Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ringing out the old

Today is the last day of 2009. Tomorrow we get to start fresh. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my friends, both real and internet for stopping by and reading my blogs. I especially want to thank those who have left comments. I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year. May 2010 be the year that your dreams and wishes come to fruition.
This year has been a good one for me and I look forward to even better things in 2010. I was lucky enough to turn some internet friends into real friends and I hope to do more of that. I took some new workshops and learned new techniques to be applied to my work. Some work for me, some don't, but the journey is always fun. I got to make new friends and reconnect with some I had previously met. I had a piece published in a national magazine and had several pieces in galleries and juried shows. I sold art and fabric I had dyed.  I am looking to do more of that in the coming year. I have been trying to focus more on my work and raise it to a higher level. I need to work on the pile of stuff I have started before I start more. I love the creative process, not so much the finishing process. My quilting has improved and while it won't win any awards, at least I am not embarrassed by it and I no longer have anxiety attacks. My strong points are still my designs and color.
My daughter Robin and son-in-law Brett are thriving in their new home. I am very proud that she pulled off her first Thanksgiving dinner with extended family without any hitches. Everyone got along very well and there were no tug of wars. I look forward to more of those.
Thanks to Facebook, I have reconnected with some lost cousins that I have not seen or spoken to in ages. Hopefully in 2010 we can do it in person. Facebook has also allowed me to make some new friends I would not otherwise have had the opportunity to connect with. I even connected to a High School English teacher I always loved and admired.
As I get older the years seem to wiz by faster. It seems only a few months ago I was celebrating 2009. I am not sure where this year went but it sure did go by fast. I am sure there is a ton of stuff that I can not recall at the moment that I would have liked to have mentioned. We can just chalk that up to .... hmmm... old age? I don't feel old although 2010 will see me celebrate my 60th birthday. Hard to imagine.
I would be very remiss if I did not mention the terrific support I get from my husband, Ned. He cheers me on when I have gotten it right and offers critique when I need it. He doesn't balk too badly when I ask for outlandish things. He takes an interest in my art even though it is not his style and lauds my achievements in public. He is my number one cheering squad. I would love him anyway but it is a nice bonus!

Here's to great opportunities in 2010.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Special treats

Many of us have made lots of online friends but how often do you actually get to meet them in person? I had the good fortune last week of turning an online friend into a real life friend. Carole Grant and I have taken two online classes from Pamela Allen and we hit it off from the beginning. She lives in BC, Canada in the summer and winters in Palm Springs, CA. We tried to hook up last year as we were driving through but it just didn't work out. This year, Ned and I were spending a week in Palm Springs at a bridge tournament and Carole and I made a firm date to meet for lunch. She picked a wonderful place to eat and we sat outside and enjoyed the fine weather. We talked and talked! After lunch we took a walk and window shopped and talked some more. We found we had a lot of things in common and just enjoyed each others company. The afternoon reinforced the friendship that had been building for the past two years. Carole gifted me with some of her work and and extra pair of surgical scissors (you can read her story on her blog). We are now planning to meet up at least once a year to do something.

Meeting Carole was the highlight of the week but the bridge was decent as well. We got to see some bridge buddies we haven't seen in a while and spent time with some friends as well. Lots of our local bridge club players were there also. Thursday night is the Art Festival in Palm Springs and they close down the main street so vendors can set up booths. The smells from the food were delicious and if we hadn't had a reservation already for dinner we would have pigged out on street food. There was some interesting artwork, lots of jewelry, the usual handcrafts (good and garbage), and wonderful people watching. The pet dogs were out in force... some were dressed up in coats and boots (I kid you not) and some were being pushed in doggie strollers. It was a fun evening.

I have a piece I need to finish up before the end of the year and then I will decide what I want to focus on for 2010.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Wrapping up the week

Over all this has been a good week. Sammy got a great gift in the mail.. his very own quilt filled with catnip. Stacy Hurt asked for some help to defray the cost of surgery for one of her foster kitties. I made a contribution and while she offered a "gift" in exchange, I specifically told her that I didn't want anything. She already had her hands full with 2 sick kitties. Well, she didn't listen to me, and not only that, she had to have done a bit of research to personalize the quilt. Here are the photos of the quilt and Sammy enjoying it...or guarding it? Thank you so much Stacy.

I have spent the week trying to work on a quilt I would like to enter into a show. It didn't start out as a possible show entry and when I finally went to read the instructions, I found out the quilt was too small! I had to find a way to creatively add to the piece so it did not look like an afterthought or a mistake. I came up with an idea and it has taken me a full week to get it right and now I still have to finish it all by the end of the month and photograph it. I might just be able to do this! Sorry, no pictures.

On a really bright note, as a combination Chanukah, Anniversary, and Christmas present, my DH got me a frame for my sewing machine. In order to fit it in, we had to do a massive reorganization of my studio space. I suppose everyone should do this at least once every 5 years... the length of time we have been in this house. There were things that have never been moved... Oy, the dust bunnies we found! Now everything is clean and rearranged... who knows how long it will take for me to find things... especially since not everything is all put away yet. I did fill up a large black garbage bag. I didn't know I collected so much crap.

