Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Catching up

We had a fantastic visit with my grandson. It was a week chock full of fun stuff. I signed him up for a horseback riding lesson and he loved it so he got 2 more. He is a natural. (Got the genes from his grandmother!) We went on a nature hike and learned about using native plants for things like sunscreen, insect repellent, making tools for harvesting, etc. We went to the Children's museum, the Science Museum, the Aquarium, and the Butterfly garden. We took a tour of Southwest Wildlife conservation center where they rehabilitate injured animals for future release back in to the wild. We did kitchen science experiments. We spent the day up at Wildlife World zoo. We cuddled at night and I read to him. It was a busy week and I enjoyed every minute of it. I took Will back to New Jersey and spent a couple of days with my daughter and my twin granddaughters. Whew! I was tired when I got home but it was well worth it. Will said he wants to come back. Best accolade ever!

On a more serious note... I have been clipping my cats nails for 8 years... on Sunday she took exception to it and sunk her teeth into my hand. At first I thought I had nicked her, but quickly realized that the blood spurting was mine! I washed it out and Ned insisted we head to ER... probably a very wise idea. They took an ex-ray to determine she hadn't broken a bone then hooked me up to IV full of antibiotics. They suggested I see a hand surgeon the next day to rule out any tendon, nerve, or other damage and gave me 10 days worth of horse pills (antibiotics) to take. I can barely get them down. Doesn't look like there is any physical damage but still have to be vigilant about infection. My house looked like murder and mayhem. There was blood everywhere. I have limited use of my left hand for a bit. I have an awesome husband.

There are irises blooming in my courtyard.

I started quilting another piece.

I need a bit less excitement.

Saturday, April 7, 2018


My almost 7 year old grandson is coming to visit us for a week. I am super excited. I have all sorts of fun things to do planned.

In the meantime I have been busy. I am still cleaning up and cleaning out and have come across stuff I started but never got around to finishing. First up is a piece of fabric I had played around with after dyeing... it was nothing special. I decided to treat it with some discharge paste then over dye it. I quilted it this week. It is not my style. It is a small piece that I have named Chaos II (yes, there is a Chaos I).

I also quilted a piece where I had played around with surface design. This one I like and I will probably revisit this technique. This is called CityScape.

I also finished a piece I hope will get accepted into "In Full Bloom" in Houston... sorry, not photos at the moment!

I have a few more pieces in the pipeline that need quilting and I have an idea for a new one.

I am happy my muse is back but she will have to twiddle her thumbs for a week!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Death spiral?

Ugh! Quilting a large piece in a spiral is deadly boring, takes forever, and you are quilting blind. Until you get to the end you have no idea what it is going to look like. I seem to be in the "what ever was I thinking" mode.
Thankfully, I am close to the end. This ought to be done in about an hour .. hope it doesn't come out looking like crap!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Not quite procrastinating...

I have finished my purging and reorganization. Some really ugly placemats (never finished) are going to a friend whose hubby wants to practice his free motion quilting..... good use for them!
Kind of wonder what I was thinking when I chose this combination!!  They will be gone in a day or so as soon as I get to the post office.
Ned helped me move stuff around and I no longer feel so claustrophobic in that room.

I have 2 pieces that I want to quilt but I still break out in hives when I think about doing them...I still hate quilting. I am hoping to start one of them tomorrow. The other is a dyed piece that I want to quilt as it is. However, I cannot think of what to do with it... do I leave it as is or do I chop some of it off? I am open to suggestions.
I played hooky today and did nothing but read... it was a good day.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Once upon a time...

in a kingdom far away.... well, not quite. My stuff has been taking over so I decided some (almost) spring cleaning was in order. In my piles of stuff I came across this book and all the triangles for octagons I cut out. Those were the days  I was just starting out and had no idea I could create my  own stuff. Conundrum... what do I do with this all?
I actually still like the fabric, however, it really has been ages since I followed anyone's pattern. There must be enough to make a queen size quilt. I am really torn here. I hate to waste perfectly good fabric...on the other hand what would I do with this when I am done?

