I’ve been really busy so far this year (only two weeks but seems longer) organizing my studio and getting ready for all the hard work that will be coming out of it.  I’m working on art quilts and making fabric baskets.  I continue to draw and make collages in my art journals.  Basically I am having so much fun playing with all kinds of materials.   My latest quilt , which I finished yesterday, was for an architecture theme which I named: “WELCOME TO MY WORLD”.   Houston is my hometown, so I am very familiar with the distinctive architectural areas of our city.   I chose to show the reflection of various buildings on a pair of glasses.  I started out with a paper collage in my art journal which I scanned onto fabric. It was machine quilted and hand beaded.  You might even recognize some of the neighborhoods!



Houston or H-Town, is the way we refer to our city for those of you who are not from Texas.  If you are a Lyle Lovett fan, he wrote a song about Texas called:  That’s Right (You’re Not From Texas).  Here is a link to the song if you would like to hear it.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMhaehb5AnE


The Quiltart group that I belong to has us choose a word the will be our inspiration for the new year.  My word choice for 2015 is “seeing”.

I plan on be very observant this year and using my eyes to “see” creative inspiration in everything that I encounter.  This is the year that I plan on completing more fiber art than ever before.  I love working in the A4 size frame because it allows me to “see” my ideas on the fabric much quicker and complete more art quilts.  Another love that I have rediscovered is making fabric baskets.  “Seeing” different fabrics and colors is the motivating factor!  (although my sewing machine likes to fight me because I have already broken so many needles)     I will persevere…   My creative juices are flowing and I promise to “see”  more in 2015.


EYE SEE YOU  art quilt by Kathy Zieben
How about YOU? Tell me what your word will be…


Speaking of dogs in my last posting, I made a quilt called “HOME IS WHERE THE MUTT IS”.  This quilt was inspired by a song that Elvis Presley sang called “You Ain’t Nothin But A Hound Dog”.  I did some research on the lyrics to this song and found that it was really about a certain type of man who was considered a “hound dog”.

But the personal twist that I put on my quilt was choosing to highlight a real “hound dog” in his home.  Dogs are commonly referred to as “man’s best friend.”  Speaking from personal experience, my dogs have always been a huge part of my life!  The dog featured over the fireplace mantel is my own Yogi Bear, who we lost a few years ago.  It is the actual quilt image that I had made that was selected for an exhibit called “It’s Raining Cats and Dogs” last year at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas!

I started out with a paper collage in my art journal which I then scanned on to fabric.  It was machine quilted and hand beaded.  The silver charms on the bottom of the quilt put the final touch on the 8″ x 11″ quilt.

IMG_1716_2 IMG_1714_2


The bond between humans and dogs is something so special!  Their company is so comforting and the love that we receive from them carries with us throughout the day.   We can be out of their presence for thirty seconds or three hours and they rush back to lick our faces and wag their bodies.  Dogs never lie about love!

Recently I was visiting my daughter out in California.  People take their dogs everywhere with them and they are accepted in almost every restaurant and store.  Here are just a few of the photos I took.





Sidewalk Chandelier

The earliest candle chandeliers were used by the wealthy in medieval times. They were generally wooden crosses, with spikes on which candles were secured. They were hoisted to a suitable height, hooked on a rope or chain.

From the 15th century, more complex forms of chandeliers, based on ring or crown designs, became popular decorative features in palaces and homes of nobility, clergy and merchants. Its high cost made the chandelier a symbol of luxury and status.

Fast forward today and you can find chandeliers outside on the streets of shopping areas!  WHAT FUN!  Just look up the next time you go shopping.


A4 Challenge Play Group

You are probably wondering what does A4 mean?  I certainly did the first time I heard about that paper size.  As you know, outside of the USA they measure things in the metric system.  Here are the true A4 sizes:  A4 paper size is 210mm x 297mm, or 8.267 inches x 11.692 inches.   Letter paper size is 215.9mm x 279.4mm, or 8.5 inches x 11 inches.

I decided to become a member of this new challenge group that was formed on Quiltart.  I have belonged to this online internet group for many years.  It is the largest mailing list for innovative, contemporary art quilters.

The first challenge topic was called “Off To The Races”.  What do YOU think of when you hear that phrase?

My quilt is called GO, CLOWN. GO!

Life is a marathon and you are in it, so “OFF TO THE RACES.”   I immediately thought of something whimsical such as clowns, in clown cars, racing around a track.  My quilt started out as a paper collage which I scanned onto fabric.  It was machine quilted and hand beaded.  I used real balloons, used to made balloon animals, for fringe on the bottom of the quilt.


Up close view:


The letter “Z” is for Zieben!

The last letter of the alphabet is Z.  Since my last name starts with the letter Z, I decided to post my newest quilt block that I made for the ASTRONOMICAL QUILT BLOCK CHALLENGE.  I found this challenge to be fascinating when I first heard about it.  Astronaut Karen Nyberg, while on board the International Space Station, created a star-themed quilt block that she brought back to earth with her.  That block will be combined with other blocks that are submitted by International Quilt Festival attendees.  You can watch her sewing in space by following the link below:

My quilt block is called “Across The World & Into Space”.

Scan 1

The Quilt Block challenge is a variation on “stars”.  I decided to use stamps that showcased stars.  Since stamps go all around the world, I thought that would be my interpretation on the astronomical part of the theme. If you look closely at the stamps, many have stars on them, but a few are whimsical and have special meaning to me.   My block will be one of over 1,500 that will be pieced together to make a quilt and hung at this years International Quilt Festival.  Look for it if you go!  This year is the 40th-anniversary show and will take place the end of October.

The letter “Y” is for Youth.

Youth is something that is wasted on the young!  How many times have you heard someone over the age of 50 say that?  The time between childhood and maturity is somewhat ambiguous, don’t you think?  I feel that it is really a “mindset” of attitude.  My mind certainly doesn’t feel OLD, so I must be somewhere in between that quality of imagination, curiosity and maturity.  Perhaps being an artist gives me the privilege to fool myself. 

Enjoy some of my “youthful” photos.


The letter “X” is for TEXAS.

I know, I am stretching to use the letter “X” this time.  But TEXAS is like a whole other country to some people!  TEXAS is the second most populous state and the second largest of all the 50 U.S. states in the United States of America.  Houston is the largest city in TEXAS and the fourth largest in the United States.  We are also nicknamed  the LONE STAR STATE…

Since I am an art quilter, I designed and made this TEXAS quilt for a show that is currently traveling around the United States.  It is called “THE EYES OF TEXAS ARE UPON YOU”.