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season no matter what you celebrate.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Lots to be thankful for

We went to NJ to celebrate Thanksgiving with my daughter and son in law in their new house. She had 17 people and all went well. The food was delicious and the company was fun. Of course I left my camera home... dumb. I still have some really good friends in Jersey that I miss and we got to see them as well, although not quite as planned. Ned and I were supposed to have dinner with one of the couples... lobster was on the menu.. but Ned came down with some 24 hour bug and we had to cancel at the last minute.. bummer. Their daughters got to eat the lobster and thanked us profusely! Another event was the wedding reception of one of my oldest and dearest friends.. She got remarried... and I am responsible since I introduced them to each other. How cool is that? We spent a lovely afternoon with the skyline of Manhattan for our view and the weather cooperated. It was sunny and warm. She could not have asked for a better day in November. On Monday I got to spend time playing with a Rayna Gillman in her studio. I worked on some scarves and although I have not finished them, they have lots of promise. Monday night I made dinner for my daughter since she had to go back to work. I really do miss seeing her on a regular basis. We may have to rethink staying in Arizona. Tuesday was travel day home. Today is catch up day and hopefully I will get back into a routine by tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stitching, stitching, stitching

I have been doing lots of hand stitching on my Geisha piece. It is coming along nicely. I might actually get this one done! No picture as I am thinking of submitting this somewhere... if I can get it done. I am almost ready for the quilting and I know what I am going to do. I CAN do this!

On a more humorous note.. I was taking a break and decided to check out my SPAM folder. Today's haul was offering me better meds at lower prices... wonder what they think I am taking? Or maybe they are suggesting I should be taking something, hmmrrph. The other one was offering to increase my size... wonder how they knew I had just been to the doctors and found out I was 1/4" shorter than I was a few years ago....

Have a good week.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Heide part 2

I washed out and ironed the fabrics we did yesterday. Some I like, some will be finding other homes. I did quite a few 2 yard pieces so these are bigger than I am! I had some problem getting them up on my design wall to photograph... they are not straight. We worked on mutli colored pieces in dark values, medium values, and pastels. I was pretty surprised that some of the ones I didn't think I would like, I do. I used sateen and lawn plus I threw in 2 silk scarves just for the heck of it. Hope you enjoy.

2 day class with Heide Stoll-Weber Part 1 of 2

I was lucky enough to take a 2 day dye class with Heide locally here in Scottsdale with 12 other women hosted by Marla Hattabough at her studio. 2 days was definitely not enough time with Heide and I will look forward to a longer class one day. Day 1 was spent doing crossover gradation dyeing. What fun!  The colors are all yummy too. We started with 2 1/2 yard pieces and we all dyed 6 of them to be divided up at the end so we all had a set. I could stare at these for hours. The weather was spectacular and we did most of the work outside. Poor Heide thought 80's was too hot.

                                                                These are all the crossovers                      

Our hostess Marla

mad scientists

                                                        Lunch time!

I am in the process of washing out all the fabric I dyed yesterday. These will all be multicolors. From what I can see so far they are gorgeous. More later.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


My roses have decided to bloom again. This one is the forerunner.. the others all are budding. Strange time of year but I am not complaining.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Silkscreening with Colorhue dyes

Today was part 3 of playing with Colorhue silk dyes. I pulled out my favorite Ginkgo leaf silkscreen and shaving cream and went to work.  This was much easier than using stencils. It goes very fast and a little goes a long way. This could get addictive! I had some left over dye solution from the other day so I twisted scarf #3 and dumped it in a small container. I didn't want to dilute the colors more and there wasn't much left ( I suppose I could have added more dye) but I poured it on. It really doesn't spread a lot and there are still some white areas. I normally do not like white but it looks OK here so I might leave it.... or I could add a bit of gold paint... I will think on this.

I think I have to go order some scarves!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Learning curve

.. or what not to do when playing with Colorhue dyes. Today was phase 2 of learning to use the dyes on silk scarves. I decided that I was going to use shaving cream with the dye to stencil some designs onto the base color that I had previously dyed. I got out my tools and went to work. It was quickly apparent that there are some things you must do to get this to work. 1. Fabric needs to be wet or the shaving cream spreads under the stencil... not good. 2. Shaving cream needs to be thick enough.... not runny with dye, or it also spreads under the stencil. 3. Don't mix the colors anywhere near the piece you are working on.... splatters happen! You can also put the shaving cream on a stamp... works very nicely.
The big blob in the middle is shaving cream that is too runny along with a loverly pink splotch from being careless. I figure that by the time I bunch this up, no one will really notice?
The next one should be better.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Colorhue silk dyes

Several years ago, at the first Houston Quilt festival that I attended, I picked up a sample pack of Colorhue silk dyes. I was really excited about them as I had just taken my first class in fabric dyeing. When I finally got home reality set in. I really wasn't into using silk in my quilts! The dyes got buried somewhere and I forgot I even owned them.... until a few weeks ago when one of my Facebook friends started posting about her experiments. Gerrie Congdon started to explain what she was doing with these and I got excited all over again. A bell started going off in my head and I finally remembered that I bought something similar in Houston along with some silk scarves. I went out to the garage and unearthed the package and found they were indeed Colorhue! I was in the middle of doing something else at the time and knew if I started playing that I would get distracted... happens to me all too often... especially since I have been in a creative funk for most of the summer. I finished up what I was working on and of course looking for an excuse not to start the quilting, I washed the scarves in preparation for dyeing.
Yesterday afternoon I took a deep breath and decided to play with 2 of the scarves. I did not know how deep the colors would be so I started light thinking that I would put a base layer of color on them and then stencil, stamp, or silkscreen over it with either more dye, ink, or paint. These are the photos of the base layer. The lighter one I am going to stencil leaves on it as it looks sort of autumn to me. I have no clue yet what I will do to the other one. These were very easy to do with very little mess or clean up. The blue/green one I scrunched up and it dried like it was shibori. I may have to order wider scarves. These are only 8" wide and good to experiment with but not really wide enough for what I would like to do. I probably will not get to the next step till tomorrow.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Isn't it loverly

My husband and I just got back from a trip to Louisville (Luhvil), Kentucky. He had a convention to go to and they do up a special program for spouses. One of the activities was to make up "Derby" hats which we had to wear to the formal dinner on the last night. We had a blast making them. All of the hats were spectacular and none of them were the same. I love hats. I wish there were other places we could wear them and not look idiotic.

