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How to Stitch a Piece of Quilt Art!!

I’ve had fellow creatives ask me some “maker” type questions…, I thought I would attempt to answer these inquiries. This is one of those processes that actually benefit me as much as it does the asker. You often forget about the mental process of creating things until you sit down and pen it.   This can sometimes make you feel super smart and creative….or one of the biggest goobers ever to hold a needle.  Such a huge swing sometimes.

  •  Where do you get your quilts?
    • My quilts come from several different places.  I have a studio in a wonderful creative community, Chattanooga Workspace.  It houses about 35 different types of artisans.  Monthly we invite the public to visit/tour our building and experience different forms of art.  I cannot begin to tell you how many people stumble into my studio and volunteer to donate to my creative cause.  I often find little bags of fabric goodness at my studio door.
    • Many of my fellow creatives in the building know I’m a quilt collector, so they are always on the hunt and donate to my cause as well.
    • Plus, I’m a huge junk/estate/garage sale shopper.  This is always a huge resource for vintage quilts and notions.
  • Do you use a canvas to mount your quilt pieces on? and how do you mount them on to the canvas?
    • I do not use a traditional canvas, but I do use wood panels.  The are available in all sizes and I purchase those through Blick Art Supplies.  
    • I simply glue my quilted fabric art directly to the wood canvas with Allen’s Tack Craft Glue.
  • Where do you get your felt?
    • I LOVE FELT!  For years I would order online from a variety of places.  But, I have now found right in my own backyard Over The River Felt.  The key to felt for me is COLOR.  I want to use interesting colors…..shades of a color….all colors of the rainbow!  Plus, it needs to be good felt.  I prefer a 20% wool/80% rayon.  
  • Do you use a pattern for your flower bouquets?
    • Nope… patterns of any kind.  No two things have ever been made similar…much less alike.  I don’t even sketch on to the fabric to cut it.  I just grab the scissors and start cutting.  I am not a believer of duplication or patterns (although I want to start a pattern division of my work).  Picking out the felt flower colors is fun.  Lay what you might like on the quilt canvas….pick what you think looks good.  It’s all in the eye.  Grab the scissors…..begin!
  • Do you lay it out before you begin?
    • Yes!  I cut the quilt canvas, figure out the flowers, lay it on the quilt…..and pin it all down.  Sometimes I even photograph it….just in case things start moving while creating.  But, remember this…..movement happens, things can get wonky and your opinion of what it should be can change.  Embrace it….work with it…..there is no wrong way.

Well, there is a few answers to a few questions.  No huge company secrets revealed, nor magical tips divulged. Just never think there are rules to creativity.  Just do it (Nike got it right!)


Writing Notes, Make People Feel Special!e

(About to hear a wee bit of a sappy pseudo philosophical post)

Recognizing and doing the little things!  We all experience people and their narcissistic behavior.  I myself, have thrown the millennials under the bus numerous times.  Recently, I had a conversation with my offspring about making others feel special, with the theme being….THINK AND DO BEYOND YOURSELF.  The discussion inevitably went to how expensive it was…and this is where the conversation really got clever.  Making people feel special is a simple philosophy to incorporate into your daily life…and this tiny gesture can benefit you and the recipient enormously. …and it doesn’t take a lot of money.

The number one “go to” special gesture is writing a note/card.  The whole process is the cost of a card….(which can at minimum be a piece of paper/envelope for heaven’s sake) stamp and some time.   Let’s just mull our current world situation.  Most all of us are unfortunately attached to some kind of social media, and we all would rather text than talk….so, to actually pen a note is this side proportionately, of registering and sending a gift from Tiffany’s.    Face it, we have a whole generation of people that do not practice the art of writing script.  Bonus:  it forces us all to spell correctly.   Plus, the ability to make the envelope a sacred piece of art is yet another win to the process. Extra Bonus: there is so much cool stuff to embellish an envelope. Note writing is filled with so much “special” it is frightening.  Extra Super Dee Duper Bonus:  Small as it seems, every letter keeps the Post Office open and working for us all. (the USPS has great stamps that too can represent your style and benefit a cause you support, all here)  Handwritten notes have now become an anomaly of sorts.  Digital communications has made ‘notes’ super special.  The biggest burden of writing notes is time and effort.  Both of these are required….as is anything of any value.

