Sewing Projects

My Sewing Projects


For many years I have wanted to try quilting. I love going to quilt shows and find them so inspiring, but wasn’t sure how to begin. I read a lot of books on quilting, but was still unsure how to start. Finally in 2015 my daughter, Dena, said “Just do it, Mom, and quit reading about it”. She was right. I saw a quilt made by a good friend from a pattern called “Star of the Orient”. It was beautiful! I asked her for the pattern which she happily shared with me. I choose a rainbow of vivid solid colors which I thought would brighten the king size guest room bed where it would eventually be used. Once I had the top assembled and the quilt “sandwich” made, I was ready to begin the job of hand quilting it. Mark built me a large frame which fits perfectly in the guest room. It only took 3 years to hand quilt it and it now covers our king size bed beautifully!

After finishing that huge project, I decided to combine my love of cross-stitch with quilting.  I made eight small square blocks of cross-stitch of my favorite flowers.  Each block was 8″ square.  Once they were completed I added borders and batting and edges to make them into a wall hanging quilt.  This was a very fun project to make.

Landscape Quilts

My latest creative endeavor has been to try my hand at making landscape quilts. I’ve seen so many beautiful ones at quilt shows and felt inspired to try one myself. I began simply with a design of 3 pots of pansies. It’s a beginning of a new hobby.

Cross-Stitch Art

I made my first cross-stitch piece when I was 12 in order to earn a Girl Scout merit badge. It was titled “The History of Transportation” and came as a kit. For years as a child it hung on my bedroom wall.

In 1970 when my son was born I embroidered a poem to hang on his wall. The poem was entitled “Children Learn What They Live” and I loved the inspiration.

Then in 1973 I embarked on a 3 month camping trip with my young 3 year old son. Each evening we would talk about what we had seen that day and I would stitch a picture of it on his shirt. We called it his “memory shirt”.

Then life got incredibly busy and it wasn’t until 1997 while nursing at the local hospital that I began to have time to stitch again. I was given a cross-stitch kit by a fellow nurse. I found at that point in my life that it was almost a form of meditation. It was so relaxing that I began to refer to it as “my therapy”. It’s definitely the cheapest form of therapy and every bit as good. I always have a work in progress when I need a few quiet moments to unwind and reduce stress. The fun part is watching a picture slowly emerge from a blank piece of fabric. As it gets close to being completed I start thinking about what I want to do next. I am always seeking new images to inspire and excite me.

Each work takes approximately a year to complete. I use a combination of Photoshop to create and/or tweak the image, and then a program called PC Stitch to produce a pattern that I can then follow. I have a huge collection of embroidery threads and each work usually has about 200 thread colors. I use embroidery fabric that has an 18 ct/inch. These days I need to work with a lighted magnifying glass, so I’m not as portable with my work as I’d like, but I do what I can. I used to work with an embroidery hoop, but now I find it easier to work with a frame which Mark, my husband, made for me. Not having to hold the hoop in one hand makes it so much more relaxing and that is my ultimate goal. The art is a by-product of my hobby.

The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh – 2021
This is my latest cross-stitch piece. Vincent van Gogh painted it in June 1889, and it depicts the view from the east-facing window of his asylum room at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, just before sunrise, with the addition of an imaginary village. 

Bouquet of Sunflowers by Claude Monet – 2019
This is another favorite piece I’ve stitched. I love the paintings by Monet and felt that these colorful sunflowers would add a sunny touch in our home.

Luncheon of the Boating Party by Auguste Renoir – 2013
For years my husband and I have had a poster of this famous artwork hanging on our walls. Over time though, the colors had faded out terribly. Once I saw the original artwork at the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C., I simply had to make a new reproduction of this piece. I used PC Stitch to create my pattern.

Fall Colors in New England – 2012
Fall is such a beautiful time of year and I was inspired by this photo taken by Ted Nierenberg on his property in Armonk, New York. I love the play of colors on water that this photo caught. I scanned the photo and then used PC Stitch to create my pattern. The photo was taken from his book, The Beckoning Path – Lessons of a Lifelong Garden.

A Kitchen View – 2010
Inspired by a trip to Italy and the beautiful view of orchards, gardens and flowers on a windowsill, I wanted to capture this in a trompe l’oeil cross-stitch to brighten my own kitchen with this vista. The pattern was created with PC Stitch. It was a very fun piece to stitch with all the bright colors.

A Study in Mimulus – 2009
I wanted to make a special cross-stitch work for my daughter who was getting her doctorate in Evolutionary Ecology studying all the genetic variations of the Mimulus genus, commonly known as money-flowers. I found this gorgeous image of Mimulus flowers on the web, and although they aren’t the wild variety that she studies, I thought they made a very colorful picture.

Lady & Spri at Horsfall Beach in Coos Bay, OR – 2008
Some of my favorite times were spent riding my horse, Lady, or Spri in the Oregon Dunes. I wanted to sew something in remembrance of those wonderful days. I decided to make a composite picture out of 3 separate photos taken at different times and places using Photoshop. Then I used PC Stitch to create a cross-stitch pattern.

Girls at the Piano by Auguste Renoir – 2006
This has always been one of my favorite paintings by Auguste Renoir of two girls at the piano. Since I love to play the piano and also have an older sister this has been especially dear to me. After seeing the original art at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, I just had to try to recreate a version in cross-stitch to enjoy daily. I used PC Stitch to create my pattern. It is one of my favorites.

The Old Oaken Bucket by Grandma Moses – 2002
I was inspired by the Grandma Moses Art Exhibit held in 2002 at the Portland Art Museum. Shortly after seeing it I choose one of my favorites from the exhibit to create a cross-stitch work using an art print photo and PC Stitch. I was not that pleased with the outcome though. I don’t think her style of art lends itself very well to cross-stitch. This piece doesn’t do justice to her art.

Birds Grace Our Home – 2001
Having built bird feeders at our home I began seeing a multitude of birds of many different types and thought it would be fun to create a cross-stich piece featuring each variety. From my bird guides I identified and scanned photos of each bird and then used Photoshop to create a picture using those scanned images. Then PC Stitch allowed me to make a pattern of my picture to be stitched.

Brandy and Danny – 2000
We had two wonderful dogs, Brandy, a golden retriever, and Danny, a black lab mix. I wanted to stitch a picture of them, but had not yet learned how to create my own patterns, so I used a commercial cross-stich pattern with some adaptations. The pattern had three dogs in it. The third one was a yellow lab which was on the far right. I eliminated him and added some reeds to fill in the empty space. Unfortunately neither of the other two dogs really looked like our Brandy or Danny. This inspired me to learn how to make my own patterns.

Hummingbirds – 1999
Shortly after moving to our farm in North Plains we discovered we were living in a hummingbird paradise. Every summer we are visited by 100’s of hummingbirds. They are such magnificent little birds and give us endless hours of pleasure watching them. Of course we feed them as well. So, needing a little sewing therapy in my spare time I found this commercial pattern which I enjoyed stitching.

Gratitude for Home and Family – 1997
This pattern was given to me as a kit from a nursing friend. We worked nights together at the hospital and sometimes when we had a slow night we could cross-stitch in the back room on breaks. I found it to be so relaxing and therapeutic that I was inspired to do more.