Yesterday morning I went with a couple of ladies to the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft and was pleasantly surprised to see an exhibition of quilts there! It was called Water Quilts from the collection of Jack Walsh. Some of the quilts were by Sue Benner, Ellen Anne Eddy, Ruth B. McDowell, and Judith Content. They did allow photos but I do not think it is right for me to post them here.

After a catch up day today I am hoping to get back to work.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Garden Surprise

Imagine my surprise this morning when I went out to my patio and found a Day Lily in bloom! It has 2 other buds on it as well. I did not realize that Day Lillies bloomed in the fall, but I do not recall this one blooming in the spring or the summer. It was a nice surprise. I need to go check some others and see if they have thrown buds as well.


My hubby got home from his latest trip to China last night and brought me back these wonderful new Pashminas to add to my collection. Looks like the Chinese have gotten into hombre dyeing. Yummy colors.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

In the home stretch

I have finally done all the applique and stitching on my piece. Now I have to take a deep breath and figure out how I am going to quilt it. Wish me luck!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sun Bathing

Sammy has the right idea!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Art for Autism auction

I just bid and won this fantastic piece of art by Gerrie Congdon who donated it to the Art for Autism auction. There are some lovely pieces there folks and it is a good cause. This piece is titled Spooner Lake Aspen #3.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ignoring the fear

Every time I have to do free motion stitching on something I have an anxiety attack... I have let a piece sit for the past 2 months because it needed some thread painting. There was a discussion recently on the Quilt Art list about fear and how it hampers us and some wise folks just piped up and said basically just get over it and do it!!! So I held my breath and did it. It wasn't bad! I had painted and stenciled these grasses and flowers but they got lost in the piece. I knew I had to add some stitching to them to make them stand out more. I finally just sat down and did the work I needed to do. This is just a small piece of it. I also added some French knots for a bit of color. Maybe now I will do the work I need to finish this piece up.

No Strep.. yea! Just tired. Seems some crud is going around and it hit me too.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Serenity hung

It is not always you get to see a piece of your work hanging in someones house. The person who bought my Serenity piece sent me a picture this morning. It certainly fits well...even matches her cat!  Made my day since I seem to be coming down with something. Bleh.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Muse playing tricks

I think my creative muse is playing tricks on me. I seem to be doing a lot of flowers lately and I have never been fond of floral quilts! What is going on here?? I also never had any intention of doing things in a series and yet I have found myself doing a bunch of still lifes. The piece I really want to be working on is languishing on my design wall. I have to start working on some thread painting and fear of screwing it up has me frozen. Tomorrow... I have promised myself that I will start to practice some thread painting and get back to the piece. In the meantime I am working on this floral that is pretty but mostly "fluff". It is large by my standards.... a yard of fabric is behind it. It has no story other than the fact that I happen to like these particular flowers. I spent hours cutting them out probably to convince myself that I was actually doing something for a change. Seems like I have been in a creative rut this summer. Maybe I am finally coming out of it... slowly for sure and not in the direction I expected. Guess you have to take what you can get.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Food overload

We are back home from a whirlwind 3 1/2 days visiting "family" in California for the holiday. We did the drive this time.... most of it is boring although I do love all the windmills outside of Palm Springs. I happen to have been driving this stretch so could not take photos. Phooey. Spent 2 days cooking my fingers to the bone and enjoying every minute... unfortunately, I also gained back the 2 pounds I worked so hard to loose the previous weeks. We had some down time so went over to Roger's Gardens and walked around... and bought some plants to bring home. Don't ask me why but they are cheaper there than here. We bought some babies of these succulents.
We also stopped at a farmers market.....oh, oh, oh, I was in 7th heaven. We tasted our way through it and picked up some delicacies. We don't seem to have many fresh markets here for some reason. I do miss them.

Does anyone know what these are?

Sunday, September 13, 2009


I am attributing the boredom to the continuing heat wave we have been having. I am tired of it already!
I have not felt like doing any of the projects I was working on, so I decided to revisit something I had in mind about 2 + years ago. I bought all these wonderful fabrics and cut them up in shapes for something I had in mind at the time. I realized that I couldn't put them together the way I wanted to... laws of geometry... so I left them sit. Because I am not in the mood to really think about what I am doing I decided to chop these fabrics up and just strip piece them. Definitely mind numbing, but that is all I am in the mood for.
While I was out today, I stopped at my local quilt fabric store. I haven't been there in quite a while as I have not been buying commercial fabrics of late. I was looking for some large flower prints, hoping to jump start my creativity. I was sorely disappointed on several levels. One, they had nothing of interest, but worse, they have changed the whole focus of the store. They used to have a really great selection of fabrics that I loved. They have since changed their stock to much more traditional stuff.... and lots of it! Yuck. The owner loves art quilts but she says she has almost no customers who are into that. She has to please her clients and this is what they want. Oh my.  I am really glad I can come up with most of what I want. Guess when I go to shows I am going to have to buy there.... it used to be that the quilt shop carried most of the stuff.... sigh, not anymore.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


MacMall has made good on its customer support and has sent me a return label for the Lexmark printer. Nice to know there are some companies who actually support their customers. Kudos, MacMall.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Getting bored of the Mac stories yet?

