Tuesday, December 15

Spring Garden Tour – here we come!

Our west courtyard has been selected to be a “contributing property” for our neighborhood association’s Spring Garden Tour!  Whoo-hoo!  Too fun!  I just LOVE going on garden tours, so it is great fun to have created something that others will enjoy and perhaps be inspired by.

Here’s a “Before” photo":


And “After” – voila!  (Click to enlarge.)



The Tour is a fundraiser for the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Historic Designation Fund.  Our neighborhood has been nominated for historic status – which, if we get it, will mean a permanent reduction of approximately 50% in our property taxes!  We need to raise $38,000 to pay our half of the consultants’ fee – the consultant who is walking us through the lengthy legal process of nomination.  We’ve raised $10,000 so far!

Luckily, the event is not until April 18, so there is more time for our new plantings to fill in.

The other fun news is that I will also be selling my fabric art here during the Garden Tour and donating 50% of the proceeds to the Historic Designation Fund.  Here’s a little preview… (yet to be embroidered and quilted AND named):


Thursday, December 10

Giant Quilt Commission DONE!! Whoo-hoo!


Click to enlarge any photos.

Drum roll, pleeze!!  Here, my faithful readers is the completely finished quilt commissioned by my dear friends in Amsterdam. It is a huge piece of work, clocking in at about 100 inches by 113 inches – slightly larger than a California King.  It is really quite stunning, (if I do say so myself!), AND they just love it.


It has been raining lately and it is still too wet to lay it out for proper photo-taking, so here are a few close-ups of the stunning machine quilting by Mary Vaneecke. We chose a gorgeous variegated blue thread.  Because of the strong geometry and symmetry, I chose a delicious meandering swirl pantograph.


If you want to see some of the progress photos I took as I was making this baby, click here, here and here.  And here is what the entire quilt front looks like, pieced but not yet quilted. Oh, and here is what the back looks like.

Monday, December 7

Enchanted Studio -- on the move!

Ken and I have decided to ease our mortgage payments while socking away moolah for our big move to France with a little help from renting out a room to a tidy engineer fella.  The most likely room to rent was the one attached to the hall bath… also known as… my studio!

Inside, as always, is the silver lining!  What was the “summer living room”, aka, the Arizona Room, has now become my studio!  Click here to see what this room USED to look like. This is SUCH a yummy space – with windows on two-and-a-half sides, a big ol’ woodstove, tons of plants and three times the square footage!  Who I am to complain?  Oh! Quite the contrary!

Check out my new studio digs:






Here, inspired by the quilt fusing workshop I took with Laura Wasilowski, I spent the weekend fusing a select batch of batiks from my stash.  Here, with the Wonder Under release paper still attached:


And peeled!


In this corner (below), we lugged in the double chaise from the west courtyard deck and made a great place to snuggle up in front of the fire.  It’s too cold to enjoy the chaise outside at this time of year. 


As our “summer living room”, the Arizona room can get purty chilly, what with the 1950s single-pane windows.  So this winter, our woodstove is sure to get a workout.  Yes! Tucson DOES have “winter.”  The mercury has barely touched 60 degrees midday this last week (oh my!), with night-time temps flirting with the freezing mark. It is quite breezy today, 20 to 30 mph, with gusts to around 45 mph tonight. 6 to 10 inches of snow is predicted for the higher elevations tonight.  Cool El Nino rains have arrived.  In January and February, we can expect daytime highs in the 40s and 50s, nighttime lows in the 30s. Not exactly what many of you are suffering, but not exactly chaise-lounging weather either!

New quilt-in-progress: Dancing Flowers

Here’s another little fused quilt I made in Laura Wasilowski’s workshop a few weeks ago in Payson, Arizona. I still need to add the border and quilt it, but here is a progress pic:


It is 14 x 14 inches.  I used Laura’s own hand-dyed fabric, which is glorious!  This is all from one piece of one of her 58(!) colorways of gradated fabric! Yum yum!

I also used Laura’s Artfabrik hand-dyed thread to give the little flower faces some detail. Here’s a closeup:


Sunday, December 6

Quilt-in-Progress: Milky Way

Milky Way

12 x 24 inches

I’m not sure what will come next in this little quilt, but that is the beauty part.  I love working improvisationally like this – letting the piece percolate up on my design wall until “What is next?” becomes clear.

Wednesday, November 18

New quilt: Casa Encantada #1

Sunny House

Casa Encantada #1
$125, plus $12 S&H
11 x 15 inches
Artfabrik hand-dyed cottons, 100% cotton commercial batiks, and hand-embroidered with Artfabrik hand-dyed cotton threads

Here is one of the two quilts I made at Laura Wasilowski’s delightful workshop “Fusing Fun” this past weekend at the Rim Country Quilt Roundup in Payson, Arizona (home of Zane Grey). I’ll post the other quilt tomorrow.