The cleaning is cathartic. I have thrown out so much crap and I am reorganizing as I go. I have a while to go but in the long run I am going to be happier not being overwhelmed with so much that I will no longer use.


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Happy Hour:Drunken colors

I finished my quilt. This piece had lots of help from Lucy.. she insisted on sitting on it while I sewed the strips....they are not all straight, hence the name.

I am pleased with the way the colors play with each other here. If you didn't know already, I love color.

Yesterday was a gorgeous day. Ned and I went to a local Arts fair. I think I am jaded. With few exceptions I see the same old, same old stuff. ...nothing I would love to bring home.. just is well, we have no room.

Next piece is going to be different for me. It is a surface design piece; my biggest problem was how to quilt it. I figured it out! I am just waiting on my new batting to arrive and I will tackle it.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

You haven't heard from me in a while...

I am still here!
I stopped blogging... I stopped doing a lot of things, but life has a way of revisiting itself so I am hoping to blog more... assuming I have something to say! For whatever reason I found it easier to post on Facebook than on here.
My 5 year hiatus from creating art appears to have come to an end. Part of my issue was a sewing machine that pretty much failed me... as did the dealer. I cannot say the manufacturer was much help either. I had a lemon. The issue has been resolved but it was very costly and I will not be recommending this company to anyone. Frankly, their customer service stinks. Moving forward....

My first foray back into sewing was to make my 3 year old granddaughters tee shirt dresses with tulle skirts. Here are 2 of them:

My next project was a small art piece... nothing spectacular here.. just getting my feet wet. I really love Ginkgo's and was just playing. Most of the fabrics used were my hand dyes.

  I had a small piece lying around that I think I used as a rag when I used some silk paints.. it's been a while. However, I have an upcoming piece that I wanted to quilt spirals or circles on so I used it as a practice piece. I am going to frame this one... I am hoping it will find a new home when I do.
Did I mention that I really hate the quilting part?

My current piece is just a fun color piece. I combined my hand dyed fabrics with some commercial ones. It is in the process of being quilted. I had a lot of help with this one.. in fact Lucy has had a lot of input into this one!
I should be finishing up the quilting tomorrow.

I have been using Warm and Natural batting for my projects but I hate it. I have issues with bearding. I did put out a query on one of my lists and got several great recommendations to use instead. I ordered a different batting and will try it out.

Once I get this done, I have a another in the works... it will be strictly a surface design piece.. The fabric has been "ageing" as I couldn't figure out a good way to quilt it. I have come up with a solution. I hope I don't screw it up.

My fun news is that my almost 7 year old grandson with be visiting us over his spring break... I am so looking forward to spending time with him.

Stay tuned.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Eco Printing

Had oodles of fun yesterday learning how to do eco printing. It was an afternoon class offered for SAQA  members. There were 6 of us in the class, taught by Molly Koehn, a graduate student at ASU in Tempe.

Molly provided us with most of the fabrics but we were also allowed to bring our own. We used raw silk that was treated with a mordant, a silk/wool blend scarf, and other assorted silk pieces. The first thing we did was walk about the campus and collect leaves and some picked old flowers.

The next step was to choose which fabric we wanted to start with and arrange leaves, etc on half the fabric. We folded over the other half then rolled it tightly around an assortment of items such as dowels and pvc pipe. Someone brought in a piece of copper pipe as well. After it was rolled we tightly wrapped string around it. The idea is to make sure the leaves have as much contact with the fabric as possible. Our bundles were dropped into pot of simmering water and left for an hour. In the meantime, we did up more bundles.

Molly also provided us with a liquid post mordant that she had made up to use with the fabrics that had not been previously treated.

I brought with me a disaster of an experiment using thickened dye on a silk scarf. I figured it was already heading for the garbage heap so I might as well experiment. I am so glad I did. It turned into a beauty.