There are more.... The Iomega drive I sent back for replacement arrived yesterday... sigh, this one runs just as hot as the last one.... I give up. It came in a new, sealed box with cords etc. so I know they didn't send me a refurbished one. I installed Snow Leopard this morning.... NO problems!!! However, the POS Lexmark printer no longer works but no surprise there. I still haven't heard back from MacMall. Will call them again on Monday. My husband tried to set it up on his PC and it doesn't do real well there either. It is suppose to have an automatic document feed.... it doesn't work. I think I will donate this as it does not seem to like this household.
I had some good stuff happen as well. A friend came over who is a REAL Mac maven and showed me some tricks. He got my trackpad to work the right way and now I love it. He also told me I could hook up an external (read larger) monitor and use them concurrently! I went out and bought an adapter and it works like a charm. Whooohooo!
In essence, the Mac works real well. The problems were partially ones that I caused because I wanted to use programs I already knew and loved. That is all behind me now and I think this will be a long and happy relationship. THE END.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

And so the left hand doesn't know what the right is doing

Saga continues.... I spoke to someone at Lexmark... in India I think and was told that yes, I do need a black cartridge for the printer to work. So I ran out and bought a black cartridge. Guess what? It still didn't work. I made another call to Lexmark and spoke to a very knowledgeable person. I explained what had been tried and SHE asked if she could check out my computer remotely. I said yes. She also said that the printer should work without the black cartridge. So she waved her magic wand and got rid of half the crap the Apple geniuses put on and installed the correct driver. It was now working! That is the good news. The bad news is that when I upgrade to Snow Leopard next week when I get it, it will not work. Because the printer is an older model, Lexmark has opted not to come up with a patch for Snow Leopard. I bought the computer through MacMall so I gave them a call yesterday as well and spoke to the guy who sold me this stuff. At first he told me that I bought the computer before Snow Leopard was issued and therefore the printer was compatible. I explained, very nicely that EVERYONE knew Snow Leopard was about to be issued... it was even mentioned that I could buy it for $9.99 instead of the regular price. He said he would take it up with management. I haven't heard back yet. I don't tweet, but if this goes wrong, I might ask someone to tweet about this. I think someone at these companies listens to that stuff.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Mac saga continues

This afternoon I played "Stump the Chump". Brought the Mac and the offending (free) printer into the Apple store (made appt) to see if they could get it up and running. After two of the geeks tried to do the same things I had done (I think they figure that all females are dumb), they called in the HEAD HONCHO geek. After about 20 minutes of tinkering, he decided that the reason it was not receiving data was because the printer had no black cartridge.... well it only came with a color cartridge and no where in the info did it say it needed one to work. It has 2 slots.. one for either a black cartridge or a combined color and black and one for just color... what do you want for a cheapo printer. I am going to call Lexmark tomorrow as it was too late today to do it and find out if it really does need a black cartridge to work. I do not want to buy one and find out that was not the problem and then be stuck with it. Why the heck they would pack the box with a cartridge that prevented the printer from working is beyond me.

I am pretty sure they are going to RUN if they see me in there again. I do not make them look good.

My first week as a Macbook owner....

....was not an auspicious one. I had Parallels pre-installed so I could run some of my old Windows based programs. Some do not have Mac equivalents and some, well... just call me cheap. The new Macbook Pro is a beautiful, shiny, lightweight piece of technology. It runs quiet and cool. The first thing I tried to do was set up email. I decided that I really did not want to learn another new program so I installed my trusty Thunderbird email client. No problems getting it to work,, however, I wanted to migrate over all my old email and the files I had created. Not so easy. I dug into Google and could not find a definitive way of doing this. OK, so I knew I had a safety net at the Apple retail store. They have a "Genius" bar and they claim they will help you set up a new computer including migrating over files from your PC. GREAT! So I make an appointment and bring my two computers in. The "genius" said he knew how to do this but it would take time since I had 3 GIG worth of files.... 5 1/2 years worth of email. I had nothing better to do so I walked around the store and admired all the new toys while they made the transfer. Finally it was all done and the tech announced.... you know, I am really not suppose to do this... this is not a Mac supported program. HUH? So why do they advertise they will help you move stuff from your old PC to your new Mac? I thanked him for his time and went merrily home to tackle the next thing on my list. I turn on my computer and .... Thunderbird won't open. I keep getting a message that says there is an instance of Thunderbird already running.... WHERE??? I could't find it, I couldn't close it. Now I am getting pissed. These guys are suppose to know more than I do. It took me 2 hours to undo what this "genius" did. After doing much more research, it took me 6 hours to fix it and get the old files on the new machine. It was laborious.
So my next project was to install the FREE Lexmark printer that came with the laptop.I should also mention that the printer came with 1 3 color cartridge and no black cartridge although there is a slot for it. What do I want for free? They did toss in a printer cable as a gift! This should have been a piece of cake. The printer was functional... the Mac recognized it.... except there was no data transfer. I have installed lots of printers over the years but I decided that it was user error so I uninstalled all the programs and drivers on both sides (Mac and virtual Windows) and started over. Same thing.. I figured I missed something somewhere so started the process all over again. Still not data transfer. Sigh.... I guess I have to take them both back to the "geniuses". These guys weren't even born yet when I got my first computer in 1984. Did I mention that my trusty 2 year old HP printer bit the dust the same day?
Ok, so next up was installing my old copy of Office 2003. Not a big deal except the time it took. I had 6 years worth of updates to install as well. Next was my iphone and getting it to sync with the new machine.The itunes store makes it easy to install the apps and other data synced when I hooked it up. Not so my music library. I had to manually transfer via a thumb drive all the songs. This also took hours.
Next on the list was Picasa. I like the way the program works and I am used to it. iphoto is good for other things. 3 Gig worth of photos had to be transferred but the old program did not like my thumb drive. I had to back up all the photos onto a DVD and then restore them into the new program. How many hours? I lost track. I was finally done with all the housekeeping and I could now enjoy my new toy. ... but printerless.
Next question is which printer? Do I get the same type of HP which takes the Vivera ink cartridges I just replaced? Or, do I get an Epson? Decisions, decisions. I didn't think I was very hard on my printers but none of them seem to last more than 2 1/2 years.

