Wednesday, December 31, 2014


 O happy day! I am so thrilled at the new rug and all the COLOR! Could this be any more me? Dave and the boys are just as happy as I am. It's 8x10' and has 80 circles. woowoo!

 Good thing the dining room set is white. Altho red would have worked too. ha!
We put the other rug in the foyer where it will brighten up that area and keep the wet paws off the wood floors.  It's definitely all color all the time at Chez Johnson again.

Monday, December 29, 2014

It's a Blog Hop!

I am participating in a blog hop and have Four Probing Questions to answer. Gosh I hope I know the right answers.
1. What am I working on?
Honestly, I am knitting.
 This is the 13th jacket that I am knitting for a reader, as promised back in 2013. Well, I am really loving this project and keep thinking that the next one will be for me. And I have been hanging my own work in my new house. We moved here in January and I am just now getting around to decorating. 


 Earlier this month I made these quilts:
1. sold

  2.Circles and Stripes
Hand dyed, dye painted and stenciled cottons, fused and machine quilted. 12.5 x 24" $200 Email me
3.Art Deco Panel
Hand dyed cottons, fused, machine quilted.
14x24. $250 Email me.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Hmm. Genre is the word I am stuck on. I am a fuser, which means that all my quilts are fused, not pieced or appliqued. So that makes my work different than regular quilts. Also I use my own hand dyed fabrics, and make them as colorful as I can.

3. Why do I do what I do?
O geesh. I have been doing this since 1981. That's a long time. I guess I do it because it is my career, my art form, my necessity. Currently I am making small works, and love to make them affordable, so they don't collect in my quilt closet. When I am not knitting or quilting, I paint and make collages. Lately I have been posting my newest pieces on my Pinterest page. 

4. How does my process work?
Here's a little tutorial on my old blog:

My old blog, Fibermania, was a teaching blog, and the sidebar has lots of links to process tutorials. Nowadays, I have pretty much said all the same things five or six times, so I just refer to the old blog posts whenever a question like this is asked.
In this, my new blog, I am posting current work and talking a bit about gardening, knitting, painting, collages, and of course quilts.

I was asked to participate in this International Blog Hop by Kathleen Probst, a really wonderful art quilter. See her answers to the Four Questions here. Thanks Kathleen for inviting me and Happy new year to everyone!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Greetings

 Merry Christmas to all my readers, and thanks for visiting and your lovely comments. First thing: The rugs are from but I got mine at Marshall's and TJMaxx after discovering them online. The 8x10' version  (with the circles) is on order.
After a little rearranging here is the 5x7' rug in the living room. I set up Dave's flea market desk as our stereo shelf. We had to raise the ceiling lamp because we kept bonking our heads. This is supposed to be the dining area. Ha. Not for us.
We assembled the new dining room set, which is as Goldilocks said, just right. I am enjoying the light reflecting off the whiteness which brightens that part of the room.
Ringscycle ll, hand dyed cottons and silks, fused, machine quilted. 53.5x22“ $1000
IMG_5832-1 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!Three Big Blocks | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
 I covered the white couch with a QAYG quilt, and had to wash it once already, but at least it is getting used. Suddenly color  has invaded our space, making it so much more inviting. I dreamed of all the quilts I have that might work on the walls here.

It's too warm for the fire today, no complaints, and the thunderstorms are just so lovely, no shoveling rain!

 Merry Christmas from me and The Boyzz!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Art Deco Panel

Art Deco Panel
Hand dyed cottons, fused, machine quilted.
14x24. $250 Email me.

 O if you could see my studio now. Yarn and fabric and excess shoes everywhere. Not a speck of space to work in. I must attend to it soon. But the kitchen is even worse. I am making Christmas food ahead in spurts. 
It seems Christmas food is labor intensive. Pierogies for example. I made the fillings yesterday, cheesy mashed potatoes, caramelized onions, seasoned pork, and then the pierogi dough itself. 
While neither of us is Polish, we have adopted this yumminess as part of our traditional feasting. (Would you believe the five recipes of cookies I made are already eaten?) 
Also ready to go is the meat for the tamales. I cooked a large pork shoulder in the crock pot until the meat fell off the bone and then I shredded and seasoned it with plenty of garlic, chili powder and salt. Yum again. I was planning to wait to make them til my sister and niece could participate, but I think I will have to do it myself and surprise them on Christmas with a steaming plate of Mexican goodness.

