Tools and Techniques with Judy Simmons

Judy Simmons, a Fairfield International Invitational Fashion Show designer for many years, recently taught a 5-day workshop for us. An experienced teacher and author, Judy packed the workshop with loads of technique and process information. A sampling of the topics covered were microwave dying, machine needle lace, machine texture, bobbin work, dimensional and off the edge appliqué, creative methods of machine appliqué and using sheer overlays. Surface design techniques include stamping, paint sticks, and Angelina fibers.

This is an example of machine lace.


This picture illustrates some bobbin work using heavy weight metallic thread and the decorative stitches available on most home sewing machines.


Judy presented demonstrations throughout the day, but allowed plenty of time for everyone to practice and play with the techniques.


It was a fun group that not only had loads of fun in the studio, but even had a little hula hooping session after dinner one night!

Nabila, a belly dance instructor, showed everyone how it was done!


Sandee, from Canada, showed great form too.


Sheila, from Oregon, worked on a jacket. The floral fabric is fabric that she designed from a photo of her garden. The picture was sent to Spoonflower, a custom printed fabric company, to turn into yardage. Sheila was thrilled with the resulting fabric.

Using the custom fabric as a start, Sheila then further embellished and painted the fabric using the methods that she learned from Judy.


The weather was beautiful all week. I caught these fabulous pink clouds as sunrise one morning.


Bonus December Retreat

Come to our Bonus Retreat in December.

Our Retreats are a time for people to get together and work on their own projects with no set program. If you’re self-motivated and could use time to concentrate without instruction, or if you have a friend you want to spend time with, or you just want a relaxing art vacation, the Retreat package is for you.

Take advantage of this uninterrupted time to finish your holiday projects!

As a bonus for this retreat, Kim LaPolla, workshop director and fiber artist, will be joining you in the studio and will provide informal lessons on how she designs and creates the rabbits for her quilts. Kim will explain how to create a pattern and templates starting with a photo or illustration. Kim uses both a turned-under applique method and a fused method. Other techniques and processes will be covered, such as the crazy-pieced background.

Come join us for this fun week. Enjoy the 24-hour access for the studio, full country breakfast, afternoon cookies and fruit, and delicious 3-course dinner. Also unlimited coffee, tea, and hot chocolate!

Dutch Baby Breakfast Dish

Everyone has been asking for the recipe for the “Dutch Baby”, a breakfast dish that is sort of like a large puffed pancake that is baked in oven. It is one of my favorite dishes and I don’t get to make it that often, mainly because I usually only make it for small groups, as it does take a little longer to prepare and I only have so many small skillets!


So here is the recipe:

Dutch Babies (or German Pancakes)

For four servings,

  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • approx. 6 – 8 Tablespoons of butter/margerine

Preheat oven to 425 while you are blending the the egg mixture. Crack the eggs into a blender and whirl at high speed for about a minute. With the motor running, gradually add the milk, and then the flour. Continue whirling for 30 seconds.

Portion the butter into one large oven-safe non-stick skillet (3 – 4 quart size) or 4 small oven safe non-stick skillets (1 quart size) (I use a 8″ teflon oven-safe skillet to make individual servings), then put in the oven to melt. If you are using 4 skillets, divide the butter equally between them. I also spray the pan with non-stick coating to make sure the Dutch Babies don’t stick to the pans, which would spoil the presentation!

When the butter is melted, pour the egg mixture into the skillet/skillets and bake for 20 – 25 minutes. It is done when edges are browned and the center is firm.

Serve immediately. May be served plain, sprinkled with powdered sugar, syrup, lemon wedges, or fruit.