It's a new week... maybe this one will be less "exciting".

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I sold a quilt this week and while I should be jumping for joy, it is sort of bittersweet. It is the first "art" quilt I ever designed and made and while it is a very simple design, I have gotten great pleasure from it. It is titled Serenity. I am sure it is going to a good home and I know the person who bought it will derive great pleasure from it. She insisted on having it!

On another note, we have been busy this week playing in a local regional bridge tournament and doing well. We are keeping wacky hours and I am exhausted. Thankfully, we have only 2 days 2 go. We won one team event, came in 3rd in another, and are playing in the semi finals of another today.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Where does the time go?

Has anyone noticed the passage of time? I can remember when I thought 30 was old. Sigh, my daughter is turning 30 at the end of this month. I don't feel old! Last week I spent time with a girlfriend of 52 years. I am in contact with another friend from High School who hooked me up with my HS English teacher! Turns out the guy was right out of college. We must have made life hell for him, BUT, he is still talking to me! In truth, I liked this teacher very much. He also had a hand in the Drama department and turned me on to scene design, costume design, lighting design, and makeup. I was very active in collage doing all of these and almost made a career out of costume design. If it weren't for him, I probably wouldn't have found my way to the green room.

The years seem to fly by. The days also seem to disappear on me and sometimes I have nothing to show for it. It is not like I am sitting and staring at the 4 walls and I never watch TV. So what happens to time? I think the gremlins are stealing it out from under me. I keep trying to get back into a routine of creativity but things just seem to get in my way. Next week will be another lost week in terms of my projects. Oh well, maybe the week after will be better. I am feeling prickly at the moment.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Back Home

Oh, I guess I never mentioned that I was away. I just spent a week in Irvine, California visiting some friends. It was a busy, but good week. I got to meet Jamie Fingal who gave me a tour of her spectacular studio and then we went to lunch and a walk around her lovely town. I played most of the week. I did some fun painting and stenciling on some ummm, undergarments for a young lady and I made her a vest with fish appliques. I cooked up feasts for my friends who don't bother to cook for themselves.... of course there was a glass of wine to go along with the food. For those foodies, the menu consisted of risotto with asparagus, pasta with garlic and oil, chicken cutlets, steak au pauvre, and grilled lamb chops. We had a wonderful berry crisp last night for dessert.
I was asked to "fix" an old silk flower arrangement..... I told my GF to take out all the flowers she didn't want any more.... hahah, she left 4 flowers in! We went shopping for new ones and I spent the afternoon creating a new arrangement. This is the almost final result. I ran out of time and we still need some leaves on the bottom. I will fill those in next time I am there.
I will get back to my project this week.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Good Day/Bad Day

The day started off real well... found out my stepson is in Kuwait on the way home from Iraq, YEA! We can sleep better now. I also got back to working on my Geisha piece and was making good progress when I noticed my cat was after something in the hallway. Since he is usually a wimp I wasn't too concerned but I did get up to look. SNAKE!!! I am DEATHLY afraid of snakes and I could feel my blood pressure go through the roof. I managed to think quickly before panic totally set in and tossed a trash can over it and added a rock on top for good measure. I never even saw what kind it was. I then called the fire department which, thankfully, comes and removes them. The snake was about the width of a pencil and about 18" .. but it had coiled up so I am not sure of the size. I left the room when it was removed and I did not ask what they did with it. I suspect it is in pieces in my garbage can. They told me they thought it was a red racer which is not poisonous but I am still a basket case no matter what it was. There are days (like today) I wonder why we live out in the dessert.
It is going to take me hours to settle down.