The best note to write is one that is not expected.  It is like receiving a gift in the mail just for the heck of it!  It ramps up the “special” factor exponentially.  Thank you notes are a MUST and “special” notes are double “MUST”.  I’ve told my daughter my opinion of the ‘note’ value….but, she has now experienced it.  The received note has come back to her through conversation…interview processes…job encounters….friends….referrals….all kinds of good things.  

Here are a few little goodies I love to beaddazzle my personal notes!  here, here and here.   My primo, uber, favorite pen is here and it is available in numerous colors!  

Let’s bring back note writing….let’s make people feel special!




Adult Easter Egg Hunt!

One of my mentors, in a former working life, gave me some very interesting advice!  He was a firm believer that there was very little “R&D – Research and Development,” in the business world….but, lots of  “R&R – Research and Re-invent.”   I initially didn’t really get it, but as I have become older  wiser, I totally get it!   How about an Adult Easter Egg Hunt? 

Chattanooga has some innovators…but, I am thrilled to personally know two of them…..Jennifer Holder and Shawanda Mason-Moore of The Chattery.  There is nothing more exciting than to watch two gals cut their own path and all to the benefit of our community.  The Chattery is kicking the ‘enlightenment’ butt!  Congrats to making yourself relevant…..and admired.  Now to my point….they have knocked it out of the park in the R&R department with one of their many events/classes coming up March 31st, at the Sculpture Fields at Montague Park.  It is The Great Adult Egg Hunt!

One of my favorite holidays is Easter.  The religious meaning….the childlike events….the colors associated with Easter….and more importantly, the infamous Easter Egg Hunt!  I am competitive….so a ‘hunt’ is right down my alley.  But, your participation in the hunt tends to diminish as you age….and if your child has out grown this honored past time….what is an adult to do? People tend to frown on knocking small children down to get the golden egg.  This is where the Chattery stepped up their game and did some R&R!  The full details are here….but, a quick summation is this…the gals have invited local artists to donate and create an individual egg.  These exclusive eggs will be hidden and adults will get to scurry around a unique artsy park to find said artistic eggs….then follow it up with an adult beverage!  What?  It’s like the Easter Bunny had a mimosa and invited their 21+ year old friends to come play!  

I graciously practically begged them to let me participate.  I volunteered before the world-wide web let the ‘call to artists’  bounce off the satellite that The Chattery needed eggs.  It was maybe the first thing I committed to doing in March.  Well, my egg was presented to the gals for their Bunny Hiding Extraordinaire. The photograph above is my contribution.  I hope someone will enjoy her as much as I enjoyed making and participating in this project.  I will be a hunter on the 31st…..I will come home with an egg (or more if I can knock some adults down that drank too many mimosas)… I will come home having experienced a little R&R…..and I’m not talking about resting or relaxing!  

Way to go Jennifer and Shawanda….props to bringing fun back to adults via child like events….we salute your R&R!  Look for me on the 31st… in sprint position.

Alexa Lett

Quilted Flowers!

Obviously, I’m hung in a quilted flowers mode.  Some times when I sit down to stitch, I get stuck.  My creative brain thinks I’m duplicating over and over again the same thing.  I waffle back and forth for about 10-15 minutes and always ask myself, should I take the quilted flower route again?   Am I a one trick stitcher? Is it bad to have the same theme of art all the time?  As a maker, do you ever feel in a rut? 

Often I wonder, if quilted flowers will hit the wall of interest to my audience…but, I mull….and mull….and I tell myself, there is no way any of these are duplicated and all are massively different.  In my brain I associate duplication of subject matter with general duplication (as in print, meaning 1 to 1).  I would never want to make the same art over and over again.  It sort of defies the meaning of art (to me anyway).   I’m not sure I could duplicate any of these pieces if I wanted to.  Every now and then I veer off the flower path and it is fun….but, I aways boomerang back to flowers. 

