Only God Can Make A Tree…

I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.
From the poem, Treesby Joyce Kilmer.   The last few lines are:  Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.

And who remembers the book written by Shel Silverstein?  Yep, “The Giving Tree” was one of my favorite books as a child.  Once there was a tree….
and she loved a little boy.  The last few lines are: Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.”
And the boy did.   And the tree was happy.

Another poem, “The Money Tree” by C.J. Heck.  I dreamed I grew a money tree outside in my yard.  The last few lines are: People say that money doesn’t really grow on trees.  I only wish it did just like in my dreams.   Wouldn’t that be fabulous!!

Trees are vital. As the biggest plants on the planet, they give us oxygen, store carbon, stabilize the soil and give life to the world’s wildlife. They also provide us with the materials for tools and shelter.

Not only are trees essential for life, but as the longest living species on earth, they give us a link between the past, present and future.

But what do you think about this idea?  It’s really crazy but I recently ran across this on the internet.   Italian designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel are proposing that we turn our dead bodies into trees!  They believe that burying bodies is a huge waste of space that could be used by the rest of us who are still breathing.  Cremation can produce a lot of toxic waste.  But a “burial pod” just might be that solution.

This idea is called “The Capsula Mundi”.  It would encase a corpse in an egg-shaped seed capsule and then be buried underground with trees on top of them. As your body decomposes, the tree would gather nutrients from the decomposing pod, and the circle of life would march on.   Would you do it?




Glazed, Filled or Iced…

What’s your poison?  Glazed, filled or iced doughnuts?  Those of you who have never been to the Houston area and tried Shipley Do-Nuts, you have NO idea what you are missing!  Yes, I know they aren’t good for you.  They are sweet, tasty and full of fat, but come on…

Sometimes you just have to treat yourself to one every once in a while.  My all time favorite is to buy a bag of a dozen doughnut holes and eat them before I even make it back home!  Their coffee isn’t too bad either.

So what do you say?  Which is your favorite?


“Flower Power”

The last month, I was working diligently on an art quilt called, “FLOWER POWER”.  This is a piece I can only show part of, for now, because I am waiting to find out if it was juried into a show I entered.   I had a lot of fun designing the flowers with found fabrics, buttons, beads, stitching and a silk flower.  The textures really add to the bouquet that a bride is holding.  I’ve actually read online where brides and bridesmaids have carried artificial bouquets while walking down the isle.  I guess it is a different approach to having wedding flowers.  It certainly would be a keepsake forever while also saving the environment!


Finding Inner Peace

My current work integrates my collage work into my art quilting.  “Finding Inner Peace” tells the story of how the power of someone’s words might cause pain and anguish.   Forget the famous nursery rhyme telling you that they don’t hurt. “Sticks and Stones” is an English languish children’s rhyme.  It persuades the child victim of name calling to ignore the taunt, to refrain from physical retaliation, and to remain calm and good-natured.  These harsh words can be harmful especially when spit out at you from all directions. Children or adults are not immune to mean words.   My quilt gives the message that even though mean words might make you feel that you are boxed in to a corner,  don’t ever give up or hide from your true feelings.  Please ask for help if you need it.  The key is to NEVER allow bullies or your own demons to make you sad or take over your thoughts and do damage.

My technique starts in my art journal with a drawing and paper collage.  The quilt is photographed, scanned on to fabric, machine quilted and hand embellished with beading.


10″ x 7″  Finding Inner Peace

The Number 7…


777 is used on most slot machines to signify that you won a jackpot.  After creating the world God rested on the seventh day and the seven-day week was adopted by all human civilizations.  God rested on the 7th day, that is the reason for the observance of Shabbat. Boeing, the airplane manufacturing giant, released a 777 airplane in June 1995. The number 7 is the seeker, the thinker, the searcher of Truth.  But the most important reference of all is our name, ZIEBEN, which is in German.  Friday, I went to our local JoAnns and bought new fabrics for an art quilt that I am getting ready to start.  What did I notice????  I bought exactly 7 different fabrics for my project!  I’m going to move forward on an idea that I have for the biennial exhibition of Sacred Threads.  This show was established to provide a venue for quilters of all faiths who see their work as a connection to the sacred and/or as an expression of their spiritual journey.  Here is a link if you are interested in entering:

I also noticed that it has been 7 long months since the last time I posted on my blog.  The very last day of February and the end of April were very trying times in my life.  We lost my father in law and also my mother.  I think my “creative muse” was on the back burner and I couldn’t bring myself to work on any art.  Lately, I have been working my way back with a few mosaic projects, which were mindless.  Now I am ready to tackle a new art quilt. The deadline to enter is December 31, 2016.  That means the opening of the show would be exactly 7 months from that date.   7 should be my lucky number!!  Wish me luck…

“Living The Life” by Kathy Zieben

The first 2016 quilt challenge theme is “The Orient Express”.   Being able to experience a world of timeless glamour and romantic adventure would be such a blast!  Boarding such a luxurious train and traveling European cities would be awesome.  Perhaps one day I will get to take a journey on the world’s most famous train.  I would definitely take my camera and capture everything that I might see!

I wanted my quilt to show the opulence and richness of the people who might take this kind of adventure.  They are definitely “Living The Life” and seeing the world.   Using the letters of the name, ORIENT EXPRESS, I decided to think of what would describe such a worldly travel experience.

O is OPULENT                               E is EXPENSIVE

R is RAVISHING                           X is eXtravagant

I is IMPROVIDENT                      P is PROFUSE

E is EXCESS                                   R is RICH

N is NOBLE                                    E is EXORBITANT

T is TACKY                                     S is SPLENDOR

                                                        S is SPOILED


My quilt began with a paper collage showing my interpretation of an Asian theme.  The collage was photographed and scanned onto fabric. It was machine quilted and hand embellished with beading.  Do you think these people are “LIVING THE LIFE”?

“INSIDE US ALL” by Kathy Zieben



What does the quilt challenge “Fine Line” mean to me?  It means there is a fine line between everything that we do (something or something else).  I am sure you have heard of all the expressions like:  clever or stupid, love or hate, genius or insanity, pleasure or pain, and courage or foolishness.  My thoughts went to a topic that was recently in the news, Transgender.   Bruce Jenner made this subject forefront in everyone’s minds when he decided to become Caitlyn Jenner.   Whether you are happy to side with his struggles or totally against this path in his life is beside the point.  I feel that we each have a little “boy” or “girl” inside of us all.  There is a fine line between male and female.  When I was growing up I loved to play in the dirt, participate in physical sports, or just be outside all of the time.  Most of my girlfriends were inside reading books or playing with dolls.  That labeled me as a Tomboy.  There were many boys that were labeled as effeminate or cowardly because they liked to play with dolls, didn’t like sports or wanted to sew.  They were called Sissies.

This quilt was designed to show how each boy and girl has both sides inside them and that is OK!!!

I started with a paper collage dividing each face into both genders.  The collage was photographed and scanned onto fabric.  The unicorn and rainbow fabric border the quilt.  Did you know that it represents a sarcastic expression of wellbeing referring to impossibly perfect conditions where everyone’s happy and nothing goes wrong?  Life is more than putting labels on people!  It is INSIDE US ALL…