The results are all over the place. The fabric that was pre-treated had the strongest results, but I am not sure that it wasn't because it was a thicker fabric. I am definitely going to be doing some experiments.

Raw silk pre-treated

Raw Silk Pre-treated
Redeemed silk scarf
Silk/wool blend

Sheer silk

 I will be playing around with this technique using a variety of fibers and different mordants, both pre and post.
I had a blast.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

I dyed... and now I am blue.

I was lucky enough to take a local 2 day workshop in Indigo dyeing with Barbara Shapiro this past weekend. I have only dyed with Indigo once before, many years ago, but because of the necessity of having to use Thiox and a gas mask, I was never inclined to start my own vat. Barbara has a method that does not use Thiox and it is not overly complicated so an Indigo vat maybe in my future. 

The history of Indigo goes back thousands and thousands of years and seems to be a part of almost every culture. It really is fascinating how important it was for trading and how it helped shape the world.

The Indigo vat we used was made with a Synthetic Indigo. I am pretty happy with my results. Some of them are a bit lighter than I would have liked but the vats were shared and I think by the end, the indigo was almost exhausted. In order to get darker colors, the pieces have to be redipped in the vat. That was not always practical given that there were 18 of us playing.

I tried several techniques on cotton and silk. I even overdyed some pieces. I will explain each photo as I can remember. I wish on some I was smart enough to take before photos, but alas, I didn't.

The first two pieces we dyed were cotton that we folded and used chopsticks as a resist.... The white is where the indigo did not penetrate the fabric.

I brought with me some pieces that were headed for the trash bin. I decided I would give a try to over dying them to see if I could breath new life into them. Several years ago a took a mini class with Rayna Gilman at her studio. We were screen printing with paint and newspaper. Some of the pieces I did came out well but a few were just plain ugly. One of these I just scrunched up and put in the indigo vat, the other I folded and clamped on some tongue depressors before immersing it. I am happy with both now and I am sure they will somehow appear in some future work.

The next piece was a silk scarf I hated. I had been playing around with some Color Hue dyes and result was just deadly. I folded the scarf and used 2 wooden blocks as resists. I wish I had immersed it another time. I would have liked it a bit darker, but I think I have saved this scarf. It is still a bit blah, but usable.

This next couple of scarves were virginal. Two of them were pole wrapped and the last one was just knotted.

The last project was a hemmed napkin that I stitched before dunking in the indigo vat.

This one I really wish had come out darker.

I am happy with all the results and I learned some nice things in case I do decide to get a vat going.  I really like the results of over dying using resists and this is what may pushe me into doing this at home.

Next project is an ice dye.....

Thursday, October 15, 2015

London October 2015

I know, I haven't been posting to the blog..seems Facebook has taken over but I decided that give it a go today.


I have been in London for a few days now and finally over my jet lag. The trip has been nothing short of great. Quick story to set up the next bit. Last year when I was here, we went to see a Matinee and wandered into a restaurant for dinner. We did not have reservations but we were there when they opened for diner and they managed to seat us. The food was delicious. Fast forward a year....I made a lunch date with some local friends and was told the name of the restaurant but it didn't ring any bells. As soon as we walked in I recognized it. It turns out it is one of the hottest venues in London and usually requires making a reservation three months in advance. One of my friends has a daughter who works there and we were able to get in. The food was still delicious!

Today's activity was the Victoria and Albert Museum. I love this place. We saw two special exhibits..The Fabric of India, and Shoes.

Walking through the exhibit reminded me of our trip to India a few years ago. The textiles are stunning. I was again reminded of the painstaking work that goes into them. These are all hand made and could take days/months/years to complete. I almost bought another shawl but resisted this time. I took a photo of a gorgeous Sari as I walked in, the heard someone say to another group that photos weren't allowed...oops.

