What do artists do?

Artists tend to pursue more than one creative venue.

Outside: I do a lot of outside things including walking, hiking and dog walking. Gardening because we grow the majority of our own food. Fishing, bike riding, swimming and skiing. We love the outdoors in the Inland Northwest.

Inside: I do needlework and have been since I was quite young, mostly Embroidery and Sewing. In the evening, I wind-down while watching TV with family by embroidering. There is an ulterior motive for this, I don’t have to watch commercials when I hold something in my hands to stitch.  I sew many other things in my sewing room – like blankets, aprons, bags, quilts and clothes, seat covers or anything else we may need as a family. Sometimes I give away my work, donate to church fundraisers for my tithe, or charities, sell them or just keep for myself.

My Grandma taught me how to do all the embroidery stitches on small things and then gave me a Bucilla printed tablecloth kit for Christmas when I was in high school. It took me a whole year to finish, and a lifelong hobby was born. As an artist I draw my own patterns on the material to stitch now.

Grandma is responsible for many of the best recipes in my kitchen and craft skills in my household and studio. Her name was Opal Evelyn Kilpatrick. She was half Scottish and half Indian and she had that beautiful white hair just like her Mother did. As I snapped this photograph with one of those old Kodak camera, little did I know this would be the last time I would see her in-person before she passed away. She paused for a photo for me at the Lihue, Kauai airport parking lot before we walked over to the gate for her to catch her flight. She had come to visit me and my kids before moving away to the mainland to live with her sister in Oklahoma. I carry this picture in my wallet still.

Here are some pictures of that first tablecloth project. I still remember Grandma’s voice, whenever I spread it on the table to use on a special occasion.


Hummingbird Tablecloth progressing w/ flora…

There are now nineteen completed hummingbirds embroidered around the edge of this 96″ x 55″ white tablecloth.

I began showing this embroidery project earlier this year, showing each hummingbird as it was being completed, the total tablecloth is progressing nicely to the next level. I began with drawing sketches of what I want to do on the cloth with an iron-off marker, (bought in the quilt section of the fabric store) then just get out my box full of thread (floss) and go for it. It is relaxing like painting with colorful thread for me. TV is often boring – especially the commercials so I enjoy doing this embroidery in the evenings to relax.

When completed my tablecloths don’t sit in a chest not being used. I give them to family, and really love to use them myself for fancy dinners or celebrations, and, I do sell some. I have even been known to take them to church auctions to raise money and do my tithing.


With the 19 birds around the edges complete, I am now adding branches with vines wrapped around them with occasional honeysuckly blossoms mixed-in and it seems to be really coming to life. Here is the first completed corner.

Tablecloth Surprise…

I got a unexpected surprise when I put the tablecloth on our dining room table. It was way too long reaching down to the floor on both ends. Don’t know how I made that error but Pete says the material I purchased for the cloth was at the end of a bolt of material so he assumes that I got more yardage than originally figured. Hmmmm. This tablecloth is being cut into two now, a full length one and another at 60″ square approx. Didn’t know I was working on two all this time but did think it was sure long whenever I bunched it up to put on my lap.

Hummer Tablecloth Progress

a pair of humming birds flying in close quarters

I am enjoying putting the flying characters on this tablecloth. At about half finished with the birds there are a few things becoming apparent with the design so far. The flying guys don’t seem to have as much to do with thoughts about the future design of the folaige and blossoms around them as the perched ones do. These are the kinds of thoughts going through my mind as I look at the last two finished. A female and male in close quarters. Their position seems to suggest a chase is in motion.


Hummingbird #11

a green male hummingbird with a white neck.

Just finished this male Hummer on the tablecloth embroidery project. A zooming dude done in greens with a white neck, he has a tint of blue on his wings and tail feathers. He became quite a challenge with his wings wanting to blend-in with the body till I did the final highlighting yellow on the top surface of his body. Without this yellow on the top surface and the black on the lower sufaces, it was all wanting to look undefined and kind of blurry.


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