Laura is one of the bestest teachers EVER!  She’s super-organized, funny, and, as the Choir Director (and the Dean of Corrections!) of The Chicago School of Fusing – she is full of hysterical fused-quilt-related songs. What a hoot!  It was a fabulous weekend -- and learning this technique has opened so many doors in my brain! Yum!

Thursday, November 5

3 Wee Little Paintings for Sale!

Click to enlarge.Blue_Spikes_by_Claire_OConnor.2009

Blue Spikeys
$10, free shipping
Watercolor on paper, 2.25 x 2.75 inches
Copyright 2009, T. Claire O’Connor


Painted Alley, Tucson
$15, free shipping
Original watercolor on paper, 3 x 4.25 inches
Copyright 2009, T. Claire O’Connor

Purpley_Spikeys_by_Claire_OConnor.2009 Purpley Spikeys
$10, free shipping
Original watercolor on paper, 2.25 x 2.75 inches
Copyright 2009, T. Claire O’Connor

PayPalLogo Buy safely via PayPal using your Visa, MasterCard, Discover, AMEX or eCheck.  To purchase one of these sweet little ditties, please email me at claire@enchantedstudio.net.

Tuesday, October 20

Back from France!

Me in Roquebrun, France (Herault).

I am back home in Tucson, our arrival greeted by luscious dry desert temps in the upper/mid-90s.

Ken came home from his first day back work at work yesterday around 4pm.  We immediately agreed it was nap time…  so we got horizontal and the next time I opened my eyes, it was midnight!  I got up to get a big drink of water and turn out a few lights -- and then I got back in bed for another 3 hours!  Now that I am finally upright, I feel almost human again!  The next time we go to France, I want to go by boat!

Our trip to France was everything we’d hoped for and more.  As soon as I get my videos and (about 500!) photos organized, I will share a bunch of them. (I promise, not all!) 

We chose to totally “unplug” for the entire trip, so that meant no blog or Facebook posts in “real time.”  It was a welcomed break!  And now I’m looking forward to sharing the trip with you guys over the next couple of weeks.

A bientot!

Thursday, September 24

Off to France!!!



This is where Ken and I will be landing -- once we take a bus to a train, to a plane, to another plane, to another plane, to a rental car, that is!  We leave our house tomorrow at 5:30 A.M. Pacific Time and land in our rented house (“gite”) the NEXT afternoon at around 4:00 P.M. France time – PHEW!  But I have the distinct feeling it will all be worth it! 

Not a bad place at all to recover from jet lag, n’est ce pas?!

Friday, September 11

Mexican honeysuckle?


I’ve been calling this climbing plant with orange, bell-shaped flowers “Mexican honeysuckle.”  Here’s a niceo ne climbing up the post on our front porch. But I just googled it and find that I may be wrong. Anyone have any ideas?



Wednesday, September 9

Quilt back is done!!


The current size is 121” x 109” -– It will get trimmed after it gets' quilted, which is the next step!  The top and the back are done.  Now I’ll go back to the quilt shop and get a big ol’ roll of batting and a yard of fabric for the binding!

Below is a close-up of the four fabrics I used for the backing.  The photo above does not give a true “read” of the fabrics.  They are really quite stunning – especially the one on the left, which is O’s favorite.  It’s a gorgeous turquoise and cobalt batik in a sort of coral reef pattern. It’s Ken’s fave, too. It did not work with the fabrics used on the front, so I wanted to make sure I used a whole lot of it on the back.  And I did!  Over 7 yards of it!


Tuesday, September 8

Soon, the evening monsoon

Monsoon Soon.09.09.09

Tonight, two seconds before it starts raining, the evening monsoon sweeping in on sunset light, the sweet smell travelling ahead of the big raindrops. (Photo taken in our backyard, looking west, carport in lower right, house on lower left.)

Monsoon Raindrops 09.08.09

What’s blooming today?


Purple blooms. White blooms. Up against the fence that surrounds our pool/backyard. Don’t know the names of these plants.  But I can tell you the plant to the far right is Texas Sage. And the sweet, feathery tree is the distance is a mesquite tree.

Monday, September 7

Cereus redux, seriously


Night-blooming cereus, redux, blooming in the daylight! Taken this morning in our backyard.  This bloom is about 8 to 10 inches across.  It’s cool that we are getting a few more blooms on this cactus, as the bloom season has long since past!

Broken Top

Mountain View.09.06.09

Our humble mountain view.  Photo taken from our carport – one of the few places we have a legit “mountain view”! This view is looking north, to the tallest peak in the Santa Catalinas called Broken Top. Especially gorgeous first thing in the morning and at sunset. Photo taken at 9am.

Sunday, September 6

Monsoon Sky


Last night’s threatening sky, Photo taken from our backyard, looking south/southeast, out over our roof and the neighbor’s roof.  It never did actually rain.

Tuesday, September 1

Quilt top, without border


Now, it’s back to the quilt shop for border fabric – that baby is going to take almost 5 yards of fabric for the borders – PHEW!!