Time for a bite...scones and tea...then off to see the Shoes....Yikes...the things people put on their feet! It was fun though.

I love taking the is so easy.. The walk back to hotel was through a street market..I wish we had these at home.

Tonight is registration for the doll event I came for. Tomorrow we have scheduled High tea in the afternoon...haven't figured out yet what we are doing in the morning...depends on weather.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Another baby fix

Catie and Chloe

Poor Chloe still doesn't seem to have much hair.

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Just a quickie post..

For those of you not a friend of mine on Facebook, here are the latest additions to my family. They arrived on February 12th. Meet Catelyn Grace and Chloe Jane.

Life will never be the same :-)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Yep, I have been quiet again

Nothing much to discuss. The healing of my foot is taking much longer than I anticipated with plenty more to go. I didn't think when I went into this that it would take so long. There is nothing I am doing that is wrong. It just takes a long time to heal. PT is a necessity and it helps but it will be close to a year before my foot and leg are back to 100%. My husband says his double knee replacement was easier and he is right.
I no longer need a brace (unless I want to walk around Costco) but I do need my cane. I limp and my balance is not great. I lost pretty much all the muscle tone in my left leg and ankle. I am working hard to get it back but it is a bitch.

Still waiting on the twins.. they should be here within a few weeks. Robin of course wants it over yesterday.

I had a very bad case of conjunctivitis last week.. not sure where I picked it up from but I think my eyes are finally back to normal.

I found myself a new series to read and of course I get single minded when that happens and devour the books. "In the Wilderness" series by Sara Donati. It is a 6 book series and well written. It takes place mostly in New York state with some side trips to Montreal and New Orleans.  The story spans about 40 years from the late 1790's to 1840's. We haven't really progressed a human beings.

I am thinking about a new project and flowers come to mind. There is a piece I made in the 1970's that is screaming for more variations. I see lots floral pieces around these days and lest someone think I am stealing their idea, here is a photo of the piece I did. Obviously there are no new ideas... just reworked old ones.
Brenda... I am not copying you!  This was done with silks and satins and different weights of embroidery floss.

It is sunny and in the 80's here. Perfect winter weather.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ugly fabric challenge, Part 2

After letting the fabric batch for about 6 hours, I rinsed it in cold water to get the soda ash out. Then I washed it in several warm water baths and a hot water bath (140 degrees). I tossed it into the dryer and ironed it.

Here is the result.. not bad.
Might make a good background for a small piece or I will just cut it up.

I would say this is a success.

Ugly fabric challenge

I am trying to get back into a creative mode with my still limited mobility. My foot is healing nicely but I cannot stand on it for too long or it swells up.

I did an ugly fabric challenge a few years ago and it was fun. I came up with some ideas of treatments I could do that would not aggravate my foot and I could do in increments. This is the fabric I was sent.. not so ugly.
I decided to bleach out some of the color then ice dye. I did this outside so I wouldn't have to use a vapor mask which is a must if you are inside plus good ventilation. To remove the color I used a Clorox Bleach pen.

When I liked how much color had leached out I rinsed the piece in cold water to remove the bleach and then into a solution of Anti-Chlor  which stops the bleaching process. You can get the bleach pen at any supermarket. I bought my anti-chlor from ProChem but Dharma sells something similar called Bleach Stop. I mixed 1/2 teaspoon into a gallon of warm water. The stuff really stinks and is caustic if inhaled. I also used rubber gloves.

When done I soaked the fabric in soda ash then folded it up and put it in a plastic container.
I added a bunch of ice cubes.
I put my mask on and sprinkled dye powder over it and put it in the sun the batch.
I used Chartreuse, Intense Blue, and Grape.

To be continued........

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Out with the old.. In with the new.

Wishing everyone a healthy and happy 2015.

I am happy to see the back end of 2014. It has been a very mixed year for us. There were some good things and some not so good things but we survived it all.