And...wait for it...I have finally decided to start the interior decorating of the house. Not with Christmas decorations, no, with a new dining room set, image 1
area rugs, Safavieh Nantucket Pink Area Rug & Reviews | WayfairSafavieh Nantucket Pink Abstract Area Rug & Reviews | Wayfairwindow treatments, and quilts and/or paintings on the walls. What held me back was the traditional styling of the room, and not feeling that my funkadelic artwork would correspond to the crown moulding, and beige walls. But Dave talked to some painters working on one of the new houses in the neighborhood (nice Mexican guys) and they will be coming to turn my beige into something more Mel and Dave. (orange again? aqua? pink?....we'll see.) O happy day!
And I am still knitting furiously too. It is so wonderful to be busy at the holidays, with friends to see and gifts to share. Festive music on the stereo from Pandora makes it seem like a Bing Crosby movie.  Merry Merry

Friday, December 19, 2014

Kelly's Cowl


I'm still having fun making these multi-yarn cowls.  This was made from lots of Malabrigo Worsted and Vega worsted, size 10 needles so it was super fast. 36" x 8 " or 72" around. Doubles up quite nicely. Kelly asked for autumn colors. Fabulous, I have plenty of those.
Watching the entire 8 episodes of Broadchurch was the accompaniment to my knitting. Christmas cookies and tea helped too.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cookie Baking Day

Yes, Chumley, there are cookies in the house.
Sorry they are not for doggies.
Last time I had a cookie day I neglected to check my ingredient list before I got all involved and discovered later that I was dangerously low on flour and brown sugar. I baked what I could with what I had and substituted stuff when necessary. The pantry was restocked and so this baking marathon could begin.

O Christmas treats, how faire thou art.
 I decided to double the recipe for Lime Cheesecake Bars. These are just as decadent and yummy as a giant cheesecake, without the 32 oz of cream cheese usually required.
Here's the recipe:
Lime Cheesecake Bars
1 c. chopped walnuts
2/3 c. brown sugar
2 c. flour
1 c. butter
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, at room temp.
Juice and zest of one lime or lemon or orange or tangerine
1/2 c. sugar
4 tbsp. milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix brown sugar, flour and walnuts together. With pastry blender or in mixer incorporate butter to form a crumbly mixture. Reserve 1 cup of mixture for crumbs on top. Put rest of mixture in a  9x13"pan and gently pat it down. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. While crust is baking, beat cream cheese, lime zest and sugar until smooth. Add lime juice, milk, eggs, vanilla and pour over baked crust. Sprinkle the 1 cup of crumb mixture over top and bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool. Cut into squares while warm. Refrigerate for best flavor.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Santa-Mel's Workshop

Busy busy busy, here at Santa-Mel's workshop. I just finished the 12th Mitered Diamond Jacket for Judith and will get it in the mail after I get my pal Mary to model it for better photos. 
This one is a combo of  my hand dyed Tupa, 50% silk and 50% merino, plus Kudo, 48% Cotton, 46% Rayon, 6% Silk. 

Then Sherrie is getting this cowl and Tara is getting this scarf for her sister's Christmas gift. Shhhhhh. No peeking!
Leslie watched my recently posted video and saw Croton in the piece and wished to have a smaller version.
 I did still have the original drawing, so I enlarged it to 13x24".The individual leaves got rearranged a bit, but still, that makes it an original!

Croton Jr.
Hand dyed cottons, fused, machine quilted. 

 Here's a detail, with my signature.
It's a lot of fun to go to my stash and find the perfect colors, and then knit or quilt them in Christmas presents.
I've been watching Netflix, all eleven years of mon ami Poirot, and enjoying it immensely.  I've been to two Christmas parties already and another one today at lunch. Better get in the shower!
Merry Merry!