On another note... while I was in CA attending the IQA show, I took some photos of the bark on some of the trees. I thought they were rather interesting so I am posting them here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

IQA Long Beach

I have returned home from several fabulous days attending the quilt show in Long Beach, CA. While this show is not as large as Houston, I can see it happening in a few years. The exhibition of all the quilts and fashion was, as usual, top notch. Karey Bresenhan and her crew put on a first class exhibit and the reception for SAQA and QA list members was lots of fun. I got to meet people I would never have otherwise. I finally got to meet Jamie Fingal who is such a hoot. I caught up with her for a few minutes while she was creating a new wardrobe for her mice. I also volunteered some time at the SAQA table ( I learned how to work the credit card machine). The SAQA exhibit was truly awesome and pictures do not do the quilts justice. I was able to spend some time talking to Carol Larson who seems to share some of my opinions and also met some other big name (to me) quilt artists.
Unfortunately, I am not able to post pictures so what you see here is my "masterpiece" from Make It University where I took a short class from Rebecca Gill of the fantastic Stewart Gill line of fabric paints,etc. I love that paint and have been adding to my stash for the past 2 years. I picked up more thread from Superior, some more Misty Fuse and Transdoodle from an overworked but smiling Iris Karp, a few polished wooden buttons, and I found some wonderful old carved wood blocks that I will use for stamping. I also broke down and bought a pattern for a handbag that I saw some woman carrying around that has lots of inside pockets.
After dropping off my girlfriend (we drove) I met my DH for dinner and had a well earned chocolate raspberry martini and blackened Tuna. Yummy.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day trip to Sedona

We have escaped some of the heat in Scottsdale and have been staying up in Prescott. It is lovely here.. sort of like a New England town in the middle of the dessert. The The foliage is very diverse up here including an apple tree in the yard. Today we took a side trip up to Sedona. I love the beauty of the place and I managed to get some nice shots of the red rocks. It should have been cooler there but the temps topped 100... warmer than Prescott and the folks were bitching and moaning. The Mango sorbet I had was wonderful.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

QSDS Ann Johnstons's Class

The class was terrific! I had so much fun playing with dye paste and learning a great deal along the way. I am still tired from it all. We painted and printed using print paste directly on fabric. Some of us silk screened, stamped, rollered, stenciled, monoprinted, rubbed, etc. We also used corn and potato dextrine as resists. The class was 7 days... enough time to really get into it. Of course we took the required afternoon off and went to see Quilt National which, needless to say, was impressive. I aspire to that... probably only in my dreams. We also did some overdyeing and I managed some Shibori pieces as well. I have colored appendeges to show for it as well... yellow toes, blue, and red fingers. It was fun playing with all the toys.
I am waiting for permission to post some work from my classmates as well. There were 18 of us in the class which included some top tier artists... Shelley Baird, Marie Wiley, Faye Hoch, Ellen Bazzoli, Rachel Covo, Deborah Fell, to name a few. I felt quite intimidated the first few days but then just soaked it all in. Everyone was very gracious and generous about sharing knowledge and techniques and a good time was had by all. Ann was a good teacher. There were some awesome pieces from this class. I tried my hand at most things and have many pieces started and none any where near done. They all need more work but some of them I have a good idea of where I want to go with them. I have one piece that I think is a total disaster but I will use it to practice on.. who knows, maybe it will turn out ok.

I am waiting for permission from some of my classmates to post some of their pieces. I will add to the slideshow. I have added works from Meg Rogers,Teri Hjetland, Mary Anne Loehr, and Faye Hoch. I need to figure out how to incorporate these wonderful techniques into the work I enjoy doing. Enjoy.

Sacred Threads

On June 18th, we flew to Columbus, Ohio for the start of an exciting 10 days worth of activities which included my niece's wedding, a viewing of the Sacred Threads exhibit, and 7 days of classes with Ann Johnston at QSDS. We intended to meander our way through Amish country to drive back to Canton for the wedding. The weather did not cooperate.... it stormed all day Friday so we took the highway instead of the scenic route. The sun came out on Saturday and the wedding was lovely. On Sunday morning, after attending an after wedding brunch, we headed back to Columbus and the Sacred Threads show. The show was very moving. The pieces together created a very powerful story. I have permission from some of the artists to post their pieces here.

The artists are: Janice Potter, Lion of the Sea and White Buffalo Calf Woman Rhapsody, Diane C Lochala, Vines of Life and Time's Portal, Karen Fridy, Temptation, Wendy L Starn, Fire and Ice and Summer Breeze, A.Carole Grant, Joy, Gerrie Congdon, Juxtaposition and First Light, Sue Reno, Wood Poppy and Mystery Fern, Ginny Greaves, I am the Vine You are the Branches, and my piece, Dance! I have some others I would like to include and am waiting for their permission. I will amend the slide show as needed.

After viewing the Sacred Threads show, my hubby dropped me off at QSDS for my 7 day class with Ann Johnston. That will be a separate post.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Struggling to acheive realism

I am the first to admit that I cannot draw worth a damn. What I see in my head doesn't always translate well to paper. So for those of you who have the ability to draw this post should give you a chuckle. I have been trying to depict hands for the piece I am working on. It has been very frustrating for me. How do I get a 3 dimensional vision into a 2 dimensional piece? Pretty pathetic I must admit but this is how it is going to be. I cannot do what I cannot do. Sigh, I only have 2 others to do. These are the types of things that I get hung up on, get frustrated, then run away. Anyone else react like that?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thread painting

I have been working on my project and making some good progress. Today was a first for me. I tried my hand at some thread painting. Not bad, although I will not be competition for anyone. It was sort of fun once I relaxed. Of course I kept it pretty simple so it was hard to screw up!
This piece also calls for some beading so I have lots of work still ahead of me. This piece is going to be larger than I have been working on lately. Probably a good thing. The larger size poses other challenges but leaves me more options.
I am starting to get ready for my class with Ann Johnston at QSDS soon. If anyone else is going, let me know so we can meet up. I think it will be lots of fun.