It is pouring rain out here in Scottsdale and pretty chilly for this time of year (40's). We have frost warnings in effect for tonight and tomorrow. Not my type of weather! If I look at the rain as washing away 2014 perhaps it will be less depressing.... not working real well.

This is my new ankle brace which I am required to wear around the house. I am slowly graduating out of my boot. It is very strange putting full weight on my foot and a bit uncomfortable. My calf muscles are shot and I need to work on getting those back as well as lateral motion in my foot. I have been having trouble scrunching my toes... found out from orthopedist that they fused my big toe... they "forgot" to mention it till I asked them why I was having trouble! The "cure" is a bit of torture... hold down the toe for 2-3 minutes.... it hurts to do that.

To ring in the new year I am making a chocolate fruit tart to take to friends house this evening. I am not used to being on my feet for so long so poor Ned got all the clean up duty. It won't get fully assembled until tonight so no photo... there must be one somewhere in past years blogs as this is one of my favorite go to recipes when I want to make something that looks and tastes awesome but doesn't require a ton of work. I make the filling the day before, the crust the next morning, and assemble a couple of hours before needed.

I looked back at my blogs for this year and see that I haven't been blogging much. For those of you who are not Facebook friends where I post more often I will do a fast recap:

In January we went to Ohio for the wedding of our (Ned's) niece Maggie... and froze our asses off! We headed next to N.J. to visit with my family. High temp was 4 degrees a couple of days. I was not a happy camper, but my grandson is awesome! Life was pretty quiet for the next several months... I think I blogged in March so won't repeat. At the end of May I went back to N.J. for Will's 3rd birthday... yikes, time has flown. I managed to find a pothole and twisted my foot and broke the 4th metatarsal in my right foot. No cast but a boot for 7 weeks. It slowed me down but didn't knock me out. I was relegated to flat heeled shoes for the next 6 months... a real bummer since I had purchased some killer heeled sandals the day before I broke said foot. I returned the shoes.. reluctantly but knowing there was no way I was going to wear them for at least a year, if ever.
In July I went to L.A. to meet up with some doll buddies and Ned met me a few days later and with another couple did some wine tasting near Santa Barbara. We had a great time and bought lots of great wines.
At the end of August with Ned in China, I had a bit of an incident with some Sour Cream. I am severely lactose intolerant and am normally pretty careful. If something dairy has live cultures, I can usually eat it. Our local supermarket carries a brand of sour cream that I can eat. Someone apparently put a container of regular sour cream in with the stuff we usually buy. I wasn't paying attention apparently and picked it up instead. I ate some and in the middle of the night I was in severe agony.. I will spare you the details but about 6 hours later I managed to drive myself to the emergency room. After some scans and other tests they admitted me to the hospital for 2 days. Bill for 2 days stay and doctor bills came to almost $28,000.00! Thankfully, we have insurance but we also have a very high deductible. This was very costly.
End of October and a trip to London (for my dolls) with stops in D.C. and N.J. A very close friend of ours moved to D.C area after his wife passed in May. She was 93 and a real pistol. They were the parents I wished I had. N.J. of course to see Robin, Brett, and Will.

In the summer we found out that Robin was pregnant with twins due end of February/beginning of March. I had a problem... I had developed this very bad bunion on my left foot which was getting very bad.. so bad that I couldn't put on closed shoes. This was not going to work well in the cold weather.. also, Robin's house is 3 levels. I promised her I would come for a month when the twins were born. When I was at the orthopedist for my broken foot it was discussed what I needed to do to fix the left foot. It needed to be done but I was not in a huge hurry (then). After my little episode in the hospital and having reached our rather hefty deductible, I decided that November would be a great time to fix my foot so I would be all healed by the time the twins arrived. ( I was optimistic they wouldn't be too early!) You can read all about that adventure on the blog.

This pretty much brings me up to the present... ... as I look out the window I see that it is snowing! WTF!!!!!

Happy New Year!