Journal Quilt: Ice Cream for Dinner

Mal | Art Journal,Finished Projects,Handmade,Media,Quilting,Sewing | Monday, July 27th, 2009


One of the personal issues I have dealt with over the years is a form of disordered eating. These struggles become pronounced whenever I have extended or intensified contact with my family, as I’ve had recently.


I’m happy to say that although I’ve mostly been able to get my binge-eating under control, I still slip into patterns of unhealthy eating choices when faced with stress. I eat out, neglect proper nutrition, and generally choose convenience and comfort over actual self-care.

Journal Quilt Inspiration

My recent indulgence has been a treat from Cold Stone Creamery. Unfortunately, the “Ice Cream Dinner” became all too common in these past few weeks, as I compulsively ordered and ate “Founder’s Favorite with chocolate base, please add marshmallows and could I get that in a sprinkle bowl?”


When I needed to turn this ship around, I started to journal about it. I journal about everything that is on my mind, and this was definitely something that I needed to explore.


And, in fact, one evening this week, rather than engage in the behavior, I decided to make a journal quilt about it instead. This is also my submission for this week’s Mini Quilt Monday.


I used Dale Fleming’s pieced circle technique for the first time, and found that it worked perfectly for this purpose.


I even pieced the fabric of the “waffle” to represent the waviness of that crunchy bowl of artery-clogging death.

Journal Quilt: Ice Cream for Dinner

At least making this quilt kept me from actually having an Ice Cream Dinner for a few nights. Maybe I can finally put this bad habit to bed.


I still haven’t attached the beads to represent the sprinkles. What do you think? Beads? No beads?



  1. beads, definitely beads

    Comment by britt — 27 July 2009 @ 10:35 am

  2. If you’re going to do Ice Cream for Dinner, you have to have the sprinkles I think! Your circles came out terrific! I think lots of us get odd quirks when we have too much Togetherness with our kin. My dad had an eye-twitch that would kick in whenever anyone mentioned his mother; it disappeared only after she had been passed away for about five years!

    Comment by Sally — 27 July 2009 @ 10:51 am

  3. Britt said just what I was going to, “Beads, definitely beads.” My thinking? It will take some time to stitch all those little go-gaws, and while you’re doing it you’ll have more time to mull over what’s in your psychie.

    Comment by Leslie — 27 July 2009 @ 11:17 am

  4. Er, I was just about to say, definitely add the beads :-)

    Comment by Sue — 27 July 2009 @ 12:18 pm

  5. Beads? No beads? Well, let’s just say I read “ice cream” in the title, saw the quilt and thought “Cool, sprinkles”.

    Haven’t commented much, but love your work, and the pink writing embroidery is pulsing like a heart.


    Comment by Christine — 27 July 2009 @ 12:54 pm

  6. Definitely sprinkles/beads. Thank you for sharing this with us–it’s really wonderful to see how you’ve channeled some of those feelings into this quilt.

    And it’s funny that Sally would mention an eye twitch–I’ve had one since yesterday when I woke up! Yikes. I suppose I’m going to have to figure that one out now–you’ve inspired me. :-)

    Comment by Collette — 27 July 2009 @ 2:06 pm

  7. Bugle beads! Rocailles! Dragees made of silver fresh water pearls!

    All the little quirks our families cause in us :} During our sojourn with MIL, i chewed and bit my cuticles and nails down to blood. Now that we have our own place, they are for the first time in years, long and nice.

    Comment by arlee — 27 July 2009 @ 3:14 pm

  8. I’d say YES for the beads! :D
    As for the disordered eating, I understand the difficulty that lies therein. When I’m presented with a larger-than-normal amount of stress (usually stemming from family issues, or – more recently – listening to and internalizing other people’s heartaches), I lose appetite and pounds off my already slim body.

    I think since I’ve found your website, I’ve been able to transfer the excess negative energy into a positive flow of artful expression – and for that I thank you! It never occurred to me to use my talent in that way.

    Also, I’ve never tried quilting before, and now I really can’t wait to try it!

    Comment by Tiph — 27 July 2009 @ 7:42 pm

  9. Definitely sprinkles!!!

    I recently found your blog, and I’m enjoying it very much!

    My favorite method for circles is Dale Flemings 6 minute circle…it’s perfect!

    Comment by Cherri — 27 July 2009 @ 8:53 pm

  10. Yes to the beads! Yes to keeping hands busy instead of noshing on sweets. Yes to making the problem into a visual object.

    My eating issue — sweets. I find it hard to avoid them even when I’m not stressed. (Only at night). But buying pants over the w’end has me determined to do South Beach again… if I can just get through the first few days, the sugar cravings actually vanish!

    Perhaps I should get back to my Journal Quilts as well — made it to about June and then — kaput!

    Hope things are settling down for you, and BTW, I love the quilt!