Friday, June 5, 2009

As ye sew, so shall you rip

This has turned into an interesting week...NOT. Nothing went quite as planned but I am not unhappy. Monday morning started out great. I finally began the project that I had been postponing for the past 6 weeks. I was happy with the way it was going and once I got some of the pieces on it was time to sew them in. I decided to use a variegated thread and a decorative stitch on my machine. I sewed about 8" worth and took a good look at it. YUCK! It was awful. It took me 2 minutes to sew it down and an hour to rip it out. Very frustrating. Of course I was now looking for an excuse not to work more on it that day so we went to play bridge. We won. ... actually had a very good week at the bridge table. I went back to the project this morning and got what I had done stitched down. It looks fine now. ...working on the next part. I need my cat to go nap because his help is not doing me any good. Looking forward to a productive weekend.

I need to start getting ready for QSDS in a few weeks. Of course I have done nothing. Dyeing is going to be on the agenda next week.

Hope everyone has a good weekend.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wasting time

I spent an hour this morning looking for the pattern pieces I had made a few weeks back to start a new project. By the time I found them, I lost interest. In the meantime, there has been a discussion on the Quilt Art list of printers. Mine seems not to be working properly, but one of the suggestions from a friend is to reinstall the drivers. The printer is not pulling up the photo paper from the photo tray even though the tray is traveling to the back. It will pull up anything in the main tray. The other discussion is about dye based versus pigment based inks. My printer is an HP that uses Vivera 02 cartridges. According to HP they are dye based however some have said that the new ones perform more like pigment based. The pigment based HP inks are the # 38's and the printer they use is $600+. For that price I am not interested. I will play with what I have.

For a good laugh, here is the original fabric that I used for Fish Story.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I did a simple quilting job even I couldn't screw up. I echo quilted around the fish and channel quilted the seams. I may or may not add some hand stitches but it is going on hold since I am going to go look for play fish to embellish with.
Susan will no longer be horrified!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Fish story

I did more work on my resurrected piece today. I finally listened to it and caved in about it being an underwater scene. Being lazy and also not wanting to invest a whole bunch of time in this, I cheated and used some mylar fish stickers I found in a drawer. I also added more paint to the piece. I had several options of adhering the fish to the fabric but I took the easy way out... it was also an experiment. I added a layer of netting over the entire piece fused down with Misty Fuse. I was concerned about the mylar melting but a low setting on the iron did the trick. I like the added texture the netting gives the piece. I tossed some more paint on top of the netting and I declare it done..... now I just have to figure out how to quilt it without ruining it. Yes, some of the fish blend in and you need to be close to see them.... it is intentional. My objection to the piece is that there is not enough value contrasts to the colors. It is what it is. The mylar is shiney and no matter what I do, I get some reflection spots. When I get it done, I will set it up properly and photograph again.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Good news and sneak peak

After some frustrations, my recalcitrant piece is finally coming along. I like how it has turned out. Here is a sneak peek.

On the good news front... usually my mail consists of junk and bills but today I was pleasantly surprised to find 2 very nice pieces. One was a wedding invitation to my hubby's niece's wedding next month (not a surprise) and the other was my "honorarium" check for my piece Through Rose Colored Glasses which will be featured as part of an article on landscape quilts in the July/August issue of Fons and Porters "Love of Quilting" magazine. This is pretty heady for a nobody in the art quilt world. This has been a good year for me so far. I hate drinking alone, but I think I will imbibe in a glass of wine.

Friday, May 15, 2009


My latest wonky piece has a name thanks to some help from online buddies. I have decided to call it "In the Eyes of Chaos". Very fitting for this piece.
I have started work on another something or other. I was playing around with using paint on fabric in November and was not terribly happy with any of the results. Maybe it was timing, but I did not have the patience to really focus on it. The results were 2 pieces of crap with color on them. One has some potential down the road, the other was slated for the rag pile but it got a reprieve. I decided to slice it up and sew it back together again. It has some possibilities but I have already nixed 3 ideas. It has been screaming at me that it wants to be an underwater scene but it isn't what I wanted to do. Of course nothing else I come up with is working.... so we all know what it eventually will be. Now I just have to figure out a way to go with it.

Yummy dinner last night... my hubby hates mushrooms but he is in China on a biz trip. I bought some Portobello mushrooms and some arugula at the store the other day and last night I marinated the mushrooms with oil, garlic, and hot pepper flakes then grilled it. Set it over a bed of arugula and poured the rest of the marinade over it. mmmmm mmmmm good.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


....was an interesting day. We woke up in the morning to find out we had no electricity and no water. Some doohickey on the power pole outside our house had a meltdown. I will say that the folks from the utility company responded promptly and by noon we had power back. We need power to run our well. The good part is that we got stuff done around the house that we had been putting off and the weather cooperated. We had a lovely breeze so the heat was not stifling. I am not sure which one of us hit the shower first!
Tuesday evening was the reception at the Shemer Gallery in Phoenix. SAQA members were given the entire gallery to fill. I have 4 pieces hanging. They did an outstanding job of hanging and lighting and each piece was given enough space to view properly but not strung out as to look sparse. The gallery is in an old house and the rooms are smallish with narrow hallways. Unfortunately, I did not take any photos. The show runs till the end of June.

I did some more work on my wonky piece.... I added some color washes to the light colored areas, quilted it, and sewed on some Turkish beads I had. This piece needs a name. The beads are from an inexpensive bracelet I bought in Istanbul a few years back. I think these are the evil eye protection beads. I am not sure if more work is needed on this piece or not. I tend to the less is more theory. I may add more color.