My love of stitching always starts with my love of playing and digging in my stash of vintage fabrics, quilts and notions.  My studio becomes and smells of “old”.  The air is full of dust, fragments of batting and shards of threads.  The floor is littered to a level of unsafe.  I snip…sort….debate….and before I know it…..I have assembled a bouquet of flowers. I can’t seem to get too far off the same creative path.  I’ve somewhat convinced myself I’m a floral arranger….it just happens to be with textiles.  

All this then invites the question….am I in a rut? Or am I creating what I like to make?  It is a slippery slope and a rabbit hole you will go if you want to debate it.  Similar to the egg and chicken question.  Which always loops me back to the basic foundation of my creativity….rut or not, do what you enjoy doing.  

The Craft and Art of Sequined Fruit!

The kitschy, artful goodness of beaded fruit is quite special to me.  When I see beaded fruit many quirky thoughts and memories rise to the surface.  First and foremost is my Grandmother.  I can’t say she was the most nurturing sort and was only in my life a somewhat short period of time, but for some unknown reason, she enjoyed making beaded fruit. This was her jam!  I can’t remember her doing any other type of craft.  She enjoyed two things that I can remember…betting on the ponies and making beaded fruit.  

As a 7-year-old, a bowl of sparkly sequins and beads is the ultimate.  She invited me to help her for an hour or two of beadazzling only a couple of times, but clearly this left a warm impression.  I vividly remember asking myself, was the pain to make worthy of the beauty created?  Pushing straight pins into plastic fruit can quickly leave a heavy dose of digit pain.  The searing sensation can begin to pulsate in the end of my fingers if I think about making them today.  The goal was to make enough fruit to fill the decorative bowl in the middle of the table.  I may of started 4-5 pieces, but my Grandmother finished them all.  Once the goal was accomplished, she was done, and so was the creativity….and that was that.

I sometimes think of this memory and experience as the launch pad to my own personal creativity. A somewhat sparkly, painful craft project was the turning point in my own originative spirit.  I learned that adding your innovative twist to a common object was possible….and certainly in my future.  I so wish I had her beaded fruit, but it disappeared over the years.  The above picture was fruit I found at an estate sale.  Every time I see it, I think of two things …my grandmother and the horse races.  


Commitment To The 100 Day Project!

The 100 Day Project

I am a huge fan of a group commitment!  Speaking for myself..the need to be accountable…even to a group of people you do not know…communicate… people you interact with….just the mental decision to commit to a project….makes it happen in my head….then it happens in my studio!  I have participated in the The 100 Day Project for two years!  I’m a wee bit behind on the start date….but, I will catch up!  I love this project!  I love what other people create!  I love how it makes me stretch what I do as a maker.  The 100 Day Project adds a little fuel, and maybe some alternative fuels to broaden, widen and test drive adventures to the creation table of my studio.  Plus, I have the attention skills of a gnat and this short-lived daily moment of creation panders quite nicely with the “must make a project/creative piece once a day!”  I like making it and finishing it all in one day.  My need to check off my daily maker duties is how I operate.  This commitment lends itself to my personal style so beautifully! It is doable! The commitment to participate makes you Blog…Instagram….and Facebook.  You have to share….and commitment makes it happen.

The first year I participated in #the100DayProject I stitched little handmade images on 100, 5″ squares of linen.  They all turned out great!  I used them for other projects….gave as a card on a gift….passed them on as a wee treat…made lavendar sachets….they found many homes, all 100 of them.  So fun to share with fellow lovers of handmade…and 100 units of anything creates new friends everywhere!

Last year was the piece of art above.  I daily stitched a tiny doo-dad or memorable something (it had to be small) to a salvaged wool blanket to create one of the most interesting collages of my personal life ever made.  Many have asked to purchase it, but this one is weirdly going to hang out with me a while.  Just to define its personality….the blue diaper pin in the middle was mine as an infant; the little pink heart was my dog Daisy’s contact info she wore on her collar for years…a lot of the fabric, notions and trims are swatches from my daughter’s clothes, mine and family linens. This little piece of work occupied 100 days of hunting, gathering and sewing.  A big commitment…..and so worth it.  This piece proudly hangs in my house as we write and read.   