    Comment by Dee — 27 July 2009 @ 9:10 pm

  11. Moderation moderation moderation…lots of sprinkles….moderation moderation…

    It’s lovely Mal. I love how your always artistically connected. way to work it out. support from NYC.

    Comment by V — 27 July 2009 @ 9:24 pm

  12. I like it more with beads. What a good way to deal with bad habbit, I generally eat well except when I feel stressed or depressed. At those times I start carving chocolate and cakes, but eating badly only makes me feel worse. Next time I’ll try doing some journaling instead.

    Comment by Fioleta — 27 July 2009 @ 11:27 pm

  13. Love the quilt. And I’m a simple girl – I say no beads.

    Comment by Amy — 28 July 2009 @ 6:06 am

  14. If the quilt has accomplished it’s purpose for you already than leave the beads off and move on to the next topic. If you still want some time to think about your ice cream dinners than add them. Or third possibility, I would add them if you are thinking of showing the quilt somewhere. They would add dimension and just a zip of color to a great piece. I am a stress eater as well! Everyone tells me I should journal but I’ve never picked up that habit.

    Comment by Janet — 28 July 2009 @ 6:51 am

  15. Love, love, LOVE it. And I say, yes beads.

    Comment by MichelleB — 28 July 2009 @ 8:18 am

  16. Yes on the beads! Thank you for honest sharing about your stress habits and ways to work with it. That always helps me when I am up against it.

    Comment by Debbie — 28 July 2009 @ 9:00 am

  17. I love the circles, and the beads really finnish the quilt. If it’s served it’s purpose, then by all means stop, but I think the beads look really fantastic.

    Comment by Katherine — 28 July 2009 @ 9:01 am

  18. Definitely beads–but just a hint. When sewing on bugle beads, place small seed beads at either end to help save the thread. Bugles can be sharp and cut through. The beads will add one more layer, kinda like what happens when you eat that stuff for supper (I know). Nice mini.

    Comment by Kolleen — 28 July 2009 @ 10:13 am

  19. stumbled on your blog. Loved the colours instantly- chocolate brown and turquoise. Then I read your caption about art and therapy and I was intriqued. I too do art via fabric, and I too am a disordered eater/survivor.

    You are definitely going into favourites…
    thank you.

    Comment by re-joyce — 28 July 2009 @ 3:54 pm

  20. add the beads, definitely!! i don’t think i have commented on your blog yet, but i have been following it for a short while. love the things you post – from the creative ones to the practical ones (like folding the fabric for storage).

    i think your idea of quilting the ice cream rather than eating it was great and probably more satisfying! any time i eat more of something unhealthy than i should have, i think back and decide that usually it’s only the first couple of bites that are immensely satisfying. your quilt square will be a feast for the eyes for a long time!! :-D

    on the subject of eating ice cream for a meal: i too replace dinner with an ice cream treat sometimes. and i don’t think there is anything wrong with doing that sometimes. perhaps not consecutive nights, but don’t fret about treating yourself occasionally. ;-) i subscribe to the philosophy that a diet isn’t completely healthy unless you’re enjoying it – food is not only nourishing your body; it also nourishes your soul (mental, spiritual, social, emotional well being).

    cheers, Terisa

    Comment by Terisa — 29 July 2009 @ 6:38 am

  21. i vote beads….i love the quilt…and can appreciate ice cream for dinner problem (i would eat it every night i think)…this quilt is amazing…thank you for sharing the quilt and the “backstory:

    Comment by elizabeth c. — 1 August 2009 @ 4:47 am

  22. [...] anonymous art therapist presents her struggle with eating issues through visual journaling and textile art. It is a competent discussion about the struggle and journey to channel difficult feelings [...]

    Pingback by Les Arts Santé - Les blogues du Douglas – Soins, recherche, enseignement en santé mentale » Blog Archive » Facing issues through art — 17 September 2009 @ 9:05 pm

  23. Wow. Not only are our mothers both hoarders, but I too suffer(ed?) from disordered eating. I’m going to be checking out your blog and Flickr from now on. It’s very comforting and inspiring to know you’re out there. I’m at a loss for words, but for lack of anything better to say, you’re amazing!

    Comment by Rebeccca — 29 May 2010 @ 12:16 am

  24. This is really great! I am thinking of making one..dessert quilts sure looks ..delicious.

    Comment by Amanda — 4 June 2010 @ 10:21 pm

  25. Great post, my favorite ice cream is rum and raisen.

    Comment by gazza — 12 September 2010 @ 3:25 pm

  26. Definitely go with the beads. :) I’ve found myself having a few too many “ice cream dinners” lately. Maybe I should try out this quilting journal thing… :D

    Your blog is fantastic and I wish there was more of it. Thanks for sharing with us!

    Comment by Anne — 20 December 2010 @ 12:47 am

  27. Just stumbled across this, love the sprinkles on the quilt. It really pulls together the ice cream look.

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