Sigh, Ned left for a biz trip to China this morning. Maybe I will get back to some serious work. It has been staring me in the face for the past month.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Today is not a total loss

I haven't felt like starting the project I really should be working on but I decided to work on something I started many months ago. This piece was screened, rolled over stencils, etc using dye paste. It was pretty blah and sitting on my design wall waiting for some inspiration. I decided to play with some paint sticks and a new stencil. I think I have improved it. I will let it dry and see if I still like it tomorrow! It has no name so if anyone has something brilliant, please make suggestions.

It's spring

... and the lizards have been scurrying around. We love the lizards because they eat the ants, spiders, scorpions, etc. This is a spiny lizard.. not sure which one because it is not likely it will let me pick it up and check its belly. We usually have the more common lizards and gecko's in residence but this one I have not seen on our patio before. It is quite large.. the male is about 8" and the female about 6". They stand on legs that look to be 2" and have chubby bodies. I am sure it is mating season. I think we must have some resident lizards... I do not know what their lifespans are but most of them don't run away anymore when we are out there. We were moving some furniture yesterday and one came running out of the flowers and almost ran over my foot... it knew I was there as it had to come about 8 feet to do that. It just stopped and looked at me and then went on its way. OK, so I am nuts... I talk to them!

Monday, April 27, 2009


I am suppose to be starting a project but I just don't feel like it! I think I am still recovering from our very successful wine tasting party. This may become an annual thing. Pictured is the blackberry fruit tart with chocolate crumb crust that I made... actually, I made 2 of them. Yum. I made way too much food and we are going to be eating it all week. I think I can suffer through the leftovers with tart.
I was hoping to have the party outside but mother nature decided not to cooperate... it was too windy. There were 18 of us and thankfully, I had enough seating for all of us and no one seemed to mind.

These are my roses.. they are about 2 weeks passed their prime... I am about to lop them off for the next bloom. If we do not get a cold winter, they bloom all year round. I should get another spectacular display before it gets really hot here... they slow down in the heat and then do another big show in October.

Sigh, maybe tomorrow I will feel up to starting my next quilt.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I am playing around with Facebook and found out I could link this blog... this is just a test... no new content.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

General update

I haven't blogged in a while so I thought I would play catch up today. I spent a wonderful, but very tiring week in New Jersey helping my daughter unpack and get things going in their new home. The house was built in the 1930's and has wonderful architectural details. The kitchen is modern and huge but needs a new floor and the upstairs bath was redone by the previous owners. The windows have all been replaced. The kids plan on doing some more changes over time. My daughter was relishing in the fact that they now have their own washer and dryer! There is a nice front yard and a large fenced in back yard that seems to be chock full of plants. The crocuses were just starting to bloom but the previous owners left a schematic of all the plants and where they were. As a gift, we bought them a bed for the guest room.. hehehe... a bit selfish, I know. My ex got them a hippy dippy outdoor barbecue with lots of bells and whistles. This lovely bouquet was sent by the in-laws who are visiting from Maine this weekend... hehe.. they have a bed to sleep in!
The weather was crappy... rainy, cold and windy. Typical weather for this time of year which only reminded me of why I moved to warmer and sunnier climes.
I got to spend some time with Rayna who took time out from her Passover cooking to give me a tour of both of her studios (home and real workplace), and have lunch. She was also trying to pack up for her next workshop. Hopefully, next time I will have more notice and we can play. Thursday was spent at my girlfriends house cooking for the 2nd Seder. She had 14 people and we started cooking at 9:00 a.m. I was ready to come home on Friday.

I finished up the sleeves for the last of the quilts that are going into a local gallery/museum here. I will have 7 pieces in 2 local venues between April and June. Both places get high traffic so the exposure should be good. Maybe I will get lucky and someone will purchase a piece. If nothing else, at least I am out there. I have surprised myself with the number of pieces I have actually finished this year. So far, I have exceeded my goals for 2009 and the year is still young.

I will not start on anything new until next week although I have tons of ideas floating in my head. I am spending the week cooking and preparing for a wine tasting party we are having next weekend. This is our spring fling and sort of forces me to do things I have been putting off. We are planning a menu of mostly finger type foods and nothing that needs to be cooked while guests are here. There will be at least 19 of us and I am hoping for good weather so we can overflow outside. Otherwise it will be very friendly, LOL. Right now the forcast is perfect.

Gardening calls.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Revisit of sorts

I am getting ready for my trip back to New Jersey to help my daughter and son in law move into their first house. Exciting times for them for sure. I did not want to start on a new project this week although it has been beckoning me so instead I worked on my Rhapsody quilt project that has been languishing. It has a ton of applique pieces that all have to be stitched down using a blanket stitch. BORING! I have made progress and figure that I have about 80%+ done now.
Since I will not have a machine with me or the time to use it, I am taking with me a piece I had dyed in the Shibori class I took with Jan Meyers-Newbury. A dear friend whom I usually stay with when I go back east said she loved the piece so I am going to make it up into either a pillow or a wall hanging for her. I will hand stitch this and see what I can create. Blue is not one of my favorite colors, although I must say that this piece is growing on me.
Hopefully, the weather will be cooperative and play nice. With some luck I might be able to hook up with other artsy folks. I will take my camera with me and try to get some nice spring photos.