This year is going to be the year of the “Mini Art”.  It is decided.  I want to create small, affordable pieces of art that most anyone could afford to purchase and collect.  A few biggies will surface….but, #the100Day Project will have many minis!  Plus, I’m going to incorporate more than stitching…we are going to paint as well.  FYI:  I’m not a painter.  This should keep it interesting visually.  Let’s hope practice makes perfect….or at least better.  The merger of the two will be my #the100DayProject break out moment.   

Tomorrow is the first day to post the first piece of 100……eeeeek!  Can’t wait… sure and come see!  Pictures will bee-bop back and forth from Facebook to Instagram and here on this blog.  We will keep it interesting!!

Just pop over to my contact info on my website: and follow along……

Commitment….it’s a good thing!




Finding Your Spot in the Art Blog World

The mirage of human contact (i.e. all forms of social media), creates the question I constantly ask myself, “what the heck am I going to art blog about today?”  Thus the lack of blogging in 2017!  The ‘world wide web’ specialist, people all advise that Instagram is about the photos.  Facebook is about marketing and reaching a certain demographic, and a blog is about chit chatting about anything you desire, with no parameters whatsoever.  Blogging, for me, often gets lost in the pile of postings because I actually have to give it more thought.  Facebook and Instagram are so fast and quickly accessible via phone.  They are easy peasey!  But, blogging requires me to think so much more.  

Are You My Kind Of People?

I always debate who reads these ramblings I write? Why would you?  What could I possibly write worthy of your time and effort?  I’m still debating all these questions….but, I tend to think if you have stumbled upon this little piece of the “www” y0u must be ‘my kind of people’.  According to all the computer analytics, you the reader, has crossed my path because of key words that connect our kindred spirits.  

Let’s join with our mutually enjoyed words at least once a week….read at your leisure…but understand that I will post weekly on most occasions (although life does occasionally provide a random hiccup).  I have made a commitment for 2018!  What I post here will not be the same as any other social platform, so prepare to see different content…let’s keep it dicey.  This is my little piece of the world….to quote my fellow southerners…come on back now ya’ here?  We will sit a spell and chew the fat.

Welcome to 2018! I’m Late! New Art!

Yep….it’s been a while.  I have no excuses….except….it just hasn’t happened in a while.  My art has been happening…..just not in a blogging way.  

But, this is a new year….new goals….new attempts at being a more consistent blogger.  A much heartfelt thank you goes out to those who have asked “what’s going on?, what’s happening?”….just a wee bit of life has kept me moving and shaking and not focused on this segment of my little world.  My microcosm of stitching has been cooking beans!  I have stitched anything and everything in site.  

As you know, my need to ‘hunt and gather’ is as much a part of me as my DNA make-up.  If anything it has intensified over the months.  My inner “weird item” divining rod has lead me to miss matched stuff.  As of late, the oddity of  ‘one’ versus ‘pair’ has proven itself to be quite interesting.   

This little hand-knitted, wool sock was found in the upstairs of a building in Sweetwater, TN.  There was only one….but, look at the fashion forward color choice of the maker! It was found in a box with newspaper that dated back to 1952.  I feel this little sock might have a story or two to tell.  One side had provided a few great meals for a slew of moths, but, the other side was perfect.  Judging the size of the foot part…I’m thinking it probably was hip high to a toddler.  Not a typical sock in my world, but nevertheless an interesting textile to work with.  It easily walked its way into my art.  Just a few little embellishments of my needle and it all mounted on a vintage ledger…..done.  So cute.

It is oddly funny how things generally found in pairs wind up in my hands missing their other counterpart.  This story holds true for the glove below.  My need, nor want, to wear elbow gloves has not surfaced lately.  Yet, a pale yellow hand-stitched elbow glove surfaced at a yard-sale this summer.  The lady gave it to me because of the lack of “pair of gloves” the tag read.  It clearly had only one more purpose left……art.  One of my favorite Emerson quotes fit perfectly on it.  

