to stay focused on case analysis that I will never use is quite the challenge. 2 more weeks...2 more weeks....2 more weeks

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Quote of the Day

Today's quote that is feeding into my blog says "The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things." by Henry Ward Beecher. How true this is. Last night I spent a couple of hours just doodling and playing with paint. I definitely enjoyed the process and drew happiness from just moving the markers across my page.

Time to shift over to some major homework. It figures that this last class is the hardest when I am experiencing such a creative high. I finished Sheri Gaynor's book Creative Awakenings: Envisioning The Life of Your Dreams Through Art. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. Even just reading the monthly sections from the heart of the artists that we are inspired by to see how they handle their creative challenges and negative voices. Join Sheri's community by clicking on the badge on the left.

Oh yeah, I have been waking up every morning hearing the amazing sounds of all the birds that are returning to NE as spring approaches. It's such a wonderful sound with loads of promise.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Brushes down for one last class!!!

I can't tell you how depressing it is to have had so much creative time lately and have to force myself to concentrate on the very last class for school. Business doesn't that sound exciting (NOT)!!! I'd much rather play with my fabrics and paints and digital ideas than learn about the strategic management process that companies use to earn above-average returns. Worst part of this class is that you have to work in groups - lovely, nothing but frustration and complaining as there is always at least one in the group who doesn't pull their weight! If there is one thing I really can't stand is someone not taking ownership for their responsibilities and work.

On a good note, it's been beautiful here in New England with the past couple of days in the 60's!!! I hope the Crocus and Daffodils are getting ready to sprout!! I can't wait to get out there and take beautiful pictures of spring. But.....I'll have to get beyond the next 7 weeks to FREEDOM!!!!!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

31 Days Inspiration

I can't tell you how much fun I am having freeing myself to just doodle and play. In one hour, I created a 2-page spread that I love!!! Everyone needs to do this!!!!