Often the predictable (things coming in pairs) is expected and somewhat necessary to use as they are intended; but if you put on your creative hat, the lone half that remains can find a new calling.  Find purpose in all things.  The ‘take away’ from this 2018 blogging beginning….a pair with no spare is not rare, but a pair less one half….I don’t care.  {giggle}

A Stitchy, Embroidery Hometown Treasure Right In Your Back Yard!

Welcome to Yates Bleachery Company in Flintstone Georgia.  Today some friends and I from Chattanooga Workspace took a field trip to this little hometown jewel.  Since I was a super fan of embroidery my curiosity for this little haven had been haunting me for months.  Little did I know this factory was but a hop and skip down the road from what I call my studio home.  Jenny, a studio neighbor, was the leader of our adventure today and did not lead us astray. I cannot wait to share and show you what hidden gem was right in my backyard.

What I thought was going to be a small hovel of a building, turned out to be a large factory offering work to a large number of people.  It quietly sits in a beautiful valley surrounded by rolling hills and pastures of mooing cows. It generally looks like a typical manufacturing factory upon first exterior sight, but then you get the opportunity to cross the threshold into textile heaven.  

The doors open wide to racks and racks of textiles. Endless racks and racks of fabric. Fabric that went under the corrugated skylight for as far as the eye could see.


As we were escorted through the first room, by our ever so delightful guide Byron, we passed this ginormous room that took these giant rolls of fabric and unrolled them into giant bins like a huge blanket.  You just wanted to jump in and lay down and let it cover you up for a restful sleep.

Next came the entry into the “seconds” room.  This was the room that gave us minions entering textile heaven, the right to touch, fondle, feel, roll on the fabric like a puppy after a bath in fresh grass; and enjoy the view. It was truly the best. Racks and racks of cotton, poly cotton, linen, cotton blends….all beckoning me. I could see scads of embroidery floss inching itself all through these racks spelling words, making flowers, weaving circles and lines, coloring the white cotton for miles.  It was a stitchy person’s dream.

Hanks of fabric became my ‘in the warehouse’ drug.  It was intoxicating.  I then learned to purchase a hank of mainline  50/50 poly cotton was only .50 a pound.  Fabric by the pound.  Whaaaat?

This was my shopping cart….I wish…….

How Does Creativity Begin?




As of late the fascination to create and sew a bird is at a feverish pitch.  Flashy birds, whimsical birds, sassy birds, colorful birds, weird birds…..every form of a strange bird….but, no real birds.   Something about making a bird I can create with a real sense of freedom.  No rules.  And, they are completely in keeping with my need to start and finish usually within the same 48 hours.  

My favorite part about starting a new piece is selecting the chunk of repurposed quilt to be the canvas for one of my little birdies.  This latest quilt had the oddest fabrics pieced together.  My favorite was this fabulous block of polka dots…..had to make it the prominent background.


The next part of the process is pretty organic….just start digging through my fabrics and cut out a bird and may the stitching begin.  I have never been one to do too much premeditation.  Grab some thread and a needle and begin.  

All this description of “how I create” seems so normal to me, yet today, I visited a lovely local art museum.  I have volunteered to be a part of a collaborative art project between Chattanooga Workspace and Hunter Museum.  We must select a piece of art and create a companion type piece that inspires me from the masterpiece of the Hunter.  In strolling through all the paintings….pondering my selection….I read many of the origins of the artist’s work.  It seemed to be a recurring theme that all were inspired by something in most their work (i.e. nature, wildlife, their surroundings, life, humanity).  But, I do not approach the creative process like this at all.  What does this mean? What does this say about me?  I just randomly thought one day, I want to create a bird…..pretty much it.  No influence….no inspiration (I don’t think)…no forethought…..just a blip one day to create a quirky bird.  

Hmmm…..I think this says, my artist detail by one of my creative efforts should it appear in any museum would be really short.   

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